The much anticipated trip to South Africa came to an end very quickly. Arriving an anxious and scared intern, leaving as if I left a part of myself in Cape Town. There are absolutely no words to describe the experience that I had in Cape Town. From the diversified culture, the amazing food, the countless adventures, and the unforgettable people, my time in Cape Town will never be forgotten. None of this would have been possible without VAC. The cool, (not much) older brothers and sisters that see you through the entire process. It is evident that they have a passion for what they do; and what better way to get to know the city and the country, than to have the locals lead you through it? A very special thank you to Vanessa Randon of VAC – without her, none of this would have been possible. From the very first skype session to unforgettable adventures in Botswana and Zimbabwe.
VAC set up my internship at EROS School for the Cerebral Palsied. I absolutely fell in love with the site. The staff was more than welcoming. The children touched my hearts in more ways than they can imagine. Although the physical therapy education is different in South Africa compared to the United States, there is no better way to test the limits of your skill set than in a different country, working with a completely new population. The internship site gave me enough freedom to grow professionally as a physical therapist, as well as a person. I was forced out of my comfort zone multiple times, however, I left that much more confident in my skills. I am more confident in my skills as a physical therapist, a role model, and a teacher, but little did I know that the children would end up teaching me more. The smiles on their faces is a snapshot forever engrained in my heart.
Aside from my unbelievable internship, my experience was completed by all the new “framily” members that I gained and the adventures we all went through together. If I took away all (maybe not all, but most) of the adventures that I had: all the beautiful hikes, shark cage diving, paragliding off Lion’s Head, bungee jumping off Bloukran’s Bridge, my amazing adventure in Botswana which includes walking across the Zambia-Zimbabwe border to go swim in Devil’s Pool on top of Victoria Falls, rafting and getting beat up by the Mighty Zambezi River, watching a pride of lions feasting on an elephant, sleeping under the moon and stars in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan in the Kalahari Desert (the list goes on), if I took most of that away and simply reminisce on each framily member, my time would have been more than worth it. The friendships that you build are forever lasting. I can confidently say that I have at least 30 couches I can sleep on all over the world, from Michigan, Alaska, Chicago, New Jersey, to Denmark, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and many more (obviously Cape Town is a given).
This in all of its entirety, has awakened the adventure seeking traveler and has left behind a part of the OCD-comfort seeking individual in me. As I said before, VAC is there for you from the beginning to the end. There is only one guaranteed regret, time. Arriving thinking three months would be forever and leaving Cape Town trying to extend my stay. I could go on and write about this for a while, but I will end it with my motto throughout my time in Cape Town and the famous slogan that everyone knows: just.do.it.