VACorps Internships in Cape Town

Video and Photos

Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
table mountain
table mountain
table mountain
table mountain
Signal Hill
Signal Hill
The Love Shack (made by us at Scott St. house)
The Love Shack (made by us at Scott St. house)
Tuning the Vine
Tuning the Vine

About

VACorps is a unique organization that has transformed the lives of countless young adventurers through careful program design and a sincere passion for what we do. We at VACorps steadfastly continue our time-honoured tradition of creating legends; bold African adventurers who will speak about their experiences in Cape Town, South Africa and its neighbouring countries for the rest of their lives.

We create tailored internship placements in Cape Town, South Africa for students and young professionals in all fields of interest. Our diverse and extensive list of companies and organizations will give you the opportunity to intern within the field of your choice! Whatever your interests, we will aid you in achieving your goals while you explore one of the world's most vibrant cities.

We are a full-service program dedicated to providing our participants with a safe and life-changing experience in the Mother City.

Highlights
  • Tailored Internship Placements
  • 24/7 On-the-Ground Safety & Support Services
  • Weekly Cultural Excursions
  • Program Housing
  • Weekly Culture Series

Questions & Answers

A 6-month internship is $3250, or $300 for each additional month after 3 months.
I worked for a fashion based video production company called Big Sky Productions in Cape Town. I would scout locations, photograph casting calls, help out on set, shadow the producers in pitch meetings, general maintenance of the office, as well as shoot my own projects for the company using their gear. I would work some days until the wee hours of the night, and other days I was in before the sun...

Reviews

95%
based on 62 reviews
  • Growth 9.5
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.9
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 16 - 30 of 62
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Tess
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Come for the internship, stay for the friendships

Coming to Cape Town was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. On top of being placed at the perfect internship site, I was also able to completely immerse myself in an entirely different culture than the one I was used to. Even though I spent a mere two months here, I became a completely different person. I am now more open-minded, more adventurous, more grateful, more educated, more passionate, and frankly I have become a better version of myself. In terms of my internship at the Refugee Legal and Advocacy Center, my supervisor helped me hone my skills as I assisted in his court cases and even partially wrote a submission to the South African Law Reform Commission. During my down time, I packed my schedule with every activity imaginable. I took a weekend trip to Garden Route and got to walk with some elephants. I visited the wine tram in Stellenbosch and found my love for red wine. I went to every market in Cape Town every single weekend, my favorite being the Oranjezicht City Farm market. I tried my hand at hiking (I am not as good as I would like to be). I ate my way through Cape Town and became a regular at Rust, Panchos and Mr. Lin’s. But I think my absolute favorite part about Cape Town were the people and relationships that were created during this internship. Without them, Cape Town would not be my absolute favorite place on this planet.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I wish I had been a little more informed on the weather and what to pack. Coming from school in Michigan, I was told that I needed to bring A LOT of warm clothes. However, I found May to be extremely warm and June to be nice fall weather.
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Kyrsten
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cape Town is truly an amazing place

I had a friend from home that took a gap year in Cape Town and met a couple of students who interned through VAC and thought this would be an amazing opportunity to gain hours for PT school while experiencing a new culture and traveling abroad. I am an intern at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa on the team of biokienticists and I have had an amazing experience. I was not only learning from extremely knowledgeable people, but I learned what field of physical therapy I want to pursue, which is neurological disorders. This internship allowed me to be exposed to patients I have not seen before and be there for their big milestones. My favorite part of the internship was being able to walk in everyday and see the milestones of all the patients written on the wall and physically seeing the progress after working so hard in sessions. SSISA was also an amazing place to learn alongside UCT students and interns and gain even more knowledge.

I stayed in Cape Town for 5 weeks and loved the other interns I've met here and all the experiences VAC provided. Cape Town is truly an amazing place is so beautiful. I've loved the hikes after work, watching the sunset, or spontaneous trips to the beach. All these views could be reached in an Uber ride. I still feel like I didn't see all that I wanted to and I definitely recommend staying longer than 5 weeks to give yourself time to get adjusted and make the most of your experience at your internship and South Africa. I also recommend taking advantage of the Friday Activities! I was able to see a lot of Cape Town through these and made great friends because of it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I really enjoyed my time at SSISA and really learned a lot. I would suggest to not wait for someone to ask to shadow and just be proactive of learning the other bio's schedules. I would also try to get involved as much as you can by putting equipment away or helping with patient transport without being asked.
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Zach
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Stay as long as possible

Initially, I was not sure what to expect from Cape Town and I was slightly intimidated to work in Khayelitsha. Looking back on my summer experience however, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity VAC provided me with. During my time in Site B CHC, I was able to learn a lot about the South African health care system, typical work environments along with medical experiences not offered in the United States. Outside of my internship, I tried my best to indulge myself in the South African culture by exploring Cape Town and everything it has to offer. After choosing a 7-week long internship I thought I would be ready to head home but after reflecting on my experience and all of the new friends I made, I would strongly recommend staying for as long as possible.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Become friends with the nurses since they allow you to do most of the hands-on experience and I would recommend staying in the trauma unit for as long as possible so you can see a lot of new things and develop friendships with the same staff.
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Bailey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Join the VAC family, you will not regret it!

Before arriving in Cape Town, I planned out in my head step by step what to do when going through security and how to find my gate in the airports. I tend to plan out my days to the seconds. This image played through my head for weeks. Once arriving in Cape Town and being dropped off by Carmen (my advisor) at my home for the next seven weeks, I sat on my bed and had no idea what to do next. I remember having a feeling of being alone and lost, thinking I should have put more thought in my actual time in Cape Town asides from my arrival. Thankfully the next day was orientation and there, I met my best friends. I do not use that term lightly either. These girls quickly became my safe haven, they were genuine, adventurous, and loved me so well during my time in Cape Town. I learned the importance of having a community, especially when being pushed outside of my comfort zone. On the other hand, I received a better understanding of what it was like to spend alone time, as crazy as that sounds. I am a social bird and never take the time for myself. Cape Town challenged me in this way. It was the best opportunity for me to grow. I would also like to mention my internship as it brought me a lot of joy during my trip. I got the chance to intern under an Occupational Therapist at the Open Circle in Maitland. This is a home for adults with disabilities. I was able to learn how to assess and treat a resident, create purposeful activities, and hold individual OT sessions. My work was another area in which I personally grew because every day I was challenged to ask questions, be real, and be involved. I never thought a workplace could be so enjoyable and one of the hardest goodbyes. Coming from the girl that asked if Cape Town had coffee before arriving, you can say I was culture shocked at the beauty and development of this city. I absolutely fell in love with Cape Town. I will never forget the love, kindness, and courage Cape Town brought to my life. Join the VAC family, you will not regret it!

What would you improve about this program?
Enforce electricity and how that works, maybe show a map of the surrounding cities (where the city is, waterfront, Hout Bay). Enforce bringing toilet paper and towels along with you!!
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Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Traveller!!

Completing an internship in SA through VAC has become a season in my life that I will never forget! The diversity and energy in this city are incredible-we never came up short on things to do and there are countless opportunities to plug yourself into and get you out of your comfort zone. From my three months here in SA, my experience has been one of contrasts-from fine dining in the city, to pasta kitchen meals with folks surviving on the streets, to South African braai's in the townships! There are countless opportunities for learning and growth and I have most definitely been changed because of it.

VAC was able to connect me with an organization that matched exactly what I had desired to learn/be a part of as well as elements that I didn't know I needed/wanted! This opportunity was one that is incredibly unique and offers fresh perspectives that are so applicable to bring back home with me.
The VAC staff are full of life and love for their city and their cultures and made SA a safe and welcoming place to call home for three months!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Ensure that any interns being placed at this site are confident in their counseling abilities and have experience working with at-risk populations. I was unaware that I would be taking on my own clients and so was somewhat shocked to be thrown right in! It was an incredible learning experience, however, if a psychology student with no practical experience was thrown into this setting, it would be quite overwhelming (and in some ways detrimental to the clients that require the services!)
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Na Fatimata
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An enriching experience

I wanted to do an internship in an English speaking African country and when I found out about VACorps I immediately applied because I always wanted to visit South Africa. It is a little scary to come to a city where you don't know anyone and it felt good to know that the VACorps family was there to guide me. What I loved the most was the combination of gaining work experience while discovering a new city. A beautiful city at that! I will miss the views of the mountain so very much! I found myself more adventurous than I thought, and there is so much to explore and do in the city. I could not have wished for a better place internship site. My site has the most positive working environment I've ever seen and the time I spent there made me grow so much!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just be yourself, and take advantage of every opportunity that you can because time goes so quickly!
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Tatum
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Endless Fun

The best part about Cape Town is that no matter what kind of person one is, Cape Town is suitable for them. What I loved most about living here was that every where I wanted to go was relatively close to Observatory. Whether it was the waterfront, camps bay, Old Biscuit Mill, winery’s, or surfing everything was just a quick walk or Uber ride away. The endless restaurants and thrift stores in Obs were great as well. But the best part for me was being able to walk to my internship in Obs and stop for breakfast along the way! My tips for future interns going to my same internship site would be to do o as much research as you can, even when you think you’ve found everything there is more. Be super patient and speak up when you are done with a specific task. My site within tourism was a perfect placement for someone looking for online marketing experience. This internship gave me a direction to go in and then allowed me to work and accomplish my project on my own. It also gave me experience working with another intern and allowed me to create mini tasks for her to do within projects. I enjoyed finding different platforms to register a marine eco tour and was able to market the tour in various different ways.

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Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My internship in an incredible city of contrasts!

Completing an internship in SA through VAC has become a season in my life that I will never forget! The diversity and energy in this city are incredible-we never came up short on things to do and there are countless opportunities to plug yourself into and get you out of your comfort zone. From my three months here in SA, my experience has been one of contrasts-from fine dining in the city, to pasta kitchen meals with folks surviving on the streets, to South African braai's in the townships! There are countless opportunities for learning and growth and I have most definitely been changed because of it. VAC was able to connect me with an organization that matched exactly what I had desired to learn/be a part of as well as elements that I didn't know I needed/wanted! This opportunity was one that is incredibly unique and offers fresh perspectives that are so applicable to bring back home with me.

The VAC staff are full of life and love for their city and their cultures and made SA a safe and welcoming place to call home for three months! The VAC staff who lead my orientation were incredibly enthusiastic and warm! They made you excited to be in their country and treated you like family from the moment you arrived. Providing us with the hop on hop off tour was very helpful as it gives an idea of what is available to further explore. Riding the transit together was very helpful so that we could confidently take transit ourselves, and I really appreciated having a VAC staff accompany me to my first internship day so I knew that route was very helpful! Whenever I needed anything from VAC or had questions about anything, VAC staff were quick to respond to my needs! Coming into this internship, I am a 3rd-year undergraduate student. I have aspirations to become a Counselling Psychologist and desired to learn as much as I could from an organization that did just that! Taking on my own clients was incredibly eye-opening, challenging and rewarding for me. I was given the space to grown and make mistakes while being supported and encouraged along the way.

What would you improve about this program?
Ensure that any interns being placed at this site are confident in their counseling abilities and have experience working with at-risk populations. I was unaware that I would be taking on my own clients and so was somewhat shocked to be thrown right in! It was an incredible learning experience, however, if a psychology student with no practical experience was thrown into this setting, it would be quite overwhelming (and in some ways detrimental to the clients that require the services!)
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Olivia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Extremely meaningful and educational experience

I chose Cape Town because I was always fascinated by the history and culture - and it did not disappoint! The program was helpful and there was always someone available to assist me if I needed anything. I would not recommend going to Cape Town without a program like VAC! Despite the fact that it was the winter, the weather was lovely and I was still able to do many outdoor activities. My internship sight was incredible and I had an amazing supervisor. It was an extremely meaningful and educational experience, and I will take away these lessons that I learned in my internship and in Cape Town as a whole into my career, education, and personal life moving forward! I did about six weeks and enjoyed it, though many people stay longer. The weekly activities are great and cover a lot of the bigger trips that I want to do, like Paarl/Spice Route, Muizenberg, Simon's Town, and Cape Point. I was a graduate student and there were several other graduate students and it was a meaningful work and social experience for a graduate student.

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Kitty
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

VAC staff have been beyond helpful during my first stay in SA and it would not be fair if I didn't give then credit for that. I will certainly be coming back due to my amazing experience. Thank you to everyone for all your hard work. special thanks to Kholi for always being responsive if I have any concerns. My internships, WLC and W2W with Kelly Stone have been so much more than my expectations. my only regret is that I couldn't stay longer. What I appreciated most about the VACorps program was:
The internship placement
Support and knowing I could call VAC staff if I needed anything
Weekly Activities
Culture Series
VACorps staff support
VACorps Online Guide
My tips for future interns going to my same internship site would be...
have no expectations, and just do the work and have fun

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Alexandra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Remarkable Internship Experience

I spent two months in Cape Town and it's still hard to describe everything that this city has taught me. It's completely true that the first two weeks are the hardest to adjust to, with the time change, meeting new people, navigating an internship under a company that operates in a foreign country, and figuring out how to feel safe while also having the time of your life in a different environment. I felt like the VACorps staff and my fellow peers in the program helped me feel supported through all of these things. From Culture Series to Friday excursions to weekend trips, these activities put together by VACorps gave me so much to look forward to and made the transition here so easy. I'm also so appreciative of the time VACorps took to place me in an internship that would help me accomplish the objectives I set out to achieve after graduating from my Master's program. I did such meaningful work that helped me build skills that I know will translate to the types of media and production companies I will be applying to when I return home. Thank you so much to VA Corps for guiding me through all the different steps there were to make Cape Town feel like home.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be specific in your internship placement questionnaire. I feel the result of that was me being able to be placed in a company that would teach me what I'm looking to learn.
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James
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Grab this opportunity with both hands!

Where do I even start? Words cannot begin to describe my internship experience in Cape Town. As soon as the doors opened on the plane, crisp, cold air began to flood the cabin and with it came this electric energy, the Cape Town vibe! Carmen from VACorps was waiting for me as I walked through into the terminal. Perfectly prepared and professional. This warm welcome to the "Mother City" was the perfect thing that I needed to assure myself that I had made the right decision by taking an internship 1000 miles away from home.

Immediately from day 1, I fell in love with Cape Town. A colorful and vibrant city, rich in history and culture, "Lekker" local food, surrounded on all sides by mountains carving through the sky. VACorps didn't miss any opportunities and immediately immersed us into the culture. Orientation week was an absolute blast! With my personal favorite being the Hop-On Hop-Off bus around Cape Town!

I interned at The Center for Proteomic and Genomic Research for 10 weeks. I spent my time here learning the behind the scenes work that goes into the Biomedical Sciences field. Running tests on groundbreaking research that uses world-class, state of the art chemical analysis machines. I also learned a lot about working autonomously and being self-motivated. Spotting aspects of the company that you think you could improve, and improving them.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To any future VACorpies. Work hard, putting in a solid effort at your internship will be far more rewarding than you could imagine. Being a young, college undergrad and getting complimented on your work by professionals in their field is incredibly fulfilling. However... Remember that you are on vacation, make a clear separation between work and play. When you leave the office don't take homework with you, 9 times out of 10 you don't need to. ENJOY this city! There is so much to do and so many people to meet. Grab this opportunity with both hands and give it your all.
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Tyler
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Exceeded all of my Expectations

I chose Cape Town to do something different and it exceeded all of my expectations. I really enjoyed my time here and it was an absolute pleasure being able to enjoy everything Cape Town has to offer. I would highly recommend Cape Town and VAC to anyone who is interested! The weekly activities were a great part of the program because it makes it so easy to meet new people as well as a chance to do activities you normally wouldn't! I think VAC as a whole did a great job of explaining everything during the orientation process. I can't think of anything that was neglected. At some points it almost seemed excessive however they are trying to appeal to the masses and some interns might want/need more info than others. Overall very well done. The main goal for my internship was observing PTs and practicing in a professional setting working with athletes. This site far exceeded those expectations and I had a great time. The staff and rugby players there were extremely welcoming and were able to give me the opportunity to show my knowledge as well as learn from the medical staff in various ways including acute injury care and on-field work during games.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be prepared to do as much as you can right from the start. Show what you know and ask to be apart of different areas of the rehabilitation process. A strong athletic training background will severely help as well. (if you are a Doctorate in PT intern)
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Lachlan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Refreshing Surprise

My time in South Africa with VACorps was a refreshing surprise. I come for a holiday, a break after graduation and I was not disappointed. The VaCorps staff go above and beyond to ensure you have a safe and fore-filling time in this beautiful country. The biggest surprise for me was that after my time here I did genuinely feel comfortable and a part of the community in Observatory. I have honestly loved my time here and would return in a heartbeat. As for my personal goals in my legal internship, wanted to achieve who expose to real client interactions. To witness and learn how to engage with clients as they are describing their problems, to be understanding but also to keep them on track. I was exposed to this on my first day and continued to be exposed to it during my internship. I also really enjoyed the shift in the back end of my internship to a greater focus on the refugee community as a whole, through the ride-along with a detective in Bellville and the day spent at a Zim school.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?

If you're not going to be in an office for the majority of time at your internship, you need to be able to self manage your time and keep on top of your work. The massive benefit of this is that this means you have more time to explore South Africa but you need to at the same time keep on top of your work load and engage with your supervisor otherwise you're not going to feel like you gained much from the internship. If you can do that you'll love it.
Would you recommend this program?
Default avatar
Lachlan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Refreshing Surprise

My time in South Africa with VACorps was a refreshing surprise. I come for a holiday, a break after graduation and I was not disappointed. The VaCorps staff go above and beyond to ensure you have a safe and fore-filling time in this beautiful country. The biggest surprise for me was that after my time here I did genuinely feel comfortable and a part of the community in Observatory. I have honestly loved my time here and would return in a heartbeat. As for my personal goals in my legal internship, wanted to achieve who expose to real client interactions. To witness and learn how to engage with clients as they are describing their problems, to be understanding but also to keep them on track. I was exposed to this on my first day and continued to be exposed to it during my internship. I also really enjoyed the shift in the back end of my internship to a greater focus on the refugee community as a whole, through the ride-along with a detective in Bellville and the day spent at a Zim school.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you're not going to be in an office for the majority of time at your internship, you need to be able to self manage your time and keep on top of your work. The massive benefit of this is that this means you have more time to explore South Africa but you need to at the same time keep on top of your work load and engage with your supervisor otherwise you're not going to feel like you gained much from the internship. If you can do that you'll love it.