Thomas is originally from the city of Thunder Bay in Canada and graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a minor in Business. He used to work as a Pediatric Physiotherapist at a local school in Belville where he first came through the program. Thomas is an ardent traveler and wannabe athlete who brings both passion and knowledge to interns.
What is your favorite travel memory?
My favorite travel memory was on a recent VACorps trip to Mozambique in November 2017. We were participating in an ocean safari just off the coast of Praia do Tofo along the famous Whale Shark Alley about halfway through our 10-day adventure.
After a very exciting launch in heavy swell conditions, our captain, Ernest, guided us straight for the coast in search of whale sharks, dolphins, and the elusive manta ray. Within minutes, we spotted whale sharks longer than our boat and spent the next hour snorkeling right on top of them.
The look on everyone's faces afterwards was priceless and was a stark reminder of why we lead trips to Mozambique as often as possible.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Over my past six years at VACorps, I've learned an awful lot. It's important to stay current with latest trends in this highly competitive space to assure our internship program remains at par with the top programs globally.
Having had the opportunity to build relationships with so many incredible young students, it's given me the chance to connect on a deeper level, provide advice/mentorship, become much more self-aware, and to take a step back and realize that there is still just as much to learn from our juniors as much as those senior to us too. There's nothing quite like a weekly VACorps Friday Activity for a precocious 18-year-old to completely change your perspective and opinions.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
We've certainly had our fair share of success stories at VACorps. A countless number of our past interns have gone on to medical school and cited their work experience in Cape Town as the reason for their admission. Many are now involved in US politics, are accomplished entrepreneurs, award-winning journalists, hold PhDs, or are making big waves in the international community.
Every now and then, one of our past law interns from South East Asia posts her latest work on Facebook presenting finding at UN meetings on behalf of her business or in photos with political oligarchs and numerous heads of state from across the globe. Needless to say, VACorps alumni are certainly cut from a unique cloth!
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
We've just launched an exciting Sports Physical Therapy program that's one of its kind in the country. Students here will receive both mentorship from professionals in the field coupled with experience working for a professional sports team. To add icing to the cake, I would combine this internship experience with a 10-day Mozambique adventure.
I would argue to say that you will learn more about yourself and your passions in this 12-week internship experience than the entirety of a traditional 4-year university degree. I think you'll find many of our alumni agree, too!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
What makes us unique is that we are based exclusively in Cape Town and that we have a team made up of incredibly passionate, driven, and fun employees.
As soon as an intern joins our program, we welcome them into the VACorps family and do everything we can to assure they have the best possible experience with us in South Africa. Our countless positive testimonials speak volumes to this, and it's really a product of our team and their unparalleled dedication of going over and above out of love for what they do.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I think the most important factor for being a successful company is having a shared vision and taking pride and seeing the purpose in your work. Richard Branson said it best, "Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
I cannot compliment our team enough; they are what made VACorps so great and have allowed us to successfully host thousands of students over the years.