COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, VACorps has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.


The VACorps internship program creates tailored placements in Cape Town, South Africa. We consistently receive rave reviews from program participants, parents and university administrators alike because we devote all our energy to one purpose -- helping you have a personally and professionally rewarding internship experience in Cape Town.

As a participant of our program, you will join a community that feels like a family. When you arrive in South Africa, we make it incredibly easy for you to adjust to life in Cape Town and call this city your home. From your very first day in the country, we will guide you through a comprehensive orientation that ensures you will take full advantage of every moment in South Africa. You will immediately be networked with other participants so that you have a peer group to relate with as you quickly adapt to life in a new city you'll soon be calling home.


5 Howe Street
Loft G7
Cape Town
South Africa


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Yes, I recommend this program

My time in Cape Town through VA Corps allowed me to grow as a person and work on my specific goals in a comfortable, organized, and independent setting. VA Corps provided me with structure but also room to learn things and grow independently. The orientation was informative and provided for a great start in Cape Town. All the staff of VA Corps are extremely friendly and are always eager to help. I’m very appreciative of my time in Cape Town and for everyone that made it possible!

My internship is a great introduction to film production and allows every intern to be involved in all sides of all the projects they take on. One of my main goals was to learn about some sides of film production that I did not receive at the one internship in film production I've completed. I have really enjoyed sitting in on meetings that the people at my internship have held. They have covered many different sides of film production and I feel that they have given me many valuable experiences.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go into the internship with a very open mind and to be prepared for a lot of different tasks. Be prepared to learn a lot of different things and to be very easy going with the day to day duties that occur at the internship and to just go with the flow.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I found VACorps because I was looking for an independent study abroad program in Africa. I was interested in the program description and the description of Cape Town. However, I was convinced that I wanted to go when I read the testimonials of VAC alumni. People talked about receiving guidance and support and getting the opportunity to explore the city. This was true of my experience as well. After reading testimonials, I had high expectations and the experience I had met all of those expectations.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy the experience and initiate communication. This was a very enjoyable experience, but it could be easy to get caught up in the details of getting deliverables done well. I would encourage people to step back every now and then and take time to appreciate what they are learning and what they are contributing.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I chose to undertake an internship to make myself more employable - giving myself an edge over students with similar qualifications in the industry. I decided to do this in Cape Town because I thought completing a business internship there would be very interesting in such a rapidly growing economy. My favorite thing about interning in Cape Town was how relaxed everyone is - it is a very calm and friendly environment to work in. In my time here I learned that I am a lot more extroverted than I first thought - ever since I got here I just always want to be around people. On that note, the thing I will miss most is all of the amazing relationships I have formed here. The VAC staff were absolutely amazing - everyone was very welcoming and friendly - always with a smile and I really appreciated the care they took in introducing us to the neighborhood and ensuring that we knew how to be safe. The weekly activities were really fun although I feel like there was too strong a focus on wine tasting. I think the thing I most appreciated was the introduction to the neighborhood and the instruction on how to move about safely.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would advise people to do 3 months because 6 weeks was definitely not enough time for me! They should prepare by reading up on the history of Cape Town and maybe spend some time at the gym to prepare for all of the hiking!
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Yes, I recommend this program

At my internships site, interns are given such amazing opportunities and responsibilities, regardless of qualification/experience, which I really loved. I also appreciated the large network of other interns that enriched my internship. The general tone in the office was serious and passionate but balanced with friendliness and humor, which made for a fun and impactful work experience. My most memorable moments included teaching a digital literacy course and when one of the clients from the Employment Access Program brought us flowers to thank us for helping him find a job.

I will definitely most miss the people I have met through VAC, RentARoom, and my internship site. I love Cape Town and how there is so much to see and do, but I am lucky that I am going to be back in the near future. I think my time in Cape Town taught me that I really love meeting and interacting with new and different people in work and outside of work. I am most grateful for the people at VA Corps. I really appreciated how quickly Kholi, Khuselwa, Loyiso, and the rest of the team were to care for and love all the interns. I also enjoyed how the VAC team hangs out and does activities with all the interns because it allows us to create lasting memories and build a strong, genuine bond.

What would you improve about this program?
I would suggest switching around the schedule of orientation a bit. I think that some people can come away from VAC without that much knowledge about South African culture/realities and current events. If that could play a bigger role in orientation week, then I think people would make even richer and meaningful connections while in Cape Town.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I was interested in this program because of the reviews I read. Several people commented that it was a chance to work and travel at the same time in a beautiful environment. My experience met and exceeded my expectations. From the application process, the communication was clear, simple, and helpful. It was clear that the VACorps team was interested in helping me get placed in the best internship for me. When I got to the country, the in-country support was crucial in terms of helping me get settled. Throughout my internship, I loved getting to know my fellow interns and the staff during weekly meet-ups. VACorps gave me the tools to experience Cape Town and helped me do it well.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Lachlan O'Neill

Lachlan is a graduate from Griffith University in Australia. After spending five years at university and graduating with two degrees, he undertook a three month internship with VA Corps in Cape Town, South Africa.

Why did you choose this program?

I knew I wanted to travel and take a break after University, but I needed something that I could still put down on my CV. After looking at a couple of different options, I discovered VA Corps, which offered the perfect fit to my situation. Their programs were individually tailored to meet everyone's individual expectations for their experience in Cape Town. This was a major factor in my decision to undertake this program. The other factor of course being Cape Town's natural beauty and the opportunity to experience a new and different cultural outlook on life.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I will admit that initially the thought of traveling solo so far away to a completely new country for me was a bit intimidating. This feeling soon vanished as VA Corps was able to provide all the information I was looking for. Their online guide has a wealth of knowledge to answer all your questions, from information about immigration and flights to helpful hints about overcoming any initial culture shock you may experience. Their help in organizing not only housing but also finding your individual internship site means there is little for you to organize on your own.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

You need to enter this program with an open mind, willing to try new things, foods and experiences. I'm aware that this can be intimidating for some people, but VA Corps provide 24 hour support during your time in the program so there is little for you to worry about. So put yourself in new situations, eat new food and meet lots of new people. You are only in Cape Town for a short period of time; you need to make the most of it. If you don't, not only am I sure you'll regret it, but you'll probably also feel that you didn't get much out of the program. Don't be that person: be open to new experiences, put yourself out there and enjoy yourself.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Everyone's individual day is completely different; you might get up at 6 in the morning and spend the whole day learning at a clinic. On the other hand, you could get up at 9 and walk down to a coffee shop. Open your laptop and work on a case file till after lunch, then go for a hike. Everyone's day is different but everyone gets out what they put in.

Two of the large benefits of VA Corps program is that on every Monday evening you have the opportunity to attend a session where you learn about different aspects of South African culture. This could be a tradition food tasting, guest speaker on some of the struggle experienced in South Africa, a session about the different languages spoken or many other differing things.

The other major benefit of the program is that every Friday you have the opportunity to experience different activity with the group. Activities like wine tastings, trips to the Cape of Good Hope or seeing Penguins and Cheetahs. All of this means that week will be busy and enjoyable.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

One of the big fears before the experience is the worry that you're not going to fit in, that you're going to feel out of place and uncomfortable. I can tell you from my personal experience that this won't happen. You're going to be surrounded by lots of different people, from different countries all doing the same as you. You will fit in and you will become very good friends with many of these people. Cape Town itself can seem like an intimidating place but I can tell you that, after a week or two, it really isn't. If you use for common sense, you will feel comfortable very easily. It's a lovely place filled with many lovely people and you will get to see that.

What was your favorite experience during your time abroad?

I honestly have too many to choose from and they are all amazing in their own way. Experiences like getting to walk around Robben island and getting to see Nelson Mandela's cell were incredibly special. At the same time, even small things like talking with people who grew up under Apartheid is something that is going to stay with me for ever. On top of this, walking with Elephants and bungee jumping off a 216 meter tall bridge are things that I never thought I would do, as well as the 6 or 7 times I hiked Table Mountain.

Simply put, there are too many things to chose from. The main thing, though, is that I loved my time in Cape Town and would do it again in a heart beat.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Athena Lamberis

Athena has lived, worked and studied in over twelve countries around the world before graduating from Michigan State University in 2005. She loves diving into cross-cultural experiences, language learning and documenting beauty and creativity around every corner. Cape Town has been home since 2008, where her love for experiential education, natural spaces and the search for the next tasty meal collide.

Having been a semester abroad student in South Africa herself, she adds her own personal knowledge and enthusiasm for those ready to embark on their own learning adventure abroad!

What is your favorite travel memory?

One of my favorite travel memories was being in Athens during the 2004 Summer Olympics.

The city was pumping with so much energy from around the world. A casual stroll down the road felt like a global carnival. I passed by a corner where there was a scene of Brazilians were playing capoeira, while a band of Ugandan drummers danced past the group of Japanese fans cheering about a victory, all on my way to watch the sunset behind the Parthenon with friends from Mexico, Turkey, and Australia.

It was one of the most joyful cross-cultural experiences I have experienced in addition to celebrating solidarity and amazing human endeavors!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Although I had lived in South Africa for 6 years prior to working with VACorps, the work and relationships I have been able to form these past 4 years have granted me a more in-depth exposure to different South African realities.

I have grown in compassion, become a better listener, and am more engaged in learning more about current issues that motivate leaders to make innovative business or organizational choices and create positive social change.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I often receive the 'wish I was still there' emails and enjoy viewing the video collages students tend to make and share across their social media channels. The best stories for me, though, are the students that integrate their experience abroad directly into their lives. This has ranged from a legal intern student going onto working in the UN, a communications student producing their own local show, and a social work graduate who went on to initiate their own community project.

No matter what field of study the students are engaged with: it's always amazing to hear about how everyone's perspective abroad directly impacts the choices they make.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

This changes from week to week. Why? Because I am someone who is typically extremely inspired by passionate people and so many organizations and businesses in Cape Town have dynamic teams that motivate people to get involved!

The changing socio-political landscape of Cape Town makes diving into social justice advocacy programs important, but joining a start-up business incubator is also exhilarating. There are times I am inspired to assist in social work or counseling programs or even help produce digital media for youth development or sustainable community food gardens. I am always intrigued by environmental education and conservation programs because being surrounded by Cape Town's amazing biodiversity is like nowhere else in the world. Because I love learning more about languages and cultures, there is always something to contribute to that supports refugee and asylum-seeking communities and overall social cohesion in Cape Town.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Everyone involved with VACorps has a genuine interest in education and connecting students to exciting and engaging learning experiences. I have had the privilege to meet and get to know local leaders in a variety of fields who lead and manage operations that aim for positive social impact and innovations. I am proud that we support their initiatives, attend their events and think of creative ways for students to assist in achieving their vision for the greater good.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The work we do is purposeful, and this drives the company to make positive decisions, additions, and adaptations to our program offerings. I believe this ability to reflect, improve and evolve as a team creates success and enhances the entrepreneurial spirit of a company. We depend on each other to bring positive and meaningful passion into our work and this, in return, is appreciated by each student that joins the program.