VACorps

Program Reviews

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Nick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely loved everything about VACorps, and Cape Town!

The VAC staff was so amazing to work with from the day I applied to the day I am leaving. They made me feel at home away from home. I truly believe Cape Town is the prettiest city in the World. There was so much to see and do! I did my internship at a public clinic in one of Cape Town’s townships. Coming here, I wanted to have the most hands-on experience possible. I wanted to find out if medicine was actually what I wanted to do, and if I was comfortable doing it. I feel like I really gained a better understanding of these things, and was able to accomplish what I wanted to out of this experience. I was able to form so many life-long friendships here with people from all different walks of life! Such an amazing opportunity and I would recommend VAC to anybody!

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Zach
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing 2 months in Cape Town

I chose Cape Town as a destination because I wanted to go somewhere vastly different than anywhere I had been before, and I succeeded. I wanted to gain experience in a field I was interested in as well as explore a new city. I did my internship at a local television station, and I loved meeting and getting to know my coworkers and learning about their lives because, often, they are so different than even how I was living in the same city. I loved directing the shows (specifically the daily show) because it is an exhilarating feeling when there is a high-pressure situation but you learn so much from it. I learned how independent I can be and how reliable of a person I can be, by taking care of myself and others during my time here. I will definitely miss the city itself the most, as it’s easy to navigate and there’s something for everyone. I stayed for 8 weeks and I think it is the perfect amount of time to stay. The Vacorps activities were awesome and the other program participants that I met were incredible, definitely some friends for life.

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Will
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An awesome experience all around

Cape Town is an amazing place with so much to do. For 8 weeks, I always had activities to do and places to see, and I was never bored or sitting around. It was an awesome experience all around. I met so many great people in South Africa as well. The other VACorps interns will be my friends for a long time, and we had so much fun together. I will never forget all the fun activities we did together on the weekend. The VACorps in-country team was perfect, and they did an awesome job of facilitating the program

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Mackenzie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GAP year internship in Cape Town

I chose Cape Town because I felt that it was different from any other place I had been to previously, and I was right. I learned so much just from being immersed in the culture in South Africa, and I would say that's what I loved most. I came when I was only 19, and I learned some really valuable life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and fitness during my time here as well as the importance of being social and making the most of your time in a place. I worked for the daily show at a local TV station, which meant that I got to go out on shoots many times, specifically for arts events, and they were always very fun. I think I will miss the friendliness of South Africans, and I will also miss Table Mountain. I was originally only supposed to stay for 7 weeks, but I ended up extending it to 8 because I just wasn't ready to say goodbye. I personally think that 8 weeks was the perfect amount of time. The VACorps staff, specifically Kus, Kholi, and Loyiso, were amazing, and the weekly activities were also amazing.

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Margot
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best of both worlds

I chose Cape Town to intern abroad as South Africa is a country I've always wanted to visit. So I couldn't have asked for a better thing than to intern in Cape Town as it is the best of both worlds. I really enjoyed my internship and the work I did, but I also had a great deal of fun exploring the city and uncovering the rich culture within. Over the course of my 6 months here, I've really really grown to love the city. Looking back on my stay here, I'm really happy I was placed in Observatory, as it is a lovely little neighborhood full of life, and full of different things to do and see. I'm really going to miss the little cafes and thrift shops along lower main, and the vibrant colors of the neighborhood. I love that it is close to a lot of things in cape town, but isn't downtown either. I've learned so much about myself, and this country during my stay and will be leaving with many stories, experiences, and ideas for my future. I do have to say that I recommend for interns to be here for 3 months, if not more, as I found myself only really getting comfortable/knowledgeable of Cape Town after 2 months here (it's so big, so many things to see and do and learn!!!). I'm also really thankful for VACorps to set up weekly activities with their interns, as it helps to get to know each other, but as I got more and more comfortable here and met more people outside of the program.

I stayed for 6 months and did my internship at a large public health NGO. The first 2 months I was at a clinic, I worked at the front desk of the Youth center (a center for youth up to the age of 24, where they get family planning, contraception access, counseling, and overall health assessments). I really enjoyed it, as I worked in close quarters with the nurse there. I was able to sit in on consultations with patients, assisted in removing implants, helped with minor first aid (I have first aid qualifications), talked to the youth there, and helped sort out their files. I felt like I was helping a lot where I was needed and felt good about it. Following those 2 first months, my supervisor tasked me to take over a pilot study: The acceptability of menstrual cups among 14-15-year-old girls in the Masi Township. This project is what I worked on (along with other tasks I got from my supervisor) for the last 4 months of my stay. I really enjoyed it, as I felt they trusted me to work diligently on it. I set up educational workshops with girls that were recruited for the study to educate them on basic feminine hygiene and basic women's biology and got a good grasp of what they knew about it all, and what was missing. I then was tasked to prepare/edit the protocol for the study, as well as various source files for the study, ethics approvals, amendments, etc. This was overall a very satisfying project to work on, as it gave me a good taste of what working in an NGO really entails.

Overall, I want to thank everyone at VACorps for having my back. I never felt alone or stranded or worried during my stay here as I knew I had a whole team ready to help me. I'm really going to miss this city, the mountains, the beaches, the shops and restaurants, the nightlife, and everything in between.

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Nick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Valuable experience in a breathtaking city

I chose cape town for the sole purpose of it having the internship that fit my needs for this summer, and it was also a place I hoped to visit one day. Upon arrival, this place was absolutely breathtaking. The hiking trails are insane, and all the activities you can do will make memories for a lifetime. I did so much while I was here that I could not do in the US. Interning gave me great clinic experience and allowed me to work with patients that I could often not understand (due to the language barrier), it was fun overcoming that challenge. I got some valuable time in the clinic and gained observation hours for grad school. I also became friends with my coworkers.  The people definitely help make the experience. VACorps does a great at helping you feel at home and the friends you make are for a lifetime. I will definitely miss everything as a whole. I was here for 5 weeks and wish I could stay for longer. The VAC staff are fantastic and so friendly, and I am so grateful for the everyday support, and to them for facilitating this incredible experience.

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Drue
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely loved my time in Cape Town with VACorps

I chose cape town mostly because it was a place I’ve always wanted to go. The people are friendly and the natural beauty is unbelievable. I absolutely loved my time here. I stayed for 3 Months and honestly I wish I could stay longer. It is a very easy place to fall into and live well for long periods of time. If you are staying for a long time one thing you really must do is put yourself out there to make new friends, not just with other travelers but with locals as well. It makes a huge difference having people who aren’t going to come and go. I much prefer Vac’s independent style more than constant handholding. Your days are completely yours, and if you don’t want to ever participate in activities you don’t have to (though I highly recommend it). Just one thing, if coming to cape town for a purpose of seeing a city representative of the continent, don’t be fooled. It in some ways similar but more often than not it is like a European city that just happened to be placed in Africa.

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Brantley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A spectacular once-in-a-lifetime experience I will always be thankful for

My internship with Vacorps and my time in Cape Town were truly one of the best experiences of my life. The city of Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. The mountains, beaches, winelands, city, and surrounding areas make it a must-visit destination. Surfing, hiking, and bungee jumping are some of the most fun things I’ve ever done. Through my internship at a local clinic in Khayelitsha Township, I was able to gain priceless hands-on experience and observe countless medical procedures. As a pre-medical student, this place is a great place to be to see many of the important things one will see in a career in medicine. All the doctors and nurses were super kind and helpful. The friends I made along the way through this experience are some that I will keep for a lifetime. Never before have I been able to live and work with such a diverse group of people. Finally, the Vacorps staff was nothing short of spectacular. They are wonderful people who you will never want to leave. I will cherish my five weeks with Vacorps for the rest of my life. If you have gotten this far reading this… you must apply for an internship!

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Katharine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The perfect balance between structure and independence

I chose Cape Town as a place to intern because I wanted to go somewhere international and the urban aspects of Cape Town along with having nature so close really appealed to me. The VACorps program really interested me because it was a much more independent gap semester program. After having done a semester group program this fall, I wanted to have a lot more freedom. I also love to travel and I had never been to Cape Town, let alone Africa, and I wanted to experience something completely different. The VACorps program did not disappoint, and I found it to be the perfect balance between work and play. I interned at a local school, and I loved the challenge and responsibility that the internship offered. I taught the kids alone for a lot of the internship, as my teacher was gone for 3 weeks during my time at the school. Although it was very overwhelming at times, it was nice having so much to do every day and working so closely with the kids. I also think it helped me learn how to manage stressful situations. My favorite thing about living here was how much there is to do. From coffee shops to museums, to the beach, hikes, and surfing, there was always something amazing to experience.

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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Medical Internship in Cape Town with VACorps

I have had the time of my life in Cape Town these past weeks. I have been able to enjoy both the touristy things as well as immerse myself in South African culture. I have loved being my internship at the clinic, and have learned some Xhosa and been shown what it is like to live in a township in Cape Town. I have loved the nurses and doctors at the clinic as well- they were more than willing to teach me and encourage me. I felt respected by the clinic staff, as well as the staff at VACorps. They helped me get the most out of my experience. I enjoyed living in the house provided with RAR and that there were other VACorps interns in other houses. I liked getting to know the other interns that were from all over the world and doing all sorts of internships. It helped show me the versatility of the city and the opportunities available in the country.

I honestly think that this is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been- geographically and culturally. The people that I have met here and had the opportunity to learn from have shown me how rich the culture in South Africa is, and the differences from back home. I also appreciate that I got a taste of what medicine looks like outside of the USA. I feel as though the United States has a generally common theme between medical systems, so I learned a lot from the different care here. Overall, I think that the staff at VACorps did an incredible job in helping me feel welcomed and comfortable. They helped me ease into living in another country on my own and talked me through what it looked like to have a successful experience here. I also loved where I got placed for my internship, and would not change a thing about my time spent in this beautiful country.

This has really been an experience that I will carry with me forever. I can’t wait to tell everyone at home about what I got to do and learn!