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.