Tom, (pictured at center) is studying towards his BA in Geography at the University of East Anglia. He participated in an environmental consulting internship with VACorps in 2018.
“Interning in Cape Town has been one of the most interesting and eye-opening experiences I have had in my life. Cape Town and South Africa, have always interested me, the way in which various cultures come together and live among each other, the environmental challenges that are almost unique to this part of the world and the beautiful landscape make Cape Town one of the most worthwhile internship destinations globally.
I stayed in Cape Town for 12 weeks doing an environmental consulting internship. During this time I worked at a variety of locations from petrol stations to ammunition factories. All of these experiences were priceless in helping me understand what I wish to do after graduating and in understanding how my studies help to shape policy through the world. Alongside the internship, living in Cape Town, at first was a large culture shock, to see such a disparity of wealth in such close proximity to each other was something I had not experienced before. However looking past that, the people you meet and the conversations you have are very revealing to people’s motivations and ambitions. Whilst someone may live in a township and not have a lot to their name, they’re simultaneously studying for an undergraduate degree. I suppose Cape Town forces you to look past the material and to see what truly drives people. If Cape Town is one of your first travel experiences, the one thing to remember is to have an open mind and to understand those around you the best you can.
VACorps itself has been very useful for me as they are always on hand to give advice or even if you just need to talk about your day there will always be someone nearby. The weekly activities were an excellent way of meeting people upon arrival and they gave me a chance to experience areas of Cape Town I may not have explored otherwise. The program is also very flexible and the staff very accommodating so they will do their absolute best to help you as much as they can and to make the transition to Cape Town the smoothest it can be.”