Kay is studying towards her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at Samford University. She joined the VACorps Program in June 2018 and participated in a political science internship.
“I began looking for an internship because of my future career path with the State Department which requires abroad experience. This internship specifically was preferable because it provided the closest experience to the government and I also hope to work in South Africa someday. Coming to such a beautiful city was unintentional but it added such a new level of adventure to my experience. The constant accompaniment of mountains on my daily commute is a beauty I will never forget and something that I am sure to return to. Being able to visit parliament and have a personal relationship with parliamentary members is an experience unlike anything else I have ever experienced and unique experience in this area. I was able to truly experience politics, not just study them, and I learned that this is truly the career that captures my interest.
My stay here has been for 10 weeks. I wouldn’t recommend anything less than 8 weeks. It took me a lot longer than I anticipated to adjust. Although after the first month, I stopped noticing the differences between South Africa and America and began to love most of the aspects of being here. What was originally shocking, protecting myself from crime and taking questionable public transport, became my norm. Now that I have a better understanding of South Africa and its personality, I don’t want to leave. VACorps did provide some really awesome weekly activities. The activities gave that sense of adventure which is difficult to do on one’s own without extensive knowledge of the area.
My only pieces of advice are to leave extra room in your suitcase (don’t bring things you can buy here), to talk with locals as much as possible, and try to have at least one experience that is uniquely yours. Making friends with other interns here is so much fun and extremely helpful but you can be here alone too. Make the experience yours with memories you know that only you will have.”