James is in his third year of study towards his Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Pennsylvania State University. James joined the VACorps program in May 2019 and participated in a biomedical internship.   

“Where do I even start? Words cannot begin to describe my internship experience in Cape Town. As soon as the doors opened on the plane, crisp, cold air began to flood the cabin and with it came this electric energy, the Cape Town vibe! Carmen from VACorps was waiting for me as I walked through into the terminal. Perfectly prepared and professional. This warm welcome to the “Mother City” was the perfect thing that I needed to assure myself that I had made the right decision by taking an internship 1000 miles away from home.

Immediately from day 1, I fell in love with Cape Town. A colorful and vibrant city, rich in history and culture, “Lekker” local food, surrounded on all sides by mountains carving through the sky. VACorps didn’t miss any opportunities and immediately immersed us into the culture. The orientation week was an absolute blast! With my personal favorite being the Hop-On Hop-Off bus around Cape Town!

I interned at a biomedical research company for 10 weeks. I spent my time here learning the behind the scenes work that goes into the Biomedical Sciences field. Running tests on groundbreaking research that uses world-class, state of the art chemical analysis machines. I also learned a lot about working autonomously and being self-motivated. Spotting aspects of the company that you think you could improve, and improving them.

To any future VACorpies. Work hard, putting in a solid effort at your internship will be far more rewarding than you could imagine. Being a young, college undergrad and getting complimented on your work by professionals in their field is incredibly fulfilling. However… Remember that you are on vacation, make a clear separation between work and play. When you leave the office don’t take homework with you, 9 times out of 10 you don’t need to. ENJOY this city! There is so much to do and so many people to meet. Grab this opportunity with both hands and give it your all.”

View Biotechnology Internships

Meet our most recent VACorps program alumni:

  • Human rights internship participant

Laila Wheeler, California, USA (2023)

Laila Wheeler is studying Public Affairs, Education, and Sociology at the University of California Los Angeles. She participated in a human rights internship from June - August of 2023. "Traveling to Cape Town was genuinely [...]

  • Innogen Naylor - education internship

Innogen Naylor, Vermont, USA (2023)

Innogen joined the VACorps Program as part of her Gap Year in January 2023 and participated in an internship at a local school for learners from Zimbabwe who are attempting to integrate into the South [...]

Avital Strauss, Illinois, USA (2023)

Avital joined the VACorps PRogram as part of her Gap Year in January 2023 and participated in an internship at an NGO that supports and serves underprivileged communities in one of Cape Town's townships.  [...]

William Monkarsh, California, USA (2023)

Will joined the VACorps Program in January 2023, as part of his GAP year, and participated in an internship at an eco-tourism company in Cape Town.  "My experience with VAC has definitely been life-changing. [...]

Clancy Erickson, North Carolina, USA (2022)

Clancy recently completed her BA in Human Services Studies at Elon University. She joined the VACorps program in September 2022, and participate in an internship at an NGO that supports refugees in Cape Town. [...]

Dylan DeRosa, New York, USA (2023)

Dylan joined the VACorps program in January 2023 as part of his Gap Year and participated in a human rights law internship.  "Cape Town and the VACorps have provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and experience [...]

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