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.”