VACorps is a popular program for gap year travelers who seek professional internship experience yet also desire an immersive cultural adventure in South Africa. Our program is ideal for a gap year student who is a confident international traveler, displays a strong work ethic, and is easily self-directed. In 2020, VACorps hosted a wonderful cohort of “gappers” and the following interview with Atreyu Sutton, from Boulder, Colorado (USA), will help future gap year internship candidates gain a more detailed understanding of the VACorps program experience in Cape Town, South Africa.

Read Atreyu’s interview below: 

 What are your impressions of Cape Town? Is there anything that surprises you about what you encountered after you arrived in the city?

When I travelled to Cape Town, I really didn’t know what to expect which made my subsequent discoveries all the more surprising. I didn’t realize how beautiful Cape Town was! It has the most gorgeous mountains that meet up with beautiful oceans (the sunsets are incredible!). Not only was the scenery extraordinary but the day and night scenes were quite fun and extensive for all the gappers in the VACorps program. The weather during my stay was another wonderful attribute– it’s warm and summery during the months of January through March.

Why did you choose to participate in an internship in South Africa as part of your gap year?

I had the goal of exploring potential career interests over my gap year by attending different internships to gain some inside experience into the world of film. Prior to my internship in Cape Town, I did several other internship-style programs and was very surprised by the VACorps program. Not only did they place me in an internship that satisfied all my professional desires but I was also able to live in student housing with nine other gap year students who were around my age. VACorps also provided weekly excursions and cultural events.

What did enjoy most about your experience in the VACorps program?

It’s very challenging to identify what was the most enjoyable moment because it was all so fun. Above all, I really do appreciate the time I spent at my internship. The skills and knowledge I have acquired have been incomparable to anything else. Although, the experience of traveling abroad in a different culture and creating lifelong friends within the program was also a major highlight!

Tell us a bit about the work you did at your internship site? 

My internship experience was very comprehensive because I had three supervisors with different areas of expertise within the film industry. Jannah owns a website design company and studied photography in college. Rusty went to film school and now owns his own freelance company providing DIT services within the film industry (The DIT works closely with the Cinematographer on insuring the image quality and artistic look of the movie throughout the shooting process). Rob studied computer science and is now working as a special camera operator with his freelance company. All three of my supervisors are sharing invaluable knowledge about their areas of expertise within the industry.

Rusty and Rob also own another company together called Film Gear South Africa. Film Gear SA is a film gear service and reseller that has given me a lot of insight into the latest and greatest gear used in the film industry. Beyond this, all three supervisors own a location called Kelvin Corner. Kelvin Corner is a creative workspace with a privately owned coffee shop downstairs and rentable office spaces, conference rooms, and hot desks. It’s a very inspiring place to go to work every day!

How did this program compare to the previous programs you’ve participated in as part of your gap year?

I haven’t attended many other programs but I participated in several school internships. I believe VACorps does it best because the program provides amazing weekly activities and ensures that you will enjoy your stay in Cape Town. You can always find an internship but when a program can provide a stellar placement, friends, experience, and life-lasting memories– the result is truly spectacular.

What adventures are still on your “to-do” list for the next time you plan a trip to South Africa?

I have many adventures on my “still-to-do list”. I want to travel within the Southern part of South Africa and visit the Garden route and bungee jump. I would also like to go on the Mozambique and Kruger trip to see the eastern side along with some wildlife. Also, there’s an amazing paintball arena I want to go to. I had this goal of eating at every spot in Observatory, where the program is located. I only had a few more to go but I’ll tick those off the list next time! Also there’s an amazing,  old-school movie theatre called The Labia Theatre that I want to go to.