Jared (pictured on the right) joined the VACorps program in January 2021 as part of his gap year and participated in an internship at an NGO that provides support, education, and integration services to immigrants.  Jared will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, where he intends to major in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Energy and Sustainability. 

“These past few months have been some of the most formative and exhilarating of my life. When I discovered VACorps in September, I applied immediately on a whim, but the thought of actually coming to South Africa and doing an internship here in the midst of a pandemic seemed laughable and almost dream-like. But there was the VACorps staff, instantly walking me through the rest of my application, meeting with me with less than a few hours’ notice, asking me about my personal and professional interests and my preferred internship placement. They were so dedicated to making this happen for me, and for that, I am beyond grateful.

When I finally arrived in Cape Town, halfway across the world and knowing no one, I was so nervous. But VACorps made the transition so fluid. Within two hours of landing, we were already on a hike and then exploring the city’s neighborhoods. The orientation week was absolutely perfect; it provided an ideal mix of structure and independence such that I could instantly acclimate to my new home.

It is hard to pinpoint the highlight of this journey because every part of it has met and surpassed my expectations. My internship (where I work with and teach refugees) has been so interesting and fulfilling—I genuinely look forward to going to work each day. Weekends in Cape Town are even more amazing. There are an endless amount of once-in-a-lifetime activities to do here: snorkeling with seals, sandboarding, wine tasting, hiking Table Mountain, skydiving, bungee jumping, shark cage diving, seeing wild animals on a safari, swimming with penguins, surfing, or tanning at the most gorgeous beaches. Cape Town is undoubtedly the coolest place I have ever been to. I’ve spent three months here, and I can say with absolute certainty that I could spend three more and never run out of things to do.

I am so sad to be leaving Cape Town, but I will cherish the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had for a very long time. Coming here has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and easily the highlight of my gap year. I would recommend VACorps to any independent and adventurous individual enthusiastically and without reservation.”

View Refugee Internships

Meet our most recent VACorps program alumni:

Weenta Yacob, California, USA (2022)

Weenta (pictured on the right) is studying for a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Human Biology and Society.  She joined to VACorps program in June 2022 and participated in a public health internship at [...]

Federico Ravazzolo, Italy (2022)

Federico (pictured on the right) is studying for his Master's in Physics for Energy and Sustainability at the University of Amsterdam. He joined to VACorps program in July 2022 and participated in a sustainable [...]

Rachael Phillips, Oregon, USA (2022)

Rachael is studying PT at Pacific University and joined the VACorps program in July 2022.  She participated in an Physical Therapy internship at a school for children with special needs.  "I chose to complete [...]

Emma Graddy, Oregon, USA (2022)

Emma (pictured in the middle) is studying Physical Therapy at Pacific University.  She joined to VACorps program in July 2022 and participated in a PT internship at a school for blind children.  "I had [...]

Mikaela Bernards, Oregon, USA (2022)

Mikaela is studying PT at Pacific University.  She joined the VACorp program in July 2022 and participated in a pediatric physical therapy internship at a school for blind children.  "I had an incredible experience [...]

Peter Resh, New York, USA (2022)

Peter has completed his BSc in Marketing from San Diego State University. He joined the VACorps program in June 2022 and participated in a marketing internship at a holding company with a portfolio of [...]

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