Leyla, pictured on the left, joined the VACorps program in 2021 and completed a business internship at an urban farming NGO as part of her GAP Year.  She will begin her studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2021. 

“I cannot emphasize enough how happy and grateful I am that I chose to come to Cape Town with VACorps as part of my gap year. For one, I met some really wonderful people that I know I will stay in touch with long after this trip. We were an incredibly friendly and energetic group that had so much motivation to see Cape Town inside and out. What bonds us all is our common love for adventure, nature, and trying new things, and I found this spirit really refreshing after spending 13 years in the same school. The VACorps staff were also so heartwarming, welcoming, and supportive in everything we needed. There were no bureaucratic hurdles or boundaries to what they could do to help us and always made themselves available to us.

I never expected that I would find myself overstaying my 90 allotted days in South Africa, but I did in fact leave the country, only to return and extend my visa. I really just love the independence I had here to live life as I would at home but with so many added benefits – i.e. hiking, beach, surfing, restaurants/bars, and so much more. Even when I stopped working my internship and was worried about not having enough to do, I knew that I would rather be here in Cape Town, have fun with friends, and explore a new culture rather than not working at home.

I’m so glad that I chose the internship site that I did because it was a truly South African experience – it was something I could not have done at home. The best part was that it was so unstructured and allowed me to use skills I already had to do something where I had no experience, but used my intuition to accomplish. My task was to create a brand new business/marketing/social media strategy for an urban farm and, although I had no experience doing something like that before, I really enjoyed learning as I went and working with Manelisi to set up something sustainable. I developed skills that I will definitely use going forward, and that I definitely would not have gained if I were at a larger company, for example, that had an existing business structure and that didn’t give me as much authority/flexibility in my work.

Overall, the last 3 months in Cape Town have defined my gap year experience. I feel so much more confident in my decision to take a gap year because of the way I have grown in the last three months. I would recommend this program to anyone, and I am most definitely going to return to Cape Town with friends and family in the future.”

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Meet our most recent VACorps program alumni:

Marius Duffy, Caen, France (2021)

Marius joined the VACorps Program in June 2021 and participated in an internship at a short-term housing rental company.  "I am really thankful for being part of this program. I enjoyed every moment in [...]

Jude Tedder, Tennessee, USA 2021)

Jude recently completed her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of Tennessee.  She joined the VACorps program in June 2021 and participated in an internship at a refugee center [...]

Robert Stark, Georgia, USA (2021)

Robert is a pre-med student at the University of Georgia.  He joined the VACorps program in May 2021 and participated in a medical internship at a local Cape Town clinic.  Cape Town has been [...]

Yazan Badarny, Tel Aviv, Israel (2021)

Yazan is a Computer Science and Management Studies graduate from Tel Aviv University. He joined the VACorps Program in January 2021 and did an internship at a tech startup. "I was looking for a [...]

Grant Kuppenheimer, Colorado, USA (2021)

Grant joined the VACorps program in May 2021 as part of his gap year and participated in an education internship where he taught at a local school.  He will be attending Queen’s University Ontario, [...]

Graham Tulowitzky, Georgia, USA (2021)

Graham joined the VACorps program in May 2021 and participated in a medical internship at a clinic in  one of Cape Town's townships. He is a pre-med student at the University of Georgia.   "I [...]

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