Cape Town Internship FAQs

Our reputation speaks for itself. We’ve been in the business of placing interns at incredible organizations in Cape Town since 2006. We are one of the only programs in South Africa with formal university partnerships—a testament to the quality matches we create between interns and host sites. Unlike other providers, we exclusively offer internships in the city of Cape Town, allowing our team to focus its talents on managing a single program location. We offer a variety of weekly activities that will help you engage the city’s vibrant culture while establishing friendships with other interns in the program. Participants also have access to our safe, secure, and affordable program housing. rated VACorps as the #1 Internship Organization in Africa (#3 in the world!) in 2020 and awarded VACorps with three 1st Place Community Choice Awards in 2020 (Categories: Support, Fun, and Growth). Our amazing alumni are busy forging successful careers throughout the world thanks to their internship experiences in South Africa with VACorps. So yes, there are more than a few reasons you should consider our program if Cape Town is your top choice destination for an internship!

For internships ranging from 1-3 months, we charge a flat fee of $2,975. To learn more about what’s included in this cost, please visit this page HERE.

We do not facilitate paid internships for VACorps participants. By law, non-citizens cannot receive compensation in South Africa without a Permanent Residency Permit or a General Work Permit.

On the upside, internship sites that are hosting you on an unpaid/voluntary basis are more likely to give you a meaningful internship role because they are not motivated to receive maximum “value” in exchange for monetary compensation. Paid internships often involve menial tasks and administrative responsibilities whereas the internships we create for our participants will deliver a far more meaningful and immersive professional experience.

Because VACorps offers flexible scheduling (most participants stay in South Africa for 4 – 12 weeks), we have unbundled housing costs from the VACorps program fee. You will pay your accommodation fees directly to our housing provider, Rent-a-Room, who will only charge you for the exact number of days that you will be living in program housing.

To learn more about program accommodation and the latest daily rates, please visit our accommodation page.

VACorps does not issue credits directly but our staff and internship sites will assist you with any paperwork your school requires in order to gain credit hours.

Because VACorps is a proudly South African company that aspires to promote greater pan-African participation in our program, we offer a special $1,000 AU scholarship discount to anyone who can prove citizenship from a country within the African Union.

Yes, but it’s a very simple process as they’re issued at the airport when you arrive (and free!). If you hold a non-American, Canadian, or UK passport, please ask our staff directly so we can advise you accordingly.
Almost all of our program participants opt to live in our program housing together in the neighborhood of Observatory, otherwise known as “Obs”. It’s located just south of the main city center and has everything you need. From grocery stores, great restaurants, lively nightlife, and quick and easy access to public transportation.

Be sure to view our neighborhood tour and program housing videos on our YouTube channel.

No! We work on a rolling applications basis which allows you to arrive and depart whenever it suits you best. With this being said, we do encourage you to arrive in South Africa during one of our recommended arrival dates. Please refer to our Program Calendar for more information.

**VACorps offices are closed during the last two weeks of December for the Christmas holiday period**

No! Many VACorps program participants are recent college graduates looking to gain professional experience in their respective fields of study. We regularly host seasoned professionals who are looking for a career change or a career break.

You must be at least 18 years old to participate in the VACorps program. Exceptions to this rule will be considered if you have graduated from high school and also have permission from your guardians to participate in the VACorps program. The average age of VAC interns is 20-23.

We’re based exclusively in Cape Town which allows our staff to dedicate all of our time and energy towards our interns’ on-the-ground experience. We offer comprehensive  support and our offices are right here in Observatory!
Since Cape Town is a coastal city, it is best described as having a Mediterranean climate. Cape Town Magazine offers a great synopsis HERE.
Although South Africa does have a high incidence of HIV/AIDS and TB, there is no reason to come into contact with these illnesses throughout your time in Cape Town. We will cover this in much greater detail upon your arrival and during your orientation, but otherwise, there are no health concerns you need to worry about.
This page explains the meaning behind the name, VACorps.
English is widely spoken in South Africa and you do not have to know another language to participate in our program. If you work at an internship within the townships, you will encounter Afrikaans or Xhosa, two of South Africa’s 11 official languages. Xhosa classes are offered to all participants as part of our weekly program activities & cultural series.

Before offering you the opportunity to apply to the VACorps Program, our Admissions Team will ask you several questions to learn more about you as a prospective candidate. We will invite qualified candidates to submit an application to the program, a process that involves a questionnaire submission and video interview.

The VACorps Social Excursions, or Weekly Meet-Up’s, are optional events and taking time off from work in order to join us is at the sole discretion of your internship site. Our VACorps Social Excursions are highly recommended as they’re a great way to connect with other interns in the program, catch up with our staff, and to experience the culture of Cape Town through the eyes of a local.

Weekly excursions video HERE.

The currency in South Africa is called the Rand. It is currently very weak against the US Dollar, Euro, and pound making travel to Cape Town more affordable now than ever before. To stay up to speed with current exchange rates, we recommend the reliable
VACorps will provide you with a South African SIM Card upon your arrival in Cape Town and show you how to purchase airtime/data for use here. However, if you’d prefer not to bring your expensive smartphone to South Africa, we can offer entry-level smartphones for $75 that include data, Uber, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, etc. Ask us for more info!
Our most competitive internships are our medical, counseling/psychology, and refugee opportunities. Make sure you apply months in advance if these categories are of interest to you!
This will really vary from intern to intern but you can request a copy of our VACorps Example Budget PDF from a member of our applications staff or you can contact us directly (
Connecting with VACorps program alumni is one of the best ways to get more information about the VACorps program! Be sure to read our program testimonials or you can request to contact some of our past alumni directly. Ask your Admissions Advisor for help facilitate this.

Otherwise, Cape Town Magazine and Lonely Planet are great sources of information, in addition to our Go Abroad listing which showcases the program with alumni and staff interviews as well.

Yes! There’s 3G/4G & LTE connectivity in addition to high-speed internet in all of our program homes, numerous internet cafes, and our office has a fiber network which our participants are more than welcome to use before and after work.
One of the perks of joining the VACorps program is that our staff is based exclusively in Cape Town to fully support our interns throughout their time in South Africa. We do everything we can to assure a sense of safety and well-being while in the city, from safe & secure housing options, airport pickup, comprehensive 2-day orientation, tour of the city, 24/7 emergency hotline and full staff support.
Yes and no. There are numerous private game lodges which have The Big 5, but for a real African safari, you’ll need to head to Kruger National Park or north to Botswana or Zimbabwe. Ask your Admissions Advisor for more information if you’re interested as we can help you with travel planning and booking.
You do not need to take any immunizations prior to arriving in South Africa but chat with your travel clinic or doctor for further advice. Cape Town boasts some of world’s freshest drinking water and there are no instances of Yellow Fever, Ebola, or Malaria in Cape Town.
Yes! Please ask your Admissions Advisor for further details.
At the end of your internship, we recommend that you kindly ask if your site feels comfortable or qualified to provide a reference letter.  It’s useful to give them reasons why you are asking, i.e. graduate school application, for future employers, etc. and preference is given to interns who go above and beyond what is asked of them.
The VACorps internship program is a service, not a product. You will benefit greatly from the experience, dedication, and care provided by our staff and a majority of our costs are related to salaries, benefits, and training in addition to the supporting operations required to run our program. We put in a considerable amount of time and effort in building and maintaining relationships with the local organizations where we place VACorps participants, and each internship placement is designed with great care and consideration. Our in-country team is committed to helping you have an amazing experience in South Africa and will actively support you throughout your stay!

VACorps program tuition is distributed in such a way to ensure that you have a quality program experience in Cape Town. The following chart offers a breakdown of how your tuition is allocated:

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Our Awards

GoAbroad Award 2019
GoOverseas 2019 Award