The VACorps Sustainability and Clean Energy Internship program in South Africa is a structured internship that is facilitated by our Sustainability & Clean Energy Specialist, Chris Ahlfeldt, who is from the USA and currently working as a clean energy consultant and part-time university lecturer in South Africa. Through a combination of active mentorship, discussion, and a customized research paper, the program delivers a practical experience for work and research in clean energy in an emerging market like South Africa. You will also develop practical skills while acquiring a deeper understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability and energy industries.
The Internship Experience:
Clean energy & sustainability internships are typically 6-12 weeks in duration, and placements will depend on your area of academic interest and the needs of the specific organization.
The research paper topic will be focused on a sustainability or clean energy topic and informed by your interests as an intern. There is also the option to co-author this paper with a South African University student, depending on the topic and timing of the internship.
Examples of what you will learn during this program:
- Become familiar with South Africa’s clean energy industry
- Gain perspective on what it’s like to run your own consultancy in a developing economy
- Acquire experience on how to collaborate remotely with a South African student on research
- Learn more about sustainability and clean energy topics of interest to you
- Qualitative and quantitative analysis
- Learn about a new culture and the energy challenges South Africans face
Internship Schedule and Time Commitment:
Internships will be five days a week (Monday through Friday), from 09h00 – 17h00, or 08h00 – 16h00, with the exception of a half-day on Fridays to allow interns to participate in VACorps Weekly Meet-Ups. It will be important for you to treat your internship as if it were a job because your internship work may eventually be published in academic journals.
In addition to the general orientation program provided by VACorps, participants of our Clean Energy & Sustainability program will receive a special orientation that is facilitated by the program leader. The content will cover topics specifically related to the sustainability landscape in South Africa as well as guidance on how to get the most out of your internship.
During your internship, you will be directly supervised by your site manager, and are encouraged to take initiative to identify ways you can contribute, especially in areas of career interest.
The program leader: