Project Description

Refugee Internship in Cape Town.

Although South Africa did not start recognizing refugees until 1993, it is now home to one of the highest populations of refugee and asylum seekers in the world. While many refugees travel to South Africa with the intention of drastically improving their lives, most find it difficult to find jobs, earn a sustainable living, and gain access to social services. Unlike many other African countries, South Africa does not have refugee camps. Refugees and asylum seekers live in urban areas and survive largely on their own. If they do need assistance, they are instructed to approach the local government structures. For this reason, a focus has been placed on professional social services to support this vulnerable population.

The VACorps internship program has a history of placing passionate individuals in the refugee services field in Cape Town. You will intern at a professional organization that is committed to improving the lives of refugees in South Africa (to understand how we locate your specific site, see how we find internships in South Africa for all program participants). Prospective candidates for our refugee internships should have a strong interest in social services, an understanding of the challenges that refugee and asylum-seekers face, and/or a background in human rights, development studies, international relations, or a related field.

The benefits of doing a refugee internship in South Africa:

  • Create an impact- While interning in refugee services, you will participate in the process of welcoming, integrating, and supporting refugees who seek asylum in South Africa.
  • Leave the classroom behind– During your internship, you will leave the classroom and directly interact with individuals who have been forced to seek asylum as a result of geopolitical events.
  • Live in the incredible city of Cape Town- An internship in Cape Town will provide you with the unique opportunity to live and travel in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! From exploring Table Mountain to witnessing the incredible marine life of the Cape, your time in Cape Town will be an exciting one. Our weekly program activities will ensure that you make the most of your stay in our special city.
  • Gain valuable professional experience- After completing an internship in the refugee field in South Africa, you will gain invaluable international work experience in a demanding professional social service setting. It will also give you the chance to build your professional resume/CV.

PLEASE NOTE: VACorps refugee support related partners do not accept psychology interns due to ethical standard practice. Please refer to our Counselling and Psychology internships in South Africa page to learn more about your internship options within the psychology field.

Refugee internships highlights from VACorps Alumni:

“I will always remember the days that I directly helped immigrants and refugees and one story really stands out. Before he arrived at the center, “Shorty” from Ethiopia used live in the streets. I met him, listened to him and helped him with his refugee papers. He now has a decent job where he can earn a regular paycheck instead of living in the streets. It was a powerful experience to impact someone’s life like that.” — Joseph Asterios

Get Started. Apply Now

Meet past participants:

Oh the places you will go: Lauren Blodgett

Many incredible people have passed through the VACorps internship program since we first started hosting interns in 2006. “Oh the places you’ll go” is a series where our alumni share updates about their careers and life accomplishments. [...]

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