Claire Holding
Massachusetts, USA

Claire joined the VACorps program as part of her GAP year in September 2021 and did an internship at a local NGO that supports and provides services to refugees in Cape Town.

“When I was looking for a program to do for the first chunk of my gap year, I knew I wanted to go someplace interesting, do something engaging, and grow as an individual. VACorps has facilitated the chance for me to do that all x100. Throughout my time in Cape Town I have learned so much about my field of interest (Human Rights), my hobbies (turns out I LOVE early morning Atlantic swims), and myself.

I came to Cape Town for three months (just under 12 weeks total) and have had the most amazing time. As someone who had been to Cape Town briefly before, I really came for the internship but had the joy of exploring the aspects of the city I hadn’t seen before. Three months was the perfect time for me. I did everything I wanted (pro tip: ask the departing interns for a list of what they enjoyed most, which became my Cape Town bucket list), and had my remaining few weeks to revisit my favorite places. Exploring the markets, venturing up the mountains, and trying every type of food imaginable has been the greatest adventure.

Beyond simply being in Cape Town, I loved the balance that VACorps provides. It is so great to live with a group of interns while still having my own work to go to every day and the independence of creating my own experience. The whole-group meet-ups ~2x a week are a great way to get to continue getting to know your peers and exploring the city but don’t confine yourself by taking up too much time. We have the freedom to participate in the VACorps program when we want, and also have our own experiences when we want. Additionally, the VACorps staff is incredible. Simply having someone to call is always reassuring, but the lengths Kus and Kholi and everyone on the team go through to ensure we are having a good time is wonderful (they’re also just super fun to hang out with – and have photoshoots with đŸ˜‰ ). I am going to miss all the adventures and laughter greatly.

Overall, VAC has been one of the most liberating, engaging, and enjoyable times of my life, and I am so grateful to everyone here who made it so great. Obz is my home, and I can’t wait to come back and visit again sometime soon!”

View GAP Year Internships

Meet our most recent VACorps program alumni:

Chris Doe, Massachussets, USA (2023)

Chris joined the VACorps program in January 2023 as part of his Gap year and participated in a human rights internship.  I decided to come to Cape Town to do an internship because I […]

Nico Theunissen, New York, USA (2023)

Nico joined the VACorps Program in January 2023 as part of his Gap year and participated in an internship at a clean energy engineering company.  “Living in New York City, coming to Cape Town […]

Derya Tunçaral, Istanbul, Turkey (2023)

Derya is a recent graduate of Istanbul Bilgi University where he earned his bachelor’s in International Relations. He joined the VACorps program in November 2022 and participated in a political science internship.  “It was […]

Isabelle Ryan, Illinois, USA (2023)

Isabelle joined the VACorps Program in January 2023 as part of her Gap year and participated in a business internship.  “Originally, I was nervous about coming to Cape Town. I had never been so […]

Alize Serez, Istanbul, Turkey, (2023)

Aliza has recently earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Istanbul Bilgi University.  She joined the VACorps Program in September 2022 and participated in a Political Science Internship.  “The reason I chose Cape […]

Carley Adams, Ontario, Canada, (2023)

Carley is a recent MSc graduate of the University of Edinburgh, specializing in Medical Anthropology. She joined the VACorps Program in January 2023 and participated in a public health internship.  “Cape Town is such […]

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