Laila Heidarhosseini
Pennsylvania, USA

“I wanted to do a legal internship in Cape Town because I was interested in working with the South African  Constitution. The work I was able to do at my internship site far exceeded my expectations. My supervising attorney gave me interesting cases and was very cognizant of what I wanted out of my internship. She gave me a variety of projects and loads of feedback on my work which I can now use as writing samples. I worked on 7 cases which were all high-impact cases. It was mostly legal research, writing, and analysis. Some of the noteworthy work consisted of assisting in making a submission to the High Court and drafting a legal argument for a murder case. It could not have been a better experience. Just before the coronavirus dilemma, we received a big case in the area of law I want to practice and my attorney is allowing me to work on the case remotely, which is very cool!

Cycling the cape was the highlight of my trip. I love cycling and feel really lucky to have found the tour guide who rode with me to Chapman’s peak down to misty cliffs. I couldn’t have asked for a better ride. The second highlight would be the lion’s head full moon hike.  It was a great hike up and we brought snacks (crackers and cheese) to eat while we sat at the top. The moon was exceptionally vibrant. With the sunset on the opposite side, it was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen! Cederberg was a lot of fun as well — I loved the terrain, the hike/swimming hole. 

It’s the little things that count. There are so many little things that I enjoyed like swimming in the dams and running at sea point in the morning. I feel like I became a part of Cape Town. Other things that were noteworthy — kayaking at Sea Point with my co-interns, finding lunch spots, and just hanging out. Some activities were not the most extravagant activities but we had such a good time hanging out with each other.

I think VACorps was a very nice support system to have abroad — Kholi is so warm and welcoming! She made the transition really nice and easy and went above and beyond to make sure I was always included. I felt she was very responsive and always made an effort to keep in touch. Also, Thomas did an awesome job with my internship placement. I could not have asked for a better experience. Oliver, Sean, and Loyiso, you guys are awesome!!! The Friday activities were a nice compliment because I might not have done a few of the activities otherwise. The VACorps staff are all great and made being in Cape Town wonderful. I am going to miss Cape Town so much! It is incredibly hard to leave.”

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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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