Megan Hamilton
California, USA

Megan is studying towards a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology – Community Mental Health at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She joined the VACorps Program in May 2019 and participated in a counseling and social work internship at Women’s domestic violence shelter. 

“I came to Cape Town to challenge myself, to learn about culture and politics outside of the US, gain new work experience, celebrate life, and adventure! I’ve been reconnected with my passion for women’s rights issues and with my risk-taking and adventurous spirit. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with so many different kinds of people from all over the world and trying and seeing so many new things. I’ve really enjoyed hiking mostly on my own, paragliding, and sea kayaking — and love taking in the stunning natural landscape of Cape Town, all the delicious food from all over the world, and South African wine tasting has also been delightful. It has been a pleasure to meet and spend time with other VACorps interns, navigating their own adventures here.

I loved getting to meet and support the women at the domestic violence shelter where I was interning – and find differences and connections to their stories of women I’ve worked with in the US. The shelter has been faced with financial difficulties in my time there, and I was able to learn quit a bit about South Africa’s social service funding structure. I was also interested in the organization’s management and response to this challenge, which gave me additional perspective on social services work in different social and historical contexts.

I appreciated the VACorps orientation week and Friday excursions the most as some lightly structured activities in which to connect with others and explore what this area has to offer. I’m grateful for VAC’s support, especially in the beginning of the experience – having people to connect with and support getting information on the logistics of living life here – paying for electricity at the grocery store, the difference between data and airtime, different forms of public transport etc. I’ve also appreciated the accessibility of program staff to answer questions and support connecting with an opportunity to visit another domestic violence shelter while I am here – which offered a meaningful dimension to my internship experience.”

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