Melanie Mitchell

Oregon, USA


Melanie is studying Occupational Therapy at Pacific University.  She joined the VACorps program from Jan – March 2024 and participated in an Occupational Therapy internship at a non-profit intermediate paediatric care clinic.

What a remarkable experience, VACorps definitely provides their interns with amazing adventures and loving attitudes. The first week for orientation was my favorite time, building relationships with other interns and the staff was wonderful. I enjoyed all the experiences I attended that VAC curated and facilitated for us. Our amazing hosts, Kholi and Kus, always made the excursions more exciting and comfortable. There are so many opportunities to learn about South African culture and places to explore with VAC with their culture nights and weekly excursions.

The internship VAC was able to connect me with was truly wonderful. I am so grateful to have experienced such a wonderful institution and to have been able to give back to the community with the services I provided. I am an Occupational Therapy student and I interned at an intermediate care practice for children with chronic illness and disabilities. I fell in love with the kids and the staff as they were the most welcoming and warm hearted people I have ever met. What I truly loved about the site is that they prided themselves on always greeting each other throughout the facility, no matter who you were. It allowed all of us who were new to greet others even if we didn’t know each other, provided comfort in knowing it was a safe space. After 2 months I felt as if I was a staff member of the institution, walking the halls, greeting everyone, hugging the kids, I felt at home. One nurse saw me as I was making my usual rounds and she said to me, “you look like you belong here, I hope you stay”. At that moment I realized this internship will come to an end and I was hit with a wave of grief. I have felt such intense emotions since I arrived in Cape Town, now that my time has ended I am filled with intense emotions once again.

For this entire experience I am truly grateful and humbled and appreciate all the support I was provided from VAC and my internship site. I highly recommend VAC to anyone who is interested in exploring Cape Town and has an interest in giving back to communities. Thank you VAC for everything, you hold a special place in my heart. Until next time, cheers 🙂