Savannah Phillips

Georgia, USA

Savannah participated in a medical internship in Cape Town with VACorps in 2018.

“I had a couple of friends back home who had previously participated in the VACorps program and had recommended it to me as a really great program for Pre-Health intent. What I didn’t realize is how much Cape Town, the people, the culture, and the VACorps staff would help change my life. I feel like this experience was not only a beneficial, but a necessary component in my personal journey to professional, social, cultural, and personal maturity. Learning how to live in a country/city other than your home creates a sense of global awareness and recognition of personal privileges that I feel every human needs to develop at some point. I completed an internship at Heideveld Community Health Clinic and felt that this professional experience allowed me to learn so much more than I ever could have imagined I would.

I cannot describe the joy that I have been able to experience in this place, as to me Cape Town is the most ideal city in the world! You have the mountains behind you and the ocean in front of you. Within the city, there are endless opportunities to experience the vibrancy of Cape Town culture and history which include but are not limited to museums, music venues, and markets. My favorite part about Cape Town though is the ease of access to the outdoor activity.

The VACorps staff are amazing, and they create such a great framework for you to hit the ground running in Cape Town. They provide all the resources and support that you need so there is no need to worry about anything. Someone always has your back no matter what it is. Need someone to unlock your room door because you lock yourself out, or teach you how to scuba dive? Shoutout Jon. Need advice on the best running trails, gyms, and frisbee games? Shoutout Carmen. Need the friendliest face to greet you at the airport when you arrive, and create the kindest, and most fun internship environment? Shoutout Loyiso. Kuselwa will be there to show you all the ends and outs of everything around Obs, someone to belly-laugh with, and more than that she will be the most genuine friend to you (ily Kus!!). Leanne and Oliver will show you the beauty behind this city, and be the coolest away-from-home young parents you’ve ever had. Sean will be the best road trip driver and fearless scuba leader. All of the staff genuinely care about the students and want you to be in an environment where you are safe. Even more so, they want you to be in an environment where you are learning and growing as a person…and they will do whatever possible to help you get to where you need to be.

If I had any advice to potential interns I would say by all means you gotta do this program!! I would also strongly emphasize the importance of self-awareness to future interns. By this, I mean recognizing your status as a visitor, recognize your privilege, and come with a disposition of learning and service. You will make life-long friends and memories here and will learn an immense amount about different places in the world just by interacting and enjoying the company of these new friends.

If you’re even considering this program, do it. You will not regret it.”