Sophie Allen — Portland
Oregon , USA

“Being an African Regional focus in my studies back in the states, it felt natural to intern in an African country if I was to go abroad at all. I also have a passion for promoting Women’s Rights internationally, and South Africa having one of the highest rates of gender-based violence and rape made it seem like a natural fit for my interests. And I am so glad that I chose here! I had the opportunity to work for a very dynamic organization that is doing so much good in the city and the surrounding areas in so many different ways. From rape to gender-based violence, to education, to HIV/AIDS, maternal health, and sexual health, Mosaic is in some way involved. I also got to meet some of the most fantastic people from all over the world. Plus, I fell in love with yet another city; this was something that I was not expecting but made my experience that much better. I went on outstanding hikes, ate delicious food, went to beautiful beaches, and went out to amazing bars and clubs. Cape Town itself has so much to offer and I am so happy that I chose here to call my home for three months.

“Working at a local nonprofit organization was also an amazing opportunity. Though there were frustrating and difficult times in my time there, the places I got to visit with them and all they do made my time there unforgettable and a massive learning experience. Going to Townships and more underprivileged areas with the safety and comfort of my supervisors was such a cool experience, and I had some amazing fun while there. Dance parties broke out the second music went on, selfies couldn’t be avoided, and everyone wanted to hear about the States. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and though very overwhelming, times that I feel lucky to have had and will never forget. The people at the office too were welcoming and so friendly. They loved to hear about our lives, and even shared their own stories with us as well. I had the opportunity to see how complicated their lives were, inside and outside of the office, and could see the passion for what they do. It was informative about the culture here, but mostly it was humbling.

“Though it was scary to leave my comfort zone and come to a foreign country alone, and at many times I felt like I wouldn’t make it, this experience has made me a much stronger person in so many ways. I’ll be happy to go home and be able to walk streets alone at night, and not have people talk to me while walking to work or on the train every day, but this city has taught me so much about the world and about myself. I was pushed far out of my comfort zone and I made it; despite the anxiety, despite the occasional tears, I came through stronger and more confident in myself and my ability to be independent and a capable adult (almost). I am so thankful for this experience, and I am so happy that I chose VACorps! Thank you so much for all you have done!”

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Meet past participants:

Pallavi Bhargava, Maryland, USA (2023)

Pallavi joined the VACorps Program as part of her Gap Year and participated in a human rights internship.  “The last 2.5 months in Cape Town have been some of the best of my life! […]

Mya Tosomeen, Queensland, Australia (2023)

Mya is studying towards a bachelor’s degree in Government and International Relations and a Bachelor’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Griffith University. She joined the VACorps program in October 2022 and participated in […]

Olivia Kaminski, California, USA (2022)

Olivia is studying for a B.A. in Psychology and an A.A. in Studio Art and Religious Studies from the University of Redlands. She joined the VACorps program in September 2022 and participated in a […]

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