I arrived in Cape Town, the second week of January after some independent travel in Europe. I have been incredibly busy since. As someone who has traveled a lot, I was amazed by how unique I find this city. Cape town is perfect for someone who loves hiking and the outdoors, but also the city life. In the same day you can hike a mountain, hang out in the city and also go to the beach.
I am very lucky to have an Internship city, which I not only love, but that also greatly challenges me. I am currently studying psychology and global health at the University of Oregon, in Cape Town I am interning at the Zoe Project which is an NGO that focuses on maternal mental health. This internship is a perfect intersection between my global health and psychology studies. My duties are mainly doing daily psychological evaluations for the pregnant women at the health clinic.
The women I work with are very big on the concept of “Africa time” so we generally spend about a half an hour drinking coffee and chatting in the morning before we begin work. Every morning we get a list of new women who have booked in the MOU clinic for pregnancy. I call each of them one by one, do psychological evaluations with the ladies and talk to them to see how they’re doing. We also each have one or multiple appointments scheduled in a day, so we see those clients.
After everyone has been seen we take walk-in appointments and I compete the daily statistics, general office work and then head to the labor ward to see if the doulas or nurses need help. At the end of the day we debrief on our cases and share ideas for new projects. This clinic is located in a much lower-income area of Cape Town. We see a lot of cases of drug addiction, teenage pregnancy and domestic abuse. It has been a very emotionally challenging but also incredibly educational and eye opening, not only as a psychologist but also as a person.
In my free time, I’ve gone cage diving with sharks, summitted Table Mountain multiple times with multiple routes (the cable car is cheating!), swam with African penguins, hiked up Lions Head at 4 am to watch the sunrise, gone wine tasting, visited museums, gone to see many local South African bands, explored a ship wreck and tons of other things. Cape town is one of the most culturally diverse cities. There are 11 national languages and so much incredible history. I have had so many amazing experiences here and made such an awesome and diverse group of friends, I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here brings!