Testimonials

International students and program participants share their experiences with Connect-123s internship, volunteer and study abroad programs. Whether through programs in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Dublin or Shanghai, each international program participant has a unique story to share. Take a look and see what Connect-123s international students, volunteers or interns have to say! Connect-123s blog also has great international study, volunteer and travel advice! Scroll down to view all testimonials - or filter by destination, opportunity or both.

Britney Lardner

Britney Lardner

Oklahoma State Univeristy
Education Intern
27 March 2015

If you're looking for adventure, work experience, and building lasting connections with people literally around the world, then Connect123 can make your international goals a reality. My volunteer-based internship consisted of other people like myself from other countries looking to gain experience working with youth programs. I have had the honor and priviledge of working with some amazing people, residing from the following countries: Caymon Islands, Wales, Germany, France, Nigeria, other states within the US, and of course, Ireland.

Reflecting on personal experiences, I have truly been able to maximize my awareness and understanding for cultural diveristy, inner-city youth programming, and I was also able to expeience living with a host family (which I highly recommend because living outside of the city and having breakfast and dinners taken care of is a plus, and the company is un-matchable!). I got the opportunity to work with an afterschool programme that engaged me in working with the young people of Dublin, help continue the efforts on their food security initiatives, and learn what true Irish hospitality looks like. With the land of Ireland being the size that it is, traveling to other cities throughout my stay was incredibly easy, and it's a great way to experience the Irish countryside, and meet new people.

Galina Mizyuk

Galina Mizyuk

Moscow State University
Business Intern
27 March 2015

I had a fantastic opportunity to intern with a Sustainability firm in Shanghai for three months. It was a great experience for me in terms of the knowledge and professional skills I obtained, people I met and new environment I discovered. I am sure this internship has opened new horizons in my professional future. I am glad that my host organization treated me as if I was a real employee and not just a an intern.

Connect-123 helped me a lot! A personal thank you to Lea who helped me understand what kind of intern experience I need and to Jimmy who is based in Shanghai who organized lots of events for all the interns.

I would recommend it to anyone to do an internship abroad you are pushed away from your comfort zone which is hard, but once you get used to the situation you realize that it is one of the best experiences of your life.

Emily Kim

Emily Kim

Northeastern University
Health Care Intern
24 March 2015

My time in Buenos Aires was nothing but amazing. I always knew that I wanted to go to medical school, but was never sure which field of medicine I wanted to pursue. Connect 123 catered to my need by finding me an internship that allowed me to shadow doctors from all departments of the hospital. All of the doctors encouraged me to ask questions, pushed me to practice more Spanish, and explained the diagnosis and treatments. I learned a lot about patient care and also formed relationships with the patients. Furthermore, I found a passion for orthopedic surgery during my internship and part of my gratitude goes towards Connect 123.

Not only do they provide support in regards to the internship, but they also tended to my overall well-being. Any questions I had about traveling, cultural events/outings, nightlife, etc, could be asked. My smooth transition to becoming a temporary resident of Buenos Aires was made possible by the Connect 123 representative here. I strongly believe that every person needs to visit Buenos Aires at least once in his/her lifetime!

I definitely will miss this beautiful city and all of the friends I made here.

Jenifer Obrigewitch

Jenifer Obrigewitch

Northeastern University
Health Care Intern
23 March 2015

I chose to intern in Buenos Aires knowing not much more than that I wanted to improve my Spanish skills while gaining medical experience. I didn’t realize until I got to Argentina that I was in for so much more than that! The city is full of beautiful parks, art, architecture, and food. The friendly porteños are always excited to share their culture and tell you about the most up-and-coming places to visit.

At the hospital, the entire staff has been incredible and I have learned a lot. Listening to and speaking with both doctors and patients has improved my Spanish, or Castellano as it is referred to locally, an incredible amount. Rotating amongst the different departments has developed my medical knowledge in a large amount of areas.

Working in a public hospital, I have been exposed to people that come from many different backgrounds and it has really opened my eyes to the wide variety of living conditions throughout not only one country but the world. On the other hand, in my time abroad I have also experienced the similarities between people, regardless of culture. 

Kamille Johnson

Kamille Johnson

Brown University
Marketing Intern
10 March 2015

When I began my time in Buenos Aires, Connect was extremely helpful. I knew a bit of Spanish but not enough to feel comfortable wandering about the city alone but Connect held my hand the whole way. I had an internship at a small company, working directly under 2 people, and I cannot overstate how incredible the experience was. I was immediately welcomed into this company, one that can only be described as a big happy family.

I worked on social media campaigns, small design projects, and webinars. They patiently and enthusiastically helped me with my Spanish as they introduced me to the start-up world in Buenos Aires.

Connect was instrumental in making my time in Buenos Aires unforgettable.

Kelly Howatt

Kelly Howatt

University of Illinois
Healthcare Intern
05 March 2015

My internship was one of the greatest experiences I have had in my life thus far. Not only was I able to observe so much at the hospital, I learned a lot about professionalism, being independent, and taking initiative. Coming to Ireland without knowing anyone was a challenge, but with Connect-123 I was able to meet several people that I could share the experience with. The internship itself was such a positive experience, and the staff was so incredibly inviting and nice.

One of the best parts about Connect-123 is that they tailored the internship to what I wanted. It was so flexible that I was able to be in several different departments of the hospital instead of being assigned to just the one I applied for. This was made possible by my intern advisor at Connect 123. The internship was so flexible that I was able to visit a lot of Ireland and other countries as well!

Overall the experience was very successful and I implore anyone who has the opportunity to have an internship abroad to take it!

Claire Flood

Claire Flood

University of South Australia
Architecture Intern
27 February 2015

My experience I had in Buenos Aires was truly amazing! Argentina and the internship program both exceeded my expectations. With an architectural background I was wanting to move into the project management area. Connect-123 were able to find a great sustainable firm that met all of my internship requirements. My arrival into Buenos Aires was well organised, meeting with my Connect-123 representative and having all the information and reassurances there made for a smooth transition.

During the internship its self I was so well supported by Connect-123. The option of some fun social events was available also. The great experiences of being able to see the national Argentinean football team play and seeing the local side River Plate win the championship. These tickets in a football crazed nation would not have happened without the help from the Connect-123 team. The friendships I have made and still hold on to have extended past my time in Argentina. I have continued to travel and meet up with friends I made there all over the world. Had the opportunity to meet some amazing people.

Further since Buenos Aires I have gained a fantastic job with a multinational company in Project Management. A true dream job with endless oppurtunities. I do genuinely owe a lot of this new position to the great experience I had in Buenos Aires. I know that the diverse experience and skill development I had was a contributing factor to attaining this position. I would highly recommend the experience of an international internship for both the personal and career development.

Charlotte Harris

Charlotte Harris

Weston High School, Massachusetts
Education Volunteer
19 February 2015

I was fortunate enough to have the time to volunteer in, as well as explore, one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. Barcelona's culture is a beautiful experience, my volunteer work at two non profit youth centers was definitely a new adventure each day and I am grateful to have had the chance to meet and explore Barcelona with other Connect-123 volunteers. I had a chance to work within the realm of what I am passionate about and in turn the experience has made me even more eager about my future and what I will choose to pursue.The fact that I do not speak Spanish worried me but nevertheless I had the chance to relate and converse with fellow staff members, the children of my volunteer establishment and the people I met during my time in Spain. In return, their own curiosity and kindness towards me broadened my sense of connection with the world and myself.

The opportunity to come to Barcelona not only created beautiful memories but offered some clarity regarding my future. I arrived in Spain with no expectations other than the ones I had set for myself, now looking back this trip would have exceeded every single expectation if I originally had any. The time flew by much to quickly and I am returning home with more energy, confidence in myself and future, experience, extraordinary memories, and of course the artwork and gifts from all the incredible children I worked with. During my stay I traveled to Betanzos as well as Caruña and Santiago with a friend I made while staying in Barcelona. It is a completely different experience to explore a new place with someone who lives there. Her family was so generous and hospitable to me during my short stay with them and I hope to visit them again. My time in Barcelona wasn't just enriching for me, it was also gratifying. Lea from Connect-123 and the staff at the youth organization granted me a terrific opportunity, truly the best I have ever received. The response and overall feeling gained from my work here has made me so appreciative for Connect-123's organization. Hasta Pronto!

Katie Boehm

Katie Boehm

Health Care Intern
California Polytechnic State University Graduate
05 February 2015

The experience I had in Cape Town was an amazing one, both from an internship point of view as well as living in this exciting city. I did the 4 week Clinical Internship at Victoria Hospital. The hospital patient base tends to be people from people on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale so you get to see a wide variety of cases that you would not necessarily be exposed to back in your home country. I got to shadow ward rounds in internal medicine, paediatrics, tuberculosis wards, view procedures and surgeries as well as outpatient clinics. In addition to these experiences, you are able to give back to the hospital through projects and in my case I worked on an electronic medical record system as well as clinical trial screenings. The experience definitely cemented my desire to go into medicine.

Other than the internship, Cape Town is a great city to be in. There is beautiful scenery and activities all around. I hiked to my heart's content, went cage diving with great white sharks, went on safari, ate my way through the amazing food options, and did a Garden Route road trip with friends I made through Connect. If you have any problems deciding what to do, the staff plan great socials and love to have you visit, answering any questions you may have. Overall you won't regret the time you spend here in Cape Town.

Aileen Stoddard

Aileen Stoddard

Education Intern
Sonoma State University Graduate
03 February 2015

My time in Dublin was unforgettable. Connect-123 placed me in a classroom where I gained valuable knowledge about teaching. The lead teacher at the school was so welcoming and allowed me to take on a full time teaching schedule with her help. It was amazing to be able to try out the career I want to one day have and I owe it all to Connect-123.

During my time in Dublin, I was also able to enjoy the social scene. Connect-123 organized many after work mixers where I was able to immerse myself in the nightlife of Ireland. At these mixers I was able to meet with other interns from around the world and gained some great friends.

Connect-123 did a great job of making sure I was happy with my internship and kept me involved in the culture of Ireland. I’m already planning my next trip back to Dublin!

James Sapali

James Sapali

Human Rights Intern
Malmo University, Sweden
31 January 2015

My name is James Sapali, a student of Masters Programme in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at the Malmö University in Sweden. Actually I have acquired different philosophies and theories about the current international developments, the effect of globalisation and human mobility, issues of inclusion and exclusion of immigrants, majority-minority relations in diverse and complex society. It was my dream to do an internship during my third semester and the city of Cape Town was my choice. I decided to involve Connect-123 to find the perfect organisation where I can gain practical experience. I am very grateful to Connect -123 for attaching me with a refugee centre where I spent five months sharpening my skills.

Living in Cape Town is an experience of itself, by adding an internship to this experience one can get one of the most rewarding experiences a student could have during his/hers' study period. You cannot have a better taste of multiculturalism and diversity in any other city than Cape Town. Here I learned more than during my whole studies. I was able to work with refugees and asylum seekers who would like to receive a small businesses grants, evaluating application forms and interviews, whether over the phone or face to face, and the most difficult thing- taking decisions. All of this helped me to put my theoretical knowledge into practice and realize what from my knowledge is important and useful and what is not.

This internship taught me more then I expected. Not only in my field of studies, but it also developed my personality. At a university everybody is on his own. You study for yourself, do exams for yourself, the responsibility is only on yourself. Here I realized that whatever I do, I am responsible not only for my work but also for the whole team. I learned how to organize my work, how to deal with variety of situations and I improved my communication skills.

Generally, this internship was the best choice ever. I got new friends and most important experiencing the beauty of Cape Town. Thank you very much Connect-123 staff to let my dream come true. Special thanks to Claudette (Connect-123 Coordinator). Her kindness and tireless support to the interns are really worth acknowledging.

 

Nina Steur

Nina Steur

Business Intern
University of Texas, Dallas
27 January 2015

By the time I knew of Connect-123, my last semester in my undergrad career was coming up quickly, and I wanted to study abroad one more time before I graduated. When I heard Connect-123 sent people abroad with internships, I knew it was the perfect choice for one final learning experience before I got out into the real world and got a job. Going to Dublin changed my entire college experience in just a short two months. Working in Ireland was not only helpful in honing my people-skills, but it gave me a better understanding of how international marketing works as a whole.

Connect-123 set me up with the opportunity of a lifetime. There was always something going on (weekend trips, pub crawls, bus tours), and I had more fun than I can express. Through Connect-123, I got to live and work in a country that I've always wanted to visit, and I gained lifelong friends and valuable work experience in the process. Dublin is an amazing city, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an international work experience. I am now working full-time and using many of the learnings I gained during my internship in real life situations.

Brianna Mastromarino

Brianna Mastromarino

Health Care Intern
University of Miami
21 January 2015

I first visited Dublin while traveling Europe during study abroad. After spending only a few days in the city, I knew I wanted to return for an extended stay. I was incredibly fortunate to find that Connect-123 would not only provide a means for my return to Dublin, but would also allow me to work at an internship pertinent to my field of study. I spent this past summer working in a cancer research institute at a highly respectable university. Even though I didn’t have much experience in lab work, the people I worked with were incredibly informative and happy to help.

Since returning from Ireland, I have successfully applied to medical school, and at all of my interviews for admission I was asked about my research in Dublin. The time spent outside of my internship was also incredibly valuable. I met amazing people, both Irish and American, and have already returned to Dublin to visit friends. I will never forget the excursions around Ireland, offering some of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. The Irish people are very friendly and it is easy to feel at home in this charming and lively city. I am very grateful to Connect-123 for providing the opportunity to live and intern in Dublin.

Lensa Bogale

Lensa Bogale

Journalism Intern
University of Southern California
05 January 2015

I had the privilege of interning with a television series that broadcasts mini documentaries on issues of social justice in South Africa. Traveling to Cape Town for an internship was one of the best experiences I have had in my life thus far. It gave me the opportunity to explore South Africa through the lens of a native as opposed to simply that of a tourist.

Connect-123 did an amazing job of pairing me with an internship that tailored to my passions/interests as a broadcast journalism major. My internship was very hands on; I was able to edit, interview, and pitch story ideas. At the end of my 6-weeks, I was privileged enough to receive a letter of recommendation to send to perspective jobs/internships. I have established life-long relationships with both my supervisors and co-workers. Creating a bond with the staff as well as the others participants in the program, Connect-123 genuinely felt like a second family. There was never a moment where I felt uncomfortable approaching a staff member with an issue I was facing and they were always more than willing to help in whatever way possible. From socials at the local pub to educational tours that delved into the history behind South Africa, I felt as though I was provided with a well-rounded experience. I sincerely miss South Africa and the people I met on my journey. The lessons of hard work, networking, and open-mindedness are ones that I will posses for a lifetime. To be able to simultaneously intern and travel was an experience I will never forget. I am beyond grateful and this internship will be noted as one of the highlights of my life.

 

Tatiana Baez

Tatiana Baez

Communications Intern
Northeastern University
05 January 2015

What can I say? Traveling to Cape Town, South Africa was an experience of a life time! It’s been a year since I departed and I am still experiencing nostalgia. Having never traveled before, let alone by myself, I found Connect 123 extremely accommodating. From the moment I arrived I felt at ease and very comfortable. Upon arriving at Perspectives (where most of you will be housed) we had a meeting with Jess that went over the Dos and Don’ts of living in new country, the culture and general information that I found very useful, such as the nearest markets, museums and the gym! Jess and Rachel were awesome and very encouraging about exploring the city on our own and were always a phone call away if we needed them.

In terms of my placement, Connect 123 placed me at a leading international magazine which until this day still boggles my mind – in a positive way! Although, I was initially interested in Marketing/Events and believed I would be able to translate this somehow at the company.

I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world. During my four months I wrote several features for a partner publication, and learned a great deal about South African culture/music. Learning to concentrate while writing a story with music blaring in the background is something I’m quite proud of too. My workers were essentially like teachers who taught me about Cape Town’s rich history and the music scene, later becoming friends that I still keep in touch with from time to time. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be surrounded by during the week. They truly taught me the importance of enjoying the "process", but not allowing it to consume me which many people do in the States since our work culture is VERY different. This is a lesson I have taken back with me and applied it to school and work in general which has proved to be helpful. It's all about the "Cape Town Vibes"

Overall, my experience living, working and playing in Cape Town was life changing and it would not have been a success had it not been for Connect 123 and their dedicated staff. Leaving your comfort zone especially if you have never traveled before can be distressing, but from the beginning I felt at “home”, in partly because I knew I had a great support system. The excursions that they scheduled were definitely worth it in terms of meeting other students and “breaking the ice”. As for Perspectives? I loved living there. It was situated in the middle of everything and our apartment was nice. I know some may argue that the total cost is “pricey”, but after returning having put everything into perspective, it really is worth it. The staffs at Connect 123 literally take care of everything: your placement, securing you an apt. that is safe, making sure you arrive/depart safely etc. All you have to do is show up, play it smart and enjoy your stay in the lovely Motherland!

What I miss most about Cape Town is its simplicity. Living in CT taught me to pump my brakes in terms of living life. I learned to appreciate the things we most often take for granted, such as nature, genuinely interacting with people and appreciating another’s culture. It is truly a place that will captivate you and still a piece of your heart! I plan to hopefully return by summer 2015. I can’t wait. A big THANKS to the Connect 123 staff for running a great program. Hope to see you soon.

Paul Moussa Cisse

Paul Moussa Cisse

Marketing Intern
Simon Fraser University
01 January 2015

Coming to Shanghai was the best thing that ever happened to me so far in my life. I decided to do a 3 month internship in a fashion company. Connect-123 was here from the beginning till they end of my internship. They find me a couple of internships first then I had to do a few Skype interviews. I was happy because my options were not limited. They found me the best internship that was most suited to my future career.

Before coming to Shanghai, they sent me a list of movies, books, and websites that I could check out since China is totally different from other countries. I mean every country is special, but China can be a cultural shock for people that did not travel a lot and by sending you a list of movies and books, you can start emerging yourself into the culture.

The people at my work were just amazing. They guided me through each step and Jimmy (coordinator of Connect-123 in Shanghai) was so helpful. He helped me with lot, especially towards the end of my stay.

Also, you can not be bored in Shanghai! The nightlife is just crazy and you meet people from all over the world. I have made so many friends in here in such a short period of time.

I would like to thank Lea, Jimmy, and the Connect-123 family for having made this happen. I will definitely recommend Connect-123 to fully have a Shanghai experience.

Chelsea Casey

Chelsea Casey

Health Care Intern
California State University Graduate
30 December 2014

Don't speak Spanish? Is it holding you back from coming to South America? Do you feel like you will not be able to have the same experience with little to no Spanish? Have no fear, I am proof that you will indeed reach the highest level of happiness and satisfaction interning in this beautiful country. Let me first say that when I was thinking about interning abroad I was fearful that my Spanish skills were not advanced enough to survive in a medical setting. Although the first couple days I was still fearful, Connect 123 helped me in ways I cannot thank them enough for. They set me up with a healthcare provider that spoke English who translated for me most the time. I will say, being in this position is not easy but extremely rewarding. Connect set me up with an awesome Spanish learning center that helped me improved my interpersonal skills tremendously! In no time I was able to speak with patients and providers!

Aside from the language barrier obstacle, I have to point out that out of all the internships I've done, this internship set me up with a hospital that will forever have a special place in my heart. The amount of love and support the Hospital provided me was something I did not know was possible! They were extremely helpful, teachable, and patient. I met so many wonderful doctors, specialists, and residents who let me assist in procedures, shadow surgeries, consultations, the list goes on! What I brought back to the states was not only new skills and medical knowledge, but excitement and a new found love in healthcare. Connect 123 was so organized, professional, and willing to help whenever I needed them. I will forever be grateful for Connect 123 and the public Hospital. I would do it all over again!

Cindy Tran

Cindy Tran

Health Care Intern
Western University, Canada
24 December 2014

Connect-123 helped me find an opportunity to work in a public hospital working with children. I have never travelled by myself before let alone live in a foreign city for two months! However, the people at Connect-123 were so caring, kind and helpful. They would make sure everything is all set before your arrival, helping you feel comfortable when you arrive and they would also meet up with you during your stay to make sure everything is going ok. They also plan events so you can easily meet other interns/volunteers.

The opportunity to work as an intern at the public hospital I worked at was extremely valuable. Though I did know some basic Spanish before my arrival, working at the hospital really forced me to speak/understand Spanish because no one really spoke English. Being able to communicate with patients in Spanish, specifically in a health care setting is so beneficial - I am thankful for this experience.

Buenos Aires itself, I miss this city and the people everyday. It really is the Paris of South America. Not only is it a beautiful city with a lot of culture and trust me, a crazy nightlife, you will one way or another become friends with a local and or other people travelling/working/studying abroad from all over the world. It is really nice to have international connections, making friends and memories that will last a lifetime. I would also recommend travelling around Argentina during the weekends! It's a win/win. You gain international work experience and travel when you don't work. My summer in Buenos Aires is the best summer of my life and really changed my life.

 

John Sanford

John Sanford

Finance Intern
Rhodes College Graduate
23 December 2014

I can only comment positively with regard to the service and personnel provided to me by Connect-123 throughout the entirety of my internship process in Buenos Aires. Katie and Paula are very personable people who not only found me a great internship, but put in the after hours work to make sure that myself and the other interns were comfortable in an unfamiliar city. The experience gained through my time in Argentina has proven to be very useful and is already paying dividends. I would not hesitate to recommend this program to any young professional or student that is interested in advancing their career in an international setting.

Connect-123 found me an internship in the mutual fund of an Argentine investment firm located in the heart of the Buenos Aires banking district. Considering the volatility of the Argentine economy, it was an eye opening experience that forced me to stay on my toes and ensured that every day was a new challenge. While I was already proficient in Spanish, the internship expanded my professional vocabulary by introducing me to finance terminology that I otherwise would not have known. The daily research I was doing forced me to stay up to date on the Argentine economy and transformed what was originally a burden into a genuine interest. At my current job, I still find a few minutes each day to check in on the firm’s mutual fund and see if they are making a buck or two. I have chosen a career path other than finance, but the lessons learned from my time in Argentina are still applicable. It was a great experience and I recommend Connect-123.

Henry Ryan

Henry Ryan

Business Intern
Bentley University
22 December 2014

I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina and it was truly a life changing experience. I didn’t even speak spanish and yet it was the best decision I have ever made.

Internship: I had an 8 week internship with a start-up company. The process of getting the internship was incredibly easy. I simply spoke with a Connect 123 advisor on the phone, sent my resume to her, and within weeks I was able to align a Skype interview. Over the course of my internship, I was not only able to gain work experience, but I was also able to fully enjoy the culture and social life in Argentina.

Argentina: I was pleasantly surprised to find that the city of Buenos Aires was much larger and busier than I had previously expected. With the surplus of bars, clubs, and social events; the only problem with Buenos Aires is that there is too much to do. If partying is important to you, then you will never want to leave. The cuisine is fantastic. Meats, cheese, and fruit are among the Argentine specialties and my personal favorites. From world renowned restaurants to delicious street vendors, I have had some of the best food of my life in Argentina.  Lastly, everyone needs to take trips to Iguazu Falls, Patagonia, and Uruguay or Chile.

Connect-123: By far, the best thing about Connect 123 is how helpful the advisors are. When you arrive in Argentina, they give you everything you need to get started. If anything were ever to happen to you, then the Connect 123 administration would be there to help no matter what. My advisor was willing to meet with me wherever and whenever if I ever had any concerns.