Testimonials

International students and program participants share their experiences with Connect-123ís 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-123ís international students, volunteers or interns have to say! Connect-123ís blog also has great international study, volunteer and travel advice! Scroll down to view all testimonials - or filter by destination, opportunity or both.

Taylor Nelson

Taylor Nelson

Human Rights Intern
Salem University
10 December 2014

I knew I wanted to come to Cape Town a year and half before I started my internship. I came across Connect when I was searching for a study abroad program. Connect-123 was the only organization I found that seemed like it'd work out for me. I knew I wanted to go into the field of human rights and I knew that I couldn’t spend a lot of money. Also it seemed so perfect to doing human rights work in a nation with so much social justice history and not to mention the most forward human rights constitution in the world.

Before I came to South Africa I mentally prepared myself that this trip was about work and not fun. I told myself that this trip would help me get serious about my career and that would be my number one focus. I could not have been more wrong. Not only did I get a lot out of my internship working with refugees but I also made life long friends. I did things I never thought I would ever do such as jump out of an airplane and off the highest bungee in the world. I went to my first musical festival and experienced an authentic South African Braai. My trip was more than just about my work but it was about the experiences I had and the people that I met along the way. Not just people from Connect or from work but locals I met on the train, at a park, or out on Long st. My internship was really hard seeing people who have experienced the worst in life: homelessness, war, and genocide, but it gave an insight and appreciation for life after seeing it in their eyes. It is going to be really hard to leave Cape Town but I will never forget it and I will definitely be back.

Ellie Tallis

Ellie Tallis

Environment / Sustainability Intern
Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
05 December 2014

Over the summer I spent 3 months completing an internship at an environmental company who are based in Cape Town. I was part of their Product and Reach team mainly assisting the product team members with sales and fundraising. Any nerves and worries I had about working for a company in such a new country were cast aside after my first day at work. Being able to work with such a like-minded team who are so passionate about the environment and sustainable living was truly a privilege. I met some amazing people during my time in Cape Town who I will never forget, it astounded me that how in such a short space of time friends can become like family. In completing my internship I learnt a wide variety of new skills especially when it comes to understanding different cultures and interacting with people who hold different values and perspectives.

No words or pictures can ever capture just how wonderful Cape Town is from the food markets to the vibrant nightlife on Long Street there really is something for everyone. You will never be bored in Cape Town there is so much to do but I recommend you make time to see the other side of South Africa the not so touristy one, make sure you leave time to visit one of the local Townships, meet some of the people and experience what true happiness really means. The thing that stands out most for me about Cape Town is the hospitality of each individual, if I can give you one piece of advice it would be not to travel to South Africa with expectations from what you have read or been told by others, go with an open mind. I cannot not praise Rachel and her team at Connect 123 enough for what they do, I urge anyone who is thinking about doing an internship in Cape Town to go for it, believe me you will not regret it!

Eric Savoie

Eric Savoie

Marketing & Communications Intern
Michigan State University
26 November 2014

It is hard to believe that it has been almost four months since I have returned from my internship in Barcelona. It is still an experience that I reflect upon nearly every day, especially as I approach my graduation and try to figure out what I want do with my future. Although I am still figuring out exactly what I want to make of my life, I am now confident that I will one day find it, and will forever be thanking Lea Levy and Connect-123 for helping me get there.

From day one, Lea was extremely accommodating in helping me find the proper placement and ensuring I had a top-notch experience. We Skyped about my aspirations, and within a short period of time I was set up for an internship with a company that matched my interests and resume perfectly. As soon as I landed in Barcelona, I was shown around town and given suggestions about where to shop, eat, and have fun. If I ever had any questions or needed assistance, I could count on Lea to be just an email or phone call away. I couldn't have ever guessed that what I anticipated to be such a huge "leap of faith" would be such a smooth transition.

After having two weeks of exploring the city and learning Spanish at my quickest rate ever with Camino Barcelona, it was time for me to begin my Marketing & Communications internship. I was pretty sure that I would enjoy the work and learn quite a bit, but I had no idea to what extent. Every single day I was faced with new challenges, and with each moment spent in the office I grew closer to my co-workers and developed my professional skills. By doing my best to immerse myself in the local culture, while also traveling about half of the weekends, I became more in-touch with myself and expanded my worldview more than ever before.

Interning abroad was an experience that I will never forget, and will always be thankful for. During all of my interviews thus far, potential employers have been very excited about my experience in Barcelona and have told me how impressive it is. If you want to boost your resume while also gaining a stronger understanding of yourself and the world, I urge you to intern abroad through Connect-123.

Anna Lim

Anna Lim

Human Rights Intern
National University of Singapore
24 November 2014

Choosing Cape Town for my overseas internship was the best decision I’ve made. I was filled with trepidation before arriving, mostly because of the impression of South Africa as somewhat unsafe and dangerous. Yet Cape Town exceeded my expectations by a mile. This is a place with a rich culture, breathtaking scenery, friendly locals and much more.

Connect-123 did a good job arranging my internship, accommodation and facilitating my stay here. Because of their tremendous help, I faced little hassle in settling down and making Cape Town my home for 5 months. The coordinators are always there to fix any problems promptly and efficiently. Also, they are very friendly and willing to help any time. I’ve also forged valuable friendships here with the other interns, despite coming from different countries with cultural differences. The smooth transition from Singapore to Cape Town and my fellow interns definitely contributed to the amazing experience I’ve had here.

I worked in a non-profit which focuses on refugees’ rights, and I have learnt a lot from it. I familiarized myself with South Africa’s human rights law and refugee law, which demonstrated the gap between theory and reality. My internship exposed me to the injustices that many refugees faced, and it was a harsh reminder that human rights progress is still far from maturity in South Africa. Also, I was thrown many challenging tasks – such as going for a business trip to Johannesburg and attending meetings alone, presenting on my organization’s operations, and attending a parliament session. They are stressful, but I treat them as opportunities to grow, and I did. The internship allowed me to translate things I’ve learnt in my Political Science modules to real life, and I’ve gained a clearer perspective on human rights issues and an edge over other students; because I had a first-hand experience that others lacked. The internship caused me to reflect on what I want to achieve in the future, and I can say that working here in Cape Town has helped me find my goal in life.

Besides the internship, Cape Town as a whole is amazing. The experience here will not be complete without hiking up the many mountains this place got to offer, as well as exploring the Cape Malay quarters in Bo-Kaap, the bustling nightlife in Long Street, the scenic route from Muizenberg to Simon’s Town, and most importantly, interacting with the friendly locals. The garden route and the west coast are beautiful places to venture to, and Stellenbosch also offers the luxury to indulge in great wines coupled with lush scenery. The best part is, Connect-123 arranges many tours to the various attractions, thus making it more convenient for those who prefer to experience everything without the hassle of planning them.

I will definitely miss my time here in Cape Town, and I have no regrets choosing this city for my internship!

 

Chiyvonne Shennan

Chiyvonne Shennan

Social Work Intern
University of Salford Graduate
07 November 2014

I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to intern in one of the most amazing cities I had ever been to, Buenos Aires, I have travelled extensively and have to say that BA is incredible and always something for everyone to do, it is rich with culture and diversity and Connect 123 made this possible.

Being a social science student and coming from Manchester, England, I found it impossible to find a placement in Argentina that would be in the same field/industry that I wanted to work in. That was until I contacted Connect 123 who from start to finish were professional and the most friendly helpful staff ever. I was matched with an addiction service in Buenos Aries which well-matched my academic interests in drug and alcohol addictions and I was privy to other addictions which I had not been exposed to before, which I learnt a lot from. I was also co-ordinated with a Spanish school which was an amazing school with amazing friendly staff that not only organised your classes but put on activity days and evenings for us all to join in.

My internship lasted for almost 2 months and South America had been a bucket list dream for as long as I can remember and Connect-123 made this possible so I have the utmost gratefulness for their constant support and help throughout my time and for making this the best work experience of my life. I lived with the most wonderful family who I will keep in touch with always, they made me feel very welcome and it was a home away from home. The social events that Connect 123 arranged every other week were always great and had something for everyone.

I would also like to mention that being a vegetarian in this city was easy, which I was not expecting but most of the restaurants and café bars serve vegetarian food which was fab and helped me settle in. This had been one of my anxieties.

To conclude both the internship and Spanish school facilitated me to form relationships with patients, who I have learnt valuable life lessons from and also peers who were undertaking similar interns. My experience in BA was truly amazing and one of the best decisions of my life…thank you ;)

Dan Weise

Dan Weise

Hospitality Intern
DePaul University
29 September 2014

Even after being away from Barcelona for almost 2 months, I can say that Connect-123 has provided me with the best opportunity I have ever been afforded. This past summer, I was a food and beverage intern at a 4-star hotel in downtown Barcelona where I was able to meet others from all around the world, develop Spanish language skills, and gain professional development. However, the experience extended far beyond the walls of the hotel. Connect-123 regularly contacted me to make sure that I was having a safe, enjoyable experience and even coordinated so many different activities all throughout Barcelona! Without Connect-123, I would have been much more intimidated by the process of living and working and abroad.

Barcelona could not have been a more ideal city to hold an internship. The people and sites are equally amazing and living 15 minutes away from the sea was incredible. As I move through my “day-to-day” back in Chicago, I will forever remember the time I spent in Barcelona and the great people who surrounded me. Hasta pronto!

Priscilla Choi

Priscilla Choi

Tourism Intern
Rhodes College
29 September 2014

When people ask me “How did you enjoy Barcelona?”, I always respond: “I loved it. I want to go back and stay there forever.” And then they laugh. Little do they know that I’m only half joking.

My summer experience in Barcelona can be summed up in one word: AMAZING, and I have to thank Connect-123 for that! My dream has always been to travel to Barcelona, Spain and it was surreal to me that I was able to go to Barcelona and not only get real-world experience, but also have the time of my life! I was introduced to Connect-123 by a college friend, who also went to Barcelona through the same program and after his glowing review, I also decided to take the Connect-123 route. The coordinators at Connect-123 are awesome (special shout out to Lea, who is the bomb!) and make sure you’re getting the most meaningful experience you can have. And that’s why I would recommend it to everyone interested in interning abroad!

Barcelona will forever be in my heart. I was able to work with a small startup company based in Barcelona, which has shaped my professional experience background in a whole new way. Getting international internship experience is so valuable and I’m glad to have been able to do it! The great part was that aside from working, I was still able to enjoy myself, getting to know the city, exploring, traveling and of course, eating!! Being able to spend two months in Barcelona and integrating myself into the culture was one of the greatest experiences I ever had. After work, I would spend time getting to know the city and discovering the hidden gems and the major attractions of Barcelona! On the weekends, I would take day trips to cool places nearby Barcelona, like Costa Brava and Sitges. I even did a weekend trip in Madrid which was fantastic!

I know it’s cliché to say that traveling abroad is life-changing, but it really is! I’ve learned so much more about myself and it’s such a great feeling! When I got back to the US, I thought to myself, “Man I really wish I was in Barcelona again!” If you’re considering studying/interning abroad, go for it! I promise you’ll have an amazing time once you’re there and there’s a reason why everyone loves traveling! Thank you so much Connect-123 for allowing me to grow as a person and helping me fulfill my case of wanderlust!

 

Daniel Cooke

Daniel Cooke

Public Policy
Michigan State University
28 September 2014

Before I even knew which college I wanted to attend, I had already made up my mind about one important aspect of my collegiate career: I wanted to study abroad. I had been blessed with many international trips prior to my summer in Barcelona, but there is truly a difference between visiting a city and living in a city, intensively experiencing a new culture, stepping way out of your comfort zone, and all the while growing more confident as a global citizen. That is why I wanted to study, work, and live abroad for an entire summer, and the efforts of Lea and the Connect-123 team made that dream possible and unforgettable.

Barcelona has become another home city to me. The twelve incredible weeks I spent there were irreplaceable with regards to the people I met, the lived, and the memories I made. I was matched up perfectly by C-123 with not only an NGO that truly sparked my interest in social investing in Latin America as a career path, but also a supervisor that quickly became a mentor and life-long friend. The city itself is absolutely amazing… Barcelona has something for everyone: some of the best food in the world, relaxing beaches, mountains for hiking, classic Spanish plazas filled with street life, world class art, architectural gems, medieval and gothic-era quarters, some of the best nightlife in Europe, and some of the friendliest people I have ever met. In spite of what I just wrote, that is only the very surface of that remarkable city… Every day in Barcelona is an adventure with regards to your career aspirations, language abilities, and life experiences while submerging into a foreign culture.

As mentioned before, Barcelona is now another home for me, even after only 3 months of living there. I fell in love with my work, the people I encountered, and the incredible city that never ceased to amaze me. I always look back on my time in Barcelona with C-123 as a major milestone in my life, and I strongly encourage anyone else interested in the program to do the same and experience the amazing city of Barcelona!

Christina Koehler

Christina Koehler

Nursing Intern
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
23 September 2014

Draining spider bites and tango dancing—not two things that I would usually associate together. That is, not until I completed an internship through Connect-123 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

I interned in a hospital for two months, and it was hands down one of the most worthwhile, exciting, and informative times of my life. My internship was not only suited to my academic interests in nursing and Spanish, but also to my personality as I was able to form relationships with both patients and doctors. I shocked myself with the realization that I want to pursue trauma nursing, a discovery that came through the hands-on work that the doctors allowed me to do. 

Besides the placement for my internship, Connect-123 was also helpful in helping me connect with peers. Buenos Aires is a huge city, and it can be intimidating to go in alone. Connect-123 set up both my housing and different cultural events, like tango, that allowed me to meet fellow interns that became close friends. 

I could write all day about the incredible experiences I had in Argentina. Many thanks to Connect-123 for providing a home away from home. 

 

Tanya Nanthakumar

Tanya Nanthakumar

Health Care Intern
University of Toronto
18 September 2014

Deciding to travel to Cape Town was a big step for me. I’ve travelled before, but there was always someone on the other end to receive me and show me around. Connect123 and the lovely ladies in Cape Town made sure that my stay was safe, fun and memorable. My 4-week internship at a secondary hospital was completely eye opening. Learning how the health care system in Cape Town worked and being around such knowledgeable doctors and nurses was a privilege. What I learned was not just medical facts and assessments, but real life lessons that I will carry with me for many years. I didn’t feel like an outsider, but a part of the team.

Cape Town as a tourist was riveting. Though it was July and slightly cold, I quickly adjusted and found myself enraptured by my surroundings. Perspectives, being right in city center, provided me with a gorgeous view of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Signal Hill. My roommates were amazing and we would attend any of the events Connect123 held, such as the Langa Township Tour and Social night. These events allowed us to meet the other interns and form lasting friendships. All in all, my experience with Connect123 was amazing. The support was constant and amazing. If you asked me if I would ever go back to Cape Town in the future, my answer would be an immediate, irrevocable “yes”.

Katie Sumpter

Katie Sumpter

Health Care Intern
University of Iowa
18 September 2014

My experience in Cape Town is something I would never trade. I had a better time their than I could have imagined. I was able to work side by side with doctors who were very willing to teach me anything and everything. There was a lot of medical students as well, which just showed how great a teaching environment the hospital had. There was some great hands on experience as well as plenty of time to observe. Even if nothing too exciting was going on in the hospital, someone was always willing to help us find something new and interesting to see. I liked learning about the differences between government hospitals and private hospitals and comparing them to ones back home.

Going to a different continent on my own was a new adventure for me. I was  a bit nervous. But Connect-123 provides a great way to meet people, and I made friends in no time; because after all, most everyone is in the same boat. We all were excited to explore a new place and squeeze as much fun as we could in the short time we had. I was able to travel around on the weekends and see and do things I don't get to see at home in Iowa. I bungee-jumped of the highest bungee in the world; I visited the southern most tip of Africa where two oceans meet; I saw penguins; climbed mountains and watch the sunset AND sunrise. The scenery in South Africa is absolutely stunning.

There were definitely challenges along the way and I really learned to get out of my comfort zone and see what kind of person I can be when thrown into a whole new way of life. I can't wait until I have another chance to get to travel abroad!

Jeremy Druhot

Jeremy Druhot

Public Policy Intern
Ohio State University
17 September 2014

For two months this summer, I interned as a public policy and law researcher for a non-governmental organization that studies economic crimes – such as money laundering, drug trafficking and more. Before becoming involved with Connect-123, I very much wanted to gain work experience in this field – thanks to Connect, I now had the opportunity to do so. My time in the office was very productive – I analyzed laws and public policy surrounded certain issues and I would write reports on them (in Spanish!) to broaden the organization’s bank of research and to educate the public on the issue. I wrote two such reports for the organization, and I felt that my work was valued and worthwhile.

Argentina was what I had hoped for and more. Buenos Aires is such a huge city with something for everyone – concerts, cultural events, museums, and so much more. The local cuisine is very unique, though it does lend a lot from Italian (which is not at all a bad thing!) Argentina’s pizzas, empanadas, milanesas are all to die for.

In conclusion, I loved my experience in Argentina and with Connect-123. My internship was certainly the best work experience I have ever had, and Connect-123 made it happen.

 

Marie Koehler

Marie Koehler

Marketing & Communications Intern
Jacobs University
10 September 2014

Coming to South Africa on my own was a huge risk for me, but knowing that Connect-123 was there and easily reachable allowed me to know that if anything were to happen I had somewhere to go, while still being independent. Connect-123 set me up with a small environmental, urban-greening organization only a 5 minute walk from my apartment in Cape Town where I acted as a Public Relations and Communications/Marketing Assistant. I was able to be creative and contribute valuable input to the team, in a relaxed, yet efficient work atmosphere surrounded by kind people who are truly enthusiastic and passionate about what they do. I was given the opportunity to attend one of their major projects, called “Trees for Zambia,” a reforestation festival held in Livingstone, Zambia, which only provided more insight to a life I wasn’t aware of before.

To describe my experience in Cape Town outside of work to anybody over the internet would in no way do it justice. It was absolutely incredible. My advice is to take absolute advantage of any and every opportunity that you’re presented with. A friendly tip: create an itinerary! A few friends and I created a calendar of when we wanted to do what; whether it be visit the penguins at Boulders Beach, skydive, bungee jump, visit Robben Island, hike Table Mountain, and much, much more! In only 10 weeks I learned more about my field of interest, myself, and what I am capable of than I ever imagined. I encourage anybody interested to take advantage of this truly awesome experience. Set any fears or doubts aside and take a risk. I did, and it was the best decision I could have made!

Kim Roach

Kim Roach

Tourism Intern
Old Dominion University
05 September 2014

Signing up with Connect-123 for an internship in Cape Town was one of the best decisions I have ever made. They set you up with an internship in the country you desire and provided housing. Their office, in Cape Town, is in the building that we live in (Perspectives) which is in the middle of town. The on site supervisors will assist you if you need any help and they always have a positive attitude! It's also a great way to meet other interns from all over the world studying different subjects. Not to mention, South Africa is such a beautiful country with a vibrant tourism industry. Coming here, I had no idea what I truly signed up for. I was aware that I was going be interning at a hostel for my tourism management degree, but I wasn’t sure what my duties would be. They had me working reception at first, which was a bit difficult because I had never worked in this type of environment before, and I was new to the country. The first two weeks, I was strictly working bar shifts and reception, learning the system, and the general ways the hostel runs. It was hard at first to work reception because many guests would ask me about the city and I could barely point out our location on the map.

Towards the end of my first month and all of my second and third month working there, I became much more involved in the company. I would attend multiple meetings, went on some more tours (shark diving, township, Garden Route), closed down and opened the hostel, sold tours, taught other interns, helped with the community projects, organized the shop, communicated with guests, and I was given my own codes for the system and phones. I learned so much about working in the tourism field and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was so fun to plan tours for guests and communicate with the multiple tourism companies.

I feel as if every goal of mine was met through my internship, and I learned new skills that I never thought I’d be good at. I truly enjoyed coming into work, communicating with guests, the company of my coworkers, selling tours, and travelling South Africa. I achieved networking strategies and gained a better understanding of how hostels are run. I would say my biggest highlights of working here was selling and attending tours, and my biggest disappointment is that I can’t stay longer due to my visa.

I suggest that you use Connect-123 to get to Cape Town, find an internship, meet other interns in different fields! The program supervisors are always there to help you with anything you need, even if it's just some advice.

Ella Thorpe-Beeston

Ella Thorpe-Beeston

Classical Music Intern
University of Oxford
01 September 2014

Connect-123 could not have made it more easy to get acclimatised to life in Buenos Aires. The city is one of the most vibrant and diverse that I’ve ever been to. It’s never short of anything to do and there are countless bars and restaurants. I had plenty of time to explore the BA as well as travel outside of the capital to places including Mendoza and Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. I lived in Recoleta in a house that is near lots of shops and restaurants and with easy access to public transport. I got on really well with all my house mates and we’re sure to keep in touch.

In terms of my internship, I worked on average 6 hours a day and got a very hands-on experience. My co-workers were extremely welcoming and were keen to make my time there the most fulfilling that it could be. I now know that I definitely want to pursue a career in the field of my internship. I’m very grateful to the Connect 123 team in Buenos Aires who helped me gain the internship and made settling in Buenos Aires so easy.

Laurie Green

Laurie Green

Public Health Intern
University of British Columbia
26 August 2014

I came to Cape Town in order to accompany my husband on a medical residency elective, and chose Connect-123 in large part because - being a large organization - they seemed well-resourced, and very experienced in placing visiting students. I wasn't sure whether my one-month opportunity would be as fruitful as my husband's, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I was taught. During my placement, he and I were able to better dialogue about hospital-based stroke care (my interest) as well as general differences in health care education between South Africa and our home country. We learned much, and were humbled by the broad set of skills/knowledge many of the clinicians in Cape Town had/have. In the end, it was one step in the direction of potentially serving a health care system outside our own in the longer-term, and seeing where our home country's system fits into the global health care community. I would encourage future volunteers to really dive in to the health care placements with a posture of humility, an eagerness to learn, and an excitement for what is - truly - a good experience. Come with a good attitude, and you'll really be rewarded. Thanks, Connect, and thanks to my host hospital.

Lauren Frank

Lauren Frank

Marketing Intern
University of San Diego
25 August 2014

My experience with Connect-123 has been absolutely amazing!  I was terrified coming to Cape Town by myself, but Connect made it super easy to get acclimated to life in South Africa. Putting on awesome events that got us out and about in the city! My expectations were far surpassed. I am not kidding when I say that Cape Town is my favorite city in the entire world. I’ve traveled quite a bit in other countries around the world and other cities pale in comparison to Cape Town. The city sits nestled in the mountains and looks out to endless oceans. There is an endless list of fun activities to participate in while here, such as jumping off the world’s highest commercial bungee jump, shark cage diving, hiking and surfing. It’s the perfect place for anyone seeking adventure. South Africa has an extremely interesting history, which you cannot escape while visiting. Also the food is incredible! The city is filled with a vast variety of markets and restaurants that are to die for!!

In terms of my work experience in Cape Town, Connect-123 set me up with the most amazing internship! I loved going to work every single day and I felt I gained incredible hands-on experience. My internship was in the exact industry I want to pursue a career in, so it was seriously spot-on! Also, my co-workers in Cape Town basically became my family there. They were definitely invested in making sure I was situated and enjoying my time in Cape Town and at work. At the end of my internship, I was offered the opportunity to continue writing for their global website once I headed back home. My internship in Cape Town will without a doubt help me professionally in the future.

Kirsten Marschke

Kirsten Marschke

Community Service Volunteer
University of Nebraska
25 August 2014

This summer I wanted to take the opportunity to do something for myself unrelated to school. I volunteered at a community resource centre helping with a summer project, which provides at-risk youth a safe and fun environment during their summer holiday. This opportunity taught me so much about myself and also about working with other people. One of the things I wrote in my application was that I wanted to emerge myself into a culture and have a chance to not only change my life, but also have a chance to impact others. This sentence puts into words my whole experience. I was constantly learning about the Irish culture working with those who know it best. I felt that I made a huge impact in the work that was done at the resource centre and my life has changed because of this experience. Connect-123 understood what I wanted and gave me an opportunity of a lifetime.

At first I was nervous to be moving to a foreign country not knowing a single person, but I don’t regret that one bit. Not only was I roommates with other Connect-123 interns, but we all lived in the same building. I made so many new friends that I will cherish forever!

Dublin is truly an incredible place. The city is beautiful, small enough to become acquainted to quickly, and the people are amazing. I am currently already planning my trip back!!

 

Maria Estrada

Maria Estrada

Fashion Design Intern
Michigan State University
19 August 2014

Coming to Spain has been on my bucket list, and I never imagined it was actually going to happen. I am a Textile and Apparel Fashion Design student, thirsty for experiences and making world wide connections that will help me later on in life, seeking a job. association who’s objective it is to promote and empower activities in the field and development of fashion design.

The internship location was equipped with specific machinery, cutting tables, and room for creativity i.e. such as working on a customized bicycle raincoat. I was able to participate in workshops and courses: pattern design, basic sewing, bikinis, underwear and baby clothing. I was able to be part of the Master class de Papirolexia de Gori de Palma, who've collaboration with Swarovski, Vans, American Apparel y General Optics. My ten-week experience in Barcelona was the perfect balance of work and play. I worked morning in the first month and afternoons the last two months, which gave me the opportunity to explore and live the local life of Barcelona.

I cannot emphasize how helpful it was to be a part of the Connect-123 program – thanks to the amazing director Lea Leavy, I was established in my housing and well equipped for my summer and internship. A casual orientation included useful resources about moving around the city as well as other parts of the country. I was extremely pleased with the internship they found for me and guidance that was given to me through out the 3 months I stayed in Barcelona, Spain.

Falihah Anisah

Falihah Anisah

Public Policy Intern
National University of Singapore
18 August 2014

Spending my first overseas internship in Cape Town for three months was amazing, and honestly I couldn't have chosen a better place. Cape Town, or South Africa generally, is rich with culture and diversity and had so much to offer to the interns. It was undoubtedly the best environment to grow personally and professionally. The process prior to this was straightforward and simple, and Connect-123 facilitated everything very well, being there for me whenever I needed any form of assistance.

Work-wise, it has certainly been fulfilling. Being keen on migrant rights back in Singapore and currently studying on War and Security, Connect-123 hooked me up with an NGO refugee centre who was an implementing partner of UNHCR. This was a phenomenal experience - one that I wouldn't get elsewhere - because it provided a raw insight into the lives led by refugees from all over Africa, who are often shunned and discriminated against, and allowed me an opportunity to interact and serve the needs of asylum seekers and refugees directly, whether it was determination of their refugee status or short-term assistance. It was incredible to see my efforts translate into direct impacts on their lives, and I was blessed to work with truly knowledgable and wise co-workers with the years of experience under their belt with regards to refugees, and who taught me so much about the situation with immigration policies in South Africa. Such a job scope can be heavy and challenging at times, but this experience helped me grow as a person, putting things in perspective for me. I was fortunate enough to also be part of a fashion show held on World Refugees' Day, empowering both South African and refugee designers.

Outside the office, the people I've met, both locals and Connectors, have made my stay even more unforgettable, and it's easy to underestimate the kind of friendships you forge over such a short period of time. Cape Town is truly a beautiful and dynamic city with so many things to do, from hiking at the various mountains to the nightlife at Long Street, and it never really stopped being beautiful. Having stayed in Cape Town for about 3 months gave me plenty of time to explore the city and even outside it as well through road trips with friends. If you ever do get lazy to plan your weekend, Connect's always there to plan group outings as well. It was difficult to leave and I'm pretty sure I left a part of me there, so I'll definitely be coming back!