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.

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.