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!