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.

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!!