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.

Dylan Rhinehart

Dylan Rhinehart

Rollins College
Business Intern
03 December 2015

Working in Dublin was truly a wonderful experience. The staff of Connect-123 really go out of their way to set you up with an internship that meets your desires and are very helpful. From day one upon your arrival, they make sure that you are comfortable and are immersed in your new home. Dublin is truly a fun and vibrant city. The locals are friendly and welcoming and know how to enjoy themselves. The placement the team found me was also amazing. My experience working in a well known recruitment agency throughout Ireland was greatly beneficial to my professional growth and my employment opportunities in the future. My supervisors were of great help and were patient with my development throughout my time with the company.

It is an experience that I am truly thankful for and will never forget. I would recommend to anyone else, especially students, to give Connect-123 a chance, they will not regret it.

Olivia Tornelli

Olivia Tornelli

ESPM
Marketing Intern
30 November 2015

"We are a constant experiment with unpredictable results". This sentence is from the design agency where I did my internship and describes exactly how my six months in Barcelona was. I was given a lot of responsibilities, attended meetings with clients, events outside the city and was able to improve my Spanish.

Barcelona is amazing! I enjoyed the museums, beautiful buildings and streets, beaches, restaurants, bars, parties and very good public transportation (you can go walking everywhere!). Barcelona is truly a city that never sleeps, especially during the summer. In one day you can meet people from all over the world! I can definitely recommend Connect-123's internship program and I don't have any complaints about it! It's not easy to find a job in Spain, but they found me some nice opportunities in my area in a short period of time. I had the best six months of my life, and the most unpredictable ones too! A huge thank you to Connect-123 and my program coordinator for this amazing experience.

Hasta pronto, Barcelona!

Kristen Nuttall

Kristen Nuttall

Northeastern University
Health Care Intern
30 November 2015

My internship experience in Cape Town was the best five months of my life. As a nursing student, I worked in a pediatric orthopedic hospital and learned more than I thought possible. I was able to work with the children and learn nursing skills in the wards. Additionally, I went on ward rounds with doctors, participated in a club foot clinic, and worked in surgery two days a week. The doctors and nurses I worked with were incredibly kind and went out of their way to teach me so many things. Not a day at work went by without me learning or doing something new.

Outside of work, I had the most wonderful time exploring Cape Town. It is a beautiful city with an endless amount of things to do. I hiked mountains, went to an infinite amount of food and shopping markets, visited incredible beaches, went to wine farms, surfed…the list could go on forever. I also had the opportunity to fly up to Zambia and see Victoria Falls.

Best of all, I made amazing friends who I know will be my friends for life. The staff at Connect-123 was very helpful anytime that I needed them! I felt like I could always pop up to their office if I needed questions or advice. The activities that they did for us also helped me meet other interns and explore the city. I would not trade this experience in Cape Town for anything. I am grateful beyond words for the most amazing five months that I have ever had.

Erin Ellis

Erin Ellis

University of Colorado at Denver
Sports Management Intern
17 November 2015

How can I even begin to describe my time spent in Dublin? I learned so much from my internship in Ireland in just 3 short months. I was lucky enough to work for a sports organization in Ireland, and there I had the pleasure of meeting the most wonderful people, who taught me an amazing amount about the industry that I will take with me forever. Connect-123 really made this a seamless process, and was there for me every step of the way. I had reservations at first, since it was a big step, and my first time out of the United States. However, Connect-123 made me feel very welcome and right at home.

Ireland is a place I will never forget, everyone told me that the people in Ireland would be the friendliest people I would ever meet, and I assumed that was an exaggeration. I am happy to say though, I was wrong. Everyone you meet here truly wants to help you have the best experience. I will definitely leave part of my heart in Ireland, but I will take the lessons I have learned professionally, as well as socially, with me for the rest of my days.

I can honestly say I had the greatest adventure of my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Alicia Harris

Alicia Harris

University of Alabama
Photography Intern
02 November 2015

It felt like it was just yesterday I was getting off of the plane, going through immigrations/customs and feasting my eyes on the beautiful Buenos Aires, Argentina for the first time, but it was not just yesterday. Two months ago I took a chance in a city I knew nothing about and a language I could barely understand, but none of that bothered me at all. When I got here I had a fear of getting lost, not knowing where things would be or even getting robbed, but thanks to my Connect-123 coordinator, my host mother, my fellow Connect-123 housemates and my internship supervisors, I felt at ease and welcomed. It really did get easier once I learned the standard greetings and the names of streets. I became a pro at navigating my way through the city on the local buses and the subway. 

Aside from my fears, I wrote goals down with my Connect-123 coordinator before I actually started my internship. I wanted to set the standard and be the best intern my host organization would ever work with, make long lasting relationships with my internship supervisors, network, and have a long lasting relationship with my fellow Connect-123 colleagues. To be honest I can actually say I have demolished all of the goals I set. I learned a great deal working at this filming and photography location, where big and small companies come to do photoshoots, film or shoot commercials for upcoming projects. I witnessed world-famous brands shoot commercials here. I even networked within the city and got a chance to take pictures for a famous clothing line at the Malba Museum for Micaela Tinelli, daughter of Marcelo Tinelli. It was really cool being able to shadow my supervisors because they are two hardworking women in a male dominant industry. From watching them I learned how to talk to potential clients, prepare contracts, keep up with the books for the company accountant, cater to clients when productions were happening & I even learned how to stand firm and be bold with people. In the production or entertainment industry you have to be bold, if not people will walk all over you.

I can´t begin to explain everything I did otherwise I could write like 22 pages, but truth is I will never forget the memories, the people, the places & things I have experienced here. Buenos Aires is forever embedded into my heart and in my mind. I will take these moments with me wherever I go.

Tess Freydberg

Tess Freydberg

University of Texas at Austin
Health Rights Intern
21 October 2015

After graduating college, I knew that I wanted to travel and gain more life and work experience before finding a full time job. I’ve done a lot of traveling but chose Cape Town because it seemed so different from everywhere else I’ve been.

Connect-123 helped set me up with the perfect internship and made sure I felt comfortable while I was here. I worked at a Women’s Education and Training Trust and it completely opened my eyes to the struggles that many women in Cape Town face. I got to see and learn so much and am forever grateful for the experience!

When I wasn’t working I was always busy! Connect-123 plans a lot of excursions and you can meet a lot of people if you want to. I never felt bored or lonely! Cape Town is an amazing city with such a different culture than anywhere I’ve visited. I love that there was so much to do; hike the mountains, relax by the beaches, shop, eat great food, go clubbing, endless excursions, etc. You will not get bored!

I will definitely miss Cape Town and everyone I have met!

Hanna Hard

Hanna Hard

University of Arizona
Environmental Science Intern
21 October 2015

What to say about my experience in Dublin? Honestly, I was scared to write this testimonial because it isn't possible to convey in words how magical my summer was. Upon my arrival in Dublin, I was nervous: what would my roommates be like? Would my job be hard? Too easy? How is the food? Would I get homesick? -- All of the questions you'd imagine having in a new country, I had. My worries quickly vanished. The people I met while living in the Connect-123 accommodation are now some of my dearest friends. We explored together, ate together, drank together, and laughed together every single day.

Being in a foreign city can be intimidating, but when you're surrounded by people going through the same experience, strong bonds form and nothing is scary anymore. My internship connected me with people from around the world, and everyone was very welcoming! I walked through one of the world's most beautiful universities every day, and I worked on science that I was truly interested in. It gave me valuable work experience that now feeds my success back at school. The community I joined when I embarked on my Connect-123 journey is a community of adventure. When adventurous people come together, lasting friendships are sure to be made. That is exactly what happened for me. Dublin will always hold a special, golden place in my heart.”

 Nicholas Hadjimichael

Nicholas Hadjimichael

University of Chicago
Business Intern
12 October 2015

I took part in the Connect-123 Barcelona Internship Program for two months in order to have an immersive internship experience that would inform my career path, give me a true work experience, and allow me to practice my Spanish in a city that I love dearly — and let me say that I had the most amazing time! My internship was serving as a first year business analyst at a Management Consultancy. Although I was only there for two months, I was warmly received and was given the training and responsibility provided to any first year business analyst. I was initially worried about the commitment i had taken on, especially considering my very rusty Castilian and lack of real experience, I found the work to be incredibly worthwhile and useful. In addition to strengthening my use of the language, I learned much about business consulting, business tools and methods, strategic planning, and market research. These skills became incredibly valuable to me in my following internship in Lima doing consulting and strategic planning work for a NGO. In addition, I had the privilege of working occasionally in the headquarters, located in Casa de les Punxes, which is a breathtaking Modernist building — castle, really.

Outside of work, i had the opportunity to truly get to know Barcelona and the surrounding area, having my fair share of Iberian Ham (great food is cheap there), boarding down to the beach, experiencing the awesome night-life, and exploring neighborhoods I had never been to during previous visits. The program perfectly walked the line between providing great programming and being overly structured (as many organized programs tend to be); I had the freedom to live on my own and schedule my own time outside of work, but also the ability to hang out with some of the other interns and to attend the superchulo events that my program coordinator planned. I would definitely do it again!

Roshni Bhat

Roshni Bhat

University of Miami
Health Care Intern
10 October 2015

This past summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to intern abroad in Barcelona at a pediatric hospital. Working at the hospital and living in Barcelona for two months has taught me so much about myself, my future goals, and life in general. I learned to live on my own in a breathtakingly beautiful, lively country while gaining first-hand clinical experience. While at the hospital, I would keep the patients occupied while they awaited their chemotherapy treatments, and during these times I was able to interact with the children and their families. Through our conversations, I learned so much about the European healthcare system, life in Barcelona, and beyond that, I learned what coping with cancer is like for these families.

During the internship, I improved my Spanish greatly. Due to the nature of the internship, my day-to-day schedule was entirely based around communicating and socializing with others, so Spanish was key. This experience has reinvigorated my drive and passion to become a pediatric doctor. Outside of the internship, I was able to travel on the weekends with friends from the program. I travelled to Milan, Genoa, Marrakech, Cinque Terre, Sevilla, Madrid, and Toledo. The experiences, the sights, the food, and the great company made for the best summer of my life. I will definitely be returning to Barcelona in the future!

Nicholas Portales

Nicholas Portales

University of St Andrews
Human Rights Intern
09 October 2015

From start to finish, Connect-123 helped to make my internship more than enjoyable. I felt very comfortable throughout the entire process, and the placement process was smooth and controlled! I ended up finding two great internships to keep me busy for my two months in Barcelona. I have no doubt that they will both be very valuable experience to back up my CV in the future, and I learned a lot about the world of NGOs throughout my time with both of them.

I was also able to practice my Spanish extensively, and am now completely comfortable speaking in it after having studied it for so many years. If you want to gain the experience of an internship abroad and immerse yourself in Spanish (and Catalan, of course), you should definitely participate! On the social side, there was no lack of fun things to do… the first place I went upon my arrival was to a meet-up that our program coordinator had arranged! There is definitely a good feeling of community amongst all of the program participants, and you’ll never need to worry about feeling bored, especially in a place like Barcelona where there is always something different going on.

On the whole, I 100% recommend participation if you want to have a fun but constructive few months abroad as an intern!

Alexandra Fong

Alexandra Fong

University of Southern California
Communication Intern
07 October 2015

This past summer I was a social media and marketing intern at a shoe company that produces hand-made espadrilles. We were a small team of 3, but it was a great way for me to get some hands-on experience and really connect with my two bosses. They were the most supportive and understanding bosses I could’ve asked for, and they were always there to help me when I needed it. I definitely learned a lot from this internship, such as how to set up online store accounts, how to plan events, and most importantly, how to run a small fashion company. One thing that was especially fun was being able to attend so many special fashion events around the city. For instance, my bosses gave me tickets to go to a Barcelona Fashion Week show, which was totally unexpected but so much fun!

I’m so happy I decided to join Connect-123. They did a great job pairing me up with an internship that fit my interests and were very proactive in giving me housing options. I was also able to meet a great group of students through Connect-123 who were interning in Barcelona as well. It was comforting knowing that I wasn’t alone in an unfamiliar city and it was really fun to have a group of friends to explore the city with. 
 
My summer in Barcelona has no doubt been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I gained a ton of valuable work experience, which has helped me to figure out the kind of career I want to pursue in the near future. The city itself is absolutely beautiful. The culture, the people, the nightlife and the food are all amazing. There’s never a dull moment in Barcelona. It truly is a city like no other and l can’t wait until I can go back!
Phillip Jenkins

Phillip Jenkins

SUNY
Marketing Intern
07 October 2015

I had a great experience with Connect-123 in Barcelona. My time working at a technology startup gave me a lot of insight into the way a growing international business operates. It was also a good opportunity to meet a lot of new people with different international backgrounds and expertise in different areas.

Living and working in Barcelona for the summer was a really cool experience, the city is full of life and different cultures coming together and it was awesome to be a part of it. I also had the chance to make a bunch of new friends and we all bonded over this great experience. I'm definitely glad I did the summer internship with Connect-123 and grateful for the opportunity they provided!

Jade Murray

Jade Murray

Edinburgh Napier University
Marketing Intern
25 September 2015

I seriously had the best summer ever this year and it’s all down to these guys! When the idea of an internship in Barcelona appears in your mind, it’s crazy but so overwhelming trying to figure out where to start – especially when your Spanish is no bueno. Not only did the staff at Connect-123 find me a great internship, they were always on hand with advice on housing, expenses and of course some pretty cool things to do with my time in Barcelona! My main piece of advice is to go for as long as you possibly can.

Originally I planned only 3 weeks, then decided on almost two months – but now looking back on things I really wish I had spent some more time there. I definitely had a case of culture shock when I arrived, so really don’t worry too much to begin with as it took me around three weeks to really settle in to the way of life and truly enjoy myself.

Connect-123 managed to find me a marketing internship at a travel company, where I met and worked with the best people. Marketing wasn’t really an area I had ever considered before as a psychology student, but I still managed to learn so much in my short time there.

Barcelona is an amazing place, I visited on a day trip last year and by the time I left I had said to myself “I need to move here”. It’s much more than just the tourist areas, there’s so much going on and it’s the sort of place you could just happily walk around all day getting lost down side streets. All the neighbourhoods have their own style and it really is a unique sort of place. Also if Barcelona beach isn’t doing it for you, the beautiful Sitges is just a 30 minute train ride away – a quiet little seaside town if you ever need to escape for a day. Typing this from Edinburgh, Scotland where the current temperature is really cold, I wish to be back in Barcelona where I had the best time of my life!

Levi Smith

Levi Smith

Ball State University
Veterinarian Intern
23 September 2015

Buenos Aires. Mi querido. I do not even know where to begin. Interning in the tango capital of the world was the best experience I have had in my entire life. The people, the culture, the food, the excursions, the ease of life – it was all perfect. I interned in an animal veterinary clinic in Santos Lugares, which is just a short train ride outside of Capital. My supervisor not only taught me an immeasurable amount of knowledge in regards to veterinary medicine (more than I had learned in the 7 years I had interned in the United States), but he took me on as if I were his host son. He took me to get helado with his family, helped me plan excursions, took me to la Universidad de Buenos Aires to observe classes at the veterinary college, took me to ride his horses, and helped me in any situation I stumbled upon.

The best perk for me was being able to experience the city where one of my favorite people lived and worked – Eva Duarte de Perón. The Evita Museum was only 15 blocks from where I lived near Plaza Italia. Seeing the museum and visiting the tomb of Eva Perón was one of the highlights of my trip. Before coming to Argentina, I had known of Eva Perón and her amazing life for a long time, but actually being able to be where she lived and did all of those amazing things was completely surreal. My housing was perfect. I lived in a beautiful house right near Plaza Serrano in Palermo – the bar district. It was a safe and fun neighborhood where there was ALWAYS something to do: dinner at la parilla, dance classes at La Viruta, drinks near the plaza, or get on the Subte and go to Plaza de Mayo. Everyone in the city was super friendly, always eager to practice Spanish and/or English with me. While in Buenos Aires, I was able to travel to both Iguazú Falls and Mendoza. Both of these trips were magnificent! I went to Iguazú the second weekend

I was in Argentina and spent three days exploring Misiones and the beautiful falls of Iguazú. In June, my mom came to visit and we took that opportunity to go to Mendoza. It was much colder in Mendoza, but it was absolutely beautiful. We took a half-day wine and olive oil tour, saw the city of Mendoza, and took a day tour of the la Puente de Inca, ski slopes, Aconcagua, and had a great traditional lunch at the top of the mountains. I am dying to get back to Buenos Aires to reconnect with my awesome friends, relive my time spent there, and just embrace the beautiful culture of Argentina!

Caitlin Argue

Caitlin Argue

Missouri State University
Film Intern
21 September 2015

I didn’t think it possible, but my experience in Dublin far surpassed my expectations. I had never been so far from home before, and going to a foreign country where I knew absolutely no one, I was definitely nervous. However, I ended up having an unsurpassable summer from beginning to end. Had I done this through any program other than Connect-123, I don’t think I would have had such a wonderful experience. I worked as an intern in a script and research department with a film company.

While I had initially been looking for something in the publishing industry, I am incredibly grateful for the experience my internship has given me. Before getting in touch with my host organization, I had never had any inclination in finding a career in the film industry; now, since returning home, I am actively attempting to pursue one. I learned an incredible amount from my internship, which delved further than basic research and script review into the inner workings of a successful film company. My experience also would not have been so amazing had I not been able to find such a great group of friends on day one. Staying on UCD’s campus had a long list of benefits, but being able to meet and live with other Connect-123 participants was at the top.

I was able to form strong friendships straight away, which definitely made the summer. Having never left the states before, being able to travel to three different countries, and across all of Ireland, in just three months has definitely opened my eyes, and allowed me to learn more about the world, especially Irish culture, than I could have hoped. I am so beyond grateful to Connect-123 for setting me up in an amazing city and with a fascinating internship position.

 

Krystal LaDuc

Krystal LaDuc

SUNY at Oneonta
Publishing Intern
17 September 2015

Dublin was simply unforgettable. Those 2 months quickly became a life that I could not bear leave, and Ireland quickly became home. With an incredible internship in my field, true friendships, and a lively culture, Connect-123 provided a once in a lifetime opportunity. Interning as a publications assistant, I was given the privilege to singlehandedly prepare a one-time sports anthology. This project included working closely with the publications manager, the editor, the designer, and the organization’s director. It involved compiling poetry, layout, proof reading, and negotiating copyrights from Irish and UK publishers.

The internship included everything from working on this major publication to simple office work and even to attending exclusive poetic, artistic, and cultural events through the city. The Connect-123 team worked hard to find an internship within my field that I was happy with, and I am so appreciative of all their efforts, communication, and reassurance. Along with the internship, I was housed with an incredible group of other interns, which led to memorable trips and lasting friendships. With Ireland’s landscape, accessibility, and location we were able to take several weekend trips (in and outside the country) that were easy and affordable! In such a welcoming environment, both socially and professionally, Dublin was a comfortable city with endless sites and places to discover!

This experience is truly indescribable. I have grown immensely as an individual, a professional, and a traveler. I cannot imagine my life without the people I met in Ireland and the memories I have made. It was, by far, the best time of my life. Now it’s time for you to go have yours! You won’t regret it. Cheers!

Andre Hage

Andre Hage

Michigan State University
Human Rights Intern
04 September 2015

It is not an exaggeration to say that spending time in Cape Town was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I could never have imagined the amount of perspective that I would gain in my two and a half months in South Africa. In addition to being a fantastic chance to meet new people and friends, it was also a humbling experience, as my internship in Khayelitsha township forced me to confront my own privilege.

Overall Connect-123 was a fantastic service. I always felt that the staff members were taking their jobs extremely seriously in order to make my experience in Cape Town as memorable as possible. I would definitely recommend Connect-123 to anyone who is interested in doing an internship abroad.

Alexandra Wilson

Alexandra Wilson

Colgate University
Political Science Intern
28 August 2015

My experience with Connect-123 this summer entailed making incredible friendships coupled with the internship of my dreams. I was able to put my international development studies to practical use in a country that has undergone tremendous strides in the development sector, post apartheid, and is on a dynamic and exponential trajectory.

One of the highlights was my boss flying me to Johannesburg to aid in and absorb the process of the organization rebranding. I learned more in that four-day conference than anything I could have taken in through a classroom setting. Aside from the internship, I packed incredible adventures into my trip, such as shark cage diving, bungee jumping, and playing soccer with elephants.

I will take the wealth of knowledge and friendships into the rest of my life and intend to maintain relations with the organization I interned for.

Karlene Horsfield

Karlene Horsfield

Queen's University
Geological Engineering Intern
25 August 2015

My Internship in Ireland this summer was a life-changing experience. Not only did i gain invaluable experience in my field of study, but I met friends from around the world that will last a lifetime and had the opportunity to travel and see so much of the beautiful country while I was there. As I study Geological Engineering, Connect-123 was able to find me an ideal internship position for me: A Geophysical Field Assistant. This internship was unique from many of the internships other students were doing, as the majority of it was spent doing fieldwork in the North-West of Ireland.

However, I was able to spend about 2 weeks in Dublin preparing for this fieldwork, which gave me the opportunity to explore the city, meet other Connect-123 interns, and be immersed in the incredible Irish culture. After this, I headed to the small village of Garrison in Northern Ireland where the rest of my internship would be based out of. Over the time spent here, I became very close with my project instructors and fellow interns - all from different countries or regions. The fieldwork used Geophysics to determine whether the characterization of the earth here would be suitable for Carbon Sequestration in the future. The fieldwork was physically and emotionally demanding, and it rained every day. But I loved every minute of it. After the fieldwork I was taught the procedure of data processing.

Overall, Ireland was undoubtedly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was my first independent adventure abroad (which can be intimidating), but Connect-123 always made me feel comfortable and safe throughout my time abroad. I highly recommend any students looking for experience, adventure, and travel to do an internship abroad in Ireland - I promise you won't be disappointed.

Anna Clapham

Anna Clapham

Drexel University
Human Rights Intern
22 August 2015

I will never forget my time in Buenos Aires or the people I met along the way that made those three months so special. Thanks to Connect-123 I was instantly introduced to a supportive and diverse group of young globetrotters each carrying their own stories. I had the pleasure of living and befriending people from Italy, France, Germany and all different parts of the US.

The laugh filled friendships (and empanadas) are what I cherish and miss the most. Connect also made my internship experience invaluable by linking my interests to a local NGO helping women with micro-credit services. They helped me attain my goal of improving my Spanish by being exposed to it everyday. I'm grateful to have had Connect and Paula for establishing these everlasting friendships, affinity with the Argentine culture and unique experiences.