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.

Abril Contreras

Abril Contreras

Tourism & Event Management Intern
University of Southern California
26 July 2014

Now 2 months after my internship, I am so happy to have chosen Barcelona as the place to live and work in. I interned for a tourism company and my job was to find new unique activities for people that visit Barcelona outside of the regular touristy things. It was awesome! I had the opportunity to try out some of these activities, my favorite one being the segway tour in the mountains. I also had the opportunity to work on my marketing skills such as blogs, social media and corporate presentations.  Connect-123 was great not only at finding me an awesome internship but also meeting other people who were interning in Barcelona as well. I met a lot of people and had the chance to get to explore Barcelona and other places with them. I am so happy so have taken the chance to build my resume and live in such an amazing city. Barcelona is so lively and there is always something to see and do.
 

Trevina Joseph

Trevina Joseph

Art Therapy Intern
George Washington University
23 July 2014

My summer in Barcelona, Spain was an incredible experience that fostered growth both personally and professionally. Barcelona was a lively city with history, art, gorgeous beaches, and fantastic music. The culture ignited an excitement in me to learn more, experience more, and meet as many people as possible. The people I have met here are from all around the world. I have made friends from Russia, France, Spain, England, and Italy that I will have forever. There is nothing like meeting a few strangers and growing closer through traveling around Barcelona. La Sagrada Familia is magical, and Gaudi’s other work around the city is equally as breathtaking. The nightlife is unreal, often times the clubs do not even open until 2 AM. The city itself was catalyst for adventure and laughter.

My internships showed me another side of Barcelona. I worked at a children's hospital and an outpatient facility for adults with mental illness. I saw a community come to support those in need. My internship showed me how Spanish culture facilitates rehabilitation for adults experiencing schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, and personality disorders. I ran an art therapy group session every Wednesday where I learned about their day-to-day lives, the stigma, the support from others, and their personal creativity. I learned how to be present and listen to those in care.

The children’s hospital taught me the importance of compassion and bringing joy to children and their families in care. In the morning I would go to children’s hospital rooms and sit with them while their parents would get breakfast or take a break. Those moments with kids ranging from a few months old to thirteen, I will treasure forever. Sometimes all they wanted was someone to hold their hand as they slept, other times I talked with them and played games. In the afternoon I would go to the chemo/dialysis unit or the child psychiatric unit. Both were so drastically different but equally rewarding. I am so grateful to have this experience to remember them by. This experience was deeply impacting and I owe it all to Connect-123! Thank you all for la vida en Barcelona!

Mark Lainoff

Mark Lainoff

Public Policy Intern
Rhodes College
22 July 2014

Fifty years from now, when you are (hopefully) peacefully retired in the place of your dreams, reflecting on your past experiences, your education, your work, your family, the friends you have made and the friends you have lost, the places you have visited and the places you will never see, what do you think will come to mind?

In my mind, I will picture Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain in the summer of 2014. I will picture my internship at an organization that actively fought to eradicate the housing and economic crisis that began in 2007. A crisis, which, in Spain, resulted in the forceful evictions of thousands from their homes, left thousands more indebted to the banks for life, and even led some to take their own lives. I will picture myself, a 22-year-old university student from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee who at first struggled with language and communication, constantly stressing over research, work and cultural awareness, but who quickly adapted to an intimate work environment, becoming truly comfortable with immersion, and having the opportunity to contribute personal, meaningful, and useful work to the fight for housing rights in Spain. All this, still being able to have an unexplainable about of fun and adventure within Barcelona, around Spain, and throughout Europe and Africa. Lea and Steve Levy at Connect-123 gave me tools I needed to make my experience in Barcelona not only a memory I could happily look back on 50 years from now, but also a contribution to the city that will forever have an impact on the livelihood of its citizens. Without the help of Conncect-123, I would have never been able to be placed at an organization that fit my exact interests and aspirations for a summer internship abroad. To anyone who hopes to look back on their time abroad with a sense of accomplishment, personal growth, and unmatchable happiness, Connect-123 is the way to go. 11 out of 10.

 

Chelsea Temple

Chelsea Temple

Economics & Public Policy Intern
Rhodes College
16 July 2014

I have always dreamed of coming to Spain. It was a pipe-dream, really, as I never thought I would actually be able to go. So, when I found out that my school was financing an internship in Barcelona through the Connect-123 program, I was dually dumbfounded and ecstatic! My eight-week experience here in Barcelona was the perfect balance of work and play. I worked for a think tank Foundation, where I worked on a research project for the duration of my internship. I wrote a (really long!) paper comparing the 2008 Global Financial Crisis's effects on employment in the European Union and the United States, and the ensuing strategies and policies proposed and enacted by the two in order to combat the high levels of unemployment. I learned quite a bit while researching and writing my paper, as well as realizing that I have a large interest in labor economics. My mornings were devoted to work, while my afternoons I spent relaxing at the beach, exploring the treasures of Barcelona, and working out. Some weekends I took day trips--Sitges, Tarragona, Tossa de Mar in Costa Brava--and I also visited Madrid. I also got to fuel my passion for being active by hiking Mount Tibidabo, Montjüic, and Montserrat. I had so many great experiences here, and I was very sad to leave--especially because I became really close with the other Connect-123 interns while living in Barcelona. I made really great friends with whom I plan to keep in touch. Thank you Connect-123, and Lea, for helping me transition into the Barcelona lifestyle, for introducing me to some great people, and for helping me find a wonderful internship. I grew a lot in my two months. I have fallen in love with this city, and I cannot wait to come back. Until then, adéu Barcelona!

 

Andres Rodriguez

Andres Rodriguez

Entrepreneurship, Management and Operations Intern
California State University San Marcos
09 July 2014

Working with Connect-123 was as easy as 1, 2, 3, pun intended! Lea, our program director, was a great point of contact from the day we e-mailed her regarding information about Connect-123, processing our résumés to making sure we were set up properly in Barcelona. Lea walked us through the process of finding an internship that was fitted to our interests and skills with the least amount of burden on our side. Upon landing in Barcelona we met with Lea, where she gave us valuable lessons in the lifestyle and culture of Barcelona. On top of that Lea set up amazing outings that allowed us to see, feel, and even taste the culture of Cataluña!

Working for a start-up has truly been an awakening experience. As an aspiring entrepreneur it has been a blessing to work under the leadership of the founder, whose ambition and determination to make his company a success is definitely contagious. What this start-up lacks in size and resources, it makes up in ingenuity and innovation.

Overall my experience with Connect-123 has been pleasurable. Time has flown by without an incident, but it’s nice to know that Connect-123 has your back.

Jude Albukhari

Jude Albukhari

Clinical Psychology Intern
Northeastern University
23 June 2014

Accurately putting my time in Cape Town into words is impossible, because however I describe my experience won’t do it justice. Prior to my internship, I was very nervous and hesitant about moving to a new continent with people I didn’t know. Fast-forward four months: leaving Cape Town was hard and heartbreaking. In hindsight, this experience has been one of a lifetime, and I am so fortune to have had this opportunity.

Working at an addictions rehab center was amazing. I wasn’t sure if I was on the right path in terms of my studies, and I wanted an experience where I could work with patients in a counseling setting. The four months I spent working at the rehab center not only assured me that counseling is something I want to pursue in the future, but also steered me towards addictions counseling. At work, I often found myself in new and unfamiliar situations that might have seemed a bit overwhelming at that point, but I was able to grow professionally and learn so much from these experiences. Moreover, working in Cape Town for four months allowed me to the chance to really take in the city, its people, and its culture. The length allowed me to really explore the city and its surroundings, without feel like a tourist on vacation. I fell in love with one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

This has been a life changing experience, one that I would repeat in a heartbeat. Thank you, Connect-123, for making it happen and being a part of it - I am forever grateful!