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.

Jiaxin Rita Wang

Jiaxin Rita Wang

University of Texas at Dallas
Marketing Intern
05 August 2015

My experience in Dublin is incredible. Working in the Guinness Enterprise Center, which is a co-working space, has given me the opportunity to know more about local companies and meet people with different expertise. Everyday I learnt something new and applied it to the projects in hand. My boss has taught me so much about marketing and the media industry. The more I learnt, the more I realize what I truly want to do for my career life.

What makes Dublin so different are its culture and people. Dublin is so international that you can actually meet people from different continents of the world everyday. People here are very friendly and make you feel so welcomed. I love music and arts and there are tons of museums, theaters and concerts; I love foods and there are tons of cafes, restaurants and pubs. Dublin is definitely one of the coolest places I have ever been to. Besides, I can take advantage of its location to travel to the stunning Irish countryside at weekends. Dublin truly is a place where you can both work hard and play hard.

Connect-123’s program coordinator Liat has offered me so much help that I could easily settle down in Dublin and enjoy the city. My internship in Dublin has been one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life. Really looking forward to coming back in future.

Sidra Shah

Sidra Shah

University of Texas at Dallas
Health Care Intern
05 August 2015

These past two months in Ireland have been absolutely amazing! From the remarkable internship placement at Ireland’s biggest pediatric hospital, Our Lady’s Children’s, to Liat’s helpful demeanor, the Connect 123 program and staff have been very wonderful and friendly overall.

I was a little hesitant coming to Dublin for the summer, and working at a hospital full time since I was only a pre-med student. However, I got to work with my supervisor, who was brilliant and kind as he allowed me to gain exposure to the surgical and anesthetic fields. I saw many surgeries on a daily basis, and saw how of Texas at Dallas all the health care providers worked together. Alongside an amazing internship, I enjoyed living in Dublin and experiencing everything the city has to offer.

UCD was a great place to live, as all the staff was hospitable and answered all of my questions/problems. I also loved being surrounded by the beautiful scenery and nature in Ireland. This trip honestly has been the most incredible experience I have had in my life so far. I grew so much as a person, a student, and appreciated being immersed in the Irish culture for eight weeks. I cannot wait to visit again soon!

Sarah Cuprewich

Sarah Cuprewich

University of Vermont
Environment Intern
05 August 2015

My time in Dublin was simply unforgettable. Liat provided opportunities to meet up with other Connect-123 interns, but it was also fun to get to know my housemates from all around the world and conquer Dublin’s exciting nightlife together. I formed friendships that I hope will last a lifetime! There was always something fun going on in the city, and spending time in the seemingly endless parks when the weather cooperated was always an option. My internship placement was also incredible.

My supervisor was very knowledgeable and always took the time to teach me anything I was curious about. It was interesting to see how another country’s environmental NGOs were handled and seen in the public eye, plus it was fun to interact with locals who were passionate about the same things I am! I learned so much in the two months I spent working, not only about my prospective career but also about another country’s culture. I’m more excited than ever to finally enter the workforce!

The country of Ireland itself is absolutely gorgeous and the people are helpful and friendly. I was never bored because of the endless trips to take, sights to see, and activities to do for any budget. I felt right at home and never felt like an outsider in a country in which I don’t belong. I’m already planning my return trip!

Isabelle Jackson

Isabelle Jackson

Columbia University
Human Rights Intern
04 August 2015

My experience in Buenos Aires was inolvidable. With the support of Connect, I experienced the rhythms of the city, its diverse architecture and neighborhoods, the porteños, delicious food (medialunas, dulce de leche, empanadas, asados, mate, and more), and made amazing friends! I fell in love with Buenos Aires. I spent two months with Connect during my gap year, hoping to work abroad and to become fluent in Spanish. I had a meaningful and challenging internship at a non-profit combatting economic crime; I focused on studying and reducing the market of human trafficking and I published reports in both Spanish and English. I learned to navigate a new language, work culture, and field of study; this invaluable experience will absolutely shape what I choose to study in college.

Connect-123 is a great organization that helped me with whatever I needed, especially when I first arrived to the city. Paula and Connect provided support but not hand holding. This gave me a chance to take risks and to grow in so many ways. I can recommend Argentina highly enough - come live, work, and travel in this incredible country filled with a passion for life, love, and fútbol. Thank you for everything, Pau! I know I'll be back to Buenos Aires.

Blake Cooper

Blake Cooper

University at Buffalo
Communications Intern
04 August 2015

Connect-123 offers a great fit for someone looking for an experience that goes beyond the traditional study abroad program. Regardless your level of experience with traveling, living or working abroad, Connect-123 can help you find your place, get acquainted with the local environment and culture and settle into an exciting new chapter in your life. I had been to Buenos Aires once before, and was looking for an experience that allowed me to use my previous knowledge of the place to live comfortably and authentically among the local population. 

Connect-123 was crucial in helping me find a placement, filling me in with vital information I didn't know from previous experience (information about things like hospitals and the city layout) and offering weekly events where I could meet up with fellow travelers in a social setting. But they were also excellent about giving me the space I needed to find my own way. It really was the best of all possibilities with Connect, and I couldn't recommend them highly enough for someone looking for a unique experience that will set you apart.

Rachelle Jacoby

Rachelle Jacoby

UCLA
Community Service Volunteer
03 August 2015

After college, I always wanted to be able to live abroad and volunteer in a cause I really believed in. After searching through many programs, I came across Connect 123 and I couldn't have been happier. Paula found me an awesome house in Buenos Aires, I ended up living with about 12 people, half Argentines and half foreigners, a perfect mix. She also found an amazing organization where I worked with children and hunger, exactly the type of organization I was looking for.

The day I arrived, I had an introduction meeting where I was given a lot of helpful information and tips about the city. Connect offered a great support system during my 6 months in Argentina, every week, they had a different activity that you could participate in. I really liked the very "hands off" feel of the organization, you could be as involved with the Connect community as you wanted. I'm very happy with how my time turned out and I can't wait to go back!

Tory Scordato

Tory Scordato

Washington University in St. Louis
Human Rights Intern
01 August 2015

Interning in Cape Town through Connect’s program has been absolutely wonderful! After working with Connect in Dublin and having a great time, Connect was the first program I looked at for an internship this summer. All the Connect staff I’ve worked with have been so friendly and have always gone above and beyond to help me with anything I need, from local restaurant suggestions all the way to fixing the TV in my apartment. They placed me at a great internship where I’ve been able to really get hands on experience in the non-profit sector. My coworkers were excited to have me join them and want me to get the most out of my time here, so right from the start I’ve been able to do meaningful work.

The program Connect-123 offers, where you get to spend more time in a city than just a normal vacation, is truly one of a kind. Living abroad has taught me so much about myself and I’ve gotten to see and do some amazing things that I might not have gotten the opportunity to otherwise. There is so much more to do here in Cape Town than I expected, from hiking and museums to wine tours and safaris. I’ve met some incredible people here in Cape Town, including locals, other students in the Connect program and people from all over the world also enjoying everything Cape Town has to offer.

Aysha Iqbal

Aysha Iqbal

University of Texas at Dallas
Health Care Internship
28 July 2015

My internship experience with Connect-123 was amazing. Being able to work in a public hospital Dublin, Ireland allowed me to experience a new country as well as gain experience in my future career path. I was able to see and do things within the healthcare field that I would not been able to do back home.

This internship allowed for me to grow both as a person and a future healthcare professional. Having the weekends off allowed for me to travel in and out of Ireland, and I got to see many different cultures. Liat was very helpful and always available which made moving to a new country a smoother experience. In fact the entire Connect-123 staff was engaging and friendly. They would have weekly events for all the interns, which helped us to make new friends.

My favourite part of the experience was being able to build new relationships with my Irish co-workers and housemates, as well as strengthen relationships with my friends who interned in Dublin as well. We all became a family and I am glad I got to share all my experiences with them. I miss Dublin already and cannot wait to come back!

P.S. – you must try the Taytos potato chips, they are the best!

Maddie Prause

Maddie Prause

Texas A&M University
Education Intern
27 July 2015

This past summer I had the privilege of interning at the Aisling Project in Dublin. First off, I I could not actually believe what an incredible summer this one became. From the best roommates and the other long-lasting friendships formed from other participants in the program, to all the exciting socials from the beginning of my stay I knew I was meant to be here.

As a youth coordinator for an underprivileged children’s summer program in the Ballymun area I worked with their Transition students around the ages of 12-15. Basically I got to attend many of field trips exploring all their beautiful country had to offer as well as promote leadership through all different types of activities. These kids quickly stole my heart and we had the best times traveling, creating arts and crafts, or doing community service. Their Irish culture made a profound impact on me and I learn things that classrooms simply could not offer.

I had an unbelievable incredible time thanks to Connect-123 for coordinating my internship as well as the lovely housing at UCD. If I could return back to my internship in Dublin I would drop everything and go right now! If you ever have the opportunity to travel abroad go go go!

Kate Nunke

Kate Nunke

University Texas Dallas
Marketing Intern
20 July 2015

I could not have asked for a better experience in Dublin. Liat was more than helpful upon arrival. I was placed in a house with a couple other Connect 123 people along with housemates from all over the world. We all got to learn about each other’s home countries.

My housemates were my best friends throughout my stay! Liat provided opportunities to meet up with other Connect 123 students during the time I was there. We always enjoyed that because we got to share each other’s work, travel, and social experiences in Ireland. My internship was incredible. I really enjoyed my coworkers and my boss. They were willing to help me learn more about PR and Marketing within their industry. I learned more than I could have imagined. It was an amazing experience to see the Irish culture within a business. I loved learning the differences between American and Irish business/marketing.

Liat was always very helpful when we wanted to take a day trip or any sort of trip within Ireland. Traveling all around Ireland was stunning. My housemates and I were very impressed by the sites. Each city we visited was very different, and it was interesting to see that within such a small country. Can’t wait to go back!

Heather Lodahl

Heather Lodahl

The University of Texas Austin
Social Work Intern
01 July 2015

My experience in Cape Town, South Africa was unforgettable! I had no idea what to expect out of the city or my internship, but I was pleasantly surprised with all of it. Connect 123 helped make my dream of an international internship a reality. Claudette was available and helpful with all my questions and concerns as I navigated through visas, housing and the internship process.

I never felt uncertain about being in a new place because the Connect 123 staff are friendly and engaging. Cape Town is a beautiful,vibrant, and culturally diverse place. I enjoyed the beach, hiking, camping, biking, and an amazing road trip on the garden route (and of course feeding elephants!). More importantly, I had a great internship at a NGO dedicated to empowering women who have experienced domestic violence. This internship challenged me and provided me with insight to the social and cultural history of South Africa and its people. I really enjoyed working with my colleagues and contributing to the quality of lives of so many women.

The people, scenery, and delicious food are only a few reasons why Cape Town will always have a place in my heart. Connect 123 is a great organization and I would recommend using their services to make your dreams a reality too! 

Simona Kipfer

Simona Kipfer

Berne Kirchenfeld University
Marketing Intern
16 June 2015

Arriving in Cape Town the Connect-123 Team welcomed me and made sure that I felt comfortable in my new home. They assured me that if I had problems or questions I could always come to them. Staying in an apartment meant meeting not only other program participants but also a bunch of locals, which is a huge privilege. It`s never gets boring, thatís for sure, and you are never on your own.

Two Days after my arrival I started my internship at a marketing & online media company. I don`t how the Connect-123 Team managed it to find the perfect internship for me, but they did. I wasnít so sure about what I wanted to do so I told them that I am quite open and somehow they found something that matches perfectly with my interest. I love working here and I am sure that this internship furthers me in previous jobs. As I did my journey to South Africa straight after High School, I have no working experience and you can`t imagine how much working, but also life experience I gathered by doing this. Besides working you can undertake a thousand things around here because Cape Town offers mountains, beaches, city enjoyments, nature reserves-everything that your heart demands. Everyone but me is really in to hiking, but this beautiful mountain landscape attracts even me.

Another advantage is the nightlife, besides the vibrant clubs and bars there is a lot going on like Jazz Festivals, Art Festivals, carnival and MANY braais. I will never forget this experience because it brought me one step closer to understanding our world.

Nothing is more exciting than foreign cultures and lifestyles and you can only get to know them by travelling. People always say that you are never too old to travel but you are never too young either!

Siena Fabiano

Siena Fabiano

Loyola University New Orleans
Health Care Intern
25 May 2015

"Wow! I have so much to say. I have never had such an amazing experience than living and volunteering in Barcelona, my favorite city in the world. Give yourself about two or three weeks to get settled in and then you can truly recognize what an unbelievable city Barcelona is. From the famous Catalonian tapas to the beautiful beaches, Barcelona is enriched with so much culture, diversity, and just the coolest people. There are so many fun things you can fill your days up with there. I am dreaming of going back now while writing this. It is also the perfect place to be situated for traveling to different parts of Europe. Everything is only a few hours away!

Connect-123 set me up with the most awesome volunteer opportunity at the children's hospital.The staff and all the patients turned out to be the most kind and patient people. I was immediately welcomed by an array of volunteers that showed me around and explained to me what different things I would be helping out with. The best part of the whole internship was the kids. Even though the language barrier was a tad difficult the kids were just so happy to have someone hanging out with them playing games. I was truly in awe of how high the kids spirits were no matter their circumstance. Their laughter and smiles were totally infectious making me leave the hospital everyday glowing with happiness.

My whole experience here let me step back for a minute and re-evaluate my values and outlooks on life for the better. I am so extremely fortunate and grateful to have this experience, and I thank Connect-123 (and Lea of course!!) for helping me set everything up.

Overall, I loved my time in Barcelona and would go back in a heartbeat!"

Ivy Lee

Ivy Lee

Northeastern University
Photography Intern
19 May 2015

I’m finding it very difficult to describe my time in Dublin. How can you put four months of incredible experiences into words? I have made some very good friends and seen breathtaking places. This internship has truly allowed me to expand my horizons by placing me in all the new experiences.

From traveling to work, everyday was filled with opportunities to learn and grow. It’s a scary thing to travel to a new country, knowing no one, and starting a job, but thankfully I had Liat there to guide me. She eased my nerves about my new internship, and being away in general, by showing me around and giving me advice about Dublin, and my new job. She even put together events with other Connect 1-2-3 interns that allowed me to meet some of my now very good friends. Most importantly she helped place me in an internship with Edmund Ross Photography, where I have spent the last four months working with phenomenal people, and expanding my knowledge on the field of photography.

It’s not often that someone gets this amazing opportunity to go abroad, work, travel, and have as much fun as I have had, so thank you so much to Connect 1-2-3 and Liat for giving me this once in a life time adventure.

Veikko Schepel

Veikko Schepel

Utrecht University
Environment Intern
28 April 2015

After finishing my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences last Summer I decided to take a gap year to explore life outside of university. A few goals I had were to learn Spanish, visit and travel in South America and gain some work experience. By taking an internship via Connect-123 in Argentina I was able to combine all those goals.

During my stay I helped in developing an ecological campus South of Buenos Aires. In my time there I learned a lot about the practice of creating a completely sustainable campus which was a great addition to my theoretical knowledge on sustainability. One of the highlights was building a bicycle driven laundry machine to wash our clothes in, which turned out really well! Connect-123 did a great job in connecting me with an internship and organization that not only suited me, but also challenged me and helped me grow on a personal level.

Over the past months I have not only vastly improved my Spanish, but also been able to experience and participate in the everyday life of locals in rural Argentina. The personal support given by Connect-123 after my arrival in Buenos Aires was helpful in getting to know the city, and finding my place in completely new surroundings. If you want to get to know another country and yourself better, this might be a good place to start!

Shanley Porter

Shanley Porter

Santa Clara University
Marketing Intern
27 April 2015

I loved my experience in Buenos Aires with Connect 123! Connect made me feel welcome right from the start and provided  amazing and authentic cultural experiences the whole way through. While I made many local friends, it was fun to have a local connection right from the start and the support that you need when you're living away from home. 

My internship was very hands-on and taught me a lot about myself and what I want to do for a career. It was challenging, fun and valuable; I'm taking the skills I learned in Buenos Aires with me to look for jobs in San Francisco. 
 
While you're abroad, remember to take time to travel, try new food, and enjoy your time living in a foreign country- it will be the best experience you will ever have!
 
Daniella Emami

Daniella Emami

Northeastern University
Youth Development Intern
27 April 2015

I am forever grateful to Connect-123 for finding me my absolute dream internship here in Cape Town, and for giving me the opportunity to work at such a special, impactful organization. I worked at a local youth development nonprofit, doing monitoring and evaluation as well as research for the organization.

I was given an immense amount of responsibility right from the get-go of my internship, which is something that defined my entire experience. I was constantly affirmed and supported at work, and I know I am leaving Cape Town with a true family and amazing friends. This city and this country will always be in my heart, and this experience will always be in my memory.

I would recommend an internship with Connect 1-2-3 to anyone in a heartbeat!

Rebecca Sims

Rebecca Sims

Lewis-Clark State College
Media Intern
24 April 2015

My time in Dublin was unforgettable. I was unsure of moving to a brand new place where I didn’t know anyone, but I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out. From the moment I stepped off the plane I felt comfortable and happy. Connect-123 set me up with a fantastic homestay where I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

My first day in Dublin, Liat showed me around the city and helped me find a bus route to my internship. She was also great about taking all of the inters to fun places and giving advice on things to see and do. Connect-123 set me up with the best internship I could have asked for. I had been wanting to gain more experience in the film world, specifically as a production assistant. That is exactly what I did among other things. I worked on several short films and added projects to my resume that I’m truly proud of. I had the opportunity to see things and meet people that I never could have otherwise.

Connect-123 did an incredible job at setting me up with exactly what I was looking for and helping me make memories I will hold on to forever! 

 Laurence Clarysse

Laurence Clarysse

University of Antwerp
Business Intern
07 April 2015

I have been in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 5 months and as my supervisor would say: ‘It was a one in a lifetime experience!’

I studied Industrial Engineering and am interested in the 3D printing technology. When I applied with Connect-123, I expressed my interest in the technology but also told them that an internship in a design company would be okay. I never taught the team would be able to find me a company who was involved in 3D printing seen the business is still new and growing, especially in Argentina. After a few weeks, Paula sent me the confirmation that she found a company. They did exclusively 3D printing! I couldn’t believe it! For 4 months, I had an internship in the perfect company for me. It was a small team with all young and ambitious people who did everything to make my stay go perfectly and pleasant! I was able to gain so much work experience.

Buenos Aires is the most enjoyable and ideal city! I lived in the Palermo neighborhood in ‘la casa naranja’ where I had the best roommates. The nightlife is crazy! I can honestly say that during the night, it is more crowded than during the day! The locals are so friendly, helpful and always happy. My Argentine- friends were the best! During my stay, I backpacked during a month in Peru and Bolivia. I met up some friends from home in Bolivia to visit La Paz and climb the Huayna Potosi Mountain. After that I joined my roommates from Buenos Aires to visit Lake Titicaca, Cusco and of course Machu Picchu. Beside my month of traveling, I visited Mendoza, Bariloche, Iguazu, Mar del Plata and Uruguay. Also, I recommend everyone to go to San Antonio de Areco to have an asado with the gaucho’s, visit an estancia and do some horseback riding. It has been an insane and unforgettable 5 months!

Thank you Paula and Katie to help making this such a nice experience!

Britney Lardner

Britney Lardner

Oklahoma State Univeristy
Education Intern
27 March 2015

If you're looking for adventure, work experience, and building lasting connections with people literally around the world, then Connect123 can make your international goals a reality. My volunteer-based internship consisted of other people like myself from other countries looking to gain experience working with youth programs. I have had the honor and priviledge of working with some amazing people, residing from the following countries: Caymon Islands, Wales, Germany, France, Nigeria, other states within the US, and of course, Ireland.

Reflecting on personal experiences, I have truly been able to maximize my awareness and understanding for cultural diveristy, inner-city youth programming, and I was also able to expeience living with a host family (which I highly recommend because living outside of the city and having breakfast and dinners taken care of is a plus, and the company is un-matchable!). I got the opportunity to work with an afterschool programme that engaged me in working with the young people of Dublin, help continue the efforts on their food security initiatives, and learn what true Irish hospitality looks like. With the land of Ireland being the size that it is, traveling to other cities throughout my stay was incredibly easy, and it's a great way to experience the Irish countryside, and meet new people.