Testimonials

International students and program participants share their experiences with Connect-123’s 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-123’s international students, volunteers or interns have to say! Connect-123’s blog also has great international study, volunteer and travel advice! Scroll down to view all testimonials - or filter by destination, opportunity or both.

Daniel Rutkowski

Daniel Rutkowski

Sports Management Intern
University of Vermont
23 May 2016

Finding Connect-123 was truly a blessing. I always dreamed of going to Spain and shortly after discovering this program I was standing in the streets of Barcelona. The whole application process was super easy and the program is very accommodating. They were able to find me an internship, unpaid unfortunately, that matched my desired interests. All the details of my internship were clearly laid out. I really liked that Connect-123 basically advertised me so that there were lots of flexibility in the locations I could choose from. I did my internship just after I graduated undergrad, so this process was much easier since I didn’t need to receive credit for it.

I interned at a Basketball Camp. More specifically I was brought on for my expertise as a strength and conditioning coach. My job entailed heading strength and conditioning stations, planning and orchestrating dynamic warm up and static cool down stretches, and teaching moves, correct shooting forms and proper positioning to Spanish-speaking athletes. My boss also hooked me up with other various events like an NBA tournament and a beach basketball tournament. Overall I had a blast doing my internship and working with such wonderful people. Barcelona is a magical place. My Spanish is mediocre, but I quickly picked up the slang necessary to thrive in everyday society. Once I was able to do this it was such an eye-opening experience to be immersed in such a different culture. I loved trying new foods, meeting new people and experiencing the magnificent nightlife that Barcelona has to offer. Other than that I spent a lot of time just exploring around and seeing what the city had to offer. Many days I would just take off with a map, hop on the metro and just pick a new place to see.

It wasn’t until I returned home that I really began to reflect on my journey. At the time I was living in the moment and didn’t feel like I had changed all that much. However, once I got back I quickly realized the effects that my experience had on me. I really liked becoming self-reliant. All my life I had my parents, friends, professors, etc. to lean on for guidance. Here I was thrown into a brand new environment by myself and emerged a more confident and autonomous man. Yet the biggest takeaway I had was what I learned about people as a whole. While in a Spanish-speaking country, I had to develop my non-verbal communication skills. And that I found has helped me become a better person. I now realize the importance of something as simple as a friendly smile or the inflection of my voice. These are skills that I use everyday to help build better relationships with people all around me. I can’t say that you will have my same experience, but I will guarantee that this will be a journey you will never forget.

Katie Vause

Katie Vause

Marketing Intern
International Baccalaureate, United Kingdom
13 May 2016

My 2 months in Buenos Aires were some of the most rewarding, challenging but most fun I have ever had.I’m bias but it is such a cool city to spend time in. It has a vibrant culture, and so many things to do every night of the week, but also great opportunities to relax and get to the countryside or further afield for the weekend. I loved improving my Spanish and took lessons as well whilst I was out there (which I would highly recommend to anyone, as the Spanish is different than in other countries and you can learn about some specific customs in Buenos Aires).

Connect-123 gave me amazing support in Buenos Aires, which made all the difference being in a new and different environment. From the word go, they gave me all the information to make me feel comfortable, and lots of little tips on living in Buenos Aires. Along with all the events they ran for other interns, helping set up my internship and find housing, they made my experience over there smooth and enjoyable.

I worked as a marketer for a small but growing 3D printing company. I didn’t have any experience in marketing but my colleagues were patient and kind in teaching me everything I needed to know and made me feel like a valued member of the team.I would recommend this internship to anyone who wants to become immersed in a different country and dip their toes into a completely new industry or further their existing knowledge by gaining experiences in a new environment. But the internship is about so much more than simply working. It’s about making new friends across the globe, being challenged by practicing a different language, developing and enhancing skills in an industry, and most importantly learning about a unique and vibrant culture, in which you can have so much fun!

Charlotte Ramos

Charlotte Ramos

Public Policy Intern
San Jose State University
04 May 2016

Dublin will always have very special place in my heart for various reasons. Living and interning in Dublin for 3 months flew by because I experienced so much in this short time. When I first arrived in Dublin, it certainly was a culture-shock, but more so an environment and weather-shock! Going from sunny Los Angeles to windy and cloudy Dublin certainly was a drastic change for me, but I absolutely loved it!

Connect-123 made my dream of living and interning abroad come true, and they made it a very simple process. The team made me feel confident that they would find me a placement that I would enjoy, and that they truly cared for my experience interning in a foreign country. Choosing Ireland was the perfect place for me to intern abroad, and that is all thanks to Connect-123, and the internship placement they found me.

My internship was amazing, and is what I will miss most about Dublin. I worked as an Operations Manager for a local business improvement district. I gained a lot of skills that I did not expect to, and feel well-rounded in the public policy sector from the city council’s perspective to the businesses that keep the city’s economy flowing. My job was such a great fit, and made me feel very welcome. By my second day of work my boss took me aside to talk a bit with me and see what exactly I wanted to get out of my internship, and what my interests were.

The organization really felt more like a family, and I shared so many good times with them, they took me into the team and made me feel like I had been working there for years. It was so cool to be “behind the scenes” for major events that took place in Dublin during my stay, such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and the 1916 Easter Rising Commemoration.

So, round of applause to Connect -23 because without them I would not have met so many amazing people that I will miss so much! I also recently found out that I have been accepted to three graduate degree programs I applied to, and each university was sure to let me know that they were highly impressed with my international internship, and it is a big part of why they accepted me!

Amanda Maxon

Amanda Maxon

Environment/Sustainability Intern
Catholic University of the West, France
01 May 2016

The internship with Connect-123 was a wonderful and life rewarding program. I emailed them with an initial inquiry and within a week I had all of my paperwork filled out. I am so glad I decided to participate in this program for Spring 2016 in Dublin. I was looking for an internship that dealt with agriculture which is pretty had to find when you do not have a lot of experience besides school work. But Connect-123 found me an internship with a major university in Dublin in which I was able to intern as a research assistant in the Food and Agriculture department. It was difficult at first trying to find housing and figuring out how to get around in Dublin. But with the help of Connect-123 I was able to figure out where I needed to go. The internship allowed me to gain more experience outside of work, such as participating in an otter survey in which I was interviewed for a radio program, bird ringing, and other events such as seminars and school field trips. I am so glad I took this opportunity to learn and see the world!

Deborah Carlin

Deborah Carlin

Environment/Sustainability Intern
Muhlenberg College
18 April 2016

Choosing to go abroad was one of the best decisions I ever made, and Dublin was the perfect place to do it. I was very nervous about being so far from home, but adjusting to life in Dublin wasn’t difficult at all! Everyday I would discover new things about the city and about Irish culture that made me realize how special of a place Dublin is, and how lucky I was to be there.

The internship I had was a great fit, and provided me with so many opportunities – I now have more environmental fieldwork experience, and I am able to say that I have worked with an international organization and with people of other cultures. I even gained skills I didn’t expect to, such as public speaking and administration. Connect-123 was very responsive to everything I asked for, and they made sure that I was comfortable in my internship and housing location.

Although I was only in Dublin for 10 weeks, I can’t imagine not having this experience. I have made friends and memories that will last a lifetime!

Amy Barlow

Amy Barlow

Communications Intern
Marshall University
18 April 2016

Wow! I cannot believe how fast the 2 months went. I didn’t know what to expect when I left America to fly to Ireland. I had heard great things about the people and how friendly they are. I did have some concerns traveling to Ireland but those fears vanished when I got to Dublin. I started out in a group house close to the city center but soon realized that I should be closer to my job. So I moved into a house about 20 minutes away from my internship. It was perfect.

At my internship, I soon realized the magnitude of the job and all of the work that had to be done. Luckily, my co-worker and my boss were very understanding and patient in helping me navigate my way through the job. 

I can’t thank Connect 123 enough for this adventure that I embarked on. All of the staff of Connect 123 really made it an easy transition from America to Ireland. Our Connect 123 contact also had outings for all of the students in the program to meet and get to know each other. My favorite outing would have to be the Bunsen Burgers night (even though I was late). The burgers were delicious and I met girls from all around the world.

I am sad now to leave this wonderful city of Dublin, but have a yearning to come back to Dublin and continue where I left off. I have had many adventures in this city from getting lost trying to get to O’Connell Bridge to trying to figure out the bus system. Even though, I was not here for very long all of my ventures will be with me when I return to Washington, DC, to start my next adventure….a job. I will never forget Ireland and will be back to visit soon!

Maris Quagliata

Maris Quagliata

Photography Intern
Muhlenberg College
08 April 2016

Connect-123 has really done something out of the ordinary. Not only was I able to get a well rounded internship and was helped with finding housing and the best route to work, I was also able to make some amazing memories. This group set me up with an internship at a professional photography studio, which I learned helpful skills in running a business as well as how to take pictures and how to have pictures taken of you.

Outside of the internship, Connect does a wonderful job of bringing together the other interns. We all go out on tours, trips, or even just to grab a pint. We always have fun, I've made some wonderful friends here. Dublin is a beautiful city and I'm very lucky to have had the experiences I have here because of Connect-123.

Natalie Eidson

Natalie Eidson

Health Care Intern
University of Colorado at Boulder
05 April 2016

After I graduated college, I wanted to somehow find a way to volunteer in a hospital in Spain and so I researched several organizations until I came across Connect-123. I am very glad I went with Connect-123 and would recommend them to anyone. They were able to provide me with exactly what I was looking for and were with me every step of the way. After arriving alone in Barcelona, it was very comforting to know that I had people here who cared about my safety and that I could reach out to. For instance, when I was sick the staff here was able to get me to the right place within minutes of me asking them. The rest of my stay would have been much less enjoyable without their help.

For the very beginning to the end of my stay in Barcelona, I could not have asked for a better experience. The pediatric hospital I worked at for two months was just what I was hoping it would be. Every day I was there had an impact on me and I was able to meet some amazing people along the way. Not only that, but I also gained valuable cultural experience and was able to improve my Spanish greatly. The group get-togethers hosted by the staff here were also very fun to attend and a great way to make friends. I’ve made many lasting memories and owe it to the trip that was made possible by Connect-123.

Daniela Silvas

Daniela Silvas

Marketing Intern
California State University
31 March 2016

From dealing with the culture shock to making lifelong friends, I don't regret choosing Barcelona at all. This city gave me an opportunity to learn more about myself and to grow both personally and professionally. The city has it all: beautiful architecture, famous attractions, nightlife, and all different types of food! You will find people from all over the world, share different stories and be able to travel with them.

My best friend referred me to Connect-123, and they are there with you every step of the way. From the first interview, they are able to get to know you and find the internship/volunteer program that best fits your interests. Connect-123 also offers their students meet-up events that allow us to make new friends with similar stories and common hobbies.This was my first time traveling to Europe and Connect-123 has made it so easy and comfortable, they are there for guidance and assistance whenever you need it.

Edith Muleiro

Edith Muleiro

Business Intern
University of Texas Austin
24 March 2016

My experience with Connect-123 in Barcelona was more incredible than anything I could have ever imagined. I had no expectations upon arriving in Barcelona, and soon found myself falling in love with this city and its people.

Connect-123 made sure I was comfortable, taking the time to find the right internship that would fit my interests and making sure everything went well from the beginning to the end! I felt that I had a constant support network while exploring the city. I learned so much during my internship and developed long lasting relationships with my coworkers. I really recommend this program to anyone who is exploring their interests, or looking to forward those they already know!

As for Barcelona, there is no better city to be young and curious! It's beautiful in its architecture, nature, people, and culture. Thank you so much Connect-123!

Tasha Heller

Tasha Heller

Health Care Intern
Rhodes College
24 February 2016

By the time my two months is Argentina came to an end I did not want to leave, and ever since I left Buenos Aires I’ve been aching to return. Connect-123 helped provide me with one of the most incredible, life-changing opportunities that I could have ever imagined. At the beginning I was a bit overwhelmed. Buenos Aires is a large, bustling city that is full of passion and tons of life. During my stay, my coordinator arranged my housing to be with local Argentine students, per my request, and they were extremely welcoming. I loved rooming with people outside of the Connect program because not only was I able to hang out with people from Connect-123 via the weekly programs, socials, and events but I also got the unique taste of the native lifestyle. I went to Argentina wanting to immerse myself within the culture of the people, and I certainly did.

Argentina is so diverse and I wish I could have stayed longer than two months. During that time I explored all the cafés nestled within the city, learned how to Tango, visited one of the Wonders of the World, ate an unlimited number of empanadas, and spent afternoons with friends and mate. Of course, I went to Argentina for an internship experience. My internship was one of the greatest parts of my stay. It exposed me to a new level within the career that I hope to pursue and certainly deepened my passion to reach my future goals. I am extremely thankful for the Connect-123 family and this experience that it provided me. I cannot wait to return to Buenos Aires and to meet up with all the amazing people I’ve met!

Sarah Crockett

Sarah Crockett

Business Intern
Duke University
19 February 2016

Having the opportunity to be living and working halfway around the world is indescribable. Everything is different, but it somehow still feels so normal. I work in Spanish all week. We share cultural “mate” (an Argentine “tea experience” if you will – Google it!!). I’ve made friends with the family that owns the local fruit and veggie stand down the street. That said, I still complain about the weather with my co-workers every day at lunch. I still pop popcorn and sit back and watch a movie some Saturday nights. And the parts that seemed so different and foreign when I arrived have become my favorite parts of the day. I’ve gotten used to the relaxed rhythm of life, where being late is not shamed. I’ve learned that, like most foreigners and local Argentines, I love talking about language and linguistics – how do we learn languages, how are expressions different in each language, etc. The best part about my experience in Buenos Aires is that I’m living a normal life in an extraordinary place.

I work with an NGO that focuses on providing business development aid and financial support (in the form of micro-credit loans) to women living just North of Buenos Aires. These women take what they have learned from our NGO and start up their own small businesses, selling baked goods, homemade jewelry or finding and selling fashion pieces. Every Saturday, I go to the “neighborhoods” (which is what we call them) with a mountain of local Argentine volunteers to assist these women in their economic and personal development. Not only do the entrepreneurial women impress me every day, but the commitment and love of the volunteers that show up every morning at 8am inspire me.

Connect-123 allows me to feel and be independent. I have the strength and the freedom to be on my own, experiencing my own journey that has never before been lived. At the same time, Connect offers me the support when I need it: someone to bounce my reflections off of, someone to call when I need to go to the hospital. I feel safe and supported, but I am independent. That is the best gift anyone can ask for when living and working abroad.

Alisha Webber

Alisha Webber

Social Work Intern
South College
12 January 2016

Interning abroad in Dublin taught me more than I ever thought or hoped going into the experience. Not only did I learn so many new things about my field in social work at my internship, but I learned a lot about myself and many other cultures. I got the opportunity to meet and live with people from different countries and made lifelong friends in the process.

I come from a small town and learning about how other people live around the world was so fascinating to me. I thought going into this I would only learn more about social work from a different aspect but I never thought I would learn so much about myself and I never imagined making as many amazing people along the way. It was truly a life changing experience and I will always be thankful for Connect-123 for helping me make this step forward in my life and future career! Thanks Connect-123!

Kin yi (Celine) Tsui

Kin yi (Celine) Tsui

Health care Intern
Northeastern University
05 January 2016

Before going to Buenos Aires, I had two main goals: to do well at my placement and improve my Spanish. After 3.5 months in Buenos Aires, I was able to accomplish those two goals and a whole lot more. My placement in a rehabilitation clinic allowed me to work along with occupational therapists and physical therapists. While being fairly proficient in Spanish, Argentina's Castellano surely challenged me throughout my time there. Nevertheless, I quickly learned the many slang words that the porteños (locals) use and build many new relationships inside and outside of my internship. I still keep in contact via email with one of the lovely patient I met there!

Buenos Aires is truly a beautiful city filled with wonderful food, parks, artisan and food markets, museums, endless cafes to linger around, and let me mention, more FOOD! Be careful of how much empanadas, dulce de leche or medialunas you eat because I surely gained a few pounds leaving BA. You'll meet people from all over the world, but do your best to meet the locals! One of my favorite experience there was joining a dance studio and being able to perform at one of the theaters with the locals. They surely made a difference during my time there.

Connect-123 provides you with all the information and help for your internship and your life abroad. You have everything you need at hand and it's surely up to you to make your time abroad unforgettable!

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

Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing, Brazil
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

Sports Management Intern
University of Colorado at Denver
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

Photography Intern
University of Alabama
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

Human Rights Intern
University of Texas at Austin
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!