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.

Manny Tulumaris

Manny Tulumaris

Finance Intern
George Washington University Graduate
27 January 2014

My several months in Buenos Aires, Argentina were an incredible experience that allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. As a recent college graduate with a degree in Finance and Spanish, this was a perfect opportunity that allowed me to transition into life after graduation. As a former Division I athlete, spending a semester abroad was never an option, but I was convinced it was something I needed to do. Fortunately, my work abroad experience turned out to be even more rewarding that a semester abroad could have been.

Using Connect-123's impressive professional network I was able to find the perfect internship experience working at a brand new venture capital fund under the guidance of an experienced entrepreneur. The work I did was highly rewarding and absolutely fascinating as I was able to meet countless ambitious entrepreneurs and analyze close to a dozen radically different companies. This has carried over seamlessly back into the US, as I have received some great attention from prospective employers as a result of this experience.

Living in Buenos Aires also enabled me to experience the incredible porteño culture, gain a high level of Spanish fluency and forge several strong friendships. I was also able to take several weekend trips to world-famous destinations such as Mendoza, Iguazú Falls, and Punta del Este. I experienced so much in less than four months, that I feel as if I gained at least a year of valuable life experience. I owe a great deal of thanks to the Connect-123 staff for making this all possible!

Ilana Haimes

Ilana Haimes

Engineering Intern
University of Wisconsin, Madison
25 January 2014

I went to Barcelona for three months to take a productive break from university. I chose Barcelona because I had travelled there once before, for only two days, and I promised myself I would go back for a longer period of time. I was placed at an amazing internship by Connect-123. I worked for three months as a GIS Intern for a freelance engineer, at a coworking space in Gracia, Barcelona. Before I was placed in my internship I knew very little about coworking spaces, but as a part of my assigned tasks, I was able to help in the startup of an organization of coworkings - a practice I found very interesting. My internship was multifaceted. A another part of it, I was given the opportunity to learn GIS software and with that new knowledge, I made maps of Gracia, Barcelona as well as a map for a tourists with routes from their touristic flat to major sights nearby. Seeing my maps printed, and presenting them on my final day at the internship was so incredibly rewarding.

While I spent the weekdays at my internship, I devoted the weekends to seeing as much as I could. I took advantage of the travel deals and discount airlines I could find and went for weekend trips to Belgium, Morocco, the South of Spain and Gibraltar, Portugal, and Andorra. In each of the places I travelled, I met people in my hostels to tour with and go out on the town. I found that it was super easy to make friends in the hostels, as we all had something in common - we love to travel. My favorite of the trips was to Marrakech, Morocco - although I got very sick (be careful what you eat), Morocco was the one place I knew I wanted to visit while abroad. The other trips I based on the input of the people I met abroad. Everyone around me and at my internship was very helpful with travel advice.

Taking time off from school to intern abroad is very likely one of the best decisions I have made. I learned a lot at my internship as well as while traveling. I gained experience I never would have otherwise.

Ali Ball

Ali Ball

Social Work Intern
University of Missouri
06 January 2014

My time in Dublin was a life-changing experience. For a long time, it has been my dream to travel to Ireland and when I stumbled upon Connect-123, while doing Internet searches for internship abroad opportunities, I knew that dream would finally become a reality. As soon as I submitted my application, Connect-123 started making my dream come true. The coordinators helped me every step of the way, throughout the process. When looking for internships, I wanted to find something that allowed me to work with children who had autism, but when talking to Connect-123, I was not sure if that would be possible. Connect had never placed an intern in an autism center before, but they would do what they could to find a perfect place for me. After some time, Connect-123 found the perfect internship for me at a preschool for children who have autism. With that news, I was thrilled to start my adventure and life-changing experience in Dublin, Ireland.

While in Ireland, I was able to not only explore Dublin, but also much of Ireland. I spent every weekend traveling to different parts of Ireland-Giants Causeway, Belfast, Cork, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, and so many other beautiful wonders of Ireland. Through different events Connect coordinated (drinks at local pubs, 4th of July BBQ, etc.), I was able to meet other Connect interns and from that, I found people to travel around Ireland with and explore Dublin with. While in Dublin, I became a more independent person and was introduced to the Irish culture. My zest for travel was met through interning in Dublin. For the month I was in Dublin, I loved every minute of it. I am so thankful for the assistance I received from Connect-123 and for the wonderful internship they found for me.

After my time in Dublin, I have made up my mind to work with children who have autism, as my future career. I enjoyed everything about the preschool and the children. I met wonderful people at my host organization and discovered more about myself. Because of Connect-123, I was able to have an amazing experience!

Tara Opalinski

Tara Opalinski

Research Analyst Intern
Northeastern University
01 January 2014

Barcelona is the place to be-between its people, tapas, countless outdoor plazas, beautiful scenery, beaches and nightlife-there is something for everyone. My decision to go live and work in Barcelona was last minute. I was offered two internships, but the one I chose pertained to my career path most and was in the heart of Barca. I cannot emphasize how helpful it was to be a part of the Connect-123 program. I had transportation from the airport and the director, Lea Levy, was at my apartment less than an hour later to greet me, make sure I was settled and explore the neighborhood with me to get my bearings. I was able to make friends immediately through the program and eventually, as we made local friends, it felt more like a city we belonged to. I also continued daily activities I would normally do at home, like going on daily runs through the city and having coffee at the same local shop, (where I eventually became a ‘regular’). The think tank I worked for opened a lot of doors to build my professional career. I was able to complete a full report regarding economic relations between the EU and the US (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), in which a shorter version was published through the organization I worked for, as well as a Barcelona E-journal. In addition, I was able to network with people in the Barcelona European Parliament, a few NGO’s and think tanks and even conduct interviews with the Trade Spokesman and a think tank researcher in Brussels. I grew professionally and personally through my experience in Barcelona, I only wish it had lasted longer. You will not regret your decision to go to Barcelona, if anything you will want to stay longer and then look for job opportunities so you can go back.

Bridget Haley

Bridget Haley

Medical Research Intern
University of Illinois
25 November 2013

Living abroad in Dublin was an incredible, life-changing experience. I spent three months there, but it was so hard to leave at the end, that I wish I could have stayed longer. The whole experience was very smooth right from the beginning. Connect-123 found me the perfect internship, performing research on the childhood cancer neuroblastoma at the University College Dublin. I didn’t have a whole lot of research experience before arriving, but everyone there was so friendly and willing to teach me, that I learned so much more than I could have imagined and feel more prepared for a future career in medicine.

In addition to exploring Dublin, I was able to travel around Ireland and other European countries. The scenery was so spectacular that I literally had to pinch myself to know it was real. Coming from Chicago, Dublin was a smaller city, but its charm and friendly people made me feel so at home. It has a rich history, great nightlife, and there was always something new to do and see. The Connect-123 events helped me get acclimated to the city as well as meet some great, life-long friends that I still keep in touch with. This was absolutely the experience of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to go back. I would recommend this internship and the opportunity to travel to Dublin to anyone and everyone!

Laura Messenger

Laura Messenger

Human Rights Intern
Kenyon College
18 November 2013

I was fortunate enough to spend my summer interning in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a undergraduate Spanish major, my main goal in my travels was to improve my fluency. Little did I know that my Connect-123 experience would not only improve my Spanish, but would expose me to a life-changing internship opportunity and incredible friends.

Though I was only in Buenos Aires for two months, Connect-123 offered me the chance to intern at an anti-human trafficking organization. As part of my internship, I researched the cases of girls who had gone missing in the past year and found the contact information for the relatives of these girls. I interviewed these family members in order to create a database for my organization, which was used to assist these families with legal proceedings and help them find support systems with other families.

This was a truly eye-opening experience. My internship in Argentina is what made me want to pursue a career fighting for human rights, especially in terms of fighting human trafficking. Not only was I able to immerse myself in the rich and fascinating culture of Argentina, but I was able to discover a part of myself while doing so. I made amazing friends, figured out (eventually) how to use the Buenos Aires bus system, and felt like I was making a difference with each day that I interned, all thanks to Connect-123.