Alex and Jessa Stevens

Microfinance Intern and Graphic Design / Education Intern | Cape Town
South Methodist University
15 December 2009

My wife, Jessa, and I had the unique opportunity to move to Cape Town after graduating college and getting married (we were busy!). Through Connect-123 we were both able to find internships that fit our skill sets, personatilies, and interests.

Jessa worked for an organization that spent time after school teaching kids the importance of education, physical fitness, and social responsibility. While working in one of the most beautiful places in the country, she got to interact daily with kids who lived on wine farms. Her mornings were spent designing brochures, invitations, and presentations for the organization. She also planned out math lessons for the after school program. In the afternoon, she met with kids at the farm schools for an hour of education and homework followed by an hour of sport. Being an advertising major and an athlete in college, this internship was a great match. Jessa learned a lot about the South African culture from both the women at the office as well as the students. She even picked up on some Afrikaans. One of her favorite projects was coming up with a skit for the annual Christmas play that the children act out for local nursing homes.

I had the unique opportunity of working for a non-profit microfinance consulting firm. I graduated with a degree in finance and was very interested to see how micro finance worked in the real world! Overall, I was very impressed with the amount of responsibility given to me during my internship, especially compared to some of the internships that I completed in the US. The company that I interned for expected me to make a meaningful contribution to the office, and allowed me to use some of the skills that I had coming out of college to help them out. I was able to learn about micro finance “from the ground up” when I walked around a South African township with one of the bank’s loan officers and experienced what their loan application / collection process was like.

I was also given the opportunity to do research and contribute towards many of the documents that we prepared for clients. The highlight of my internship came towards the end when I went to work at one of our client’s offices and help them improve some of their processes. It was great to have a chance to  get out of the office and work face-to-face with the clients.

Overall, Jessa and I were very happy with our Connect-123 internships and would recommend it to anyone interested. It was great to have a place to intern abroad and a community of people to experience it with.

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