Cat Boland

Child Life Intern
Appalachian State University
14 December 2010

How do you begin to describe an experience that has changed your life forever? To say that my experience in Cape Town was “life changing” doesn’t really even begin to scrape the surface. There are simply no words to describe the beauty of the city of Cape Town or the beauty and love that seeps through every wall of the Red Cross Hospital. I have never in my life worked with such a committed team of people as the faculty, volunteers and Child Life Specialists I had the opportunity to work with during my time at the Red Cross. The never ending dedication to advocacy and the care of the child as a whole was inspiring to say the very least. These women will continue to shape my life both professionally and personally long after my departure from Cape Town.

Often in my life I have found that the days seem to march by so quickly without my notice or reverence to the date or time or day of the week that they are gone long before we have the chance to stop to say hello. Looking back on my time in Cape Town I wonder what happened to the last three months, how did they disappear so quickly? The weeks on my calendar seemed to fly by so fast that I could never seem to keep up! Yet each day brought something new into my life; be it a new challenge, a new lesson, a new friend, or a new adventure, my life was constantly filled with moments that taught me more about myself and my field of study than I could have ever imagined.

I cannot even begin to attempt to regurgitate all of the lessons I have learned in the last few months here and now…. but one goal I work towards daily is to slow down more often, to take a deep breath in and remember what a blessing each day truly is. Today, I force myself to pause and take a long deep breath…remembering the moment, remembering the day, remembering the date. During my time at the hospital I was reminded on a daily basis to pause more often in my life and give thanks. I try to remember to take the time to breathe in the beauty of each day no matter where I might find myself, be it South Africa or the US.

During my time in Cape Town I was given the opportunity to attend a bereavement conference where I had the opportunity to listen to Durban born local poet Malika Ndlova perform one of her pieces. Every word she spoke held such strength and gravity that I could almost see it dripping out of her mouth, slowly falling down and out into the space around her like water flowing from a faucet. The poem began with a description of the human form that held such strength and power for me: we are light beings.  Malika slapped her chest, her legs, her head, and her arms and stated, “We are so much more than this… this body, this life, is simply a veil… we are born to bring light… we are light beings, portals of love, makers of peace, creators of beauty…”

Every day at the hospital was filled with new challenges and new struggles for me, some days were harder than I could have ever imagined. The first day I stepped into the treatment room on the Burns Ward was one of those days but within minutes the children on the ward changed everything. Even the hardest of days were often coupled with joy and light in some way even if it was just taking a moment aside to hold and sing to a child. It is in those moments that I was reminded of the power we have to make a difference (in whatever we do) in just one moment, in just one hour, in just one day. The children that I had the opportunity to work with at the Red Cross have and will continue to be little portals of love in my life. They brought so much light and beauty into my life that I am forever grateful to each and every one of them.

My time at the Red Cross was an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. More than anything, working at the Red Cross confirmed for me that the path I have chosen for myself is without a doubt the right one. My life in Cape Town can be summed up with one word, love. Love for the people, love for the place. The country of South Africa and the city of Cape Town are so alive that it is impossible not to find something to do be it hiking or simply sitting on the roof of Perspectives watching the sunset with good friends.  All I can say in the end is thank you to everyone that I had the opportunity to spend the last three months of my life with; you have made my life richer in more ways than you can ever imagine. See you next time Cape Town!

Back to all reviews
More Reviews for Other

Danielle Michaels

Dietetics Intern | Cape Town
Michigan State University
17 August 2017

Spending the past few months interning in Cape Town has been such an amazing and fulfilling experience. My nerves of being so far away from home quickly faded after meeting the Connect-123 staff, they were incredibly helpful and really have a way of making you feel welcome and accounted for. During my time here I worked as an assistant dietitian for a non-profit organization. I learned so much while also...

Clarice Brambilla

Nonprofit Fundraising Intern | Cape Town
King's College London
14 August 2017

My two-month internship in Cape Town was by far one of the most fulfilling, satisfactory and productive time of my life. What I value most about my Connect-123 internship is the fact that I was assigned a task I had no experience in: fundraising. My original goal was to do an internship in which I could help make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children, but I didn’t know exactly what I could do...

Feyi Awofala

Architecture Intern | Cape Town
Rugby School, UK
17 March 2017

My experience in Cape Town from start to finish was amazing. From the first day I was welcomed with such warmth all the Connect-123 staff were so kind and helpful. From organizing great events and activities to being a constant line of support and advice. Yet most importantly my internship was valuable and I really appreciated connect finding me a great internship with a very well respected architect like Andy...

Amirul Aniza

Engineering Intern | Cape Town
National University of Singapore
27 February 2017

It is no doubt that Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places on this planet. I fell in love with the place at first sight and was truly lucky to have been given the opportunity to intern in the city itself! My program coordinator was very efficient in securing an internship position for me, with a leading university, as a research intern. She also assisted in administrative tasks which allowed...

Ray Lau

Architecture Intern | Cape Town
Northeastern University
15 December 2014

Working in Cape Town has been an unforgettable experience. Not only have I had the opportunity to pursue my passion for architecture but also to be exposed to a new and vibrant culture. This is my first time living in Africa and the past four months living in Cape Town has allowed me to dive deep into the local culture and explore hidden gems that range from drinking the best...

Lawrence Barchok

Economic Policy Intern
Harvard University
7 December 2010

I think trying to summarize my time in Cape Town in a few paragraphs, would only do some injustice to the incredible, rewarding and memorable experience that I had. But I don’t have any other option. It all started out in January this year when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do over the summer. A career officer at my school led me to Connect...

Veronica Salas

Child Life Intern
California State University, Graduate
24 August 2010

I was born in Durango, Mexico and I am a Child Life Specialist with a BA in Child Development and a specialization in Hospitalized Child from California State University, Los Angeles. Making the world a better place; this is something that we may all want to accomplish. As a Child Life student in Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital I had the opportunity to work in the ICU/Burn Rehabilitation unit....

3.236.221.156
United States
US
Ashburn
Virginia
VA
North America
NA

Barcelona, Cape Town & Dublin onsite programs are now open!

Have a life-changing internship experience aligned with your interests in Barcelona, Cape Town or Dublin!
Learn More
close-link