Jenny GlickmanSocial Work Intern | Cape Town
When I signed up to be a social work intern for a children’s home in Cape Town, I was hoping to gain a kind of education that my master’s program simply could not give me. I had just finished graduate school, and wanted to add some tangible “real life” time as another kind of schooling. Little did I know that my experience would provide me with a new kind of learning about social work, and so much more. I often refer to my time in South Africa as “social worker’s boot camp”, because it has been intense, challenging, and more fulfilling than I could ever dream of. I strongly urge any social worker, both those studying and those already in the prime of their careers to come here, and watch their lives and their professional experiences change forever.
I can say without hesitation that volunteering via Connect-123 has altered my entire life. I have relocated permanently to Cape Town, gotten work experience that continues to be invaluable on a daily basis, built a community of friends, and have even met my future husband here. None of this would have happened without my time in Connect-123.
Of course, I realize that I am the exception to the rule, but I can safely say that even had I gone back to the USA after the four months I originally committed to, my life and my perspective would still be immeasurably altered. When people ask me about the differences between social work in South Africa and the US, I usually say, ‘It’s like a different planet”. Unfortunately, here in Cape Town, the challenges that people are facing are proportionally so much greater than I ever witnessed at home. Socially, economically, racially, culturally—the problems are vast, they are deeply entrenched in society, and often times, the circumstances are quite dire. On my very first day of work, I escorted a girl to the local hospital for an HIV test, where we waited for hours to be seen. She didn’t speak English, and I certainly didn’t speak Xhosa. Within one morning, I was already exposed to systemic challenges, cultural differences, and healthcare issues.
My entire time as a volunteer was as intense, and I found myself on a steep learning curve. However, the joy that I saw in the faces of the girls I worked with, the laughs I had with women of all races and cultures about funny things, the hugs I saw reunited families give one another—these experiences and so many more made my time unbelievable.
In addition, the security and comfort that Connect-123 provided me made my experience even better. Knowing that I had a built in community of friends, a team of caring professionals looking after me (from fixing stuff in my flat to helping me with visa issues), and a wonderful home in a fabulous location offered a level of safety that was invaluable. Nearly two years later, some of my closest friends in the world (ranging from London to Sweden) remain those I met from Connect, probably because of the shared experience we had.
I literally cannot imagine what life would look like without having participated in Connect-123, and I am a far better social worker and person because of it.
More Reviews for Social Work Internships in Cape Town
Sarah CaplanSocial Work Intern | Cape Town
Michigan State University
14 June 2018
Living in Cape Town for two months really provided me with an immersive, cultural experience. The atmosphere in Cape Town is vibrant and lively, and I was able to gain a new perspective on what life is like outside of the US. I was able to get a full understanding of what it is like to live in Cape Town, and got to indulge in the many things the city...
Marlowe JacksonSocial Work Intern | Cape Town
Thompson Rivers University
30 March 2018
My time in Cape Town will forever hold a sincere place in my heart. As much as I would like to capture the essence of the experience into a few simple sentences, it is something only to be fully understood through being there in person. The indescribable feeling of the city is something I will never forget and will cherish for all my days. Cape Town is so much more...
Ainsleigh TothSocial Work Intern | Cape Town
13 June 2016
Cape Town is one of those amazing places that you will never quite fully understand until you live in it. It is a surprising city, from mountain side to beach sunsets to city lights, it really has anything you could want to do. Cape Town definitely is a raw metropolitan, so you must be willing to explore life outside of your comfort zone. Connect-123 provided phenomenal support leading up to...
Heather LodahlSocial Work Intern | Cape Town
University of Texas Austin
1 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. The Cape town staff was available and helpful with all my questions and concerns as I navigated through visas, housing and the internship process. I never felt...
Victoria ParkerUniversity of Kentucky | Cape Town
Social Work Intern
23 August 2012
I really enjoyed my trip to Cape Town and can say that it was one of the most inspiring, educational and life learning experiences that I have ever had. The country is beautiful in every way; the mountains, beaches and bay, people, culture, food and way of life. Beauty at its best is an understatement. I would suggest any student to look into interning or volunteering through Connect 1-2-3 if...
Ellen TeelSocial Work Intern | Cape Town
Western Washington University, Graduate
3 May 2011
My 3 months in Cape Town were absolutely amazing. Connect 123 supported me throughout the whole process – from setting up my internship to acting as a resource throughout my stay. I found that interning through Connect provided a great balance of the saying, “work hard, play hard.” My internship was a rewarding, learning experience that opened my eyes to new people and a new culture. Connect set up many...
Molly FogelSocial Work Intern | Cape Town
New York University, Graduate
22 November 2010
There are a lot of reasons why people get away and make the choice to head to a foreign country to volunteer. Although I was looking for further professional development, I was also looking to revive my passion for the field of social work, and the good work that can be done within this discipline. In the fast pace life of New York City, faces become blurred and clients can...
Karin Andersen-StortzSocial Work Intern | Cape Town
Dominican University, Graduate
23 October 2010
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”. – St. Augustine The whole of my experience in Cape Town was unforgettable! I arrived ready to complete my academic goals, experience and explore the South African culture. Fortunately, for me, I left with more than I could have planned! I worked as a Program Development Coordinator at a nationally accredited child and youth care...