Nick Boccardi

University of Pennsylvania | Buenos Aires
Business Intern
13 August 2012

I could not have been more satisfied with my abroad experience.  When I reflect on everything I’ve accomplished in just two months, it is amazing how much I’ve grown personally and professionally through the Connect-123 program.

What sold me on Connect-123 was the flexibility of their program.  They truly build the experience from the ground up around your needs.  I knew my needs and desires were very specific: I wanted to intern only for June and July while testing my Spanish abilities in a practical environment rather than a classroom setting.  Other companies I considered made me feel like I had to sacrifice something, but with Connect-123 I didn’t have to sacrifice anything. I was very honest with the staff about what I wanted to get out of the experience, and the staff made a genuine effort to get to know me and my needs.  As a result, I was placed with both a homestay family and internship that fit my needs perfectly and made me feel right at home.  The family I stayed with adopted me as one of their own and included me in their social plans.

In Buenos Aires, I worked with a venture capital firm doing marketing research and competitive analyses on new markets.  Because the office was intimate, I never felt out of place, and if I ever had questions, I was never afraid to ask.  My coworkers were friendly, patient, and willing to teach me anything they could about the industry and what they did within the company.  Not only did I learn so much from my coworkers, but I also felt the impact of my day to day work contribution, within the company.

Interacting with other program participants is another highlight of the program.  Connect-123 participants are diverse in every sense of the word, and it was a pleasure to spend two months with them.  I’ve made new friends from all over the world, all of whom had different reasons for being in Buenos Aires.  Everyone took advantage of the city however they wanted.  I’ve met people who were pursing undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and were in between jobs and traveling, and there was so much to learn from all of them.

The Connect-123 support system is very strong.  After my initial phone call with Katie, I felt like she understood me well and that I was in good hands.  She walked me through every step of the process and made planning my trip very easy.  During the trip, I asked Paula for recommendations on how to plan my trips to Iguazu Falls and Colonia, Uruguay.  With the information she gave me, the trips basically planned themselves (thanks, Paula!! =D).  Weekly Connect-123 events also help bring program participants together while getting to know the city and Argentine culture.  The program is very well organized and is very open to feedback and suggestions.

Just want to give a special thanks to Katie, Paula, and Vanessa for all of their help in making my abroad experience better than I could have ever imagined!

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