International students and program participants share their experiences with Connect-123’s 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-123’s international students, volunteers or interns have to say! Connect-123’s blog also has great international study, volunteer and travel advice! Scroll down to view all testimonials – or filter by destination, opportunity or both.
If you are searching for a sign, this could be it. It has always been a dream for me to see the well-known Sagrada Familia in real life and before I know it, I was right at the foot of the history-in-the-making. My experience with Connect-123 has been nothing less than spectacular! The application process was really easy and fast. I was really impressed by the level of energy they have in initiating regular meet-ups and events for the group of Interns & Volunteers in Barcelona. I no longer need to depend on “Trip Advisor” or search for tourism suggestions as Connect-123 team is constantly suggesting various events and festivals that we can choose to go via a common Facebook Group. What is more heartening is that they will listen to your interest and henceforth look out for any related activities.I chose to intern at an architecture firm which was an eye-opening experience. Within just 2 months, I am closely involved in 4 projects and even a chance to manage the company’s portfolio website. One of the projects was a submission for local a competition and the adrenaline rush during that period was pretty unforgettable. It’s working hours are very flexible and as long as I am done with the work assigned, I can leave as early as 4pm. Hence, I was able to do a little bit of exploration around Barcelona on my own, discovering random places and people around. Every day is unpredictable and there is always something to look forward to. The only difficulty I faced was probably the language barrier, as I do not speak Spanish or Catalan. Hence, there are certain moments when I wished that I learned Spanish before coming over to Barcelona. However, the people there are really nice and always try to translate whatever they were saying in English. Overall, I am really glad that I signed up for this! My term break has never been so productive yet enjoyable at the same time. Barcelona has taught me many valuable lessons in balancing between work and life. I enjoyed every moment in the streets of Barcelona as I witnessed every details of the remarkable architecture! Hence, for those who are still considering, wait no further to click that sign up button because it will bring you to whole new adventure!
My internship at Shanghai was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in my life. Firstly, a big thank you to Connect-123 for speedily setting everything up and allowing me to not have to worry about anything. At my request, Connect-123 arranged this internship for me within the short duration of 2 weeks. My internship was at an international private hospital in Shanghai. At first, I assumed this internship would just be a long shadowing experience with just shadowing day after day. However, at the hospital, they arranged for me jobs according to my skill and allowed me to learn a lot more than I would have in any other hospital. Everyone was so welcoming and open, and the doctors were all very patient with me (they would explain every case and have a discussion with me after every visit). I also was able to shadow some surgeries while I was there, which were also great to watch. But most of all, I think what is great about the hospital is as long as you're eager to learn and show them your passion to learn more, they definitely will accommodate your desires. (Lunch was also super cheap, filling, and delicious.) Outside of work, the Connect-123 team was also very helpful and would set up weekly trips and dinners. I got to know some of the other interns, and you would be surprised at the variety of people and internships you'll see there. Shanghai is a very vibrant and exhilarating city with lots to explore (and eat), so you definitely won't be bored as long as you're willing to get out there. Thanks again for this invaluable opportunity, Connect-123!
Connect-123 was a great experience! I got the chance to experience life abroad, in the beautiful setting of Barcelona, where I could practice my Spanish and get great work experience. I learned a lot about non-profit work and working in a different setting!
There’s a fine line many undergraduates like to walk along: traveling and working on something relevant to their major. Most end up doing one or the other. Connect-123 not only makes both possible, but also makes the experience seamless. Yes, you have to fill out a number of papers, but I can’t imagine anybody looking back and thinking, “man, Dublin would’ve been so much cooler if we didn’t have to fill out those applications.” Pick from any of Connect-123’s cities, tell them what you’re interested in, and sit back and relax. My coordinators kept me well-informed about what they needed from me, when a new offer came in, how to use the bus system, where to get groceries, etc. There was barely a moment of confusion during my internship experience.My internship consisted of working in an Astrophysics Research Group at a leading Irish university with six Ph.D. students. I studied the effects of solar storms on earth’s magnetic field. As it turns out, my coworkers were some of the best people I met during my experience. Often, we would stay afterhours to play games, or on lazy Friday, during hours. You might find the European work ethic appealing. That isn’t to say that work was easy. At times, I found myself unable to find the flaw in my coding algorithm. Fortunately, everyone was there to help. I got a real impression of what physics graduate school would be like, my main educational goal for my time in Dublin.When you arrive in a new country, you instantly notice some differences: people driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, cashiers expecting a different currency, and in some cases (but not mine) citizens speaking an unknown language. However, the best differences, in my opinion, are the ones you learn after a night out drinking with your coworkers or the first time you hear the Irish bagpipes in the oldest pub in North Dublin with your newly befriended roommates. How many of these subtle contrasts you pick up on is in direct proportion to how long your internship is. As an avid traveler, I understand the desire to go to every historic city in Europe and every mountaintop around the globe, but there is something extra you gain when you live in a foreign city for an extended period of time: an in depth, genuine feel of the culture. You may find yourself coming back to your home country (or not!) with a few new slang terms, and a broader acceptance of peoples’ points of view.
To experience a lot of firsts all at ones - such as traveling on my own, moving to a new city with another culture and starting a new job, I have been grateful to have had Connect-123 and their amazing staff as support both before and during my 4 month stay in Barcelona. Not only did they help me find an internship, they offered security and a safe environment in which it was easy to find friends in familiar situations as myself. I might have been doing the traveling on my own, but reaching the destination I was far from that.During my stay in Barcelona I have been working, traveling, meeting new people and experienced far more than I ever imagined. It has truly been a great experience all together.Moving here was a decision based on the possibility of gaining professional experience that can help me get accepted to my studies back home - but I leave with so much more! I leave with new friends, a backpack full of experiences, a travel-journal run out of blank pages and cultural insight, but most of all I leave with a better knowledge of who I am, I leave with an evolved version of me and the person I was before coming here.