Reviews

Real stories from real participants, parents and university partners who share their experiences as well as their advice. Learn more about the benefits Connect-123 interns and volunteers receive on our programs around the world!

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Kelly M

Child Life Practicum | Cape Town
University of Alabama
11 February 2022

Connect-123 gave me the most life-changing experience. Thanks to Carla and the Connect-123 team all of my questions were answered prior to the experience so I felt confident going into it. The Child Life Practicum gave me child life skills I’m confident I wouldn’t have been able to learn through just a typical Child Life Practicum. I gained life-long friendships, lessons and had a great time experiencing the South African culture. We were able to volunteer at multiple locations, with several different types of situations and it was so eye-opening and will certainly benefit me going forward in this field. This program gave me a new perspective and so many new skills. I’m forever grateful. After completing this program I feel much more confident in my skills in this field and am so excited to continue my career in this field. Thank you Connect-123 and everyone a part of the team. I am forever grateful.

Internships in Cape Town

Amelia H

Child Life Practicum | Cape Town
Dixie State University
27 October 2021

Connect-123 provided the opportunity for a life-changing experience. Their program was so much more than just a practicum. Through them, I gained child life skills I couldn't have learned anywhere else and developed life-long friendships. We were able to volunteer at several locations, building connections with the community and providing the students with diverse experiences. In addition to hospital settings, we got to visit a school for children with autism, a day center for children with a wide variety of disabilities, and serve at a local foster home. The two hospitals we volunteered at gave us experience in a pediatric clinic, a pediatric ward, and an oncology unit. This program enabled me to learn so many new skills and develop a culturally diverse perspective. I loved experiencing a different culture and getting to know the people. We had the unique experience of getting to advocate for child life in an area where it is not prevalent and see firsthand just how effective these principles are. After completing the practicum, I feel so much more confident in my child life skills. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Connect-123 provided an exceptional learning experience as well as memorable activities that allowed us to really experience Cape Town. If you have the chance to participate in a program with them, it's absolutely worth it!

Internships in Cape Town

Emma O

Child Life Practicum | Cape Town
University of Iowa
16 September 2021

As a young and newer child life student, I was looking for a program that offered a very diverse, authentic experience of what Child Life is truly about. Connect-123 provided me with that and so much more. During my time in Cape Town, South Africa I gained skills and developed great confidence in observing, documenting, and carrying out therapeutic play sessions with children of various ages and diagnoses. Outside of time spent at the two hospitals, we got to attend workshops that helped build communication and knowledge about Child Life, resumes, and interview skills. On top of all these wonderful experiences, we also had many opportunities to explore the beautiful country of South Africa! The girls I met were amazing, my preceptor prepared and helped me in more ways than I can count, and the program provided me with the well-rounded, enjoyable experience I set out to find! I would recommend this program in a heartbeat.

Internships in Cape Town

Alyssa L

Child Life Practicum | Cape Town
Utica College
24 August 2021

As an aspiring Certified Child Life Specialist, I am incredibly grateful I chose to complete my Child Life Practicum through Connect-123. This program provided me with the once in a lifetime experience, and I  learned so much in just a short four weeks. During my time, I volunteered with two hospitals in South Africa, worked with many different children and families, and met so many warm-hearted people that I will never forget. Connect-123 is a helpful program that will support and help you even after you complete the program. Completing this program through Connect-123 helped me step out of my comfort zone in the right direction and prepared me for my future in more ways than I can imagine. I will never forget this experience of a lifetime and the friends I made during my practicum. I highly recommend Connect-123 to everyone, and I hope others choose this program to study internationally!

Internships in Cape Town

Logan Kaifes

Child Life Practicum | Cape Town
Kansas State University
18 February 2020

Completing the Child Life practicum abroad helped me grow as an individual and in my future career. I was able to experience Child Life in a different culture, working with various patients and their families in a healthcare setting different than I was used to. It helped me to step out of my comfort zone and realized how important the power of play is for all kids! I made so many memories and lifelong friends while studying in Cape Town that I’ll cherish forever! It was truly the best experience I have ever been given and thank you Connect-123 for being there every step of the way!

Internships in Cape Town

Brooke Hauser

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Nova Southeastern University
12 November 2019

This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to complete my Child Life Practicum with Connect-123 in Cape Town, South Africa. I was able to not only expand my knowledge in the field of child life but I was able to expand my experience. The opportunities I was given to support not only children through their unique healthcare journeys, but their family members as well, gave myself the confidence and skills I needed to continue to pursue the wonderful child life field. The most memorable day I had included, preparing and supporting a 6-year-old girl for day surgery. With the guidance of my amazing preceptors, I witnessed the little girl's fear, stress, and anxiety slowly start to decrease. On top of all of the incredible experiences I had within the hospitals, I managed to meet the most supportive and wonderful group of girls that I still talk to every single day. We had the best times together, taking advantage of all the trips Connect-123 offered to us, like the beautiful Safari weekend. Cape Town, South Africa will always have such a special place in my heart, and of course all the incredible people I shared this life-changing experience with. I know I will be back in beautiful Cape Town one day!

Internships in Cape Town

Abbey Vacca

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Edgewood College
16 October 2019

This experience in Cape Town, South Africa was a practicum of a lifetime. Truly would recommend to anyone interested in pursuing the field of child life.
Not only do you get to observe medical preparation with children in another country and build upon your cultural diversity knowledge, but you build a group of professional teammates that I believe you can turn to for anything in your future career.
Not only do you get daily, real-life experiences to broaden your knowledge and experience of child life, but you have tons of time to explore this beautiful city and all it has to offer.
I will forever be thankful for the experiences I had, the knowledge I gained, and the friendships I built.

Internships in Cape Town

Morgan Braun

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Central Washington University
15 October 2019

Reflecting upon my time in Cape Town, South Africa has been bittersweet! Following this amazing opportunity, I can say whole-heartedly that I do not have any regrets about committing to a month abroad for a child life practicum. Through this practicum, I felt that I received an extremely well-rounded and layered learning experience. As a student, I was quickly immersed in a variety of pediatric health centers that allowed for a great opportunity to observe preceptors engaging in therapeutic play and procedure prep while quickly turning around to providing me with the personal opportunity to practice these skills under supervision. This truly was a practicum that provides students with great exposure and space for doing much more than simply observing and taking notes; you are truly supported and encouraged to be hands-on and try new and existing skills in a safe and supportive environment. The children and families you meet while in these health care settings help you learn, and also show you why so many of us are aspiring to be child life specialist. Even with plenty of time spent in healthcare settings it does not mean there is any lost time exploring the motherland. Connect-123 hosted many AMAZING events while allowing a very gracious amount of time to explore the culture for what it truly is. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and fly across the world to visit one of the most amazing places in the world while learning and growing in the child life profession; you will NOT regret it. My life is forever changed through the many amazing women I grew close to and the culture that helped me become enlightened in both my personal and professional life.

Internships in Cape Town

Lindsay Hohlbaugh

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of Pittsburgh
11 October 2019

Cape Town was nothing I could ever imagine. It taught me not only about myself but the capability I have with my future careers and goals in life. Being a part of Connect-123 made it much easier to adjust to the culture change and experiences I was about to endure. The people were extremely helpful and welcoming to all questions and new ideas. Being a part of the Child Life Practicum allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and be open to new opportunities. The child life specialists recruited for the practicum sessions were nothing short of amazing with the knowledge and background experience they have had within the child life profession. Not a day goes by that I am not thinking about Cape Town and the incredible people I met during this journey. Connect-123 is a fantastic organization that is determined to provide the best education and resources for their students and professionals. I'll be back soon, Cape Town! Cheers!

Internships in Cape Town

Ashley Camden

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of California Santa Barbara
9 October 2019

During September, Connect-123 provided me with an unforgettable experience to complete a child life practicum abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. This opportunity was completely out of my comfort zone, but I was so excited to take a leap of faith. I was able to work in multiple children’s hospitals that are very different from the United States to gain valuable healthcare experience and truly see cultural diversity between people, hospitals and language barriers. I had the privilege to see play as a universal language that helped breakdown those barriers and any stress. I saw medical play being used to let the patients explore and ease the fears a hospital can bring. The practicum gave me the tools I needed to succeed in my career as a future child life specialist and I was given the opportunity to see a wide variety of patients on different wards. I was definitely challenged but gained so much confidence throughout my time in Cape Town. I formed relationships with patients and their families and saw what struggles they go through each day. We also had ample time to explore the city and really experience South African culture. I learned a great deal about myself and the child life profession while in Cape Town and found amazing friends that I will cherish forever.

Internships in Cape Town

Brooke Frix

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Eastern Washington University
9 October 2019

My time in Cape Town, South Africa for my Child Life Practicum was like no other. I am not even sure where to even begin about my journey in Africa. From applying to this practicum, to getting accepted, I was over the moon excited. It was definitely a big step out of my comfort zone to get on a plane and go all the way to Africa by myself without knowing anyone. I was definitely stretched in so many ways there! I was able to rotate between three different hospitals, learn about the culture and work with children of all ages. During that time, I was able to experience hands-on and sharpen my skills in Child Life. I confirmed on this trip, that Child Life is definitely what I am called to do! Outside of the hospital, I was able to go and explore the beautiful city of Cape Town and do things I would not have been able to do in the United States! So... If this opportunity opens up for you, I say go for it! Your life will forever be changed!

Internships in Cape Town

Rachel Zich

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of Missouri
12 August 2019

My child life practicum was absolutely amazing! It has given me the opportunity to take the next step towards my goal of becoming a Child Life Specialist and it was amazing to have done it in such a unique, diverse country. I learned so much about not only South Africa and the people who live there and their culture, but I also learned a lot about myself on this trip. I stepped out of my comfort zone and did things I never would have imagined myself doing like shark care diving and ATVing. I got to spend my time at two amazing and completely different hospitals while working under inspiring supervisors. The friends I have made on this trip have had a huge impact on me and I know we will continue to be friends even though we are from all over. I would recommend doing this program to anyone wanting to complete a child life practicum. This was one of the best experiences I have ever done in my life!

Internships in Cape Town

Erika Morgan

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Nova Southeastern University
1 August 2019

I am delighted to share my child life practicum abroad experience through the Connect-123 program. I was initially hesitant to complete my practicum abroad, because of the idea of being in an unfamiliar place with people I didn't know. Upon my first day arriving, I didn't feel alone; Connect-123 staff, along with my supervisors, and other program students provided me with a great sense of comfort and safety throughout my Cape Town journey. Along the way, we were all able to learn from one another. I was thrilled to be able to observe and learn from some of the most educated and well known Child Life Specialists from around the world. The knowledge and skills that I have gained are remarkable and I am forever grateful for the opportunities. I must say the variety of hands-on experiences such as the time spent within various clinics, observing an MRI or surgery preparation was my absolute favorite portion of the practicum! Throughout my practicum, I was pushed to step out of my comfort zone and set goals knowing that I would have the support and advice of my supervisors to assist me in accomplishing them. I tried so many new foods and activities that I am proud to say I've done! If you are looking for an outstanding practicum that can help you grow not only professionally but on a personal level as well, THIS IS PERFECT FOR YOU! This practicum has taught me so much about cultural differences and how those differences should bring us together instead of apart because differences don't mean one way is right or wrong. Being able to experience and witness the "Ubuntu" culture that South Africa strongly possess was an incredible experience. I am confident in the skills and information that I was taught has prepared me for the next step within my Child Life career and I can not wait to continue my journey! Cape Town and Connect-123 I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a rewarding and unforgettable experience and I hope to return someday!

Internships in Cape Town

Kelsey Browne

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Texas Christian University
30 July 2019

My child life experience in Cape Town, South Africa was nothing short of incredible. When I found out I was accepted into the program I was beyond excited to grow within the field of child life and gain a more global perspective of the profession. During my practicum, I had the opportunity to work in several children’s hospitals around the Cape Town area. Each hospital was unique within itself which further helped me practice my various child life skills. Under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist, I was given autonomy to build upon my strengths and weaknesses. There are plenty of opportunities for observation of the CCLS’s and other child life students. Collaboration was highly encouraged in order to create hands-on therapeutic interventions that were developmentally appropriate for the child and their family. Every day was filled with unique opportunities for me to gain competence both personally and professionally. I was further able to see play used as a universal language in order to communicate with children. A nontraditional practicum experience outside of the United States opened my eyes more to the benefits of child life. In addition to the work, we still had a great amount of time to explore the area we were living in for the month. There are many amazing experiences that Cape Town has to offer. If you are doing this practicum or are interested, I suggest taking advantage of any and every opportunity you get whether that be in the hospital setting or outside in the local community. It is important to immerse yourself in the culture you are living and working in. I have gained friendships with my practicum group as well as the CCLS who supervised us. I was able to overcome obstacles and step out of my comfort zone. I feel more confident in my abilities as an aspiring child life specialist. I cannot wait to see where this road will take me and I know I will forever reflect on my time in Cape Town throughout my career. If you have the opportunity to do this practicum, I am confident you will have no regrets.

Internships in Cape Town

Alexis Zvanut

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of Missouri
16 July 2019

During the month of June, Connect-123 gave me the incredible opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to complete a child life practicum. My time in Cape Town was filled with joy and a lot of laughter. I prepared children for what to expect while in the hospital, learned the benefits of therapeutic and medical play, built relationships with children and their families, and learned the true value of play and how it is a universal language. The children and medical staff that I met in Cape Town completely changed my life and I will never forget the impact that they had on me. The staff were so welcoming and the children had the biggest hearts and the biggest smiles. Throughout my time in Cape Town, I grew as a child life student and experienced the impact that a child life specialist can have on a child and their family during a very scary and stressful time. During my free time, I went sightseeing, hiking, paragliding, shark cage diving, and went on a safari. I am so glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and traveled to Cape Town. I will never forget this eye-opening experience.

Internships in Cape Town

Karina Taveras

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Nova Southeastern University
15 July 2019

My child life practicum in Cape Town, South Africa was truly a life-changing experience. As an aspiring culturally competent professional, when I was provided the opportunity to complete my practicum abroad, I didn’t think twice! Throughout the month, I observed our preceptors provide procedural support and developmentally appropriate medical and therapeutic play in the hospital setting. Then, I was able to use the tools I learned through observation to implement those practices on my own. I was able to fine-tune my clinical skills as a child life student and expand my knowledge working with a culturally diverse population. Upon returning back home, I feel that much more confident in myself as a future child life specialist due to the unique experiences that Cape Town offered me. We also had plenty of free time to explore the beautiful city that is Cape Town! There is so much to do and see that will make you fall in love with South Africa. Thank you Connect-123 for this incredible opportunity! I HIGHLY recommend this program to child life students! It will be one of the best decisions of your life!

Internships in Cape Town

Sarah Tatchi

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Eastern Tennessee State University
1 July 2019

My child life experience in Cape Town, South Africa was amazing! When I was given the opportunity to do my practicum aboard I didn't think twice, I took the opportunity right away. Connect-123 assisted in helping me gain knowledge on my career choice as a future child life specialist. I visited several children's hospitals and had the opportunity to observe and learn from experienced child life specialist. Through observations, I learned how play is a universal language as well as the importance of therapeutic/medical play and procedure preparations. The knowledge I had gained from observations gave me the opportunity to put what I had learned into practice when working with children at hospitals. Being able to solve those situations helped me step out of my comfort zone; it made me grow as an individual during my stay in Cape Town. It made me realize I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Connect-123 gave me the chance to go aboard and expand on something I am passionate about. I feel if I hadn't taken that opportunity, I won't be where I am today. When an opportunity is presented to you, take it because you don't know how it is going to change you as an individual. Thank you Connect-123 for letting me grow.  

Internships in Cape Town

Melanie Yeisley

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Texas Woman's University
12 March 2019

My Child Life Practicum in Cape Town, South Africa was unmatched to any traditional practicum in the United States. Under the supervision of a CCLS, I was given the autonomy to practice hands-on therapeutic interventions and procedural preparation to meet the diverse psychosocial needs of hospitalized children and their families. I was able to collaborate with other practicum students for ideas, and work together to do activities at bedside and in play areas that incorporated the whole family unit. These unique opportunities allowed me to work with other healthcare professionals and interact with children with a variety of diagnoses. Both professionally and personally, I gained cross-cultural competence that will translate in all areas of my life. Additionally, we were able to see how Child Life is utilized in alternative settings, and we were also given ample time to explore South Africa on our own personal time. I have gained friendships within my practicum group and other students through Connect-123 that I will forever cherish. I couldn't have asked for a better practicum experience and I feel more than prepared for my Child Life internship. My Child Life Practicum in Cape Town, South Africa has been one of my most favorite and best experiences of my life!

Internships in Cape Town

Ali Burns

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Birmingham-Southern College
20 February 2019

August 2018 will forever be one of my favorite months! Not only because I got to spend it in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa; but also, because I was able to spend it doing what I love most - working with children. During my Child Life Practicum, I observed an experienced Certified Child Life Specialist within a prominent Children’s Hospital. I was able to grow as a Child Life student, learn from her knowledge, and invaluable advice; while independently performing procedural preparation, and implementing developmentally appropriate activities for children of all ages. I also experienced the power of play as a universal language and gained a better overall understanding of the purpose behind Child Life in an international setting. Not only was I able to provide Child Life services for hospitalized children, but I also made life long friends and we were able to experience the beauty of Cape Town. During our free time, we hiked mountains, went sightseeing, went SKYDIVING, and thanks to Connect-123, we were able to go on a once in a lifetime safari right in the heart of Africa! If you are ever presented with an opportunity to intern or study abroad, my advice to you is to GO FOR IT! Before I left on this journey, I was expecting to make an impact and possibly change lives in Cape Town, but it turns out, the people of South Africa changed mine.

Internships in Cape Town

Catherine Radford

Child Life Program | Cape Town
Texas Woman's University
22 November 2018

My Child Life Practicum experience in Cape Town, South Africa was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I started my adventure to Cape Town by myself, did not know a single person in the Child Life program, and said yes to living in a country I had never been to before. It sounded crazy, but if you ever get this type of opportunity for yourself, DO IT! My overall experience was incredible, challenging, humbling, joyful, pushed me out of comfort zones, and continued to deepen my passion and love to become a Child Life Specialist. My time here allowed me to support, educate, and advocate for children and families as they coped with their hospital experience in ways I would have never dreamed of being able to! The skill sets provided by the program were beneficial to both my professional and educational career. My experience allowed me to gain a cultural understanding of play as a universal language, learn to break down barriers, adapt to another cultures healthcare system, and witness coursework come to life during daily engagements. Cape Town gave me the opportunity to love and be loved by each and every child, family, staff member, and new friend I met, while also getting to do what I love. I am forever thankful for the ways I was able to learn and grow in South Africa, but most of all I am thankful for all the people who shared their heart and home with me.

Internships in Cape Town
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