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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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
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
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
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
Doing my Child Life Practicum in Cape Town, South Africa, is something I will treasure forever. Not only did the Child Life Practicum give me valuable experience in a different healthcare setting, but also cultural experiences I would not have had in the USA. Coming home I feel like a better professional who is aware of cultural differences that can be found in a healthcare setting. Although every week we had group meetings, one on ones, and time in the hospital and in service sites we still had plenty of time to have fun! My favorite thing we experienced was the safari!Internships in Cape Town
Connect-123 gave me the amazing opportunity to complete my child life practicum in South Africa for the month of July. South Africa is a gorgeous country. The natural beauty seems to be everywhere you look. I interned with an amazing group at a children's hospital in Cape Town. Working at the children's hospital was a moving experience. I loved meeting new families and children every day, but also forming relationships with patients. These are some of my favorite memories from the hospital. I like using art activities in my child life practice. I was drawing with a patient that did not speak English but understood English. He was the only child not sleeping and was full of smiles. He drew me an intricate picture with different boxes to explain to me how he got his injuries. His determination was apparent because it took us quite a long time to sort out the drawing. He was so creative in communicating with me the story of how he came to be in the trauma ward at the hospital. I was glad he was able to express himself and share with me. I asked him how he is now and he gave me a thumbs up and smiled. We talked about how although he was in that accident he now feels he is good. I was glad I was able to be there for him as he coped and shared his experience. There are so many memories I could share, but the last will be of a girl I worked with in the burn unit. I was able to work with her multiple times and form a relationship with her, her mom, and younger sister. Although she does not have fingers because of her previous burns she does not let this limit her while she was playing. We did many activities, but she really wanted to draw. She used her wrists to hold the markers, and could draw, but was becoming frustrated and sad it was not coming out how she wanted. We kept practicing and OT came in to give her a wrist cuff they designed for her. The cuff allows her to hold objects such as eating utensils and a toothbrush. Since we were drawing she asked if she could use it for the markers too. They said she could and she was able to draw a picture on her own. She was so excited. Being a part of her processes towards recovery was beautiful. I will never forget the children I worked with and am grateful to have had this experience.Internships in Cape Town
Without Connect-123, I would not have been given the once in a lifetime opportunity of completing my Child Life Practicum abroad. I played and loved on the children and families at a pediatric hospital for the month of July. My time in Cape Town was filled with joy, love, and so many wonderful people and experiences. Connect-123 allowed me to gain experience in a government run hospital and even provided an incredible service opportunity in one of the townships. We spent a day loving on the children in an orphanage in the township of Khayelitsha and I left a piece of my heart behind that day. Between the children at the orphanage and the children I played with each day on the wards at the Children’s hospital, it was easy to fall in love with Cape Town. During my last week of my practicum experience at pediatric hospital, I spent a few days in a row with a preschooler in the trauma ward. This three-year-old had one of her legs in traction and could not be up and moving around like most three year olds. During the first two days of playing and engaging with this child, she acted so uninterested but desperately wanted to feel like a kid again after her traumatic experience. When I walked into trauma on the third day, her father said to me how she recognizes me and is so excited to play today. This preschooler that once seemed so uninterested had warmed up to me and giggled the rest of the day as we played. I'll never forget when she started laughing and her dad smiled and said to me "That's the first time I have heard her laugh since we got here" I'll never forget this moment I helped this sweet child feel like herself again and even being a smile to her father's face. I would not have had those special moments with children and their families without the support of Connect-123. I am forever grateful to Connect-123 for giving me this life changing experience by providing the opportunity for me to learn about another culture's healthcare system.Internships in Cape Town
My time in Cape Town, South Africa was nothing short of a dream. I spent the entire month of June completing a Child Life Practicum at a first government pediatric hospital. Getting to know the hospital staff and patients was an exceptional experience, as I spent my days preparing children for procedures and encouraging developmentally appropriate play within the facility. I want to thank Connect-123 for introducing me to such incredible and driven individuals. I never imagined that I would spend the summer in this beautiful city exploring the land each and every day. Everyone with the Connect-123 team did such an amazing job helping me adapt and feel comfortable in my temporary home. I would recommend this program to everyone and am so glad I made the decision to attend, despite having not known anyone beforehand. I am already looking forward to my next trip to Cape Town.Internships in Cape Town
While doing my Child Life Practicum at a children's hospital in Cape Town, South Africa I gained once in a lifetime experiences far different than anything at home. My time in Cape Town and at the hospital helped me learn more about myself as a person but also about my chosen profession. I always knew that I wanted to travel around the world in my chosen profession, doing the internship in Cape Town gave me a glimpse into what that would be like and only made me want to do it more. The staff who work for Connect-123 were amazing. They went out of their way to assist the connectors in anything and everything that came up and always had a smile on their faces and a kind thing to say. In addition to always being there to help the Connectors with anything, the staff of Connect-123 also went out of their way to help us Connectors get to know each other and never feel alone. The Connect-123 international programs are wonderful, once in a lifetime experiences that I am ecstatic that I took the chance to experience. Thank you to the staff at Connect-123 for helping make my experience what it was!Internships in Cape Town
I just want to say thank you so much for this wonderful experience, it truly has been a month of a lifetime. Going on this trip was quite a risk as I knew absolutely no one and had never traveled alone but I couldn't be happier that I made the jump. I have made great friends and learned so much. Doing my Child Life Practicum abroad has provided me with experiences that I never could've had in the United States. It is evident that the Connect-123 team really has a passion for their jobs and care about each and every one of us. Thank you for providing me with great opportunities and wonderful memories!Internships in Cape Town