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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Katarina Esser

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of Missouri
11 July 2018

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

Haley Fricke

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of California at Santa Cruz
17 August 2017

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

Elizabeth Keller

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of Georgia
14 August 2017

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

Jamie Martin

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of Missouri
7 August 2017

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

Chelsey Daval

Child Life Program | Cape Town
University of Missouri
2 August 2017

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

Carly Hume

Child Life Program | Cape Town
California State University at Long Beach
21 July 2017

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
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