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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Deborah Carlin

Environment and Sustainability Intern | Dublin
Muhlenberg College
18 April 2016

Choosing to go abroad was one of the best decisions I ever made, and Dublin was the perfect place to do it. I was very nervous about being so far from home, but adjusting to life in Dublin wasn’t difficult at all! Everyday I would discover new things about the city and about Irish culture that made me realize how special of a place Dublin is, and how lucky I was to be there. The internship I had was a great fit, and provided me with so many opportunities – I now have more environmental fieldwork experience, and I am able to say that I have worked with an international organization and with people of other cultures. I even gained skills I didn’t expect to, such as public speaking and administration. Connect-123 was very responsive to everything I asked for, and they made sure that I was comfortable in my internship and housing location. Although I was only in Dublin for 10 weeks, I can’t imagine not having this experience. I have made friends and memories that will last a lifetime!

Internships in Dublin

Hanna Hard

Environment Intern | Dublin
University of Arizona
21 October 2015

What to say about my experience in Dublin? Honestly, I was scared to write this testimonial because it isn't possible to convey in words how magical my summer was. Upon my arrival in Dublin, I was nervous: what would my roommates be like? Would my job be hard? Too easy? How is the food? Would I get homesick? -- All of the questions you'd imagine having in a new country, I had. My worries quickly vanished. The people I met while living in the Connect-123 accommodation are now some of my dearest friends. We explored together, ate together, drank together, and laughed together every single day.

Being in a foreign city can be intimidating, but when you're surrounded by people going through the same experience, strong bonds form and nothing is scary anymore. My internship connected me with people from around the world, and everyone was very welcoming! I walked through one of the world's most beautiful universities every day, and I worked on science that I was truly interested in. It gave me valuable work experience that now feeds my success back at school. The community I joined when I embarked on my Connect-123 journey is a community of adventure. When adventurous people come together, lasting friendships are sure to be made. That is exactly what happened for me. Dublin will always hold a special, golden place in my heart.”

Internships in Dublin

Sarah Cuprewich

Environment Intern | Dublin
University of Vermont
5 August 2015

My time in Dublin was simply unforgettable. Connect-123 staff provided opportunities to meet up with other Connect-123 interns, but it was also fun to get to know my housemates from all around the world and conquer Dublin’s exciting nightlife together. I formed friendships that I hope will last a lifetime! There was always something fun going on in the city, and spending time in the seemingly endless parks when the weather cooperated was always an option. My internship placement was also incredible.

My supervisor was very knowledgeable and always took the time to teach me anything I was curious about. It was interesting to see how another country’s environmental NGOs were handled and seen in the public eye, plus it was fun to interact with locals who were passionate about the same things I am! I learned so much in the two months I spent working, not only about my prospective career but also about another country’s culture. I’m more excited than ever to finally enter the workforce!

The country of Ireland itself is absolutely gorgeous and the people are helpful and friendly. I was never bored because of the endless trips to take, sights to see, and activities to do for any budget. I felt right at home and never felt like an outsider in a country in which I don’t belong. I’m already planning my return trip!

Internships in Dublin

Veikko Schepel

Environment Intern | Buenos Aires
Utrecht University
28 April 2015

After finishing my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences last Summer I decided to take a gap year to explore life outside of university. A few goals I had were to learn Spanish, visit and travel in South America and gain some work experience. By taking an internship via Connect-123 in Argentina I was able to combine all those goals. During my stay I helped in developing an ecological campus south of Buenos Aires. In my time there I learned a lot about the practice of creating a completely sustainable campus which was a great addition to my theoretical knowledge on sustainability. One of the highlights was building a bicycle driven laundry machine to wash our clothes in, which turned out really well! Connect-123 did a great job in connecting me with an internship and organization that not only suited me, but also challenged me and helped me grow on a personal level. Over the past months, I have not only vastly improved my Spanish, but also been able to experience and participate in the everyday life of locals in rural Argentina. The personal support given by Connect-123 after my arrival in Buenos Aires was helpful in getting to know the city, and finding my place in completely new surroundings. If you want to get to know another country and yourself better, this might be a good place to start!

Internships in Buenos Aires

Charles Lavin

Environment Intern | Buenos Aires
Richmond, The American International University
18 April 2015

Living and working in Buenos Aires over my summer break was certainly one of the best experiences of my university career. I had had the desire to travel within Latin America for some time, but I also wanted further internship experiences to include on my CV. Through Connect-123, I was given a place to work in a local environmental NGO in Buenos Aires, as well as a place to stay.

Honestly speaking, both of these accommodations were way beyond my expectations. While the research and work I did was challenging, the office where it took place was a perfect fit for me. Once the work day was over, I would walk home excited to find my friends eagerly awaiting me on the terrace or over the parrilla. The people I shared a house with will remain friends of mine as long as I live. By going out and exploring the city around us, as well as the country or even the continent, I was left with an outstanding impact of how colorful life in Latin America can be.

I would recommend Connect-123 and Buenos Aires to anyone interested in environmental and international development, where they will be able to experience first hand what it is like to work doing something they truly care about, while constantly being motivated by the beauty of nature and society all around you.

Internships in Buenos Aires

Salomey Osafo-Ampadu

Sustainable Development Intern | Cape Town
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
17 December 2014

My time in Cape Town was absolutely adventurous, educative and life changing. I was able to mingle with people from all over the world and gained so many experiences. Working at a company that was solely run by interns gave me a great responsibility to the position I was given. I had to contact investors and organise events with the world design capital and also help upcoming entrepreneurs. I plan on working on something financial related but on my arrival at the company the opportunities I had made me realise what I really wanted to do. Working in a social enterprise help me use my people skill as well us learn a lot from my co-workers. Not only did I gain a good work experience but had so much fun that there was never a dull moment. The people I met were incredible and we all became good friends. We went on road trips together and planned so many activities. Weekends were always something we looked forward to. Cape Town has so much to offer and we couldn’t wait to explore the depth of it and its history. Our Saturday routine to The old Biscuit Mill, hiking the mountains, touring around the beautiful Stellenbosch for wine tasting, visiting townships, going for music festivals were all memorable. The people in Cape Town were heart-warming and Connect-123 was always there to assist us whenever we needed anything. I felt I was safe because their office was in the same building as we were so it was easy to get assisted by them. I will never trade my time in Cape Town for anything else, it was my best spent summer ever. I gained the opportunity to be independent and learn so many new cultures and be able to mingle with people from different countries. I am glad I made the decision to travel to Cape Town and through Connect-123.  

Internships in Cape Town

Ellie Tallis

Environment / Sustainability Intern | Cape Town
Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
5 December 2014

Over the summer I spent 3 months completing an internship at an environmental company who are based in Cape Town. I was part of their Product and Reach team mainly assisting the product team members with sales and fundraising. Any nerves and worries I had about working for a company in such a new country were cast aside after my first day at work. Being able to work with such a like-minded team who are so passionate about the environment and sustainable living was truly a privilege. I met some amazing people during my time in Cape Town who I will never forget, it astounded me that how in such a short space of time friends can become like family. In completing my internship I learnt a wide variety of new skills especially when it comes to understanding different cultures and interacting with people who hold different values and perspectives. No words or pictures can ever capture just how wonderful Cape Town is from the food markets to the vibrant nightlife on Long Street there really is something for everyone. You will never be bored in Cape Town there is so much to do but I recommend you make time to see the other side of South Africa the not so touristy one, make sure you leave time to visit one of the local Townships, meet some of the people and experience what true happiness really means. The thing that stands out most for me about Cape Town is the hospitality of each individual, if I can give you one piece of advice it would be not to travel to South Africa with expectations from what you have read or been told by others, go with an open mind. I cannot not praise Rachel and her team at Connect 123 enough for what they do, I urge anyone who is thinking about doing an internship in Cape Town to go for it, believe me you will not regret it!

Internships in Cape Town

Kate Price

Environment/ Sustainability Intern | Shanghai
University College London
12 June 2014

I have really enjoyed myself here in Shanghai. I was expecting to like it and instead I have loved it. I have met some wonderful people at both my accommodation and at work. The nightlife is incredible, never experienced anything like it. The city itself is spectacular, I have always lived in a big city, London, but this place really took my breathe away. Skyscrapers everywhere mixed in with old authentic streets. You can feel absorbed in a Buddhist temple and look ahead and see a huge glass skyscraper. It's bizarre but really interesting. If the hustle and bustle gets too much, Shanghai has some amazing parks, my two favorites being Century Park and my local Zhongshan Park. You can also take short day trips to more scenic locations such as Hangzhou. Its so well connected that its even possible to take weekend trips to places like Beijing. There is always so much happening in Shanghai, the city feels so energized and alive, you can't help but feel it rub off on you. I have never been bored here, the metro is simple and accessible so if you have a metro card there is no reason to be bored. If you are worried about a culture shock, no need, Shanghai is very multicultural, may not be on the same scale as London, but nearly every time I am in a carriage in the metro there will be another ethnic minority in there with me. Chinese people are very used to Europeans here, there are large ex pact communities here, so no-one stares at you, I have very rarely felt uncomfortable here. My work has been a useful step for me in what I want to do in the future, I am so happy I took the opportunity to come and work here, a completely different experience to being a tourist and something I will never forget. It has really made me want to pursue a career that will provide a lot of opportunities abroad.

Internships in Shanghai

Angele Kunzi

Environment Internship | internships in shanghai
University of Geneva
15 April 2013

Enrolling in the Connect-123 internship program was probably one of the best decisions I took lately, in both professional and personal aspects of the experience. I am completely satisfied with all that the Connect-123 team provided me with through all stages of the program. Connect-123 does not only look for an internship, but also assists with all the arrangements related to your stay, which I think is as important as the internship itself. They indeed provided a lot of support with my arrival, housing, cultural immersion and documentation. At the very beginning I was concerned about going to Beijing rather than Shanghai, their main program location, but Jimmy did a great job by providing me with all the help I needed. A special thanks to him for helping me at all stages of dealing with my housing agent. Lea totally understood what kind of internship I was looking for and found the perfect match. My internship was in an environmental consulting company in Beijing. I had the chance to follow a project from the beginning. I learnt a lot from this internship about the environment in China and about China itself. It gave me the opportunity to have a valuable professional experience. After 3 months I am even more convinced that China is the place to be if you want to contribute to improving the environment. Because my Chinese experience has been so positive, I am extending it for 3 more months and considering staying for a few years.

Tommi Tiidus

Environment/Sustainability Intern | Shanghai
University of Waterloo
21 March 2013

I had a great time in Shanghai thanks to connect 1-2-3, I really enjoyed the job, it was exactly within my field of study and I got to meet lots of people from around the world. I really enjoyed my placement within my organization, and I actually felt like I was needed and my work was appreciated. It was directly related to my field of study, and I was able to fully utilize what I learned in university. I really enjoyed my time with Connect 123, they were very helpful in getting me settled in and also ensuring that I enjoy my time to the full extent while in Shanghai, helping organize and recommend trips and events, and even helping with small tasks.

Internships in Shanghai

Matthew Burns

Environmental Intern | Dublin
St Francis Xavier University
20 November 2012

During the summer, I had the privilege of doing an environmental/sustainability internship for 2 months in Dublin. Now, I know when people think of environment and sustainability they do not usually think of Dublin as the first place they would look, but there is actually a very large web of environmental agencies, and the environment is a key political issue in Ireland right now. The internship was mostly dealing with integrated coastal zone management, meaning that I did everything and anything to do with the coast. Sometimes I was in the lab helping a PhD student with their bivalve research, other times I was out in the field surveying sea grass, but my main work was going to high-end government meetings and doing all kinds of research for different political meetings. I was actively involved in politics; I even appeared in newspapers and on the radio! This internship completely met my expectations and allowed me to explore many different aspects of the environment. Although I have to say, the best part of this job was that it allowed for me to travel all around Ireland, some days I would be down in County Wexford for an event, the next day I would be in County Donegal doing surveys and meeting with local people. This allowed me to see sights that normal people working just in Dublin would not be able to see, and meet some amazing local people. I have to say a big thank you to Connect-123 for setting me up with this internship. They were so helpful in getting me a placement, and finding housing for me. They also take you around on your first day (which was a big help), showing what buses you need to take, some of the sights you can go and see, and going with you to meet your boss for the first time. The tours were always fun that were set up by Connect-123 too! By far my favorite tours were the Cliff of Moher and the Aran Islands, Giants Causeway, and Glendalough. Dublin is a great small city, the people are amazing, and Connect-123 makes it all possible. I have made friendships with people from all over the world, from Ireland (of course) to Italy, to South Africa and even met people from my home in Canada! If you're looking for a good internship in the environment/sustainability sector, then I would recommend looking through Connect-123 in Dublin.

Internships in Dublin

Breanna Lujan

Environmental Intern | Barcelona
Yale University
24 October 2012

Knowing only that I wanted to pursue an internship in environmental sustainability in Barcelona, I turned to Connect-123 to make this goal possible. From the beginning of the internship placement process, Connect-123 was very perceptive and responsive to my needs, questions, and concerns so as to ensure that I received the most out of my experience. Thanks to the efforts of Connect-123, I was able to work for an amazing environmental NGO based in Barcelona that focuses its efforts on many of the environmental issues I consider most pertinent. As a third year environmental studies major and a native Spanish speaker, Connect-123 allowed me to not only gain professional experience working abroad, but also to further explore my career goals and to further develop my interests. I now know that if I were ever to return to Barcelona, I would have a position waiting for me with the environmental NGO that I worked for on account of Connect-123. Barcelona is an absolutely incredible city. The people, food, language, and culture create an atmosphere that is as eclectic as it is beautiful. Connect-123 helped me to really appreciate my time in Barcelona, providing ample opportunities to do things in the city that I ordinarily would not have done. To those considering interning in Barcelona, I highly recommend it!

Internships in Barcelona

Kelsey Stewart

Environmental Policy Intern | Cape Town
Michigan State University
15 July 2010

On my study abroad in Cape Town I had an internship with a branch of an international conservation organization. They dealt with fishery trade issues, I spent most of my time researching and gathering information about these issues and the possible resolutions for these problems. I learned so much about the environmental policy field that I would have never gotten in a classroom. I was able to see the day to day work and what it takes to get studies and new policy made. It was an invaluable experience made better by the fact that I was surrounded by the beauty and unique culture of South Africa. Connect-123 provided everything that I needed to have a rewarding and safe experience in Cape Town. I injured myself in an accident unrelated to my internship and the ladies of Connect-123 were so helpful and kind to me, they helped me figure out all the paperwork and bills and were with me every step of the way, I really can’t thank them enough. Overall it was a once in a lifetime experience in a beautiful and interesting place.

Internships in Cape Town

Carolyn Robertson

Sustainable Development Intern | Cape Town
University of Winnipeg
3 April 2010

I am an International Development Studies student from Winnipeg, MB (Canada). I had been to South Africa in 2004, and dreamt of returning ever since. For my practicum, I decided to return to Cape Town. I did a lot of research and came across Connect-123 who offered to find me a placement. I was interested in putting into practice some of what I’ve learned in school regarding Monitoring & Evaluation, especially with small scale community projects. Connect-123 set me up with an organization dedicated to supporting urban agriculture in the townships of Nyanga and Khayelitsha. On my first day I was taken on a tour of one of the community garden projects. I was overwhelmed with the obstacles this organization faced and overcame in bringing small scale agriculture back to South Africa. It is incredibly encouraging to see Cape Town’s urban poor growing fresh vegetables year round to feed their families.  The dedication of the staff, and the resilience of the gardeners continues to inspire and make me aware of the various social benefits stemming from such projects which focus on community building. Working in the heart of Nyanga also gave me the opportunity to learn a bit of Xhosa, as well as be exposed to what life is like for South Africa’s urban poor, and the challenges they face daily. Three months was not nearly enough time to soak in all the information I was attempting to process. It is an experience that has renewed my passion for this beautiful country, and has me wanting to come back for more. Thank you, Connect-123, for the wonderful job in finding me such a perfect place to learn and put my skills into practice!

Internships in Cape Town

John Hawley

Sustainable Development Internship | Cape Town
University of Guelph, Ontario
31 July 2007

To be totally honest, this internship is exactly what I was looking for. Not only am I going to be able to make a significant contribution to the pollination programme but, I’m also going to help put together another research paper with the head of the division…i.e., if I do a good job over the next little while I get PUBLISHED in an academic journal as full co-author! Pretty sweet man. This is really just a cool place to work with a wicked location and tonnes of other scientists doing all kinds of interesting things. The work is relatively hard, but the experience is proving itself to be more than I could have hoped for. Guess this is a good time to say thanks for doing a great job hooking me up with this opportunity.

Internships in Cape Town
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