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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Karen Ross

Human Rights Intern | Cape Town
University of Central Arkansas
31 March 2010

If you're looking for a program that will not only enhance your resume but also your personal and travel experiences, Connect-123 helps you far surpass these needs. My three months in Cape Town were filled with not only internship work and cultural engagements, but also the formation of life-long connections with co-workers, fellow interns, and locals. I interned at a human rights NGO which allowed me to see and work with the various facets of a non-profit organization. My passion for human rights and social studies was fuelled by the numerous opportunities that my internship and Connect-123 offered. When I wasn’t working, I was immersed in South African culture, traveling the coasts, townships, and winelands. From oceans, to mountains, to nightlife and the countryside, South Africa has so much to offer. However, my favorite part of my Cape Town experience was the refugee children with whom I was very lucky to work with and get to know. Thanks to Connect-123 and their continuous help and support throughout my internship, I had the most incredible experience of my life!

Internships in Cape Town

William Donnell

Finance Internship | Buenos Aires
Rhodes College, Graduate
27 March 2010

When I initially talked to Steven and the group at Connect-123 in Buenos Aires, I was excited about the opportunities that I could be a part of.  After experiencing what they had to offer, my expectations were definitely surpassed.  I was looking for a way to mix what I had studied, business administration, and the Spanish I had acquired abroad and at school. I really wanted my internship to be both in a Spanish speaking environment and to be career enhancing.  Connect-123 provided a perfect solution.  I worked in a financial group in the center of the city; my days ranged from working with the head of a mutual fund to giving input and doing research for an investment committee.  It was really interesting to see the business environment outside of the U.S., my home country.  I loved my time there, worked with some great people and learned a lot both in Finance and Spanish. Apart from the internship, my life in Buenos Aires was perfect.  The city is unbelievable, it would be hard to ever tire of endless asados (bbqs), a great nightlife and a diverse and international population.  The staff at Connect-123 knew the city well and always went out of their way to let me know where to go and what to expect.  I really felt that Connect-123 was working specifically for me; not only was my experience unique and custom tailored, it was rewarding on a personal and career development level as well.

Internships in Buenos Aires

Khant Khant Kyaw

Education Intern | Cape Town
Carleton College
19 March 2010

I was in Cape Town, South Africa to teach Sex Education to teenagers with a non-profit NGO in July and August 2010. After these two months, I left Cape Town with fun memories, valuable knowledge on development and NGO work, and friendships I know would last for years; more than what I expected or asked for. I am thankful to all of Connect-123 ‘s staff that carefully ensure the intern’s expectations are met. When I was there, I worked with the staff of my host organization, going into schools and facilitating Life Orientation classes on Sex Education. I wanted to learn more and  Connect-123 found me another children’s literacy organization to work with. I also got a chance to help at a refugee organization for a short 3 days. As a result, I gained a wide range of firsthand experience in the types of organizations there are in Cape Town. In addition, the weekend outings and social nights Connect-123 organized served as a great venue for getting to know people with the same interests as I do. It has been almost a year since I was last in Cape Town, but I am still in close contact with my work colleagues, as well as my friends I made from all over the world!

Internships in Cape Town

Krista Saraniti

Child Life Intern
Ohio University
19 March 2010

My name is Krista Saraniti and I am a Family Studies student at Ohio University. I thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering in South Africa. The people at Connect-123 have a great Child Life program started and I can only see big things happening in the future at the Red Cross Hospital. Not only was the hospital a wonderful place to work at but an experience of a lifetime. This trip would never have happened if it weren’t for the Connect-123 staff. Their fun-loving attitude followed by their determination to make sure we all had a great time in South Africa really made the trip amazing. If I every have the opportunity to do back I would do it in a heartbeat!!!

Desiree Tucker

Education Intern | Cape Town
Michigan State University
19 March 2010

My life is forever changed from 12 weeks spent in Cape Town South, Africa. I walked into my first day of work, and quickly found out that I was overdressed and underprepared for working in the developing township of Khayelitsha. As I drove through the townships, passing children in the street, shacks sprawling through the township, I realized that this experience would be a great challenge. It was my task to coordinate the first Youth Career Expo in this area for black South African students, for a nonprofit organization. Its mission is mobilizing parents, teachers, learners, and community members to decrease the inequality and improve the quality of the South African school system.  I contacted over 60 financial institutions, governmental organizations, universities, colleges, and community development organizations to inform students of their opportunities post matriculation. To my surprise there were colleges who openly admitted that black South African learners in the townships were not their target group of recruitment, because if they did not have the money to move out of the townships they would do nothing more than depress and overwhelm their institution financially. I am forever indebted to the men and women at my host organisation, and it is an honor knowing I was a part of an organization that is at the forefront of today’s human rights struggle – quality education for all, beginning with those who have been and are currently deprived of adequate resources and opportunities for advancement. Their work is just beginning, as they will soon march to Parliament fighting for one library and one (trained) librarian in every school in South Africa! The presence of racial segregation and discrimination is ever present, but South Africa is quickly evolving, and there has never been a more exciting time to see the face of nations around the world fix their eyes to the rapid development and opportunities emerging from its shores. Amidst fierce environmental and social circumstances my work in Cape Town taught me that poverty is a very real factor of life for many citizens’ lives, but it does not consume their lives. I learned words like comrade and solidarity, principles young children are raised upon to create an innate sense of unity against a government which too often does not fulfill its promises, but for a people who is fervent in their reminders at what they are owed and what they deserve as South African citizens. Connect-123 is your continuous outstretched hand of support. Melanie, Gabby, and the rest of the staff are your personal motivation team, championing your success every step of the way throughout your internship. Their organized trips and frequent intern outings create a web of family and network of lasting friendships that not only make your trip unforgettable, but longing for your return once you are forced to depart. Immerse yourself into your internship experience, and I guarantee that with the foundation of Connect-123 and the time spent at your internship you will surface a reconstructed global citizen with limitless possibilities for your future!

Internships in Cape Town

Tiffany Han

Microfinance Intern | Cape Town
Emory University
5 March 2010

Interning in Cape Town through Connect-123 opened my eyes to what a career in microfinance would look like. Before the internship, what I knew of microfinance came from articles and cursory research. But after being given real responsibilities that took me from the computer screen to local townships, I found passion in the work I was doing. The experience I gained from working in a new country and new field with new people taught me invaluable lessons as well. Beyond the work, Cape Town is an incredibly dynamic city that is perfect for adrenaline junkies and the culturally-inquisitive alike. From petting cheetahs to bungee jumping to shark cage diving, Cape Town has something to offer for everyone.

Internships in Cape Town

Andrew Tran

Economics Intern | Cape Town
James Madison University
5 March 2010

I was looking for a more personalized and unique experience abroad where I could step outside my comfort zone and immerse myself in a completely different culture. What Connect-123 offered was this and much more. After conversing with Steven about the possible opportunities that suited my academic curiosities, he found the perfect internship with an economic research group. I had the opportunity to work with professional economists dealing with social issues in Uganda as well as domestic issues facing South Africans. Without question, it was the people that made my time in Cape Town unforgettable. The staff at Connect were always there to answer my infinite questions about the city, commuting to work, and places to explore and experience. I could always count on Eimear’s input and guidance to suggest exciting and quirky things to do in the city. Connect would also organize outings that brought together all of the other students in the program. What makes Connect especially unique and alluring from university-run programs is the fact that the Connect attracts people from all over the world. I had the honor of meeting making lasting friendships with fellow students from many different countries also looking for that outside-the-box summer experience. My time in Cape Town this past summer was nothing short of life changing. I didn’t know what to expect when I made the decision to go, but I ended up having the most amazing summer with some pretty incredible people. From bungee jumping to walking with elephants, or just enjoying the sunset on top of Table Mountain, Cape Town will have you hooked!

Internships in Cape Town

Leah Howell

Sustainable Development Intern
Macquarie University Graduate, Australia
4 March 2010

During my time in Cape Town I completed a 4-week internship for an NGO partnering with big business in order to progress goals set under the Sustainable Cape Town 2030 Vision. The internship provided me with an opportunity to explore how sustainable initiatives are being implemented from both bottom-up and top-down approaches. It also highlighted the challenges of achieving sustainability in a country with different political concerns than what I am used to. Through my host organization I was able to make contact with a range of stakeholders including government, renewable energy developers, advisory bodies, regional action groups and other NGOs. Connect-123 helped to make the experience memorable, the organised social events were great and I found the team to be energetic and helpful. Overall my internship allowed me to gain valuable practical skills in applying learnt theory to real world situations. Cape Town is a great place to better grasp the intricacies behind realizing sustainable development.

Amy Holter

| Cape Town
Education Intern
3 March 2010

I know that when I go back to the States I will be asked, “So how was South Africa?” I’ve been wondering what I could possibly say to that, and I think I’ve found an answer that is unfortunately as broad as the question itself. “It was everything.” Think of an adjective and it was Cape Town – stunning, exhilarating, challenging, painful, hilarious, breathtaking, terrifying, comforting, emotional, etc, etc, etc. I’ve built a life here, and life is full of everything.

Looking back, I would not trade my experience in Connect for anything. It was a beautiful opportunity to befriend and live with people from all over the world while still becoming part of the local South African community. I worked at a literacy organization for at-risk children. The organization operates in five schools around Cape Town. I became a “link” at one of the schools, which means that I ran the daily operations of the Literacy Centre at that school. I coordinated over 50 incredible volunteers and 76 adorable children and had the time of my life. The children are tutored twice a week and usually have more one-on-one time with their literacy mentor than with any other adult in their educational life. It was amazing to see the changes in the children over my six months and to be given such great responsibility in the organization. Sometimes significant responsibility can mean a stressful working environment, but I always felt supported and loved as part of the team. Connect led me to what truly was my perfect internship situation, and I know that my experience will follow me throughout my life.  If you’re questioning coming to this incredible place, don’t. There is a depth here that sinks into you, and I’ve met so many people that come here and end up staying. Whether or not you decide Cape Town is the place you wish you could spend your life, however, I promise you’ll have a blast, grow in ways you never imagined and go home with amazing stories to tell.

Internships in Cape Town

Prat Panda

Business Consulting Intern | Cape Town
UCLA, Graduate
2 March 2010

My time in Cape Town was absolutely priceless, and I owe so much to Connect for making it happen.  I graduated from college in 2006 and was working the crazy corporate life for three and a half years when I realized I needed a change of pace.  I decided to take two months off and spend them in an exotic land doing something that I’ve always wanted to do.  In came Connect 123 — they were able to set me and my girlfriend up with amazing internships in the amazing city that is Cape Town.  I worked at a small non-profit business school that provided free tertiary business education for underprivileged students.  Part of the institute’s mission was also to provide business mentorship to ambitious entrepreneurs from economically marginalized communities through its Entrepreneurship Centre.  As an intern at the Enterpreneurship Centre, I had an amazing opportunity to leverage from my experience in a large financial corporation to provide valuable business training and mentorship to some fascinating people.  Of the projects I undertook, one was helping a young man from the Kayelitscha township who owned his own party equipment rental business develop a way to track his finances appropriately.  Working independently and in collaboration with the entrepreneur and the director of the Enterpreneurship Centre, I taught him basic financial and accounting concepts and ultimately developed a financial model that he now uses to determine the profits and losses of his company – which he can ultimately use to make vital business decisions.  Another entrepreneur I worked with had a catering business, but he had difficulty figure out how to get the word out to potential customers about his services.  I worked with him to develop a marketing strategy that he could use to reach his target customers.  This involved teaching him basic marketing concepts and helping him determine graphic designs for his menus and business cards that were most appealing to attracting customers. Overall, the experience was something I would not trade for anything.  Though I only interned there for 6 weeks, I feel I made a lasting impact on many of the entrepreneurs who I mentored there.  Moreover, I made lasting friendships with many of the staff, students, and other interns who were part of the school and entreprenership centre.  Without the help of Connect 123, I would never have been connected to this amazing organization.

Internships in Cape Town

Michelle Friszman

Child Life Intern
Ohio University
24 February 2010

Connect-123 internship program was absolutely incredible. Traveling to South Africa to work at Red Cross War Memorial Hospital was an amazing experience, and Connect-123 was a big part of that. Connect-123 settled my apprehensions of being in a different part of the world more than I could have imagined. Everything right down to weekend events, social outings, and work related events were planned out so well that there was no need to worry about anything. Everything was so organized and it allowed me to have the optimal experience in Cape Town. In addition, working through the Child life project at RCCH was amazing. Traveling to South Africa to assess the needs of child life within hospitals definitely shaped my career goals, as well as personal goals. At the beginning of the experience, I expected to be the teacher, implementing methods and techniques of a Child Life specialist, but instead, I also came away from the experience with more knowledge of interacting with people in general than I could have ever imagined. Working at the hospital and interacting with such a diverse population forced me to stretch my limits and go beyond my comfort level to the extreme. Being in a place where I wasn’t always familiar definitely was not easy at times, but personally and professionally, I would not be where I am today if I had not been a part of the Connect-123 Child Life team. It has definitely given me that extra step towards being better at practicing the profession of Child Life. I would HIGHLY recommend Connect-123 internship programs to anyone considering it.

Alli Assiter

Human Rights Intern | Cape Town
University of Oklahoma Graduate
18 February 2010

My time in South Africa has changed my life forever. When I signed up with Connect-123 I expected to have a change of scenery and gain another experience to enhance my resume. I did not expect everything else that I gained from this experience. The Connect-123 staff did an excellent job of using my interests and strengths to find me the internship that fitted me perfectly.  I worked with an HIV/Aids Campaign in the township of Khayelitsha. I was able to go into the township everyday and work to help the problems of HIV, safety, and security. I got to plan protests and events in the community, attend court hearings, and work with the people in the township to enhance their lives. Through this internship I was able to really identify working in human rights as my passion and something that I want to spend the rest of my life doing. Not only did I have a rewarding work experience that really benefited me professionally and personally, I was able to make life long friends that I still keep in touch with. The other interns enhanced my experience and made my summer so much more fun. The living quarters are located in an amazing convenient location and it is so much fun to be able to walk five minutes to all your friends’ apartments. The Connect staff were friendly, fun, and extremely helpful. I knew that if I ever needed help or guidance that they would go out of their way to fix the problem I was experiencing. They planned extra events like cooking classes, trips to the beach, and wine tastings that let me experience South African culture and learn more about a fabulous country. The staff really goes above and beyond to make sure that you get the most you can out of your experience. Spending my summer doing a Connect-123 internship was the best decision I have ever made and the best time of my life. I would recommend to anyone to work with Connect-123 in South Africa. It is an experience you will always remember and never forget.

Internships in Cape Town

Michelle Reinhart

Child Life Intern
Ohio University
17 February 2010

Before coming to South Africa I had all these ideas and pictures in mind, but little did I know how much of an amazing and beautiful place Cape Town truly is. I remember the first day waking up and looking out my window to see mountains on one side, and the ocean from the rooftop. It was by far the most beautiful place I have traveled to in my life. Throughout my stay, Mugged became a usual and the sites of Cape Town became my adventure along with child life as my job. I felt more than welcomed during my stay by all the individuals involved in connect123, and by the end of the month, it actually started to feel like a home. I began to know my way around as well as feeling more comfortable, but my time in Cape Town fell way to short. Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital was the place where we piloted Child Life on various units, including mine on the surgery ward. It was difficult to adapt at first to such a diverse setting as well as a diverse population in which I had no previous experience with before. However, the experience there has taught me so much more about myself, Child Life and how to value even the smallest things. I feel confident that we made an impact on all the staff, families, and children’s lives just in that one month, and am hopeful that one day the child life program there will be able to expand even more. As for my experience in general, it was just something that is unexplainable until you go there. I learned a lot within my hospital experiences, as well as got to enjoy just being in Cape Town. I think the highlights of my trip, were going on the safari, bungee jumping, and the feeling I got when I reached the top of Table Mountain. It’s absolutely beautiful there, and I hope one day I will be able to return for a more extended amount of time.

Amanda Sipes

Non-Profit Marketing Intern | Cape Town
Bowling Green State University Graduate
28 January 2010

Going into the internship, I was not certain about what kind of job I would be interested in. However, Connect-123 placed me exactly where I wanted to be doing a marketing/event planning internship at a non-profit in Cape Town. It was more than I could have ever asked for in an internship. What really helped along the way was how the advisors at Connect-123 were always making sure we were happy with our work placements and enjoying ourselves outside of work. If I ever needed anything I knew I could come to them and they would graciously answer any questions I had and do whatever they could to make me more comfortable. Looking back, my entire experience has helped shape and reveal my passions and I would not trade it for the world. I was given a challenging yet extremely rewarding internship and that experience will forever stay with me along my path through life.  For anyone interested in working abroad, I would highly recommend Connect-123 in helping you fulfil your goals.

Internships in Cape Town

Annie Berger

Medical Intern | Cape Town
Gustavus Adolphus College
27 January 2010

My four months in Cape Town were best described as an incredible learning experience. I learned so much about myself and the world around me – especially through my internship experience. When my initial internship assignment turned out to be something different than what I expected, Gabby and the Connect-123 staff took immediate action to find something for me that fit my personal and professional needs. Within two days, I had a new assignment that I ended up being MUCH happier with. My first day at my new internship at a leading pediatric hospital, involved me being asked to help with an anesthetic induction within about 30 seconds of walking into the operating theatre. Needless to say, I got some pretty amazing medical experience, not only with the scientific aspect of medicine but the social aspect as well. I learned to communicate with parents and caregivers (especially those who didn’t speak English as a first language) as part of my research project and continued to gain knowledge and skills in the anesthetic arena, including completion of a successful intubation during my last week at the hospital. I now feel incredibly prepared to be in a clinical setting as I begin Physician Assistant school. Outside of work, I formed some pretty amazing lifelong relationships with other program participants and was able to explore many different aspects of South African life, thanks to the Connect staff. I can’t express the true value of the things I learned in Cape Town, but I know that I will carry them with me for the rest of my life and have become a better person because of them.

Internships in Cape Town

Hannah Hawkes

Marketing Intern | Cape Town
University of Birmingham Graduate
6 January 2010

My decision to do an internship in Cape Town was a spontaneous one yet it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made so far. The 3 months I spent in Cape Town were some of the best months of my life. I fell in love with the city and the people that I met there. Connect-123 were fantastic. They organised the perfect internship and right from the start they were so friendly and pro-active making me feel confident about moving to Cape Town. I remember arriving at Perspectives, not knowing what to expect yet after a couple of weeks it felt like home, and the friends I had made felt like family. I learnt so much from my internship, and was given opportunities to impact and contribute to the success of the organisation. The staff at Connect were great and my experience in Cape Town would not have been half of what it was without them. I had the time of my life, thank you.

Internships in Cape Town

Alyssa Johnson

Human Rights Intern | Cape Town
Michigan State University
4 January 2010

I recommend this program for absolutely anyone!  I spent three of the richest and most memorable months of my life interning for a human rights organization just outside of the city.  I was given real work to do that directly related to my University coursework.  My coworkers and the entire Connect team were so welcoming and always made sure I had plenty of activities to keep busy with.  I quickly felt a part of the family, both at work and within Connect 123.  I also had the opportunity to do real “hands-on work” that I perhaps wouldn’t have been able to working for a similar organization at home.  Beyond this, I loved living with other interns, traveling around the region, and exploring all Cape Town has to offer. My advice to anyone thinking about studying or interning abroad: do it!  Post-Cape Town, I am not only more marketable in my field, but also blessed with amazing memories and many new friends.  I find little things every day that remind me of my time in South Africa, and know it won’t be too long until I’m back!

Internships in Cape Town

Alex and Jessa Stevens

Microfinance Intern and Graphic Design / Education Intern | Cape Town
South Methodist University
15 December 2009

My wife, Jessa, and I had the unique opportunity to move to Cape Town after graduating college and getting married (we were busy!). Through Connect-123 we were both able to find internships that fit our skill sets, personatilies, and interests. Jessa worked for an organization that spent time after school teaching kids the importance of education, physical fitness, and social responsibility. While working in one of the most beautiful places in the country, she got to interact daily with kids who lived on wine farms. Her mornings were spent designing brochures, invitations, and presentations for the organization. She also planned out math lessons for the after school program. In the afternoon, she met with kids at the farm schools for an hour of education and homework followed by an hour of sport. Being an advertising major and an athlete in college, this internship was a great match. Jessa learned a lot about the South African culture from both the women at the office as well as the students. She even picked up on some Afrikaans. One of her favorite projects was coming up with a skit for the annual Christmas play that the children act out for local nursing homes. I had the unique opportunity of working for a non-profit microfinance consulting firm. I graduated with a degree in finance and was very interested to see how micro finance worked in the real world! Overall, I was very impressed with the amount of responsibility given to me during my internship, especially compared to some of the internships that I completed in the US. The company that I interned for expected me to make a meaningful contribution to the office, and allowed me to use some of the skills that I had coming out of college to help them out. I was able to learn about micro finance "from the ground up" when I walked around a South African township with one of the bank's loan officers and experienced what their loan application / collection process was like. I was also given the opportunity to do research and contribute towards many of the documents that we prepared for clients. The highlight of my internship came towards the end when I went to work at one of our client's offices and help them improve some of their processes. It was great to have a chance to  get out of the office and work face-to-face with the clients. Overall, Jessa and I were very happy with our Connect-123 internships and would recommend it to anyone interested. It was great to have a place to intern abroad and a community of people to experience it with.

Internships in Cape Town

Marcos Arteaga

Business Intern | Cape Town
University of Dueso-Este
9 December 2009

I have no words to explain the great experience I had in Cape Town with Connect-123! I decided to contact Connect-123, because it is not the same to travel to such an amazing country on your own or being sure you will be with other young students with same interest as you. It was one of the best decisions I took in my life! Today I still dream about those amazing days. Everything has something special, Table Mountain, white sandy beaches, people, food, parties, etc. I wanna enjoy all of them again! The organization of the activities, workers from Connect-123, the people I met and the internship were stunning. I made really good friends with whom I will keep in touch a lifelong! If I had time, I would enjoy a Connect-123 experience again! 100% recommended. It’s a new experience for people that love to be in touch with the African culture, make new friends, improve the CV and enjoy. Thanks Connect-123 for that opportunity!

Internships in Cape Town

Broghan Cully

Biomedical Engineering Intern | Cape Town
Dartmouth College
9 December 2009

The past 3 months I spent in Cape Town were nothing short of amazing. Connect-123 not only set me up with a biomedical engineering internship and great housing, but also provided me with weekly optional activities such as wine tasting, hiking, and African drumming lessons. Every week was a new adventure because Cape Town and its surroundings have so much to offer. Also, the weather was perfect, the people were friendly, and the food was exceptional! With that said, my time in this wonderful city would not have been half of what it was had I not come through Connect-123. The Connect-123 staff made my stay here just that much more comfortable. They were there to greet me when I arrived, they took me to work on my first day, they introduced me to all the other students visiting, they showed me the ins and outs of the city, and they were readily available to help me with anything throughout my entire visit.

Internships in Cape Town
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