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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Amanda Palaka

Human Rights | Cape Town
Michigan State University
3 December 2009

My internship experience in Cape Town was incredible and I have the people at Connect- 123 to thank.  The staff was very helpful and did a great job in helping me with preparations prior to my arrival in South Africa. Melanie contacted me several times and helped find me the perfect internship for my interests. The program arranged transportation from the airport, housing and helped answer all my pre-departure questions. During my stay Connect-123 stayed connected by following up with how my internship was progressing and planned many social activities to get to know other interns with the program and experience all South Africa has to offer. This was the best part of the experience. I had a phenomenal internship with a women’s rights NGO and was given more responsibilities than I could have expected as an intern. I had the chance to explore South Africa and share the experience with people who have become lifelong friends. Without Connect-123 none of this would have been possible, or at least not have come as easy.

Internships in Cape Town

Tom Barone

Venture Capital Intern | Cape Town
University of Southern California
2 December 2009

I recently returned home from 14 weeks in Cape Town. I had no idea what to expect upon arriving but was comforted knowing that Connect-123 had set up living and work arrangements. While it was quite shocking at first, Cape Town felt like home after two weeks.  Most exciting and fun 14 weeks of my life. And I learned a lot at my internship in venture capital as well. If you want to do something off the beaten path, pick Cape Town. I can’t imagine a type of person that wouldn’t fall in love with the city quickly. The people I met and the contacts I made were all incredible. Can’t imagine a better place and way to spend a semester or summer or however much time you have to spend. The more the better. Cheers and good luck.

Internships in Cape Town

Angie Fraser

Education Intern | Cape Town
University of Edinburgh
30 November 2009

Connect-123 organized two internships for me, working in both primary and secondary schools in Cape Town. I taught sex education and AIDS awareness in the high schools and held one-on-one English literacy sessions in the primary schools. It was undoubtedly the most challenging and satisfying work I’ve done in my life. The things the kids came out with were hilarious, or shocking, or sometimes very touching. On the whole it made me see Cape Town from a very different perspective. I became good friends with my co-workers at both organizations. The girls I lived with in Perspectives were amazing. Connect-123 equips you with a fantastic work and social life so you’re confident to go out and embrace South Africa!

Internships in Cape Town

Sarah Levy

Education Intern | Cape Town
Skidmore College
27 November 2009

I arrived in Cape Town in the middle of May, after many interns had already settled in for a few weeks, but was immediately welcomed by interns and staff alike.  The people I met in the beginning set the tone for my fabulous few months in Cape Town.  Connect-123 brings together an incredible group of open-minded individuals looking to experience working abroad, while also looking to soak up the culture in Cape Town. Melanie helped organize my internship so that it was custom fit to my interests. I worked on behalf of a child literacy NGO at a public school in Cape Town (walking distance from the Connect apartments), helping three students with reading. Two days a week, I went into my host organization’s office, assisting with any tasks they needed completed. I even sat in on weekly staff meetings allowing me to learn about how non-profit management functions and making connections with the staff members. The entire staff at Connect was available to answer questions and help with any problems or concerns I had before and after I arrived in Cape Town. Connect is an incredible social network, besides setting up the interns in apartments together, social nights, and weekend events were planned and allowed interns to explore the vineyards and events outside of the city bowl. Connect also provided information on special events happening at shops, restaurants, and festivals in the city.  Cape Town is a unique and beautiful city that should be visited by all. Connect provided me with all the tools to experience Cape Town in all its glory.

Internships in Cape Town

Michelle Beattie

Human Rights Internship | Cape Town
Wilfrid Laurier University
17 November 2009

My time with Connect-123 was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to gain valuable experience in my area of study and make lasting relationships with other interns. The staff were very helpful and involved, making sure that I was satisfied with my internship and general experience in South Africa. Melanie was especially helpful and was a very important person in making my time in Cape Town as great as it was. Thank you so much!

Internships in Cape Town

Samu Pelkonen

Medical Intern | Cape Town
University of Helsinki
17 November 2009

In January, my friends and schoolmates started looking for their regular summer jobs whereas I started thinking outside the box, stumbled upon this website and applied for a medical internship in Cape Town. The whole application process was smooth sailing; I got the type of an internship I wanted most, when I wanted it and over 10,000 kilometres away from home. I knew I was in for a real view-expander. During the course of roughly eight weeks in July and August I interned in a private clinic for orthopedic surgery. My average work week consisted of three days in an operating room having the privilege to witness top-tier shoulder surgery and two days of working on my own clinical research project. On the office days I also got to observe patient consultations and minor procedures done under ultrasound guidance. Despite the surgeons being busy beyond recognition at times, I feel that I got enough instruction on how to conduct the research. Also, worth highlighting is how well we interns were treated as a part of the staff and the creativity of the managing surgeon in, for instance, coming up with fascinating research topics out of which I could choose the most tempting one. All in all, the work schedule and how time was split between ‘theatres’ and office space was an optimal mix for an eager intern with a specific interest in orthopedics. Naturally an integral part of the whole internship experience was the innumerable evenings, nights and weekends spent meeting new and interesting people, going out and just having the time of my life – partly on the expense of my liver. In retrospect and amidst the lethargy-inducing Finnish fall weather it is invigorating to savor the afterglow of such South African outdoorsy activities as mountaineering, road tripping, bungee jumping and going on safari. The drinks nights and excursions organized by Connect staff deserve two thumbs up for bringing the Connect interns together every once in a while. As a non-native speaker of English I immediately realized I was in an obvious minority so my internship had one more dimension as opposed to that of a, say, Brit. I did find myself delving deeper in the de facto world language in two different registers that would have been hard to even graze had I stayed in Finland. Firstly, the refined medical lingo of surgeons and other healthcare professionals and the blatantly contrasting jargon of mostly American college students. Some of the more peculiar colloquialisms will undoubtedly linger in my mind for long… In short, the friendly Connect-123 staff enabled me to have the best summer of my life. The downright flabbergasting internship and everything it entailed also were the final incitement for me to strive for an international career. Apparently, I was the first Connect intern from Finland and coming somewhere ‘exotic’ only added to the value. The summer when I felt more alive than ever will definitely be remembered.

Internships in Cape Town

Sydney Lidstone

University of South Florida | Cape Town
Animal Science Internship
15 October 2009

I became an official Connect123 intern in September 2008. Little did I know, I was about to embark on one of the biggest adventures I have ever experienced! I heard about Connect-123 through my friend, Crystal Fisher, who had applied to the internship program. We both constantly have the itch to travel, so when she told me about the journey she was about to take, I was all ears. After about a five minute discussion of her informing me about the location in Cape Town, South Africa, and the internships available, I was ready to pack my bags!

As an intern, I wanted to work with wildlife as well as domesticated animals. Connect-123 took this desire and found me two lovely internships working for a cheetah project and with a vet. Although the educational experience of working with these two companies was extraordinary, the majority of my learning experience came from simply being abroad in a new culture and environment. I met several new people from all over the world, and my eyes were opened to things I had only imagined. From the beautiful and exotic mountains, beaches, vineyards, baboons, culture and people, I had no idea how sheltered I really was until I got to live in another country! The friends I made, the adventures I took, and the obstacles I overcame, carry such value in my heart that I still speak about the entire journey as if it happened yesterday. Those three months are a significant chapter in my life and hopefully just the start of more to come! I am forever grateful for the opportunity and have come back to the States with an entirely new outlook! Connect-123- Thank you!

Internships in Cape Town

Hope Norman

Marketing Intern | Cape Town
University of Miami
6 October 2009

I can honestly say that Connect-123 and my summer internship changed my life. I know that’s a lofty statement, but it’s true!  Connect found me an internship at an entrepreneurship centre for local entrepreneurs, and I had the privilege of assisting people who wanted to work hard, improve their lives, and then help the people around them.  I couldn’t have asked for a better internship.  I was not only able to hone my marketing skills, but I realized that I now have a passion for social entrepreneurship.  Also, the quality of other interns that Connect-123 brings in is phenomenal.  I have made friends that I know I will remain close to for my entire life.  We’re already planning a Christmas reunion.  Finally, a note about the Connect-123 staff.  I had a lot of difficulty getting one of my suitcases not only into the country, but also when I was leaving.  They went out of their way to make sure my suitcase made it to my apartment (including retrieving it for me!) to making sure I was able to scan and send all the necessary documents.  I don’t know what I would have done without them.

Internships in Cape Town

Lauren Day

Medical Intern | Cape Town
College of St. Benedict
2 October 2009

Connect-123 was the perfect organization to go through for a summer internship.  From the start, Steven, Lea and Gabby were very prompt in answering all my questions and were extremely helpful throughout my entire internship.  My placement was doing research at a children’s hospital, and it was an amazing experience.  I got to work on various research projects, scrub in to numerous surgeries and build relationships with the staff and children.  It is obvious that the doctors want you to learn, and are more than willing to explain a procedure or answer questions.  I felt welcome and learned an incredible amount from everyone. Not only was the internship incredible, but also the Connect outings allowed us to explore around Cape Town while making friends with the other awesome interns.  Cape Town is full of endless things to do such as wine tasting, mountain hiking, nightlife and shark diving.  The Connect staff creates an energetic, friendly and lively environment, and through it I made friends that are going to last a long time. My summer truly was unforgettable.  Cape Town is one of the most beautiful and exciting cities I’ve been to, I got the internship of a lifetime, and I met some of the most amazing people.  It will no doubt be an experience that I will never forget.

Internships in Cape Town

Jamie Wisbey

Venture Capital Intern | Cape Town
University of Glasgow
28 September 2009

My internship with Connect-123 was an incredible experience. Connect-123 provided me with excellent support both before arriving in Cape Town and whilst I was there. I spent two months working for a venture capital firm that provided specialist advisory services to technology companies and entrepreneurs. The guys at my work were all very knowledgeable and I definitely learnt a lot from working with them. South Africa itself is a beautiful country with an unbelievable range of activities – it is impossible to be bored there! Whether you fancy hiking Table Mountain, exploring the world-famous wineries at Stellenbosch, enjoying stunning views at Cape Point, relaxing on the beach at Camps Bay, visiting historical places such as Robben Island, seeing wildlife on a safari or doing the world’s highest bungee jump at the Garden Route, there really is something for everyone here. And Connect-123’s well organised social calendar makes it easy for you to see Cape Town during the day and at night (the nightlife is amazing by the way!) whilst at the same time meeting all the other interns. Overall, my Cape Town experience was definitely the best summer of my life. I made a number of great friendships and left with some truly unforgettable memories. Much of this was down to Connect -123, who I cannot recommend highly enough. They will go out of their way to help you find an internship that is tailored specifically to your needs. If you have any questions before or during your internship, they will do everything they can to give you an answer. I could not have asked for anything more – this summer not only met my expectations but exceeded them several times over!

Internships in Cape Town

Ben Rodger

Economic Policy Intern | Cape Town
Trinity College Dublin
11 September 2009

The possibilities presented by Connect-123 to come to work in Cape Town were too good to turn down. They were able to provide a number of various interning opportunities which appealed to my interests, but the one that attracted me the most was that an economic policy institute. Prior to my arrival in South Africa, Connect made everything as easy as possible, from arranging accommodation to answering endless questions concerning visas, security and a whole lot more. From then on, my internship took a number of extremely interesting twists and turns which gave me huge levels of responsibility and meant that no two days were ever the same. My first day, for example, led to the highly unexpected pleasure of being flown to Johannesburg a mere 2 hours after first arriving in the office to act as translator for a delegation of Congolese politicians – you would be surprised how well GCSE French can serve you! In addition, I was given the chance to travel all over South Africa interacting with all sorts of people, from politicians to some of the poorest residents of the townships. I was able to contribute to a variety of reports that were submitted to government of South Africa, as well as coming into contact with politicians from Iraq and Namibia. My internship ended as dramatically as it began when I was flown to Uganda to work as a consultant to the Department of Social Affairs for a week. My only disappointment was the last-minute cancellation of a trip to the province of Limpopo as we had not been able to get permission from the local chiefs to enter their land – don’t ask!! Overall, my internship offered me opportunities to make an impact in all kinds of areas that I would never have been able to find anywhere else. Needless to say, my 4 month experience has boosted my CV a great deal by getting real, hands-on work experience with a high degree of responsibility, and the fact that it was all done overseas in an completely different environment only made it all more fulfilling. Added to this, the support facilities on offer from Connect meant that settling in was very easy, and there was always a huge group of interns on hand for long weekends or late nights, so there was never a dull moment. Testament to the success of the programme has been the fact that some interns have even been able to turn temporary positions into full-time jobs – I couldn’t recommend Connect-123 more highly.

Internships in Cape Town

Bart Robertson

Business Consulting | Cape Town
Indiana State University
15 August 2009

I decided to make things exciting for my last semester of college by interning abroad. Being from rural Indiana, I wanted to go somewhere completely foreign to me that I knew little if anything about, while at the same time devoting myself to a worthwhile cause. Interning in South Africa was the perfect location, and Connect-123 was the perfect company to help me with the process before, during, and even after my internship. Before I even left the States, Connect-123 had already helped me with all the necessary paper work, taken care of my living arrangements (which are pretty high end by the way), and set me up with an incredible internship. During my stay in South Africa, my internship experience gave me the right balance between work and play. My internship as a business consultant was nothing short of amazing, where I worked with local entrepreneurs to start and grow small business in the townships to stimulate economic development. The work was exciting, the people were friendly, and I was able to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Of course interning abroad isn’t all about the work. At the Connect-123 apartments in a great building in the center of town, I met and lived with like minded world travelers who loved to explore and have a good time. How many people can brag about going on safari, swimming with penguins, or diving off the worlds highest bungee jump…probably not many. In South Africa we did all the above and so much more. Everyone in the Connect-123 office was helpful in getting us adjusted to life in Cape Town, and always gave us the best discounts and insider information for all of our trips. Every other week, they even set up group events, which were always fun. They’re a great way to meet new interns and explore the areas around Cape Town.

Internships in Cape Town

Chris Troeger

Public Health Internship | Cape Town
University of Colorado
21 May 2009

A few weeks after I returned from Cape Town, where I was an intern at an HIV/AIDS prevention organization where I taught high school students about HIV, one of my friends, who was radiant with jealousy, asked me if I had any advice for someone who wanted to go to Cape Town. Without hesitation, my advice, in a single word, was, “Go!” Cape Town is a unique city, alive with culture, night clubs, music (listen to Goldfish, they are going to be huge), beaches, mountains, wine country, and countless things to see and do. Connect-123 does a fantastic job of matching interns with relevant and exciting internships and also organizes events and trips to meet other interns and explore Cape Town and South Africa. I highly recommend Connect-123 for their level of commitment to make each participant’s experience as complete and near to perfect as possible, especially on the individual level. The Connect-123 staff is great; friendly and energetic, which is a theme for my experience in Cape Town. Even more than my life changing experiences, I think I will vividly remember the people that I encountered. The Connect-123 staff, my friends and fellow interns in Connect, my coworker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, my high school aged students, even that guy with the thick Afrikaans accent who challenged me to jump off the world’s highest bungee bridge; it is the people that made my trip what it was, and I have no doubt that the people that you meet will make your time in Cape Town life-changing. So if you are like my friend, looking for advice, my answer to you is the same, “Go!”

Internships in Cape Town

Alyssa Thompson-Tucker

Refugee Rights Internship | Cape Town
Bates College
3 March 2009

Finding an internship through Connect-123 made the previously stressful task of finding one myself, instantaneously simple. Directly after inquiring about Connect-123 I was contacted by Steven and shortly thereafter they had found me an internship with a non-profit organization, which fit both my interests and qualifications. Not only was everyone at Connect wonderfully friendly and helpful, but they were also always available if you needed anything. I personally think the best part about Connect is the freedom you are given. Unlike other internship programs where everyone lives, eats and commutes everywhere together, you can do as much with the Connect program or as little as you want. I was already planning to live with friends in Cape Town, so this made Connect the perfect fit.

Internships in Cape Town

Julie Ellsworth

Medical Internship | Cape Town
University of New Brunswick
9 February 2009

Connect-123 is an amazing organization that made my time in Cape Town unforgettable. Steven and Lea were so prompt with my initial application and answering any questions I had, no matter how minor. They helped me find the perfect placement at a local hospital volunteering with children as well as participating in various research projects. Not only was the volunteering aspect of the program well organized and worthwhile, Connect-123 also plans exciting outings that allow you to travel around the breathtaking country. From trips to Cape Point to braais on the rooftop of their apartment building (which has an amazing view of Table Mountain, I might add), Connect gives you the opportunity to make many new friendships that will last a lifetime. It was such an eye-opening experience to see the extreme of poverty in the hospitals one day and then the next, drive the coast and take in the beautiful scenery. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to travel to Cape Town and it would not have been the same without the extraordinary staff at Connect.

Internships in Cape Town

Crystal Fisher

Human Rights Volunteer | Cape Town
University of South Florida
30 December 2008

Connect-123 works hard to find a great internship that meets all your needs. This was no exception for me. I had the opportunity to work with one of the leading human rights NGOs in the country that gave me hands on experience with the social problems of South Africa. I could see immediate results from the volunteer projects I was asked to lead and the field work I participated in showed me the impact my work had on the communities. If it were not for Connect-123 I’m not sure I could have found a more fitting place to call my home for three months. Cape Town is certainly a city that grows on you with never-ending excitement and entertainment to keep you busy once the work day ends. My stay definitely wasn’t long enough and I look forward to returning there one day as it is a place that I’ve made some of my most treasured memories and friends!

Internships in Cape Town

Matt DiNauta

Advertising Internship | Cape Town
Providence College
16 October 2008

My experience in Cape Town with Connect-123 was phenomenal. If you are ready for a unique experience that will stay with you forever, look no further than Connect. Lea at Connect worked with me to find the ideal internship to match my interests. I interned at a small advertising agency where I was in direct contact with clients and my work for them was often used. When I found that I had some free time to fill, Lea worked with me to get a second position as a tutor in a boys home in Cape Town. I worked side-by-side with people my age from Cape Town’s townships. Working there was the most rewarding and inspiring experience of my life. South Africa is a breathtakingly beautiful place, and I was never bored for a minute with hiking, surfing, and awesome restaurants and bars all around Cape Town. The nightlife in Cape Town is fantastic, and Lea and Steven know what’s happening around the city every night of the week. Connect is your family away from home and everyone there is great when it comes to helping you with any problems that arise. The addition of an internship in South Africa to my resume has been wonderful and stands out like nothing else could. I am never short of a great work experience to bring up when talking to employers. Best of all are great friends I made through the program from all over the States and the world.

Internships in Cape Town

Ashley Tucker

Marketing Internship | Cape Town
Florida University
30 September 2008

From my first chat with Steven on the phone I knew that Connect 123 and South Africa was exactly what I was looking for – a serious internship experience in which I could not only learn a lot and gain professional experience but also in a place full of culture, history and adventure that I could explore. Professionally, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the my internship placement – as it was spot-on my interests and how professional yet easy-going the placement process was. Steven and Lea and the gang are so helpful and always around to make your life more easy no matter what your question is – they’ve turned into quite the travel guides and have a wealth of knowledge of the area. I learned more than I could hope for and made a wonderful work-family over in Cape Town that has left the door open for future employment. If you are looking to gain great experience in your field and to explore a wonderful place then this is it. Hands down. Get on the phone, book your tickets and pack your bags.

Internships in Cape Town

Rob Everett

Marketing Internship | Cape Town
Loughborough University
9 September 2008

Organising my internship through Connect-123 was the best thing I could have possibly done. At first I thought they only organised events and an internship, but they have provided so much more. Going through Connect made this summer the time of my life! All Connect-123 students live in the same building so it couldn’t be any more social. Also the Connect office is in the same building, so the staff is very accessible and they were always more than happy to advise me. I absolutely loved my internship in Cape Town (I worked with an email marketing company) since the attitude is very laid back and the people at work were so friendly. The Connect-123 social events were always a blast. Lea, Mel, Steven and Gabby always pick a new place to visit and this is a chance for the Connect staff to find out how you’re finding your internship if you haven’t already let them know what you think of it. It is also a great way to meet everybody during your first week in Cape Town, and this is where you make your friends for the trip — in my case and everybody else’s case, friends for life! This summer has been fantastic, and I would say to anybody who wants an internship to go through Connect because you will have such a better experience. For me, this has been the best two months of my life.

Internships in Cape Town

Lindsey Shaughnessy

Gender Rights Internship | Cape Town
Carleton College
28 August 2008

Connect-123 provides an excellent service. Lea and Steven were able to quickly find an internship for me in the field of gender rights and I worked in offices located right across the street from my apartment! Though my stay was short, I found my internship meaningful, my coworkers pleasant, my friendships long-lasting, my jaunts around the Western Cape extraordinary and my expectations fulfilled. I would recommend — and have recommended — Connect-123 to anyone looking for an internship in one of the world’s most vibrant and genuinely remarkable cities. I know I will value my women and governance internship in South Africa as one of the most vital experiences of my life and of my career.

Internships in Cape Town
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