Tell us a little about your experience working with Connect-123.
I am currently an Account Manager at Go Overseas. Recently, I was able to shadow the Connect-123 program in Barcelona. This interview is a reflection of my experiences during the site visit.
I’ve worked with Connect-123 for the past three years and have worked with a couple of their excellent team members on their marketing initiatives, mainly with their Co-Founder Steven. How Connect-123 came to fruition is really an amazing story. Throughout my time visiting their office in Barcelona, I was able to learn how the diverse backgrounds (culturally and professionally) of the two co-founders has positively impacted Connect-123 in many ways over the years. They’ve both lived and worked in various places so this adds a unique spice into their programming.
What stood out to you about this program specifically?
Connect-123 has a very flexible, tailor-made model. I was able to witness this first hand in Barcelona, but they provide this same level of support in all of their locations (Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Dublin, Shanghai -- in addition to Barcelona). As an intern, you can start and end when it works for you. Connect-123’s focus is first and foremost on your individual professional + academic goals.
You’re also able to blend an internship with volunteering and studying abroad -- each program is really quite unique.
What were your observations about the current interns in Barcelona?
One of the interns that stood out to me the most had actually done two programs with Connect-123. If someone returns for another placement, this is a huge indication of how happy that participant was and expects that same quality the second time around.
Her two placements were quite different, but in the same industry. This will help her immensely when she’s ready to apply for a full-time job as she’s had focused, yet diverse industry experience.
This independent intern really appreciated the support Connect-123 provides, but also the element of built-in flexibility in their programming.
This flexibility is not an easy administrative feature to include by any means so this really stood out to me in regards to the C123 Barcelona program.
Any advice for future interns based on your site visit?
Lean into the challenges! I had a really candid conversation with a Connect-123 participant who has done a short-term study abroad program (through her university) and multiple internships abroad.
She appreciated her university’s short-term study abroad program for what it was (a great way to get your feet wet in cultural immersion), but she mentioned it was very easy to stay in the “american bubble” when there’s 150 other US college students on the same program.
Her first internship with Connect-123 she described as “getting to know her surroundings” and getting acquainted with working outside of the US. She said C123 very much supported her throughout that learning process.
During her first internship, she experienced some challenging situations at work when there was a language barrier. For example, checking someone into a hostel who is Russian and he doesn’t speak Spanish and she doesn’t speak Russian. Those are the moments you have to think on your feet and just figure it out.
Instead of shying away from the challenge, it inspired her to lean in, hone her Spanish skills and sign up for a second internship. I think ultimately the support and safety net of the Connect-123 family helped her grow. Needless to say, I was pretty inspired and impressed with her tenacity.