Staff Member Spotlight: Saskia Schiel

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Saskia, an award-winning film producer, has worked in production for many years — on television shows and feature films ranging from documentaries to Mad Max: Fury Road. After completing her studies, she set out on a career that has led her to work with Hollywood stars and studios, on smaller independent films of her own, crossing the country in search of that perfect location for that perfect shot.

Saskia is an avid traveller and adventure-seeker, and recently completed the Camino de Santiago, a 775km trek, on foot, across Spain. She is happy to bring her energy, creativity and love of South Africa to C-123!

What is your favorite travel memory?

I recently completed the Camino de Santiago, a 775km trek on foot across Northern Spain. It was the toughest thing I've ever done, and so the most rewarding! Its hard to single out just one moment from the journey, but if I had to, it would be my second night.

I stayed in a hostel, in the middle of nowhere, above the clouds in the Pyrenees mountains. That evening, everyone gathered for the most delicious home cooked meal. The host asked us to briefly introduce ourselves to the group - where we were from, where we were going, and why we were there.

With every single continent represented, we talked and laughed the night away, the twin Italians even bursting into spontaneous Opera, someone else started a traditional dance and so it carried on. The energy was just incredible.

Although we were all from such different places and backgrounds, and taking on this journey for various reasons, we had the love of travel and adventure in common. That night I made several friends, friendships which traverse all boundaries of language and cultures, and which I will cherish for a lifetime.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Joining Connect-123 was a big career change for me and I’ve loved every second of it. Everyday, I get to work with incredible students from all over the world, each with their unique interests and talents. Their passion is so inspiring and the work and projects they do here, continues to amaze me.

Seeing the country I love so much through their experiences, also teaches me new things about the city I live in. Plus they always discover the newest hang out spots and end up giving me tips on where to go! There’s always something new to discover - there’s never a dull moment!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We’ve recently had two participants come back to Cape Town after having completed their programs, and make the city their new home. It's so great to see how they have fallen in love with the city, the culture and the people here. The experience really leaves a lasting impression. Every person who joins us, comes away with so much personal growth, cool stories and envious Instagram pics!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

That’s so hard to choose! I’ve had the privilege of visiting both Buenos Aires and Barcelona before, and although I would never turn down an invitation for tapas and sangria, I would probably want to go somewhere new.

Shanghai would be exciting as I’ve never been to Asia and would love to experience a world and culture so vastly different from mine. But I’ve always wanted to go to Dublin, explore the castles and do a real pub crawl! Or wait, there’s Sydney too with its beautiful beaches and foodie heaven! So many great options!

What makes your company unique?

Everything we do is so personal, and that’s what makes it so great. As a team, not just in Cape Town, but across the world, we work very closely together. We take time to get to know every participant and love it when we put together a project which we know would be the perfect match for each applicant.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

We pride ourselves in being efficient and thorough, but still very personable, and that’s what makes our offering unique. The programs are all customized to match each applicants own goals and interests. We offer support for each person, from application, pre-trip, on the ground whilst in-country and afterwards as well.