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Connect-123

About

Connect-123 develops and administers internship programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cape Town, South Africa; Shanghai, China; Dublin, Ireland; Sydney, Australia; and Barcelona, Spain. In all countries, internship opportunities are hosted by local companies, non-profit organizations, schools, research institutes and health care clinics.

Reviews

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Daniel
10/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Incredible Experience in an Incredible Country

My summer in Barcelona was truly incredible thanks to Connect-123. I had an incredible experience living and working in such a vibrant and lively city. As a Biochemical Engineering/Physiology major, I have had the unique opportunity to apply my technical knowledge to real-world scenarios. I worked alongside a diverse and interdisciplinary team to dive into the problems associated with liver injuries and transplants. I participated in countless hands-on experiments and designed multiple setups. I was able to practice literature searching and presentation/project formulation and sit in on multiple business meetings. Additionally, I had the incredible opportunity to practice and develop my Spanish language skills in an entirely Spanish-speaking research project. My experience has shaped my future outlook and career plans and I left my internship with an invitation to return in the future. Barcelona is an incredible city filled with robust culture, incredible food, and amazing people. Being able to complete this program in Barcelona opened my eyes to the world and has provided me with incredible memories, friends, and experiences; all of this was thanks to Connect-123. Thank you for an incredible experience! ¡Hasta luego Barcelona!

Pros
  • Engagement
  • Internship placement
  • Connections and mentorship
Cons
  • Side trips (though it was a shorter program)
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Annalisa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience a child life student could have

For those who don't know, child life bridges the communication gap between patients, their families, and medical professionals by using language that is developmentally appropriate. We can minimize medical trauma through play by offering support prior to, during, and following procedures. To emphasize family-centered treatment, we also offer support for siblings and parents. During my international practicum, I worked in a variety of settings including inpatient oncology, inpatient orthopedics, a general inpatient ward, an HIV clinic, and a behavioral/developmental health clinic in three different pediatric hospitals. These environments gave me the chance to develop better rapport-building skills, support developmentally appropriate medical play, prioritize care, promote child directed play, offer normalization and peer oriented activities, and collaborate with a team on care. The practicum provided me with the skills I needed to be successful in my future work as a child life specialist, and I had the chance to interact with a diverse range of patients on several wards. During my time in Cape Town, I was undoubtedly pushed but also developed a ton of confidence. I built ties with patients and their families and seen the challenges they face every day. While in Cape Town, I gained a lot of knowledge about the child life field and myself, as well as made incredible friends that I will always treasure. Thank you!!

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Brady
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cape Town, SA, Global Health Experience

As a first-year medical student, I was searching for a summer experience that would both enhance my education and challenge me to step outside my comfort zone. Because of Cape Town’s unique socioeconomic, cultural, and medical landscape, it was the perfect setting for these two things to be accomplished. My group and I spent nearly a month shadowing healthcare workers both in a public hospital setting and at a home for chronically ill children. There, we gained insight on how the challenges caused by minimal resources can be overcome and how one’s personal health and their social circumstances are deeply intertwined, something that is often veiled in the United States. We learned many other lessons while in Cape Town, and I am confident that this experience will allow us to develop into more understanding, humble, and caring physicians in the future.

In addition to the professional and personal growth my colleagues and I attained, we were able to travel around and enjoy some of what South Africa has to offer, including a multi-day safari, shark cage diving near Shark Alley, and wine tastings at some of the best vineyards in the world. Traversing a country for the first time can be a daunting task, but Carla at Connect-123 helped to make our time there stress-free and enjoyable. She was extremely helpful with scheduling excursions and always available to answer any questions we had. The invaluable education, the gorgeous sunrises, but most especially, the amazing individuals I met along the way, made this opportunity truly unforgettable.

Pros
  • Great learning experience
  • Beautiful landscape
  • Fun excursions
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Abigail
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cape Town, South Africa Internship

My experience interning in Cape Town, South Africa, is one I will never forget! As a public policy and education student, I knew I wanted my time to be spent working within the realm of South African education. After expressing my interests to Carla, she was able to find the perfect fit for me. During the 10 weeks I was there, I was tasked to do all sorts of things including substituting, job-seeking, and more! I loved having the opportunity to meet youth and educators passionate about creating better conditions through education. My students and their experiences have left a significant impact on me that will fuel my outlook on educational equity. Outside of my internship, I was able to explore much of what Cape Town has to offer! From beaches, to hikes, to farmer's market and more, there really is something for everyone in Cape Town during any season. A huge thank you to Connect-123 and Carla for facilitating such a personally impactful experience! I can't wait to visit again!

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Jill
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Unique and Beneficial Opportunity!

Finding experiences that relate to my interests and career goals is a difficult task on its own, made much more difficult during a global pandemic. Connect-123 went above and beyond in finding me the perfect internship. While I did have some hesitations and a couple hiccups along the way, Carla and Lea were there for me every step of the way and always had my best interests at heart. Thanks to them, I was able to gain experience in the archaeological field - even while remote! I was able to help develop workshops to help inspire the next generation of archaeologists while learning about the archaeological practices utilized in Ireland. I will always be grateful for the experiences and connections I made through Connect-123.

Pros
  • Someone was there to help me every step of the way
  • I was matched with an incredible organization I never would have been able to work with without this experience
  • I was able to expand my worldview and skillset by completing new tasks through this opportunity

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 21

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Josh is a Senior at CU Boulder studying International Affairs, Spanish, and Russian. This past semester he completed an internship in Buenos Aires with the Provincial Government working with the Department of Sustainability and Social Responsibility.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I didn't want to just study abroad. I wanted to do something more. More involved, more intense, and more rewarding (in my opinion that is). And really I wanted to experience working abroad, in a foreign language (my internship was 100% in Spanish). And Connect-123 provides that infrastructure does just that.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My university didn't assist with anything. So everything was dealt with by me and the program provider (Connect-123). Connect helped secure housing, and also put me in contact with various host organizations from which point I interviewed directly with them, and then selected my internship from there. I organized travel to and from Buenos Aires, and all the travel I did within Argentina was organized by me as well. Connect organizes weekly social events, and also organizes airport transport to your housing when you arrive, which is a great help.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be prepared for anything! Keeping an open mind and having little to no expectations is the best advice I can give. Because by doing this, you aren't limiting yourself to anything, and instead keeping the experience wide open. Because the odds are that most things won't be exactly how you imagined them, and that is A-ok. That is part of the richness of working/studying abroad, is that you experience things you never anticipated!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Because of the fact that almost every participant has a different internship, there really isn't any such things as an average day. For me personally an average day was getting to the office at 10 am, working until 2 or 3, then a lunch break, then back to work until 6 or even as late as 9 pm before heading home on the metro (subte). Some days I would travel to La Plata (the capital city of the province of Buenos Aires) for meetings. I worked this schedule Monday thru Friday.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear coming into the experience was that my internship wouldn't be a good fit, and I wouldn't gain the valuable professional experience that I was looking for. It turns out, this fear was realized! My first internship was not a good fit, and was not going to be an environment in which I could thrive and do that type of work I was interested in.

Instead of sitting idly by and waiting for the semester to end, or waiting for an internship miracle of some kind, I decided to change my situation. Connect-123 helped me find a new host organization, and ultimately I ended up working with the Province of Buenos Aires. Which turned out to be the best internship I could have imagined! Moral of the story is, yes sometimes (often times) things do not go as we have planned them to. That is ok, because amazing things can come from challenging and difficult situations, and make us more resilient in the process!

Is Buenos Aires dangerous?

This is a question that I hear and receive a lot. My answer would be no, it is not more or less dangerous than any major city around the world. It is good always be aware and cognizant of your surroundings, but I personally never had any issues with safety. If this is your main concern for participating in this program, I would say that yes Buenos Aires is a big city, but it should not stop you from coming and enjoying all that it has to offer!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Nikki Madden

Job Title
Dublin Program Coordinator
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Nikki joined Connect-123 after years of adventures, teaching, and projects abroad. After finding a job that helped other people to navigate new adventures, travels, and dreams, she willingly hung up her boots to help others experience the magic that is Ireland!

What is your favorite travel memory?

This is a toughie! Just one?!

Baby turtles hatching on the beach in India. Baby seals playing in rock pools in New Zealand. 36-hour train journeys in India. Amazing hikes in Nepal. Learning to sail in Australia. Tuk tuk journeys in Thailand. I've also had some great memories from teaching abroad! Some of the best times of my life!

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

This role has allowed me to develop my leadership and mentorship skills in a much stronger way. It has given me a chance to use my abilities and experiences to help navigate others and be a support in their own development.

I'm also constantly learning through my students about new and exciting things as well as developing how we work with students, companies, and events.

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

I hear great stories all the time. I'm very proud of all the students here. Whenever I worry about the state of things in the world, I think about all our students who were always aiming for great things!

Recently, one of our students told me she got accepted into NASA, which was a massive dream of hers, just a few short months after they went home from Ireland! Massively proud as punch!

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

I would love to go to South Africa as I've never been anywhere that looks like it. I'd want to do all those adventure activities –rock climbing, shark diving, trekking, go on Safari, see Table Mountain, sunshine, and get to Stellenbosch for some wine tasting!!

We've also got some amazing connect people there, and some really exciting projects! Ah bliss, it looks amazing!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

For me, Connect-123 is a very special company. From the word go, they were supportive, nurturing and caring, and they built a fantastic environment and atmosphere for our team globally.

This feeling is what I think is passed on with us! We may be many kilometers apart, but we all get the sense that we are a team working towards a common goal.

When we all get together, it's lots of fun! I'm very happy and proud to be part of this family!

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

I think the biggest factor in a successful company is passion, and loving what you do! I also think that as a company, we thrive on helping young people do amazing things in their lives, and to show them what is possible!

The youth of today are looking for experiences that help them see a better world. I like to think that our company is successful because we want to help empower these visions!