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Empowering Newcomers Through Internships: Alina's Journey

For the past three years, Delitelabs has collaborated on internship projects with the Ben & Jerry’s team, as part of the UP Collective entrepreneurship program. These internships have played an important role in providing essential support to newcomers navigating the complexities of professional reinvention in the Netherlands. These initiatives help program participants in exploring new career paths while simultaneously expanding their networks. What distinguishes these experiences is the contribution of fresh perspectives that newcomers bring to the teams they join.

In this article, we share the story of one of the program alumni, Alina—a talented photographer, art director, and creative soul from Ukraine. Alina found herself at a crossroads in the Netherlands, eager to explore the corporate world. As part of the UP Collective entrepreneurship program, she undertook a mini-internship with the Benelux team at Ben & Jerry’s.

Alina engaged in the world of activism, with a focus on visitors of the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in Rotterdam. In three weeks, her internship involved research on Ben & Jerry’s activism campaigns and campaigns from other brands. Alina's creative skills came to the forefront as she put together ideas into a presentation, sharing her insights with the Rotterdam team.

Every day, Alina collaborated closely with Tess Vanacker, Ben & Jerry’s activism manager in the Netherlands, reflecting the brand's commitment to social justice. Alina also represented Ben & Jerry’s at a job fair for refugee talents in Amsterdam. Here, she not only created connections and spread the word about the UP Collective program but also showcased the Sunny Honey Home ice cream project. This project serves as an example of how businesses can foster innovation by embracing diversity and actively involving individuals from various backgrounds. Alumni from our international entrepreneurship program, UP Collective, collaborated with our partners Ben & Jerry's to develop a new ice cream flavor. Alina also presented her experience with the Up Collective program during an event for Young Unilever Managers and the TENT partnership. 

While Alina found the internship enjoyable, she wished for a longer duration to gain deeper insights and experience. When asked about her aspirations, Alina revealed, "I want to work more with marketing, PR, and creative projects, and I enjoyed the projects with activism campaigns. I would love an opportunity to get a real job after the internship."

Alina's goals extended beyond professional experience; she aimed to expand her network and establish new connections. As she reflects on her journey, Alina notes, "When I joined the team, I was open to any task or project to do, I didn’t have many expectations – went in with an open mind."

Alina's skills, refined through our program, were seamlessly integrated into her internship, including conducting research and creating presentations. Her creative approach and proficiency in developing visual concepts, reminiscent of her past role as an Art Director, were helpful when thinking of new possibilities for the scoop shop. Alina's internship with Ben & Jerry’s was more than a professional experience. The morning stand-ups with the team and collective decision-making left a positive impression, offering a glimpse into the world of big corporations.

As Alina concludes, "I don’t know for now how this internship will impact my future career." However, one thing is certain: her time with Ben & Jerry’s has provided a canvas for her creativity to flourish, leaving a positive mark on her professional journey. With a newfound appreciation for corporate life and a desire to pursue roles that align with her creative thinking, Alina's journey is only just beginning.

In the words of Tess Vanacker, Ben & Jerry’s activism manager in the Netherlands, “Working with Alina was a great experience. Alina brought a fresh and creative perspective and was able to deliver a good result in a short period. The team appreciated Alina’s constructive approach and eye for detail. We highly recommend other businesses join the UP Collective program. Having a UP Collective participant in your team can not only bring a fresh and creative perspective to your projects but can also challenge your current way of working and open up your projects for more cultural diversity and richness. A win-win!”

According to Delitelabs manager Hanna Wieten, "We strongly believe in the transformative power of our program, including the internships carried within corporate collaborations. We also welcome other companies to join us in creating a dynamic, inclusive environment that not only empowers newcomers but also supports workplaces with innovation and diversity."

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