Intern Stories: Finding inspiration overseas
15 August 2018 - Cathy Xiao Chen

Maria de los Angeles Mena, or Mary as she prefers to be called, has lived in Stockholm for the last 4 months. As a Masters student in general management at a university in Lyon, she was looking for an internship in France and found an opportunity here at Impact Hub Stockholm thanks to a friend who was living in Sweden. Her friend had been to an event and really liked the network which matched with Mary’s interests in entrepreneurship. So she traveled to Stockholm to meet the team before making a decision.

The biggest benefit for Mary is learning and meeting the people, the entrepreneurs and members; and having the opportunity to talk, interact and learn as much as possible about their work to prepare herself for the day when she starts her own business. She loves to serve others and make people happy so she’s completely in her element here in our dynamic space, helping people every day.

Mary was given the responsibility of organising #ImpactJournalismDay which was a challenging experience. We asked her what that was like:

“It was a real challenge because I’ve never done that before. I felt a little bit like oh my god… A little bit alone. But then I spoke with Cathy and she helped me through that and the moment I started doing it – calling people and writing emails, I felt more comfortable. So you have to just jump on that and start doing and it will be easier.”

From her experience as a Community Host at our Stockholm hub, Mary believes that she has become more outgoing, and it has been a great opportunity to discover more of herself. She’s naturally quite shy so it wasn’t always easy to talk to people. Coming from Latin America, she jokes that she’s louder than Swedes but isn’t a good representative of her boisterous country. Mary recommends the experience of interning at Impact Hub Stockholm to those who want to meet people, create new relationships, and become an entrepreneur to create a positive impact.

“I think this is the best place for it and for a newcomer, it’s a nice place to learn more about Swedish people.”


Cathy Xiao Chen is the Community Manager at Impact Hub Stockholm. With a background in food sustainability, she advises and connects startups with collaborators to maximise impact.