Professional Integration HUB



A unique internship program for Ukrainian professionals in Austria


6 June 2024

Kateryna Tebiakina: “I’m excited to share the insights with the teams I used to work with back in Ukraine”

Kateryna Tebiakina, Participant of the Professional Integration HUB 1.0 internship program (European Forum Alpbach).

  • Age: 23 years old
  • City in Ukraine where you lived before the full-scale invasion (forced relocation): Kyiv
  • Specialization: BA in International Relations 


In Ukraine, I worked on international development projects. For three years, I was with the USAID RANG Program, which focused on advancing the “next generation” of reforms in the Verkhovna Rada. This program aimed to support the Rada in becoming a modern, effective institution that promotes accountability and democratic development. At the beginning of the war, we had to mobilize our efforts to contribute to the establishment of peace more quickly and to develop the diplomatic functions of the parliament. Currently, the sector of international development projects in Ukraine is experiencing significant growth, driven by an increase in humanitarian and educational initiatives.


A few weeks before the full-scale invasion, following the evacuation of the American embassy, USAID recommended that all its employees and projects move to safer areas. Therefore, I moved to Kropyvnitskyi, where I spent the first two weeks of the war. After those two weeks, I decided to temporarily move to Europe, choosing Austria somewhat spontaneously.


Even though life in Austria was quite hectic initially, I was very lucky to meet incredible people at every step of the way, with whom I could share my journey and who taught me a lot. I’m very grateful for the support from my friends and colleagues, as well as my family back in Ukraine.

And though life can be very uncertain, what really helped me adapt to the new reality was establishing a routine. Whether through school, university, or a job, having a structured daily life provides the stability needed in the often uncertain situation of emigration. Initially, life was dominated by lots of paperwork, misunderstandings over the phone, and endless appointments at various institutions. However, establishing a routine was crucial in helping me feel settled and somewhat in control.


I first heard about the Professional Integration Hub through a friend in Ukraine. She sent me a link and encouraged me to apply. Even though I already had a job, I was intrigued by the opportunity to meet new, inspiring people, so I decided to give it a shot. My experience with the HUB and the hosting organization turned out to be great.

At the European Forum Alpbach, I was greeted with a warm welcome. The team there was fantastic – supportive, enthusiastic, and genuinely passionate about their work. It was a pleasure to see them in action and to collaborate with such dedicated individuals.

My key expectation when joining the HUB was to meet great people, and I can confidently say this expectation was more than fulfilled.


The biggest highlight for me at Alpbach was witnessing how a small team could plan and manage a massive two-week conference, hosting 4,000 people, one meeting at a time. Conferences and public events play a crucial role in international development and technical assistance projects, and I’m excited to share the insights with the teams I used to work with back in Ukraine. I believe many of these instruments and strategies will be extremely valuable to them.

Series of Interviews with Participants of the Professional Integration HUB Program.