Work experience in the heart of the EU

In other words, it’s that time of the year. Time to apply for a traineeship at the European Commission.

The application process is now in full swing and you can apply until the 31st August 2016 for a 5-month programme starting in March 2017.

What’s the big deal with this Commission?

If you are from a EU member state than you must have heard of it by now, or at least the name Junker rings a bell, doesn’t it? The European Commission is the executive body of the Union, or if we compare the EU to the U.S. (which is a stretch but for the sake of simplifying the definition of EC, I’ll do it), the Commission would be the President. The Commission, of course consists of numerous members and has its own president and several vice presidents. One of the VP’s, I have to point out here, is a Bulgarian woman. This, of course, is irrelevant to the topic of this blog but it makes me very happy.

Now let’s get to the point! The European Commission, much like the European Parliament, offers paid traineeships for aspiring graduates with European citizenship. They don’t offer just 1-2 places, the available positions are ca. 1,300.

Those accepted will have their travel expenses, possibly health insurance too, covered & will receive a monthly grant of 1,120 Euro. The two locations are Luxembourg and Brussels, prominent places for European politics.

The Commission itself has many agencies and the traineeships will be within those agencies and you can apply for either administrative work or translation programmes.


I am very tempted to apply and I think this program, while overall popular, is still not popular enough among my peers. This is an amazing opportunity to gain experience and skills which may be lacking in many of us who are in our twenties.

Here are 4 benefits of applying and participating:

  1. You will, first of all, practice your application writing skills. These are important skills whether you are considering a career in academia, business, social work, or anything really. Learning how to sell yourself will bring you job offers.
  2. If accepted, you will have to move to a new country, settle in for 5 whole months and by throwing yourself out of your comfort zone, you will better yourself, become more sociable & independent. Having participated in several work and study abroad programs, I have learnt that I can be much more outgoing than I had ever imagined I could be. Trust me, I’m very shy and introverted but somehow challenging myself in this way has helped me overcome most of my, let’s call them, social setbacks.
  3. A traineeship in the EC will bring your CV/resume game to a whole new level. Your experience will make you look good to future employers.
  4. Working in a multicultural environment will seriously expand your knowledge of the world. By the end of the programme, you will most likely have friends from all 28 member states of the EU. Can you already imagine all the fun countries you can travel to and all the exciting cities in which you’ll have a couch to crash on and a local to show you around? I’ll admit this argument is more on the selfish side but I am sure everyone was secretly putting this in their list of pros.

The only con I can think of is that accommodation is not included. However, the grant should be enough to cover a decent place to live. Maybe once you know you have been accepted just start putting away money each month, so that you are prepared at the beginning when you’ll have to pay a deposit on a new place and all those annoying, but unavoidable, expenses.

Now, let me just mention the requirements because there is no point in working hard on your application to only then find out you don’t qualify for the programme.

  • A finished 3-year college degree (as far as I know in any field but there seem to be separate traineeships available for those studying Science
  • An EU passport.
  • Fluency (C2 level) in English OR German OR French (+ If necessary, for some positions, such as translation, another European language at B2/C1 level – other than your mother tongue).

Example: Let’s say, your native language is Croatian, you are proficient in English and you have an advanced grasp of Italian. That sounds like you’ll be a very good fit for one of the translation positions. For those interested in administrative work, the second foreign language is only optional.

From what I gather from the EC site, accepted candidates will work Mon – Fri from 9:30 and will have to do organisational work, i.e putting together meetings or public hearings. Doing some research work and writing reports will be part of the job description too. There is mention of running projects as well, which sounds a bit vague but really exciting.My inner Leslie Knope already wants to get started!


Overall these traineeships sound like the best place to gain practice and find out what you are passionate about.

No need to waste your time reading this anymore, just hop onto their site, create an account and get your application process started!
And here is another useful link with frequently asked questions about the programme.

I am no expert but I will be very happy to help out with advice, tips, ideas, anything I can! And if you are reading this and you’ve already taken part in this or any other EU traineeship, please leave a comment and share your experience, you poetic and noble land-mermaids.

*I am not Leslie Knope but I still approve this message*