About the EC traineeship programme


The EC traineeship programme, as you may have guessed from previous posts, is a bit particular in its way. The particularity stands in the name itself – “traineeship programme” instead of internship programme, as many would argue is the correct definition. There’s no need to consult your Oxford dictionary and there’s no need to start a linguistic debate on why traineeship and not internship. It’s written as such in the official Rules and thus shall remain (at least for the time being). In this blog, I’ll use both terms, traineeship and internship, interchangeably.


The service responsible of this programme is simply called the Traineeship Office of the European Commission. As far as I know, the EC traineship programme exists since the late 1950s. If you think of it, it is as old as the European Commission itself. In fact, last year they celebrated its 50th anniversary by organizing a major conference. I do not know how many trainees were there in the 1950s, but nowadays there are roughly 600 per session. There are two traineeship sessions a year: one starts on March 1, the other on October 1. Most of the trainees, called Blue Book trainees, are based in Brussels, with a small number in Luxembourg and some other countries where the European Commission has permanent representations. The application process for each of the sessions starts more or less 8 months before. During the 8 months, all application files goes through a series of selection stages.


Still on the plus side, the EC traineeship programme is opened to people from all over the world, regardless of nationality, age (yes, there’s no age limit, though most of the interns are fairly young) and sex, of course. Most importantly, as mentioned in a previous post, trainees receive a monthly living allowance. So as long as you hold a Bachelor’s Degree, you speak a couple of languages (and you can prove it), you fill in few other criteria (I’ll explain them all in detail in future postings) and you’re motivated enough, you could give it a shot and apply.


Last but not least: why does this programme exist and what is its objective? All the dull explanations are published on the official website and in the official Rules. But beyond the dryness of the official explanations, there is no doubt that the EC traineeship programme is one of the best and most popular run by the Commission. The stage gives the chance to some of the most brilliant young minds on the planet to meet and work together for 5 months, exchange ideas, network, learn about different cultures. As a trainee at the Commission, you will learn how become a polyglot in 5 seconds, how to be a professional, how to be tolerant and much more.


In other words, think of the EC traineeship programme this way:



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