Application basics

Application process in brief


I promise to write this last general post and then move on to more serious business. The new application session is almost one month away from opening, so I’ve tried to create a simplistic design of the whole process and will most likely develop on it later on.


First, you should know that you can only apply for the EC traineeship at specific times during the year, either January or July and August. You must start by submitting your application online on the website of Traineeship Office of the European Commission. Then, once you submit your application online, you actually have to print it and mail it with all the supporting documents (copies of diplomas, language certifications, etc.).  


Below is a diagram of the application process. The time frames given are merely indicative. For updated calendars, you should always check the website of  Traineeship Office of the European Commission.


EC traineeship application – general facts


The EC traineeship application comes in with some basic requirements as I already explained in a previous posting. You cannot just simply start applying without checking beforehand if you meet them. It would be a big waste of time and energy to start filling in the application form and realize half way through that you cannot actually complete it because you miss some essential and mandatory information. To come to your help, I prepared a list of 4 questions. Try to answer them honestly:


1.Did you obtain at least your Bachelor’s Degree?

2. Do you speak VERY GOOD English or French or German AND another EU official language (in other words at least one working language AND another EU language)?

3. Do you have documents to prove your degree and your knowledge of those respective languages?

4. You have never completed any other traineeship of more than 6 weeks with any other EU Institution or Executive Agency of the Commission?


If you answered YES to ALL of the questions above, then you can buckle up tight and get ready to spend some good hours of your life filling in the online application.


If you answered NO to at least one of the above questions, then don’t bother to apply yet because your application will be rejected. So, in this case, if you really want to apply because for you this is a life and death matter, then my advice is: do your best to go above and beyond and turn that No answer into a Yes. For example:


» If you don’t have your Bachelor’s degree yet, don’t despair, just wait until you graduate and you can apply then. Or if you have it, but your university hasn’t delivered it yet, then pester them to give you one asap.

» If you’re not too happy with your fluency in one of the required languages, go take an intensive course and make sure you get a certificate at the end of the course.


Nevertheless, once you decide you want to go on with the application because you meet the criteria,  there is one more thing you need to take into account: the application deadlines. You cannot just apply when you feel like it. You can only apply online at specific times, usually in January (for the session starting on October 1) or July + August (for the session starting on March 1 next year). You can also take a look on the post Application process in brief. And for more accuracy, I suggest you monitor the website from the Traineeship Office every now and then.


One last and very important thing, deadlines are always set for 12:00 NOON Brussels time zone (which is a bit tricky). If you’re living in a different time zone, make sure you do your math right.


And remember: you will have to prove everything you declared in your online application!