EC Traineeship – online application

 

 

Filling in the online application for an EC traineeship should be your next step after determining you have met the application criteria. The Traineeship Office website is opened twice a year for online applications. Although I’ve said it before, I’ll still repeat it: the periods for the submission of the online applications are January and July + August, respectively. Always look for latest updates on the Traineeship Office website as these periods may slightly change and you wouldn’t want to miss the deadlines.

 

At first, you have to register (just like on any other similar website). Since you’re all computer savvies, I’ll spare you the technical details. After registration, you’ll get your own login and password, which will enable you to edit your application as you please within the specific deadlines. Of course, on the D-Day at NOON Brussels time, you’ll no longer be able to sign in or submit.

 

But coming back to editing you application, that is a very important thing to take into account. You don’t have rush to fill in the online form and submit it at once. That might be a bit reckless. Some of the fields require comprehensive information and deep  thinking. You can save the draft and come back to it the next day or whenever you feel more inspired. But again, make sure the inspiration comes within the deadlines and not after.

 

I’m sure that many of you have already registered with different recruitment websites and you are  familiar with how to fill in online forms with personal information (I am personally not their greatest fan). The online application form for the EC traineeship is no different; the fields are already defined, but maximum attention must be paid to the:

 

» Motivation for each of your preferred  Directorate General (or shortly DGs);

» General motivation;
 
» Language section;

» Studies, work experience (if any), certifications and trainings of any kind.

 

Why? There will be a jury who will grade you for virtually each section in your application.

 

UPDATE: I just found out that the Traineeship Office made a major change in the online form (and some minor ones). As of now, you will no longer have to choose up to 3 DGs and motivate why you want to work there. You are now supposed to select an area an interest and motivate why you want to work in that area. If any of you in the process of currently registering could confirm it, by leaving a comment on this page, I’d appreciate it. The explanations below on how to write the motivation remain valid, although now there’s only 1 instead of 3. So much less work and relief!

 

The sections I mentioned above are basically the only ones that would enable the jury to get a better understanding of the quality of your application as compared with the other applicants.

 

If you really want to distinguish yourselves and gather as many points as possible, make sure your motivations (both general and specific) are coherent, pertinent and slightly “spicy”.

 

You need to catch the jury’s attention, you can’t just simply say… “I want to apply because I believe in the European dream.” (a silly example, but I’m sure you caught the drift)

 

There’s no need to write a novel, but don’t be too thrifty with words either. (You are allowed to choose up to 3 DGs where you want to work. For each of them you’ll have to write an eye-catching motivation.)

 

As for the languages, some people are more gifted than others. Remember that you’ll receive a very good grade for this section if the level of the languages you speak is very good. Of course, the more you speak the better. If, for example, you added French as your mother tongue, then German as second language (intermediate level), but you’re proud you can say a few words in Spanish, then don’t mention Spanish as it’ll be of no help to you. Mention only those languages you’re fluent in, including your mother tongue.

 

Then, sure if you studied abroad (e.g. did an Erasmus exchange), worked abroad, you have recommendation letters, or even certifications of all kinds, you wrote papers on EU related topics, etc., then don’t forget to mention them (all of them). They could add a few good extra points to your final score. You don’t need to check all things I mentioned, but at least a couple would be good. A copy of your diploma from Sorbonne is just not good enough, as prestigious as Sorbonne is.

 

On the technical side, it might happen that when, let’s say one day you get more inspired and you want to get back to the online application and write a beautiful motivation to knock the jury off their socks, you get an error message preventing you from accessing the website, the trick is to delete the temporary history of your browser, then close the browser and open it again. Again, I learnt this trick from a friend who freaked out one day and actually contacted the Traineeship Office who advised her to do so.

 

Anyway, once you have filled in everything, checked everything and you’re absolutely positive that’s the final version you will send, click the Submit button and you’ll get a 6 digits registration number starting with 4xxxxx and preceded by the name of the session you apply for, for example, M10/456789 (M10 from March 2010). You can then either print your application right away or save a .pdf copy on your computer to print out later. I suggest you save a .pdf copy either way (you might just need it, who knows?!). I would also strongly recommend you to check the .pdf copy you saved. Open it a couple of times to make sure it works (technology can be unreliable sometimes).

 

Oh yes, one friendly piece of advice is not to leave the filling of the online application to the last minute (like I did -> I’m a bad example). The website (and server) may crash due to the heavy use by so many applicants. You could just miss the deadline and then you’ll have to wait a few good months till you can try again.

 

I know, filling in the online application for an EC traineeship may sound like a bit of nightmare, but I can assure you that it’s not quite so scary. Stick to the tips I just wrote about and your chances will definitely increase.

 

Chiara_contact

51 Responses to “EC Traineeship – online application”

  • gintareally:

    Hi, I’m applying for the October 2012 Traineeship and, yes, apparently the structure is different. You need to provide:
    A.’General reasons for applying’ (why, expectations and how you imagine your work there – 2000ch max); and
    B. ‘Type of Traineeship’ – https://ec.europa.eu/stages/online/documents/Job_families_EN.pdf (reasons for choice, why your profile suits the area)
    Best,
    G

    • adminchiara:

      Hey,

      Muchas gracias for posting and confirming this. I’m sure it will be very helpful for anyone who is considering applying. :-)

      Wish you tons of luck with your application!!!! 😉

  • Jaime:

    Hi, I have a doubt: I have declared on my application form that I speak english, portuguese and intermediate french BUT I only have proved that I had studied in the language of English and Portuguese, NOT french. Do you think it will be automatically rejected for this? I shouldnt had written french on the form if I hadnt any proof… Thx!

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Jaime,

      Your application is just fine. As long as you enclosed proof of at least one of the working languages (which you did for English), it’s perfect. You already met one of the basic requirements.

      Then, if you have proof that you speak extra languages (Portuguese, as you declared and enclosed) that should help you get more points from the preselection committee. Don’t worry about French. You’re set! 😉

      Good luck!

  • Jaime:

    (my mother tongue is spanish)

  • Jaime:

    Perdon… I thought the message wasn’t sent so that’s why I sent it again.. :)
    Thanks for your information! Hope everything will be OK, I’m very committed with this application. The only thing Im not pretty sure about is the Eligibility, because I have the first cycle, but a first cycle of a degree of 5 years ending in june so maybe because not having the Title yet… Dont know
    Greetings

    • adminchiara:

      Holas Jaime,

      Sorry, I missed this comment. Well, if you haven’t completed your 5 years yet and haven’t got your degree, then you don’t really qualify. It says on the website from the Traineeship Office that you must have completed your degree in order to be able to apply. ECTS are not taken into account. So, in this case, not the language proof is the “doubt”, but your degree. I suggest you write and e-mail to the Traineeship Office to make sure you are eligible. Use the contact form on the website.

  • Agnese:

    Hi Chiara,
    i’ve a question regarding previous work experiences. I’ve worked as a part-time student at Centre for Languages studies of my university, should I enter that in the application on-line or you think that won’t be considered as a relevant working experience?
    Thanks for your help and this very useful blog.

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Agnese,

      Of course, it is. Make sure you enclose a letter of recommendation from this work place or show a copy of the contract with the dates when you worked because now it has become mandatory to send proof of work. See the page on website from the Traineeship Office with the obligatory documents.

      Good luck with the application!

  • Jaime:

    Hi Chiara. The thing is that in the Appendix in which I can check if my ‘first cycle’ is valid I see that what I have is equivalent to a degree, but only of 3 years. In spain is weird, because I’m studying Bachelor + Master all together in 5 years.. Is called = Licenciatura , and if you study only 3 is called Diplomatura.

    I asked to the Traineeship Office but they only answered me copying-pasting me the section of the rules…

    • adminchiara:

      I understand what you are saying. Such degrees and diplomas are issued in other countries too. For example, in Scotland you do 3+1 and you get an MA directly after 4 years. But that makes you ineligible if you haven’t completed this 5 or 4 years degree. That’s because even though hypothetically you completed the first 3 years, you still need to complete 2 more to be able to get your actual degree. Only then you can apply. The credits for the 3 years do not count when you apply for the traineeship. I know for a fact from an acquaintance in a similar situation that her application was rejected. But then, when she got her degree at the end of the 5 years and she reapplied, her application was accepted.
      Anyway… you’ll have to wait until eligibility ends and you’ll see then.

  • sanne:

    Hi all,

    I am filling in the online form, however I can’t see where whe should upload our diploma or recomendations letters? Or should we only add these to the post version?

    Thanks

    • adminchiara:

      Hallo Sanne,

      You cannot upload diplomas or recommendation letters, you should simply mail them as hard copy.

      Good luck!

  • Dave:

    Hi,
    Just wondering i’ve completed the Alliance Francais Beginners Course 1 and am about to commence another would that be enough for me to attempt to apply?

    Thanks in advance,

    Dave

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Dave,

      You can always apply as long as you enclose the copy of your Alliance française certificate. You should also enclose a copy of your registration to the following course.

      It is only at the pre-selection stage that the pre-selection board decides if the level of your language skills is satisfactory.

      Wish you good luck!

  • Miguel:

    Hi,

    I also have a question relating to the proof of work experience. During my bachelor programme I ‘worked’ in a study association of my programme, as a board member, but I’m not able to proof that by a contract or letter of recommendation. Should I maybe not mentioned this work experience then?

    Thanks for your help!

    • adminchiara:

      Hola Miguel,

      That’s a shame you can’t prove your experience in any way. Couldn’t you contact any of the board members to recommend you? Or a professor?

      I should say, mention it either way – if it’s a work experience that lasted more than 6 weeks – and don’t enclose proof if you don’t have any.

      Mucha suerte!

      • Miguel:

        Hi Adminchiara,

        Thanks for your reply! Well the other thing is that I was the president of the board of that study association and even initiated the association as there wasn’t one for my bachelor programme at that time. The only thing I’m able to show is an email from the association wherein we state the beginning and introduce ourselves (so including the names of the board members); and a ‘letter of intent’ stating a cooperation agreement between my association with some other study associations of my (former) university.
        Do you think this would be proof enough?

        • adminchiara:

          If I were you, I would write a short letter to explain what you just wrote above in your comment: that during your academic studies you set up an association whose president you were. You explain what the association did (in a couple of sentences), how long it functioned and then you add a copy of the cooperation agreement. You enclose this letter and the copy of the agreement in the envelope you mail to the Traineeship Office.

  • Ron:

    Hi,

    Now they no longer ask you to pick a DG but a ‘work area’, does anyone know how you are allocated a DG. Say for example I pick ‘Policies’, any info on where one might end up?

    Thank you very much!
    Ron.

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Ron,

      You end up – that if you pass pre-selection – in the DG/Agency that thinks your profile suits them best for what they need. It could simply be any DG. They are doing “policies” in each and every DG.

  • alex:

    Hi Guys!!

    And thank you very much for all the info..I wanna ask you something. I applied for the next session and i am preselected. I have chosen the area of administrative work as i thought that it was the least competitive, but afterwards i thought that it does not give me the opportunity to be suitable in all the DGS and consequently it reduces me the chances to be selected. Do you agree with this?If there is someone that has experience with this?do you think that my choice was wrong strategically?

    Thank you very much in advance!!

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Alex,

      Congratulations on being pre-selected!

      I don’t think your choice was wrong. Let’s just say that you decided on a comfortable profile that is simply general and that many DGs could consider when selecting their candidates.

      What I would suggest you to do though at this step is nuke the DGs with letters of motivation that target more specific skills you have. As I said in my posts and comments, many DGs are pro letters of motivations while others are against. E-mailing them it’s not going to harm anyone regardless, but it could increase your chances to be selected. 😉

  • alex:

    Thank you very much for your answer!

    My problem is that my academic background as well as my working experience justify more my motivation for the sector of policies and not for administrative issues. Can i send now cover letters that concern policies or research issues?i think that i have more opportunities in this field. Furtheromore, where can i find the emails of the different units and their tasks?do you have a link?
    Thanks for your help!!
    All the best,

    alex

    • adminchiara:

      Cover letters follow a specific format in English, French, German, etc. You can find online plenty of examples to inspire from. But essentially, in a cover letter you should write about your academic and professional background, as well as about your motivation to become a trainee in whatever DG interests you.

      You should have received the contact details of the different DGs in the pre-selection e-mail. At least that’s how it was in the past. Look over the pre-selection e-mail again. If not, each DG has a website on the internet. So type in google the name of a DG and then you’ll get the website, including the organisation chart.

  • Tyna:

    Hi Chiara!!

    Thank you a lot for this site!!! I find it very helpful!! I’m currently preparing my application for July-August application period. I am doubting about my eligibility for the internship. To explain my situation, I have already got my Bachelor’s degree in the Czech republic (I am Czech) and after I was accepted to a program called Magistere at the Sorbonne University in Paris. This program is three years long and I have just finished my second year. . The first year is like the last one of Bachelor’s degree and the two last are an equivalent of Master’s degree. This year I have finished the equivalent of the first year of Master’s degree (we actually have wto diplomas – Magistere and Master). In France you already get a diploma after the first year of Master’s degree, Master 1. Next year, I will have only one more semester to do in Fall and since January we have to do internships.
    My question is : am I eligible? I finished my first cycle and have a Bachelor’s degree, I will also have my French diploma for Master 1. I will be a student next year but the second semester is only intended for internships..
    In this case, I probably shouldn’t mention in my CV that I will be still a student and should provide only a school certificate and marks of my first and second year of Magistere and my Master 1 diploma. What do you think??

    Thank you a lot for your help!!! I am very motivated and hope that it will be possible for me to apply…

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Tyna,

      I have to say, you’ve got my head spinning. 😀

      In my opinion, you are perfectly eligibile because you already have the BA from the Czech Republic, which is the “minimum” degree you need in order to be eligible. The course you’re taking in Sorbonne should go under the section “ongoing studies”.

      What I would write in the applciation form if I were you would be the following:

      1. I would say in the completed studies section: BA awarded by University XYZ in the Czech Republic etc. etc. etc. You enclose the copy of your BA and transcripts (so as to prove the eligibility).
      2. I would say in the ongoing studies section: MA at Sorbonne + expected graduation date etc. etc. etc. You enclose a letter from Sorbonne that you are registered as a student there and you add whatever transcripts you may have from the completed semesters.

      I would suggest you write the same in your CV if you plan to enclose one.

      So… good luck! 😉

      • Tyna:

        Hello,

        thank you a lot for your answer! I know, my study program is quite complicated.. :( Basically, I am studying Master’s degree and Magistere at the same time (a special three year program) and I’ll have two diplomas. Shouldn’t I add my French Master 1 diploma to my application?

        My question was mainly concerning the fact if I can apply while I am still a student and you pretty much answrede my question… So I might be eligible, right?

        Also, concerning the language certificates, I have only an English certificate, I didn’t do any high level certificate in French since I have been studying here for two years. Do you think that my school certificate from a French uni would be sufficient as a language certificate?
        I do also Spanish and Russian – should I add certificates from language school where I took Spanish classes and a recommendation letter from my Russian teacher from Sorbonne?

        I thank you a lot for you help and am sorry for all the question. But you know, as it is all so official, I have many questions in my mind and want to make sure that do everything all right!

        • adminchiara:

          You can certainly apply while you’re still a student on condition you completed your undergraduate degree (i.e. BA or BSc).

          Your Magistere course in Sorbonne is not yet completed as far as I understand. You have only obtained one diploma, the Master 1, and you’re waiting to graduate and obtain the “whole” degree. This is why, in my opinion, your studies in Sorbonne should be considered as ongoing studies. You must indeed add the copy of your Master 1, and provide a date when you are expected to graduate from the programme.

          With regard to the language certificates, you should include English + whatever certificate you have, French + your Master 1 in Sorbonne (I suppose the courses were conducted in French and that will count as language proof). If you took Spanish and Russian and you have certificates, letters of recommendation, whatever else… include those in the list too.

  • alex:

    Hi!!

    How are you?Today, i had my first interview but the problem is that they asked me why i chose administrative/secretarial and not policies because i lobby for policies. and i said the truth that i wanted to have a more general and confortable profile in order to have more chances. in the end, he said that we will notify you in one week because we want to communicate with other candidates. But he said that my choice for administrative/ secretarial job area was a problem. i feel so dissapointed. what do you think?

    Thank you in advance!!

    • adminchiara:

      Hmmmm… my advice to you Alex is to try to prepare for potential future interviews. Prepare a set of mock questions and answer them in written. Put them in a spread sheet. Practice with a friend, too, it can be very helpful. You can find a lot of information online about typical interview questions and best answers. Of course, you’ll have to adapt those answers to your particular experience and knowledge.

      Now, about your interview today… don’t take it for a total fail. Take it for a lesson. At least that’s what I would do. In an interview, it is impossible to foresee all the questions you could be asked. So, assuming that at the next interview they will ask you the same question, what do you think would be the best way to answer that question?

  • alex:

    Actually, i have no interest in this kind of secretarial job and i chose it because i thought that it would be less competitive. and now i feel that i am completely trapped. Furthermore, i do not believe that i will have another chance for an interview. So, maybe i just lost my only chance today.

    • adminchiara:

      I do understand that you are disappointed, but as I said earlier, disappointment is not the way to deal with this. Try to look for ways to improve for the future. This is definitely not going to be your only interview.

      As an alternative, you could write an interview follow-up e-mail to the DG that contacted you (or directly to the person who interviewed you if you know the name), thanking them for the opportunity of the interview and re-explaining in a better way why you would go for policies instead of pure administrative tasks.

  • alex:

    Hi!!

    Thank you for your advice!I sent a follow up email expalining better my choice and the replied that it is good to know about that and it was good that i sent them the email.

    Now i am waiting for the final reply!!Do you know how can they notify us for the final outcome?

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Alex,

      I’m glad you decided to take a step forward and overcome your disappointment. Even better that they actually replied to you. :-)

      The next step is literally the selection e-mail. That’s when you are notified of the decision taken by the DG. Check out my post on selection for more details.

      Keeping fingers crossed for you.

  • eeritrejaa:

    Hello! Thank you so much for all the effort you put in this site and for all the useful information. I have q question regarding my application: must my letters of recomendation, proofs of previous work experience, transcripts etc. be translated in English/French… or can everything be in my mother tongue? What about motivation letter? Thank you!

    • adminchiara:

      Hi!

      The online form can be filled in English, French or German and the motivation is part of this form. It’s up to you to decide in which of these language you feel more comfortable to write. If you want to write an extra motivation letter, I think it should be in the same language you fill in the form.

      The supporting documents (diplomas, recommendations, proof of work experience, etc.) can be in any of the official EU languages. You will have to translate them only if they are written in a language that is not an EU official language.

  • Amelie:

    Hello,
    I know the online application form can be filled in English, French or German. But if I use my mother tongue (French), would it be a problem for DGs to look up my profile and offer me a position after the preselection process? As they probably all speak English but not necessary French, is it a good decision to fill in the form in English?
    Thanks

    • adminchiara:

      Hi,

      All working languages have or should have equal weight. This is why you are given 3 choices. You would be surprised to know how many people still speak French around the Commission and how many units still need staff who speak French. It is true that English has been gaining more authority lately, but if you can fill in the form in your mother tongue, why not take advantage of that? I fail to see the inconvenience. If you get any phone calls after the pre-selection, I can assure you that your language skills will be tested during the interview. That’s where you can prove you speak English and French and other languages probably.

      I don’t want to influence you in taking a decision. I’m simply saying that the language you ultimately decide to fill in the form shouldn’t matter as long as you are given the choice.

  • Elena Stankovska:

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for helping all if us. I am in a bit of a quandary here. I have a BA in International Studies with a concentration in Political Science from NY and Masters in International Security Studies, concentration on global threats and terrorism. I also have a certificate in International Relations Theory, NATO Internship, academic research center Internship as well as the bulgarian UN mission internship. As you can see i have quite a few internships and I would really finally like to become part of the EU scene ( i am Bulgarian), my only trouble is that im not sure which “area of interest” is more applicable. Although at first sight my specialty is international relations, I have considerable International security background. So what do you say policies or external relations, the latter being the toughest battle ever for anyone in my field. Tips, comments particularly for the motivation letters are welcomed.

    Thanks again
    Eli

    • adminchiara:

      Dear Eli,

      The answer is quite simple, your profile matches the EEAS trainee profile. But that’s my just personal opinion, so please don’t even take it into account when making a decision. There’s other things to consider too, the policies that DG Enlargement is responsible for, the programmes of DG DEVCO or ECHO (not so much related to your field, but still something to digest). My advice would be to look a bit on the websites of the DGs and maybe other I can’t think of right now and see if they have something interesting for you in their portfolio in terms of “policies”. This should give you a better idea if you want international relations or policies. Check out again the explanations on the areas link for each of these 2 areas of interest for you, so that it is perfectly clear to you what you will be dealing with.

      The EEAS deals strictly with external relations from policies to very political issues, etc. The other candidate DGs might have other engaging subjects to explore too. Give them a chance too. I don’t quite understand why you think the EEAS is such a big battle. You have lots of qualifications under your belt.

      The motivation really depends on what you decide to apply for eventually. Either way, don’t be generic, add personal ingredients, make sure your ideas have a logic/linear linkage, don’t be chaotic, and pay extra care to spelling and punctuation.

      • Elena Stankovska:

        Thank you very much Chiara,

        I think after a little more careful research my attention fell on the Home Affairs as they seem to handle global security and threats, I just have to figure out if they fall under Policies or External Relations, probably a little bit of both. You are right I have quite a few qualifications but not even one of my attempts for the EU have been successful, and I am ashamed to admit there has been quite a few. That’s has made me less certain of a possible successful outcome, I suppose. I think you have a great point with the motivation and I am definitely going to sit down this time and very carefully write all the essays. Thank you for your input and being so helpful to everyone.

        Eli

  • Eva:

    Hello Chiara!
    First of all, thank you for your helpful answers. When I had a look at the application form for the first time I felt a bit overstrained, but thanks to your blog the task of answering all sections seems a bit more manageable now 😉
    But I have one question concerning the proof of language skills: I speak english fluently as i learned it in school, spent a year abroad (not in an english speaking country though) and have a lot of english speaking friends, but i don’t have any certificate to proof it (I suppose school grades from 6 years ago are not enough?). I think it wouldn’t be a big problem to pass a TOEFL exam (or similar), but I don’t really want to spend money on it without being sure to pass at least the pre-selection phase. My idea was to take an exam when i know that i have a realistic chance of getting the internship. Do you think that would be a possibility? The application form states that you should specify your language certificates and grades, so I’m not really sure what to do…
    I would really appreciate it if I could get your opinion on the matter, thanks! :)

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Eva!

      I would do exactly the same if I were you. I would wait to pass pre-selection as I wouldn’t want to pay for extra money for the exam. On the other hand, I think TOEFL has a 2-year validity, so it wouldn’t really be wasted money.

      I actually didn’t know that you are required to add the language certificate and grade. This must be part of the latest upgrade of the online forms. I don’t know exactly how the menu looks like when you add languages, although I tried to go through the online form. I just didn’t fill in all the fields.

      Nevertheless, you mentioned that you do have a certificate from school, but what school level was that? Because if it’s from high-school (even if it’s from 6 years ago) it is usually accepted. Also, in the non-speaking English country what did you do, did you study, did you work? If you did any of this in English and you can prove it in any way, even a recommendation letter, it should be reassuring enough.

      Let me know so I can think of the best option for you.

      • Eva:

        Thank you very much for your answer!
        The language section the application form says “Specify how you acquired this knowledge, how/where did you learn the language, over how many years, etc.) and identify any diplomas or certificates you have (and the grade or marks obtained).”
        Reading this again, it doesn’t seem absolutely mandatory to have a specific certificate. I had english classes in high-school and got them graded like all other subjects. So at least i have proof that i studied English for 8 years in school.
        I was in Spain to study for one year, I did most of the courses at university in Spanish and a few in English, but I’m not sure this would be a good reference, as Spain is not exactly known for its excellent English level 😉
        Well, I think I’ll just explain that i learned English in school and still use every day even if only for private conversations. I think if the rest of my profile is suitable for some DG, this won’t be the reason to preclude my application. Do you agree?
        I was just a bit confused at first because you wrote somewhere that you shouldn’t write anything that you can’t proof, so i started to worry.

        • adminchiara:

          Well then, in this case, you can say you studied English in school for 8 years and I suppose you have the right transcripts to prove that if needed at a later stage.

          Also, your 1 year abroad is very important and the pre-selection board pays particular attention to that, I’m sure. If you had courses in English and if they are mentioned on your transcripts, you better add that too. It’s a big plus in my opinion. It doesn’t matter if you did the courses in Spain or Italy or elsewhere. What matters is that you had courses in English abroad. This way, you shoot 2 birds at the same time: language skills + international experience.

          Still related to this topic, I’m not sure if you learned any Spanish while in Spain or if you had any courses in Spanish, but you could consider adding that too.

          And yes, you shouldn’t write anything that you can’t prove because assuming you are pre-selected and you have to give proof of your language skills or work experience, etc., then better be prepared than disqualified for a silly thing your wrote in your application.

          Wishing you best of luck,

  • Fiona:

    Hello,

    Firstly, thank you for all the advice on your website! It really helps having a reference point to help with the application process.

    I have a very specific question, related to the educational background section of the application.
    I am a British national and grew up in Brussels. I went to the local university, ULB, where I got a Bachelor’s in Bioengineering. I then did a Master in Environmental Bioengineering.

    In the application form, they ask for a major subject, followed by main subjects. I have thought long and hard about it and I still don’t know what to write. The major subject is obviously the name of my degree, but what should I put as main subjects?
    Unlike most students, I didn’t get to choose any specific subjects, as my program basically came as it was: full of a variety of science and engineering courses, with no space for a major subject. During my Bachelor’s, I had biology courses (zoology, plant physiology, ecology, molecular biology, genetics etc.), chemistry & chemical engineering courses (analytical chemistry, chemical reactor courses etc.), agronomy, advanced maths, physics and engineering courses too.

    Basically, I have covered all the bases in science and engineering, so my general knowledge is pretty good in those fields, but it’s a mess when it comes to defining my subjects. I thought of just putting 1. science and 2. engineering, but it seems way too vague. Any advice?

    [My Master’s degree was also a series of variations along the environmental theme, with more focus on global warming, energy efficiency & renewables, contaminants, water treatment and chemical plants. Still more than 3 main subjects, but I’ll just pick my favourites]

  • Alex:

    Hi!

    I’m applying for the next EC traineeship at the moment and I just had a quick question regarding the language section. I was born in the USA but have lived in Italy and Europe my whole life (I don’t have EU citizenship yet). My first language is Italian and of course I am also fluent in English. In addition, I have obtained my high school and university degrees all from English speaking institutions). Do you think it will create any confusion for the board reviewing my application that my mother tongue is Italian, but I am an American citizen? If so, would you have any advice?

    I hope you can help!

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Cheers.

  • Kate:

    Hi! I’m wondering about a few things…
    I have certificates for 5 foreign languages, however, three of them are at an A2 level and two of them date back to 2012…still relevant? I’m worried it might look like I never finish my stuff or something :)

    Another thing is, I studied abroad in Mexico for a semester…but didn’t finish any classes so I only have an admission statement to show for it….better leave it out? I have, however, a certificate for volunteer work I did during that same time so I have the time period covered and it doesn’t leave a blank spot in my CV. What do you think I should do?

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