EC Traineeship – your first day at the Commission


The whole first week at the Commission will probably look like this…



No exaggeration! But let’s just  start with the first day at the Commission. If you thought that you’d start work immediately, forget  it! As eager as you may be, it’s simply not going to happen. First day it’s all about paper work.


On the first day, you will attend an introductory session in Madou Tower, a 32-story blue building. The first traineeship day at the Commission is always either the first Monday of March/October or the Tuesday after. It depends on which of the groups you were assigned. Make sure you have the following with you:

» Passport or national ID card

» Original diplomas (if not originals, then certified copies)

» Other forms (emergency contact details, request for reimbursement of travel expenses, etc.)


When you arrive at Madou (by metro, bus, foot), don’t get intimidated by the height of the building (sure, it’s not New York, but tall enough for Brussels’ standards). Don’t take the main entrance to the building either. Go to the street behind the building, which is called Léopold Leinders (… I think).


You will have to show your passport and you will be given a badge for the everyday access in the buildings of the Commission (and some discounts in the canteen). You will then attend a presentation by a member of the Traineeship Office about practical things at the Commission and life in Brussels.

At the end of the presentation you will meet your file manager. That’s when you have to show your original diplomas and whatever forms they mentioned in the offer e-mail. I noticed the staff from the Traineeship Office is not so happy if you show up completely disorganized. If you don’t have original diplomas, you can present certified copies (by a notary public, lawyer, university, etc.). Also, if your diplomas are written in a language that is not one of the 23 official EU languages, then make sure you have copies translated into one of the 23 official languages.


NEW!!! Some changes took place this past October during the trainee administrative welcome. It seems that you no longer need to show your original diplomas. Just have your passport or ID with you. It’s getting easier and easier. :-)


Your file manager will give you more info about the grant, the insurance and other things they deem important, which obviously are, but you’ll forget in the next 5 seconds, because it’s just too much, your head will explode or you just happened to notice this interesting guy or girl at a nearby desk. Anyway, even if you forget, you can always contact your file manager.


If you happen not to have all/any documents with you on the first day, you will still have 10 days to provide them. So, for example, if you haven’t opened a bank account in euros, you have 10 days to do it. If not, you won’t be paid on time and that will hurt because life in Brussels tends to be fairly expensive. Also, if you haven’t put in your request for reimbursement of the travel expenses within 10 days, you will not be reimbursed at all. One tip about the travel expenses: keep your plane/train/ferry/etc. tickets because you will have to hand them over in order to be reimbursed.


This whole thing will probably take 2 hours or more if you decide to pass by the desk of the Stage Committee to get a welcome pack with gadgets and the social agenda for the first week. They organize lots of parties and other social events.


When you’re done, go pluxing with the new friends you’ve just made (trans. go for a drink in Place Lux(embourg)).


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