Alumni Share Advice: European Commission Traineeships

January 22, 2018

CEU’s Career Services Office hosted alums Anna Dorottya Zsoldos (SPP ‘17) and Mara Tissera Luna (SPP ‘17) for an informative virtual career session on the European Commission Traineeship in which they are both participating. Both graduated from CEU's School of Public Policy last year and both Zsoldos and Tissera Luna worked closely with Career Services while at CEU to prepare for their professional futures.

Today, they are both partway through completing the European Commission Traineeship, a 5-month program. There are typically 600 trainees per session, with two sessions annually: October to February and March to July. The traineeship is paid and provides a monthly grant of 1,100 euros and travel costs.

Zsoldos and Tissera Luna discussed the application process and described their work. Zsoldos is conducting her traineeship within the Audit and Control Unit of the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, where she has had the opportunity to see what happens behind the scenes of European development efforts. Tissera Luna is based in Lisbon, Portugal and works for the Political Reporting and Policy Analysis Department of the National Representation. There, she monitors Portugal's political developments from the perspective of the EU and helps coordinate political events.

When asked about job prospects within the European Commission after their traineeship, Zsoldos explained that a traineeship usually does not translate into an immediate job opportunity at the Commission (there are exceptions, though). Rather, having completed a traineeship can be an advantage in landing jobs in Brussels with the numerous organizations that work with the Commission.

Understanding the decision-making process of the Commission is one of the greatest benefits of the program. For students and alumni interested in learning more about careers in the European institutions and in the broader field of EU Affairs, the Careers Office will host a second "Careers in EU" event dedicated to these topics on February 13, 2018. Full details are available here.

Zsoldos and Tissera Luna stressed the importance of speaking several EU languages. Knowledge of English, or French or German is required as well as a second EU official language. Importantly, students who have prior work experience with an EU institution are excluded from consideration for the traineeship. Other important factors for the application are relevant work experiences and experiences living and studying abroad that would demonstrate your mobility. Both have found the experience rewarding so far, and encouraged students to apply by the 31 January 2018 deadline. Details and application instructions can be found on the European Union's Europa website. The Europa website also includes a useful list of traineeships with other EU Institutions.

Zsoldos and Tissera Luna both stressed their willingness to answer questions from CEU students. Students who would like input on this or other applications can request an appointment with CEU Careers via the online form on the Careers website, accessible via this link.

by Viktor Mak (SPP '19)