Fiatalok tudósítanak önkéntesen a magyar EU-elnökség óta – Youngsters report voluntary since the Hungarian EU Presidency

2018. július. 20., péntek

“I went to Brussels British and came back European”

2012. február 20.
ROVAT: English | CÍMKÉK: , ,

In Interns Revealed, which is the European Youth Forum’s survey on internship quality in Europe, we can read the following: “I got to know a lot of new and interesting things and met wonderful people. I’m sure this will help me in the future if not to find a job than at least to get an idea of what I want and can.” (Intern in an intergovernmental organisation) This great experience also happened with Jessica Foley, who were an intern at the European Commission in 2010 and currently is a student in King’s College London.

In what DG did you do the traineeship and what was your job exactly?

I did the traineeship in DG Employment, in the unit responsible for anti-discrimination policy and civil society. I carried out research for speeches and briefings for the Commissioner, assisted in the organisation of an Equality Summit, drafted materials for the ‘Business case for Diversity’ project and participated in activities for the ‘For Diversity Against Discrimination’ information campaign.

Why did you decide to do the internship of the Commission?

After graduating with a law degree, I wasn’t yet set upon becoming a solicitor, so I investigated other options for a law graduate with languages looking for international experience. The European Commission traineeship quickly revealed itself to be a very good route.

Can you tell a bit about the application form? What documents and special knowledge did you need?

I only needed a Bachelors degree and when I arrived in Brussels I was aware that most people had a Masters degree already. I think it may have helped my application that I linked my motivation to work in DG Employment with interest in particular aspects of Employment law which I had studied. Perhaps this overcame the lack of specialisation that you get with a Masters degree. To my memory, I sent a copy of my passport, my degree certificate and my A Level language certificates.

What was the best moment during the traineeship?

That’s a tricky question! I don’t think I can pick one… Workwise, I was very pleased to contribute to a speech by Commissioner Reding marking the International Day against Homophobia. I also enjoyed participating in meetings with Belgian government representatives to plan the Equality Summit. Outside of work, I always enjoyed meeting my DG Employment fellow trainees for drinks at the infamous Place Lux and a trip to Paris in May in the blazing sunshine with friends was a definite highlight!

Did you have any difficulties during the 5 months?

At times I wished my French was stronger than it was. It was a rusty A Level standard and I lacked the confidence to practice very often. In hindsight, I would take every opportunity to practice before and during the traineeship.

Which skills did you manage to develop during the traineeship?

The traineeship clearly helps to develop core ‘competences’ such as communication, research and drafting and team work, but for me, the most important skills the traineeship developed are unique to the European Commission experience. In an international environment, surrounded by a diverse group of colleagues and friends, you inevitably develop a broader perspective, improve language skills and build your confidence for new situations.

Do you think that by fulfilling the traineeship program you have more career opportunities?

Definitely. Following my experience in the Commission I did another traineeship in a European Agency in Brussels, for which I still work now, as a Consultant based in London. I was recently successful in obtaining a contract with an international London law firm. They were very interested in hearing about my traineeship during the interview and I think my experiences in Brussels were likely a large factor in my being selected.

What did the traineeship give you? Was it worth it?

It was absolutely worth it. As a result of the traineeship, I’m on the right track for my future career, had some fantastic experiences in Brussels and other cities and made great friends from all over Europe. Most importantly, I feel I went to Brussels British and came back European!

What would be your advice for those who would like to apply for an internship at the Commission?

I would say make yourself stand out on the application form. Many candidates will simply be ‘very interested in learning more about the Commission’ so I would suggest making your motivation personal by linking it to your own specific experiences and explaining how the traineeship fits in with your career plans. Secondly, once you’re there, make the most of every minute of the traineeship in terms of both work and social life. Enjoy every trip, party, coffee break and (even) conference – you only get one opportunity to do this traineeship!

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