Lucie Šarmanová: A traineeship at the European Commission or other EU institutions is a unique opportunity for you!

Age: 28
Nationality: Czech
Occupation: Blue Book Trainee at the European Commission
Hobbies: Baking, listening to good music
Languages you speak: Czech (native), English, German (advanced), French, Korean (beginner)
Preferred dish: mussels with Belgian frites

Why are you working for Europe? How did you come to Brussels?

Right after I graduated at the University of Economics in Prague I was happy to be selected for a traineeship in the European Commission. I am convinced that the European Commission is an important institution where European legislation is created. The proposed laws consequently influence each Member State and the Commission’s decisions have also significant impact on Czech laws. I believe that such an institution must not be overlooked by the European citizens. Therefore, it is vital to follow the Commission’s activities and understand its function well. Through the traineeship, I became a more conscious citizen and learnt about the Commission and its policies from my own practical experience. In addition, I had the opportunity to learn about ongoing European issues and the legislative and budgetary procedures in detail.

In which area did you work as trainee?

I was part of the team “Interinstitutional relations” in Directorate-General for Communication. In my daily work, I dealt with the questions from the MEPs and issues related to the European Ombudsman. It was exciting to follow meetings in the Council, Parliament, Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions and see how members of those institutions negotiate, discuss and take decisions.

I was also the General Coordinator of the Model United Nations subcommittee which was a simulation “by trainees, for trainees”, a conference on the premises of the institutions in Brussels.

If you were to name one of the greatest successes of this European project, what would that be?

The European Union has achieved to unite countries with different experience, culture and languages which makes it unique for me and in general in international comparison. In addition, Member States eagerly cooperate in cultural exchanges and trade, students study freely across Europe and consider it normal which would in my parents’ generation be unthinkable.

I also appreciate the fact that any citizen can directly ask the EU about matters which he or she is interested in and receives the answer in their respective mother tongue. The fact that there is an Ombudsman – or actually an Ombudswoman J – at the European level proves that the EU is an advanced democracy and this is something worth investing in.

Any specific experience you want to share? Special moments you witnessed during your traineeship?

There are many things I find enjoyable in my life at the institutions. The traineeship is a unique opportunity which enables young people to see the EU from inside and find out how it works. I have experienced that people working in the Commission are “normal people” like us, with their passions, worries and dreams and realised how the media often distorts peoples’ appearance.

I appreciated the exchanges we trainees had with our Director-General who had a great interest in our views and hearing about our job. He really gave us the feeling that we were part of the project. In general, I enjoyed the working environment within the Institutions. I fully benefited from this traineeship, learnt a lot and I appreciated the time that my colleagues devoted to me.

Thanks to my activities in the Model UN Subcommittee, I also participated in a youth conference with Ban Ki-moon who actively engaged in discussion about problems of young people. Brussels indeed is a centre of happening and I would like to encourage all people to apply for the traineeship at the European Commission or other EU institutions!

How was life in Brussels?

Living and working in such as multicultural environment was really enriching and I enjoyed to hang out with other trainees, build friendships and travel.

I eat a lot of frites, like baking and invite friends over for dinner. Both, the Czech Republic is Belgium are famous for their beers. And honestly, I could never understand the Belgian preference for strong beers 🙂

Europe united and enriched by the countries’ cultures and languages. Europe is our future. It’s up to all of us!

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Deutsche Zusammenfassung

Lucie ist Tschechin und absolvierte 2015/2016 ein Praktikum in der Europäischen Kommission, eine Erfahrung, die sie auf keinem Fall missen möchte. Die Arbeit im interinstitutionellen Bereich der Generaldirektion für Kommunikation war sehr bereichernd für sie. Während dieser fünf Monate konnte Lucie Sitzungen im Rat, Parlament, Ausschuss der Regionen oder Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschuss direkt miterleben und war beeindruckt zu sehen, wie die Mitglieder dieser Institutionen Entscheidungen treffen.

Europe ist ein einzigartiges Projekt für Lucie. Europa gelang es, Länder zu vereinen, während jedes gleichzeitig Kultur- und Sprachenvielfalt behält. Für Studierende ist es mittlerweile eine Selbstverständlichkeit, von der Möglichkeit Gebrauch zu machen, in allen Mitgliedstaaten zu studieren! Für die Generation ihrer Eltern noch ein unvorstellbarer Traum!

Ein vereintes Europa, bereichert durch seine Kulturen- und Sprachenvielfalt. Europa ist unsere Zukunft. Es liegt an uns allen!

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