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Milja Mieskolainen: The Schuman internship at the European Parliament exceeded my expectations

Milja Mieskolainen, a Master's student in Accounting at the Aalto University School of Business, had already considered applying for an internship in the European Union, but thought it would be too challenging to get an internship. In spring 2023, however, she noticed an advertisement for internships and decided to give it a try, as there was an interesting vacancy in the Economic governance and EMU Scrutiny Unit. Applying did not prove difficult either. Milja applied, got the job and started her internship at the European Parliament in October.
EU parlamentti
European Parliament and Commission interns who started their internship in October 2023.

Who I am

I am Milja Mieskolainen, a fifth-year student in the Master of Accounting programme. I have studied finance and business law as my minors and completed exchange studies in Melbourne, Australia, during my Master's degree. I am also studying at the faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. My previous work experience has been in the world of private equity and consulting, as well as some in government administration.

Why I applied for an internship at the EU

In spring 2023, I noticed an advertisement for Schuman internships at the European Parliament on Instagram at Aalto University School of Business Career Services. I had previously considered applying for an internship at the EU, but I thought it would be too challenging to get there. However, I decided to give it a try, as I found myself particularly interested in the Economic Governance and EMU Scrutiny Unit, which was looking for interns. The application consisted of a CV and a cover letter. I received confirmation of the internship in early June and the internship started in early October.

European Union internship programmes

Internships are available in all EU institutions. The Commission's Blue Book programme is the largest of these, recruiting around 1000 interns for five months at a time, twice a year (October-February, March-July). Parliament's Schuman internship programme recruits for around 400 interns for the same periods. The European Council also recruits interns.

Applications for internships in these institutions are open to applicants from all Member States from almost any educational background, but applicants must have a bachelor's degree. The internship programmes have been in place for a long time and because of the large number of interns, the introduction programmes and other practical guidance from the institutions is well organised.

My internship at the European Parliament, Directorate-General of Internal Policies, Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Economic governance and EMU Scrutiny Unit

The EU institutions are located in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, and I did my traineeship in Brussels, where most interns are based. My internship took place between October and February (2023-24), a very interesting time because of the approaching European elections.

The unit where I did my internship works on a wide range of topics, such as banking supervision, monetary policy dialogue with the ECB and the supervision of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. This unit is a so-called support unit, which supports the parliamentary committees around its themes. Most of Parliament's interns work in these very committees, and their job descriptions were slightly different from mine. As my unit was focused on providing expertise on specific topics, my own work focused on writing briefings and reports. The topics that the inters cover are determined by their own background and interests, but I concentrated on updating the report on changes in the economic outlook, writing monetary policy dialogue briefings and analysing euro area recommendations.

The tasks were challenging for me at first, as I have not studied economics and therefore the terms were new, but I got a lot of support from the other team members and I learned a lot during the internship. I didn't know much about how the EU works before my internship, so I would say that understanding the role of the institutions was one of the biggest lessons I learnt. It was also very interesting to observe the cooperation and exchange of information between the European Central Bank and the Parliament, for example. The EU legislative process was not the focus of my work, but in the parliamentary committees, monitoring the progress of different legislation files is a key task. I did, however, get to follow a few trilogues on the economic governance framework.

In Brussels, there was a lot of activities for us interns

Interns organise a lot of activities during their internship. With so many young people in the same situation coming to the city, it's easy to meet new people. Internationality is on its own level in Brussels, and the internship was a unique opportunity to get to know interns from many different countries. All Schuman interns have the opportunity to visit the plenary session of the Parliament in Strasbourg once during their internship. During our visit we also visited the European Court of Human Rights and the European Council.

The internship was a unique opportunity to get to know interns from many different European countries.

School of Business student Milja Mieskolainen

What I learned during my internship

I would say that the internship exceeded my expectations. The best thing for me was meeting new people and gaining international experience. I learnt a lot about the EU and about other European countries and their cultures. Seeing the Union at close also clarified its objectives and strategic cornerstones. Although the Parliament as a whole is a political body, the Schuman intern's tasks are not political, but all services aim to provide information to MEPs from a neutral perspective and to support decision-making.

My advice for other students seeking an internship in the European Union

The call for applications for Schuman internships is open every year in late spring and autumn. Internships are offered in at least the following areas: communication, employment, economics and finance, infrastructure and logistics, legislation, international relations, internal EU policy, administration, IT, multilingualism. Interns can come from a wide range of backgrounds and the most important thing is to show an interest in EU affairs. The Commission and EU Council internship applications also take place around the same time as the Parliament's, and the Commission in particular has a really wide range of placements.

See also

Aalto University School of Business offers wide range of career services for our students

Career Services for School of Business students

Aalto University School of Business Career Services offer a wide range of services to our students.

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