A European Commission trainee’s perspective on EU Code Week
Publication date: August 10, 2023
In this blog post, Blue Book trainee at the European Commission and former teacher Mie Bonne Eriksen shares her experience of contributing to EU Code Week for the past five months. She dives into what she finds special about the initiative, how she was a part of it, and shares tips on how you can become a Blue Book trainee in the European Commission.
On a rainy day in February 2023, I packed my bags and travelled from Copenhagen to Luxembourg with a feeling of anticipation. Earlier that month, I had left my job as a French and English teacher at a Danish high school because I had been selected for a Blue Book traineeship at the European Commission (DG CNECT) starting in March. Among other tasks, my employment would involve contributing to the 11th edition of EU Code Week. As my traineeship is coming to an end very soon, I would like to share my experience with all of you.
Code Week what?
Before applying for the position, I had never actually heard of EU Code Week before. However, as soon as I started reading more about it, I could quickly tell that the heart of the initiative resonated with my own values and beliefs about teaching. For example, the core mission of making coding and computational thinking accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of digital literacy, is one that I whole-heartedly appreciate. In my view, the aspiration to equip all EU citizens with digital skills is essentially a democratic mission, as it simply allows more people to actively participate in society and shape their digital future.
In this respect, I also truly appreciate EU Code Week’s efforts in addressing the severe gender imbalance in ICT and STEM fields. It is important that more girls and women develop digital skills and embark on tech careers for many reasons, and I believe that the EU Code Week initiative offers inspiring role models that can play an important role in this mission.
A meaningful, international work experience
My everyday tasks in the EU Code Week team involved communication in a broad sense: proofreading various documents, revising social media items, transcribing podcast episodes, accepting Code Week activities, and discussing the overall communication strategy on weekly meetings. Clearly, this was different from my previous role as a teacher: my tasks were more solitary now and posed different challenges than before. At the same time, all communication was related to the field of digital education, and often directed at fellow teachers. Having teachers as our overall target group motivated me as I adapted to my new responsibilities in the international work environment.
During the past five months, I enhanced my understanding of the initiative’s activities. In particular, I found the open exchange of ideas on digital education among teachers to be very meaningful and inspiring. For example, when I would read through and confirm the different activities on the Code Week map, I was thrilled with the thought that so many teachers, from across Europe and beyond, were helping each other by sharing inspirational educational materials and activities for free online. It has been a pleasure to experience the enthusiasm of the EU Code Week community.
Do you want to be a Blue Book trainee?
If this blog post has caught your attention, and if you would like to work as a Blue Book trainee in the European Commission yourself, check out the following web page for more information. Registration for the March 2024 session is currently open and closes on 31 August 2023, 10:00 CET. There are two sessions of Blue Book traineeships each year: the spring session (March – July) and the autumn session (October – February). If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. Good luck with your application and happy coding!