Oh Sweet Little Stagiaires, you really are a sunshine in the darkness of the Commission, the adrenaline who keeps alive scores of old naughty officials.
So twice a year, for 5 months each time, the European Commission welcomes the "Stagiaires" from all over Europe and some from outside Europe. Either selected on their CV (Blue Book Stagiaire) or short term loan from a national or local administration, those young people integrate units to work on their thesis, to get some experience and enjoy Europe.
Doing a traineeship at the EC is actually quite a nice experience, as there is an office (run by the stagiaires themselves and during the interim by outgoing stagiaires) that takes really good care of the Stagiaires in organising parties and other social activities. You would say pretty standard in a big organisation, but maybe unlike the private sector, much more attention is given to social recreation.
There is a much dirtier side... Far from being the majority of case, but it is somehow frequent to see generally young and attractive ladies ending up working with old and ugly officials. It is not clear to me, how can this happen with a CV-based selection. It would be interesting to find out what the statistics are because I suspect that there is a vast majority of women (that could also due to me having harder time identifying male stagiaires).
Sexual harassment is common unfortunately and is far from being reprimanded. Some will try to offer a more permanent position later in exchange of some, well you know. Other won't be able to see you in the eyes. But the more often I would say are the side comments made directly or apart on the stagiaires' physics. Few will do all of this.
Kind of sad to see those old pricks taking advantage of the position to act pervertedly. What is really problematic is that the EC as a whole doesn't do shit about it. I remember that one Stagiaire had the guts to raise the issue during her final presentation to the Director General, who was quite surprise. He did move stuff a bit, that was all buried very fast (after all you can't fired those pricks...)