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A glimpse from inside the "EU bubble": A qualitative interview study of European youth doing traineeships at the EU institutions


  • Terese Andersson

Summary, in English

European citizens demand more bottom-up debates in opposition to the existing elite-driven voices heard within European policymaking. The youth is one of the groups which demands more participation and involvement, and the EU is partly involving young people by having trainees at the EU institutions. With the goal of hearing the voice of these young people and getting insights on youths’ experiences in relation to the “EU bubble”, international internships at the EU institutions have been studied. Qualitative interviews were conducted with trainees having undertaken, or were in the middle of, their Brussels-based EU institutions traineeships. The interviews were coded and analysed with the help of theoretical concepts on youth migration as well as research on European youth identity. The main results show that the youth are somewhat critical to the EU institutions hierarchal structures, gender inequality and lack of diversity. They are aware that not everyone can enter the “EU bubble” and see themselves as privileged for doing so. The experience gave them new skills, professional experience, friendships, and a stronger feeling of a European group membership.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences


  • Internship
  • EU
  • youth mobility
  • youth migration
  • youth influence
  • European youth identity
  • qualitative interview
  • European studies
  • European Union


  • Alena Minchenia