- Population: 11,142,000
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- University Students: 510,000
- International Students: 90,000
- English Taught Programs: 200
Studying in Belgium literally means studying in the heart of Europe. Although many countries claim to be ‘the heart of Europe’, Belgium comes closest to the truth. Apart from the moules-frites, waffles, fine chocolate and a vast array of quality beers, Belgium also boasts of respective elite universities that teach in a variety of national languages.
Being in the heart of Europe, Belgium is connected to much of the continent. You can get to Paris, London and Amsterdam by train in less than 2 hours. Being a multicultural country, Belgium would be a fantastic option for any international student. The good quality of life, healthcare and education makes it rank as one of the most secure and tranquil study destinations in the world.
As of September 2018, there were 510,000 graduates taking their studies in Belgium. Of which 90,000 students were from foreign countries. This number keeps going up each year. Therefore, if you are thinking of a place where you will not feel alone, Belgium might be the place for you.
Universities in Belgium
Students who wish to study abroad should note that Belgium is home to world-renowned universities. Many universities in Belgium have a robust international impression and composition. Eight universities featured in the QS World University Rankings of 2018. However, it is impossible to talk about Belgian Universities without mentioning the divide between the Flemish (Flanders) and French-speaking (Wallonia) regions of the country. Although this does not have any impact on an international student, it means that where you choose to study determines the language spoken around you.
In Wallonia-Brussels there are six universities grouped in three academies. They are:
- Université Catholique de Louvain
- The University of Saint-Louis in Brussels
- University of Namur
- Université Libre de Bruxelles
- Université de Mons
- University of Liège
Here are some excellent universities from the Flemish-speaking region:
- KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven)
- Universiteit Antwerpen
- Universiteit Gent
- Universiteit Hasselt
- Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Business Schools in Belgium
There is a variety of both public and private business schools to choose from, such as:
- Antwerp Management School
- Boston University Brussels
- Fiscale Hogeschool
- ICHEC Brussels Management School
- Vrije Universiteit Brussel
- Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management
Studying in Belgium in English
The multicultural aspect of Belgium comes from having three national languages, namely Dutch, French, and German. Many universities offer you the chance to learn these languages as a foreign language to understand better. However, if you prefer to follow your course in your first language, there is no need to panic. Most schools and universities in Belgium offer courses in English. There is also a wide range of European and International schools in Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia to make a pick.
Tuition fees in Belgium
If you are from Belgium or an EU member country, higher education is mostly financed by the state. However, students still need to pay an annual registration fee. This amount varies by institution, type of program and student’s eligibility for financial aid.
Tuition fees in Belgium may also differ depending on the region your institution is located. Institutions from the Flemish region may vary from those in the German-speaking or French-speaking region. Students from Belgium or the EU can pay a maximum of 835 Euros per year. For other international students, the price may vary between 835-4,175 Euros per year. Again, this amount may even be more depending on the institution and program.
Scholarships to Study in Belgium
The number and nature of scholarships may vary between communities. For example, in the Flemish region, international students can benefit from the Master Mind Scholarship in 2018/2019 upon meeting certain conditions. To see what you might be eligible for you can check out StudyInBelgium.be.
Individual institutions may also provide a source of funding for international students. You can contact your offices to see what they offer. The Belgian Development Cooperation also funds scholarships.
Cost of Living in Belgium
The monetary unit in Belgium is the Euro—a currency currently used in 19 other European countries. Apart from your tuition fees, the cost of living is highly influenced by where you are studying in Belgium, the accommodation chosen and your lifestyle.
University accommodation, which is always cheaper, is readily available for international students. For those who prefer living off campus, rent can range between 150-540 Euros per month depending on the type of house and the city you reside in. According to recommendations, students will need a minimum of 850 Euros per month without taking into account the registration fees.
Internships & Company Placements in Belgium
Internships are the best way to start a long and promising career. A proper company placement will help you land your dream job a few months or years down the line. Belgium is one of the best countries to land an internship both for the history buffs and those who prefer to live in recent times.
Jobs available for student internships in Belgium are found on Europe Internship. Please note that some internships are not paid, so do some research before you decide.
Studying in Belgium and Work
British and other EU nationals studying in Belgium can also work there, with little difficulty.
International students can also work if they follow a full-time course in a higher establishment recognized by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and must have a valid residence permit.
For international students outside the EU, a work permit may also be necessary. For more information, you can refer to the official Belgium website.
Study in Belgium and Applying for a Student Visa
As a student from the EU/EEA country, you are not required to apply for a visa. However, if you are from outside the EU countries, you are required to apply for an extended stay visa. This process is done at the Belgian embassy or diplomatic office in your home country.
The process may take some time for your visa to progress, so leave adequate time for the procedure. Valid proof of acceptance by an educational institution in Belgium, proof of funds to cover your stay and proper health insurance may also be a requirement in applying for your visa. Please contact the competent Belgium representatives in your country of residence for further information.