Study in Belgium

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Belgium is a country that can offer you a fantastic study experience. Despite its size, the country has a big cultural history and has over 11 million residents. It’s also the home of the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), making it a political hub. Located in Western Europe and bordering with Germany, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands, Belgium can be roughly divided into three separate areas. In the northern area of Flanders they speak mainly Dutch (Flemish), in the Southern area of Wallonia they speak mainly French, and in the Brussels-Capital area most people speak both French and Dutch. Belgium is a densely populated country, and is a welcoming environment for international students.

Study in the Belgium University

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Sitting right in the heart of Europe, Belgium is wonderfully multicultural and would be a fantastic choice for any international student. Known for its high quality of life, healthcare and education, the country ranks as one of the safest and most peaceful cities in the world.

There are many excellent higher education institutions throughout Belgium, offering high quality education at all levels. You will find 7 Belgian universities in the QS World University Ranking top 500, and 4 of these are in the top 200! The top ranked is KU Leuven, coming in at 71st place. Institutions in Belgium cater well for international students, and you would be in the perfect place to explore Europe throughout your studies.

It is impossible to describe Belgian universities without mentioning the divide between the Flemish (Flanders) and French-speaking (Wallonia) regions of the country. The education system in each part of the country is run along completely separate lines. This does not really have any impact on the way an international student might choose a university in Belgium but it does mean that where you choose to study will have an impact on the language spoken around you.
Belgium has some excellent universities and four of them are currently to be found in the top 200 of the Times Higher Education International University Rankings.

In the French-speaking region of Wallonia-Brussels there are six universities grouped in three academies. These are:
• Université catholique de Louvain
• University of Saint-Louis in Brussels
• University of Namur
• Université libre de Bruxelles
• Université de Mons
• University of Liège

In the Flemish speaking region of Flanders there are five universities:
• KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven)
• Universiteit Antwerpen
• Universiteit Gent
• Universiteit Hasselt
• Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Rather unhelpfully the Université libre de Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussel are separate institutions even though they have the same name when translated into English.
In addition to universities, in Flanders you can also find University Colleges (equivalent to Universities of Applied Sciences elsewhere in Europe, Registered Institutes of Higher Education, Art Colleges and Institutes of Architecture. In the French-speaking community you will find: Universities, University Colleges, Art Colleges and Institutes of Architecture.

Belgium is ideally located at the heart of the European Union and this in itself can be one of the main attractions to studying at its excellent universities. For a head start in an international career, studying in Belgium has a lot to recommend it. You are also only a few hours away from the UK by train or aeroplane.

Bachelor degrees offered in Belgium are either professional Bachelors, which are more vocationally-focussed, or academic Bachelors, which provide a pathway to Master level study.

Belgium uses the Euro (€) for its currency.

There are both public and private institutions in Belgium, and your tuition fee will depend on which of these you choose. If you are from an EU/EEA country and choose to go to public institution, you can expect to pay around €850 per year. If you are from any other country, you can expect to pay between €1,000 and €4,000 per year. For a master’s or doctorate degree, most students will have to pay an application fee. A private institution will most likely charge more than this. There are scholarships available, but they are competitive. For more information, contact your chosen institution.

Your living costs will depend on where you choose to live, as well as whether you stay in university accommodation or private accommodation. On average, your living costs can be between €750 and €1,100 per month. This includes accommodation, travel, groceries and course equipment.

You may be able to get a part-time job in order to help with your living costs, depending on where you are from. If you are from an EU/EEA country, you will most likely be able to work without any additional permissions. If you are from any other country, you may need to seek permission in the form of a work permit in order to work during your studies, and will probably be allowed to work up to 20 hours. Your university will be able to provide information about this.

Another cost that needs to be considered is health insurance. If you are an EHIC holder, you will be able to access healthcare at the same price as Belgian citizens once you have joined a ‘mutuelle’. If you do not hold an EHIC, you will need to either purchase health insurance, or ensure that your current policy is valid for your stay in Belgium. You will then need to join a ‘mutuelle’ to receive healthcare benefits.

If you are from an EU/EEA country, you will not need to apply for a visa to study in Belgium. If you are from any other country, you will need to apply for a visa to study in Belgium. You will need to get a ‘long stay’ visa, and can start this process at the Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country. It might take some time for your application to progress and your visa to be granted, so make sure to leave plenty of time.

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