Want to study in Belgium?
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 borders 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.
Why Study in Belgium?
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.
Belgium at a Glance
A developed country with a high-income economy, Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830. Belgium is steeped in history and you will be able to discover many amazing tourist attractions, such as medieval castles and impressive cathedrals.
Due to the country’s small size, there is little regional difference in the climate. All areas benefit from cool summers and moderate winters that are heavily influenced by the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
The top tourist attractions in Belgium include:
- Grand Palace (Brussels)
- The Citadel (Dinant)
- Mini Europe (Brussels)
Cost of Studying & Living in Belgium
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 institutions, 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 chose 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.
Belgium has three official languages; Dutch (Flemish), French, and German. Whilst there are courses taught in all of these languages, but the majority are offered in French. You will no doubt be able to study programs in the English language.
If you are applying for a course taught in any of the official languages of Belgium, you will need to have advanced language skills, and be able to pass language proficiency tests. If you are applying for a course taught in English, you will also need to pass an English language test. These tests will make sure that your language skills will meet the required standards for learning. It is common for institutions to offer courses to improve your language skills if you are not able to pass proficiency tests.