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Study In Belgium: The Best Guide For International Students

Study In Belgium: The Best Guide For International Students

Belgium is a Western European country with its official name as Kingdom of Belgium. It is divided into three regions; the Flemish region, the Walloon region and lastly the region of the country’s capital city, the Brussels. Belgium is known to be a fascinating, peaceful, developed and multicultural country which gained its independence in 1830 with amazing and wonderful tourist attractions.

The country is well placed having Germany, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands as its neighbours. The country is known for its amazing landscape and wonderful tourist sites. Among them are; The Grand Palace, Mini Europe, The Citadel, Notre Dame Cathedral in Tourna and Bruges. The country, particularly its capital city Brussels has within it EU and NATO headquarters.  Belgium has certain grounded or official languages which are Flemish, French, German and also hosts other language such as English. 

Study In Belgium: The Best Guide For International Students
Study In Belgium: The Best Guide For International Students

The country has also recently recorded a great number of international students studying in Belgium of about 41,000. Within the country are public institutions and private institutions with reasonable tuitions depending on the institution chosen by the student. In the same way, the costs of living of international students depends on where or which city they decide to live in the country. This can either be a private accommodation or university accommodation.


  1. About Studying in Belgium 
  2. Why Study in Belgium
  3. Belgium Educational System Compared to Other Countries
  4. Top Institutions in Belgium
  5. Scholarships/ Financial Aids/ Bursaries
  6. Student Visa Processing/ Procedures
  7. Post Study Opportunities

Why Study in Belgium? 

To study in Belgium is a to take a giant step into academic growth, guidance and having various chances to explore the opportunities and support given to international students in Belgium. There are fascinating and excellent student facilities in educational institutions of Belgium. Also the tuition fee in this Institutions for both European and international students studying in Belgium is quite reasonable depending on whether you choose an institution in Wallonia, Flanders, or Brussels. Students within the European Union pay about €850 per academic year while Non-EU students pay about the range of €1,000-€4,000.

Belgium is a home to many reputable institutions. Regardless of your course; medicine, arts, music and among others, there are schools to suit your academic needs. College of Europe is located in Bruges and offers courses in politics, international relations, and related topics. The undergraduate and graduate programs offered by this university are ideal for students who want to become tomorrow’s change-makers.

Antwerp is the city for you if you are interested in medicine. The University of Antwerp Medical School, a top-notch university hospital ideal for acquiring real-world experience while you study, is located in the city. It is not difficult to locate cultural landmarks like museums, art galleries, outdoor markets, and theaters. Additionally, societies and clubs for students are frequently organized by universities and student societies, which can be a fantastic way to meet people. The nightlife in Brussels and Antwerp is incredibly attractive for foreign students. Belgium is a great place to study abroad.

Belgium Educational System Compared to Other Countries

Belgium’s educational system is divided into preschool (2-6), primary school (6-12), secondary school (12-18) and higher or tertiary Institutions. Having adopted the BOLONGA process, Belgium has recognized various degrees and programs which can be offered by both Europeans and international students studying abroad in Belgium. Bachelor’s degree which lasts for about three years, however there exists a great difference in administration and rules guiding the various educational institution in Brazil depending on the region.

In the Flanders Region, the education system at the higher institutions has majority if it’s degrees held in Dutch language and there you can find; a professional Bachelor’s Degree, an Academic Bachelor’s Degree and also an Advanced Bachelor’s Degree.  In the Wallonia and Brussels Region majority of the higher institutions there hold their degrees in French and there you can find; a Professional Bachelor’s Degree, a Transitional Bachelor’s Degree and also there is also an Advanced Master’s Degree. The Doctorate degree lasts for a period of about four to six years and for students to be enrolled there is need to meet up certain academic skills and exceptional capability. These various higher institutions also offer PhD degrees for the study by international students in Brazil. 

Top Institutions in Belgium

The universities and universities of applied sciences make up the Belgian higher education system. The standard degree structure in the European Union consists of three levels: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. Currently, 30 of Belgium’s 81 higher education institutions are private. Universities in Belgium had about 500,000 students enrolled in them in 2018. The study plans are often organized by academic years. In Belgium there’s are well founded top-rated and highly ranked universities which accept students all over the continent.

These universities make use of different innovative learning and teaching methods, with qualified and excellent staffs employed. Also, majority of these institutions have highly valued courses and degrees put in place. A large number of international students enrolled within their structure and a lot of courses available to them based on the determination factor of the location of the institutions in any of the regions and considering the system in which they run. In other words, the requirements of these universities differ but despite this they are all of standard reputation being in participation with other prestigious institutions all over the world. All these attracts various international students to study abroad in Belgium. 

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven)

The KU Leuven is a high ranked university which has gained international recognition and happens to be Belgium’s very first university. It was founded in 1425 and is located in the marvelous and charming city of Leuven. Although study at KU Leuven can be done in certain cities across Flanders.  The university has its full name as CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF LEUVEN. The university offers varieties of courses and programs and is basically a home for research. Having being equipped with the best team, the university makes preparations for every set of students, by helping them get the required extracurricular experience which they actually need and also paving a way to their academic and career success in life.

This is also attained with the various opportunities and proper exposure which the university puts its students through which includes internship opportunities and competitions. The KU Leuven is known to an international- friendly and convenient environment with the right classes, lab sessions and facilities. The school had laboratories for science and technological research. There are also recreational or sporting facilities as the university is equipped with a swimming pool, fitness center and the likes. All these and more are considered to be to the advantage of international students studying abroad in Belgium and there is no communication barrier as English is as well recognized.

Ghent University

The University of Ghent (UGent) is a Flemish university and also a public university with high ratings and was established in 1817 by the then King William ǀ of Orange. In the year 2022, the university is placed as 96th in World University Ranking. The university has 11 faculties and has its main campus located near the city center. It is majorly respected and has a global reputation for being a researched based university and has made numerous research investments.

Some of the things that surrounds the University of Ghent and found in the city of Ghent, which students certainly enjoy are; the beautiful street arts in the city, varieties of clubs, restaurants and pubs. The subjects covered by the University of Ghent are; Computer science, Life Science, Art and Humanities, Education, Business and Economics, Physical sciences, Psychology, Social Sciences, Clinical, pre-clinical and health, Law, Engineering and Technology. The University of Ghent has also enrolled international students into its faculties for study and research and the university has been able to successfully record about 12 percent of international students. 

University of Antwerp.

The University of Antwerp was founded in the year 2003 and located in the fascinating city of Antwerp. The university is a research university which has explore numerous research areas for the acquisition of knowledge by students, for academic excellence in a professional environment. The university of Antwerp has a lot of employees with educational background, to ensure the provision of innovative education.

The university has an Education Board which is recognized as the university’s advisory body for; actualizing the educational vision of the university, preparation of school rules including examination rules and to coordinate assessments. The University of Antwerp has wonderful library services with its libraries located in three campuses. The libraries are, Biomedical library, Exact Sciences library and the Mathematics and Computer Science Library which are located in campus Drie Eiken, campus Groenenborger and campus Middelheim, respectively.

The university takes courses and programs for globally recognize degrees which are; bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD degree. Some programmes offered at Master’s level includes; Applied Economic Science, Biology (Biodiversity, Conservation and Restoration), Business Engineering (Financial Engineering), Chemistry, Computer Science (Computer Networks), Computer Science (Software Engineering), Digital Text Analysis, Epidemiology, Laws, Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management, Molecular Biology and Physics. Some programmes for postgraduate levels are; Energy and Climate, China-EU Cultural Curatorship Studies and Algology

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

ULB was founded in the year 1834 also a research university which is located in the City of Brussels, Belgium. The university is renowned educational institution which had gained ground both nationally and internationally. The university has also been able to recorded a meaningful percentage on international students who have come to study abroad in Belgium. So many factors make the university an attraction to students which includes; quality education provided, educational, sport and research facilities made available, the various chances to explore diverse educational opportunities 

Vrije Universiteit van Brussel (VUB)

The university is a comprehensive university which is internationally oriented. The university is known for a range of courses and programs and also award-winning researches. Other wonderful educational institutions are; Université de Liége and University of Mons. The university is divided into eight faculties that carry out its three main missions: teaching, research, and community service. The faculties offer instruction in a wide range of subject areas, including engineering, life sciences, sociology, and humanities. About 8,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students are served by the university’s bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs. Additionally, it has a significant focus on research, which has helped it rank 189th out of all institutions in the globe.

Entry requirements for Belgian Universities?

You can often enroll in a bachelor’s program in Belgium if you are from an EU nation, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland and have a high school diploma that qualifies you for higher education. You must possess a bachelor’s degree in order to enroll in a master’s program.
A school leaving certificate that has been translated into French or Dutch is required if you reside outside of the EU and want to enroll in a bachelor’s degree. It could be a good idea to look at the specific university regulations since each university in Belgium has its unique set of rules and regulations.

Scholarships/ Financial Aids/ Bursaries

For many people, paying high tuition costs can be stressful for a variety of reasons. However, there are other ways to pay for your education, including funding through using scholarships. For international students wishing to pursue a degree in Belgium, there are numerous scholarship alternatives available. There are several funding alternatives depending on your place of origin and degree of education. There is a lot of funding opportunities which international students with the aim of studying abroad in Brazil can access in the various institutions at different academic levels. Some of the scholarships includes;

The VLIR-UOS Training and Master Scholarship

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master scholarship

The Belgian Technical Cooperation Scholarships

The University of Ghent Doctoral Special Research Fund

The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) Scholarship

The FRS-FNRS Scholarship

The Innoviris Scholarship

Student Visa Processing/ Procedures

EU/EEA/EFTA national-student don’t need to get a visa or residence permit, so as to stay and study in the country Belgium. Basically, some of the things which are needed are; identification cards or passports. However, Non-nationals must apply for a student visa so as to study abroad in Belgium. The Resident Permits given to non-nationals of Belgium or foreign nationals to live in the country for an indefinite or specific period, are of two types. The first one is the BELGIUM TEMPORARY RESIDENCE PERMIT and the second is the BELGIUM PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT. 

The Belgium Temporary Residence Permit which is also known as the TYPE D VISA, is for those who are staying in the country for a period more than three months and this type of residence permit can either be; residence permit to work, study or for a family reunion. The documents which are required or to be provided when making an application for a Belgium Temporary Residence Permit are; application form, valid passport, passport pictures, health insurance, proof of accommodation, proof of financial capacity, civil status and proof of no criminal record.

The registration of the residence permit is to be done at the STADSKANTOOR, that is the City Office and this permit can also be renewed through certain processes. For the second residence permit, which is the Belgium Permanent Residence Permit is valid for those who have stayed in Belgium for a period of five years. Foreigners or international students who have stayed and in this case, had their study abroad in Belgium for five years are qualified to apply for a permanent residency card which can be; B cards, C cards or D cards.

Study In Belgium: The Best Guide For International Students
Study In Belgium: The Best Guide For International Students

Post Study Opportunities

International students can during their stay and study in Belgium get part-time jobs having acquired a work permit. This definitely will help them with their living costs, however the work how is not to exceed 20 hours per week.  There are also certainly post study opportunities made available to graduates who had studied abroad in Belgium. This is with having obtained a “Orientation Year Residence Permit” to stay in Belgium for a year and find jobs or works. It is very important that these students find jobs immediately after they become graduates of a university in Belgium. This privilege is granted to non-European or international students who are not nationals of any European country, by the approval of the Belgium’s Council of Ministers. 

Majority of the job vacancies found in Belgium are for persons who are highly skilled and capable and fortunately, majority of the jobs in Belgium come with high salaries. In addition, all those employed as workers are expected to be receive or be given an employment contract which will properly establish that which will be the terms and conditions both parties are to adhere to. Some job websites in the country Belgium are; Jobat, Academic Jobs Eu, LinkedIn Belgium, Xpatjobs, OnlySalesjob, Learn4good, and so many more.  Some of Belgium’s large companies are: Ageas (Insurance company), Elia (Energy Company), Colruyt (Food Retail Company), Anheuser-Busch InBev (Brewing Company), KBC (Banking or Insurance Company) and Umicore (Material Technology Company).

Final Thoughts

Belgian universities today are just as diversified as the rest of the country, making it an exciting location to study. Naturally, there are many more aspects of the offering that appeal to international students in addition to their preferred university and program. Every week, the nation’s major cities host a plethora of festivals and cultural events, as well as a variety of exciting sporting facilities. Along with their academic program, students can fully immerse themselves in campus life in a variety of ways through volunteer seminars, study groups, sports clubs, or associations, for example.

We hope you find this guide helpful as you take the bold step to study abroad in Belgium.

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