With its world-renowned higher institutions, multicultural society, and opportunity for international connection, Belgium is definitely the perfect destination for every student who wants to study abroad. After all, these are the main reasons anyone would want to study outside their home country in the first place.
However, it is not just the modern learning-facilities, or the presence of several international organizations that make Belgium a great place to study. The affordability of Belgian schools, despite being equivalent to the prestigious schools in the West,is actually what makes the country stand out. The Belgian government ensures that Belgian citizens and foreigners, who wish to study in Belgium, have access to quality education at little or no cost at all, depending on your financial need. With a tuition fee of 33 euros – 830 euros, you can go ahead and studyany course in the undergraduate or postgraduate level.
WHY CHOOSE BELGIUM
High quality student life: in addition to high quality education, you are sure to also have a high quality student life in Belgium. The country has an efficient transportation sector, an excellent healthcare and an easy access to recreational facilities. Being a student only makes these services accessible and affordable.
Affordable tuition: tuition fee from the undergraduate level up to the postgraduate level is affordable in Belgium. The authorities invest heavily in higher education, thereby bearing the actual cost of studies. This means that both Belgians and foreign students have access to high quality education at a reasonable cost.
A foreign student may study in any Belgian university under scholarship, either provided by the school or by any other external entity. However, if you do not have a scholarship, and are able to provide evidence of financial need, you may get financial support in the way of tuition reduction, registration fee reduction or even accommodation benefits.
Usually, foreign applicants whose countries appear on the UNO’s list of Least Developed Countries do not have to pay any tuition at all.
Multicultural and diverse society:Belgium is highly globalized country, with a third of its population being of foreign origin. The country itself is divided along three communities – the French speaking group, the Dutch speaking group and the German speaking group.
Studying in Belgium gives you the opportunity to connect with people of different backgrounds. And if you have always wanted to learn a new language, this is an opportunity for you to do that.
Opportunity to study in English: although the official languages in Belgium are Dutch, French and Germany; a majority of the population speak English. As a result, there are also courses taught in English language in many Belgian colleges and universities.
Tertiary education in the country is categorized into two groups. The Flemish (Dutch) community and the French community. The learning languages in these two communities are Dutch and French respectively. But, as has been stated earlier, there are several international programmes that are taught in English language.
Among the tertiary institutions in Belgium are the universities, university colleges, the royal military academy,the institutes of architecture and the colleges of art. The last two are only found in the French community. All of these can award both the bachelor’s and master’s degree; and only the universities can award a PhD.
WORLD RANKING OF BELGIUM UNIVERSITIES
Belgium has many reputable schools with strong international outlook. As a matter of fact, more than 8 Belgian schools are featured in University world ranking, and at least 7 of those are in the top 300.
Top on the list are;
KatholiekeUniversiteit Leuven: this is a Dutch-speaking university founded in 1425. It is also the largest university in Belgium. It is ranked 71st in the QS world ranking and the 1st in the country. The university offers courses both for the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
University of Ghent: this is another Dutch-speaking university, and it is ranked 125th in the world. It has 11 faculties, of which the life sciences is ranked in the global top 100. The school caters for both graduate and undergraduate students.
UniversitéCatholique de Louvain: this a French-speaking university in Louvain-la-Neuve; with satellite campuses in Tournai, Charleroi Brussels and Mons. It is ranked 153rd in the world.
Education in Belgium has one of the most interesting systems in Europe. This is due to the division of Belgium into three regions, each of which has its own language, its own culture and its own model of higher education institutions. Despite the apparent complexity of the system, Belgian universities offer a decent education that meets all European standards, which attracts a large number of students from all over the world.
Bachelor’s in Belgium – Undergraduate
On average, undergraduate programs take 3 years (180-240 credits) but may vary by region. All programs are divided into professional (professional bachelor) and academic (academic bachelor). A professional degree is issued only by colleges and it opens access to employment. An academic degree is issued by colleges and universities and gives you the opportunity to enter the relevant master’s course. In addition, in some Flemish universities, there are “bridging programs” that last one year and allow students to enter the master’s program after graduating from college. Some educational institutions also offer undergraduate special programs (advanced bachelor,banaba, bachelier de spécialisation), which last one year and allow you to improve professional qualifications.
Additional entrance testsQuotas for veterinary, dental and medical faculties The learning process itself depends on the direction and the university. The academic undergraduate program consists of lectures and theoretical classes, for visiting which students receive credits. The professional bachelor’s degree focuses more on practical skills and, in addition to lectures and theory, includes periods of internships in the workplace.
Depending on the university, the academic year can be divided into two or three semesters, at the end of each students take exams.
Master’s in Belgium – Graduate / Postgraduate
Master’s programs take 1-2 years (60-120 credits) depending on the region and specialty. After completion of the program, the student is awarded the title of master and given the opportunity for admission to doctoral studies. Some universities also offer special one-year programs for master’s degree holders (advanced master, manama, masters de spécialisation). They are designed for working professionals and help them to update their knowledge, get new practical skills and improve professional qualifications.
The language of study is mainly Dutch or French, however recently the amount of programs taught in English increased dramatically. Apart from traditional lectures and seminars, writing a thesis is a major part of the studies. The number of credits gained from writing a thesis may vary from 20 to 50% of the overall amount depending on the university. Same as Bachelor’s the academic year starts in September and ends in July and depending on the University is divided into two or three semesters. In the end of each semester students must pass examinations.
Doctoral Studies – Postgraduate in Belgium
Only universities offer Doctoral programs and grant a PhD degree upon completion. The duration of study may vary depending on the region and university – in Flemish region it’s about 4 years (240 credits) and in Walloon from 4 to 6 years (240-360 credits). The main focus of doctoral studies is writing a thesis paper. It could also be written during college or art school under the condition of it being partnered with the university.
To enroll in a postgraduate program an applicant must contact the selected scientific advisor personally and present a plan of the research. After approval of research and funding by the study committee, a student is welcomed to start his doctoral studies. In addition to standard paperwork listed above a student might need a CV and a letter of recommendation. A student might also be asked to undergo an interview.
During doctoral studies, a student is considered to be a teaching assistant of a chosen scientific advisor. In Belgium this equates to an academic position in the university which has its benefits like salary and official employment in university, however, it comes with a responsibility to not only do study research but also perform teaching duties. At the end of the studies, a student must pass a public defense in front of a special committee after which he is granted a PhD that allows him to pursue a further academic or scientific career.
Scholarships and grants in Belgium
Universities of Belgium participate in the academic mobility programs ERASMUS+, ERASMUS MUNDUS, which provide the opportunity to become an exchange student at universities in Europe and other countries. Grants cover part of the cost of tuition, flight, and accommodation. Many Belgian universities offer their students various scholarships, but most of them relate to graduate and doctoral programs. For example, Global Minds (PhD) allows students undergoing doctoral studies at another university to conduct half of their studies at a university in Belgium. And the program Master Mind not only reduces the cost of studying at a Belgian master’s program, but also pays students up to 9,473 USD per year.
Student visa to Belgium
Citizens of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland do not need to obtain a student visa. Students from other countries are supposed to get a D-visa for staying in the country for more than three months. Visa fee is 237 USD or 350 (for PhD). Within 8 days upon arrival all students (including EU/EEA nationals) have to visit local authorities to obtain a residence permit.
The opportunity to work while studying
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can work in Belgium during their studies without any limitations.
Those staying in Belgium under a D-visa are allowed to work if they spend no more than 20 hours a week on it and work does not interfere with their educational process. For that, a work permit C is required. An application must be submitted to the local office of the Department of Economic Migration. The permit is free and valid for up to one year (can be further renewed) or for the whole period of studies depending on the circumstances. However, no permit is required for work during holidays. Note that the employer has no right to pay less than the established minimum, which is 1,658 USD per month.
Many universities also provide an opportunity to obtain the status of a working student. It is issued if the work takes at least 80 hours per month, and allows students to set a more flexible schedule for studying and passing exams. Additionally, almost every university has an employment center to facilitate students’ job search.
In contrast to EU/EEA/Swiss students who do not meet any obstacles in searching for job and settling in European states, students from other countries are no longer entitled to stay in Belgium after graduation and the expiration of the visa. At present, Belgian law does not permit the extension of stay in the country for the purpose of job seeking. However, this is possible in France and the Netherlands: students with knowledge of the relevant languages after studying at Belgian universities can receive a special visa for job search after studying at Belgian universities (visa recherche d’emploi, zoekjaar hoogopgeleide).
But you can extend your visa before its expiration when applying for a job while studying. Obtaining permission for already working citizens is possible if they belong to one of the following categories:
- Interns. Issue of a work permit is possible if the position is received in a state organization or in an organization (or its subsidiary) bound by international treaties (for example, NATO).
- Entrepreneur. To register as an entrepreneur in Belgium, you must first get a professional card.
- High skill labour. In Flanders, they are considered to be employees under 30 years of age and nurses with an income of 39,661 USD per year (or 3,552 USD per month) or employees over 30 years of age with an income of 49,575 USD per year (or 2,842 USD per month). In Brussels, the German-speaking region and Wallonia, employees have an income of 49,422 USD (or 3,550 USD per month).
HOW TO APPLY
APPLY FOR THE FOLLOWING SCHOLARSHIP TO SUDY ABROAD
1. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN THAILAND 2020-2021
2. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN SWITZERLAND 2020-2021
3. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN TURKEY 2020-2021
4. LATEST SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY ABROAD 2020-2021