Study in Belgium
Graduate programs in Belgium
Home to the EU headquarters, chocolate and beer, Belgium straddles the boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe. This is a small country that is home to many different cultures. It also offers graduate students the opportunity to study in one of Europe’s most open and multicultural societies.
Studying a graduate program in Belgium will allow you to live in the heart of Europe, with a low cost of living and some excellent universities.
Belgium has a complex education system due to the mixture of influences in its society. The country has three separate communities, each with their own government, parliament and education system. You should decide which community and type of education best fits your graduate study in Belgium.
The Flemish community is the main Dutch speaking community. Higher education institutions here include:
- Universities – provide both academic undergraduate and Masters programs
- University colleges – offer vocational, profession based courses
- Registered institutes of higher education – offer specialist degree subjects
The French community’s education system is split between university and non-university institutions:
- Universities – provide both academic undergraduate and graduate programs
- Haute Ecoles – Combine academic and vocational programs
- Ecoles Superieures des Artes – Offer only artistic programs
The third community is the German-speaking one, which numbers around 75,000 people. However, most German speakers will enrol in French or Flemish institutions, or head across the border to Germany to study a graduate program.
Immigration and visas in Belgium
EU students are allowed to study a graduate program in Belgium providing they fulfil the following criteria:
- They have a valid passport
- They are studying for more than three months at the institution
- They have sufficient income to support themselves during their studies
- Have comprehensive health insurance
Non-EU students will need to check the relevant details for studying in Belgium with their own country.
Life in Belgium
Belgium is a friendly, relaxed and multicultural society in which to be an international student. Belgians generally have a self-deprecating wit and spend a lot of time socialising. Food and drink plays an important part in Belgian life, so expect to gorge on chocolate, mussel frites and beer.
However, there is more to Belgium than its reputation suggests. The country is home to more than 60 UNESCO sites, state of the art galleries in Mons, Leuven and Brussels and some stunning architecture.
Belgium is also an easy country to see – you can go pretty much anywhere within two hours by train from Brussels.
Working in Belgium
Belgium’s economy is well-developed for its size, with the EU headquarters providing plenty of jobs and services opportunities, particularly in capital Brussels.
Belgium has cashed in on its important, centralised location, building a highly developed transport and network and using its international contacts to build trade and export links. The country’s main industrialised areas are to the north, with steel, textiles and chemicals all providing employment.
It’s worth noting the difference in productivity and unemployment rates between Flanders and Wallonia – almost twice as many people are unemployment in Wallonia.
Living costs in Belgium are generally quite high and accommodation costs are no different. The main two types of accommodation for students studying a graduate program in Belgium are:
- University accommodation – such as halls of residence
- Private accommodation – House and flat rentals
University accommodation is a great way of settling into student life easily. You’ll meet fellow students, have your bills included and often be situated on campus. This is a great first option for most international students.
However, if you want a bit more privacy, you might want to find your own flat or house to live in.
Climate in Belgium
Belgium has a climate similar to most of northwest Europe, with lots of rain, cold winters and mild summers. In general, you can expect winter to be at its coldest between December and February, while summer is at its warmest between June and August.
As you would expect for a country at the heart of Europe, Belgium has excellent transport infrastructure. There are well-developed metro systems in Antwerp, Brussels and Charleroi, while Belgium is connected to France, Germany and Netherlands by high-speed rail.
Belgium’s main international airport is situated in Brussels.
The currency of Belgium is the Euro.
What to do next
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