Studying Abroad

Studying in Belgium

James Birch  · Nov 29th 2021

Known for its high-quality education and modest tuition fees, Belgium could be the perfect country for prospective students to study

Belgium flag

When it comes to a second language, Belgium offers Dutch, French or German; however, students need not panic over their language skills as the majority of the population is fluent in English.

The country has a rich cultural history, and students can find themselves exploring castles or travelling to Paris, Amsterdam and London as they are all less than two hours away from Brussels via train and it's perfect for studying in Belgium.

The Education System in Belgium

Belgium’s education is based on linguistics, and there are three official communities speaking French, Dutch or German. These three communities each have separate governments and parliaments, and due to this, the education system differs depending on where students are studying abroad in Belgium:

The Flemish Community

This community is known for speaking Dutch and is merged with one of the three Belgian federal regions, Flanders, which is situated in the North. The education system is made up of:

  • Registered institutions of higher education that are accredited and provide degree courses on specialist subjects.
  • University colleges that offer vocational, professional bachelor’s degree courses, along with advanced bachelor programmes.
  • Universities that provide academic bachelor degree courses which can prepare students for continued learning as well as a profession.

The French Community

Made up of Belgians who speak French, the majority of its citizens live in one of the three federal regions, Wallonia. The education system is made up of:

  • Universities offer degrees that tend to be split into two cycles, the first cycle consisting of a bachelor’s degree lasting three years and the second which is a two-year master’s degree (especially if you're studying Medicine in Belgium or studying French in Belgium or studying Nursing in Belgium in English). The third cycle is only available to students with a master’s degree and leads to a PhD (Doctorate).
  • Hautes Ecoles, which is similar to university colleges, combine academic and practical learning and generally lead to professional work. Subjects offered are teaching, economics and translation and usually take three or five years to complete.
  • Ecoles Supérieures des Arts which offer degree courses in artistic disciplines and either last for three or five years.

The German Community

The majority of whom are German speakers and is made up of approximately 77,000 people. Some citizens of the German community speak French, and most tend to enrol in either French or Flemish institutions or study in Germany.

What do I need to study at a Belgian University?

Each individual institution holds its own entry requirements, regardless of the community, it belongs to. Prospective students can contact the university they are interested in to find out more about entry requirements and the application process.

The majority of universities will accept UK qualifications, but some courses may require students to speak either French or Dutch. Specific degree courses also will require admission tests.

How much will it cost me to study in Belgium?

Students studying in Belgium as an international student and are from the EU are able to pay the same tuition fees as Belgian nationals, however, due to the different communities in Belgium, the course fees and costs will vary greatly. Belgium is known for its low tuition fees in comparison to the UK, and many universities charge a registration fee on top.

Will I get funding to study in Belgium?

EU students studying at Belgium universities are eligible for grants and scholarships; however, they are assigned based on an individual’s circumstances and some require qualifying students to have lived in Belgium for at least two years prior to application. Non-EU students and international students also have access to funding options, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Potential students can read up on the different Belgium Scholarships and Internships on the Diplomatie website.

Will I need a student Visa to study in Belgium?

EU citizens are allowed to study and live in any country which is a member state of the EU providing they; have proof of enrolment from an approved university or educational institution, have evidence of income and financial support (which can be from a job or savings) and have sufficient health insurance (which can include the EHIC card and/or extra health insurance coverage), it’s important that you know what European student paperwork you need.

Cost of Living

Prospective students need to research the cost of living in Belgium to ensure they will be able to support themselves financially. Here is a list of everyday items and their average price to help get students started.

Type Cost in Belgium UK equivalent cost
Dining out per-meal €15.00 £12.86
McDonalds (per-meal) €8.50 £7.29
Beer €4.00 £3.43
Coke €2.40 £2.06
Water €2.15 £1.84
Milk €0.89 £0.76
Bread €1.66 £1.43
Bus ticket (one-way) €2.45 £2.10
Bus ticket (monthly) €49.00 £42.01
Utilities €141.40 £121.23
Internet (60+ mpbs) €46.48 £39.85
Cinema €11.00 £9.43
Rent (Apartment: 1 bedroom) in City Centre) per-month €3,205.59 £2,748.28

* All prices correct at the time of publication.

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