Without any doubt there are many reasons to study on low or cheap tuition in Belgium: world-class universities, excellent opportunities for international networking, famously multicultural and multilingual cities, a host of regional cuisines and specialties, beautiful countryside, overall high quality of life, and, of course, those fantastic Belgian waffles.
It might surprise you to know that as an established space for international politics, Belgium’s capital Brussels boast of more ambassadors and journalists than Washington DC, and is the headquarters of many international businesses and organizations. As you’d expect, Belgium’s resident population is also highly international, with around a quarter of the population of 11 million known as ‘new Belgians’ – those from other countries, and their descendants, who are permanent citizens.
Applying to Universities in Belgium
To apply to study in Belgium at undergraduate level, you are expected to hold a secondary school leaving certificate that is recognized by relevant authorities, or an equivalence statement for that certificate. Note that there are different authorities to contact for such equivalence statements, depending on whether you’re applying to attend a university in the French Community, in the Flemish Community, or in the German-speaking Community.
In addition applications to study in Belgium are submitted individually to each university, and specific admissions requirements are set by each institution. In general, those who intend to study medicine/dentistry, arts, management and (only in the French Community) engineering sciences are expected to take an entrance exam. You may also need to take an exam to prove your proficiency in French or Dutch. You’ll also need to pay your tuition fees before you can be fully enrolled.
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Tuition Fees in Belgium
For students from Belgium and other EU countries, university education is financed mostly by the state. Regardless, students are expected to pay an annual registration fee, for every year of their studies. This amount varies depending on the higher education institution, the type of program and students’ eligibility for financial aid.
Tuition fees in Belgium also depend largely on whether the program is offered by an institution in the Flemish, German-speaking, or French community. Students from the EU will pay a maximum of €835 (~US$910) per year, while international students from outside the EU will pay €835-4,175 (~US$910-4,560) and may need to pay additional registration fees – again, the amount depends on the institution and program. You can obtain specific information about the total fees amount by contacting your chosen institution(s).
University accommodation in Belgium is often readily available for short-term or international students; however, if you wish to rent a private flat, it’s often necessary to sign a one-year contract. Expect to pay between €150 (US$200) and €400 (US$540) per month, depending on whether you prefer university housing or private accommodation, and depending on where you study in Belgium. If you rent your own one-bed apartment, this is likely to cost around €675 (~US$740) per month in a city center, or €500 (~US$550) outside the center.
Home-stays are also popular in Belgium, and give students a chance to learn about Belgian culture first-hand, while possibly improving their language skills. However, this option is more commonly used by short-term students who are, for example, studying in a language school. Contact your university’s student support services or international student department for further information on finding student accommodation in Belgium.
Belgium’s capital is popularly called the capital of Europe, because of the many international organizations that call Brussels home. Since World War II, it notably became the administrative center of organizations including the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the World Customs Organization and EUROCONTROL, to name only a few. So, if you intend to study politics, international relations or perhaps translation studies, Brussels is probably your go-to Belgian city
This beautiful city is also home to the world’s largest brewer group (Anheuser-Busch InBev), and one of the largest hospitals in Europe (UZ Leuven), Leuven is also known for its notable medieval buildings, annual summer music festival Martrock and its famous Arenberg Orchestra, one of many orchestras based in Leuven. The city has a rich beer culture, with bars offering a wide variety of local and international varieties – including one bar that claims to offer more than 3,000 different beers. Do well to pay a visit to the Oude Markt and its numerous pubs, bars and cafés, which have earned it the title of the longest bar in the world. While you’re there, see if you can spot the nearby Fons Sapientiae (fountain of wisdom), a famous symbol of Leuven’s student city status.
Liège is also a popular and large industrial city in Wallonia, serving as the region’s principal economic and cultural center. While its main industries are coal, steel and gunsmithing, Liège is also well known for its crowded folk festivals, nightlife, annual jazz festival, alternative cinemas, and for hosting one of the oldest and biggest Christmas markets in Belgium. The city also has some of Europe’s strongest digital, technological and internet-oriented services industries.
In conclusion, Belgium is a top study abroad destination for any international student who is interested in gaining a top rated degree from one of Europe’s top rated degrees on low tuition or at affordable fees.Based on the above, you should be able to make a decision if Belgium is the right place for you.
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