Belgium: An Ultimate Guide For International Students

A country at the centre of the European Union, Belgium could be considered one of the best places to study in the world. Here is the complete guide to studying in Belgium.

After Australia last week, today we are focusing on Belgium – a beautiful country that offers international students world-renowned educational programmes taught in French or English.

Read on to learn about the main criteria for the university application process, scholarships, and work experience opportunities.

Belgium, home to European Union and NATO headquarters, has always attracted international students for its academic opportunities and work experience options.

Student in the old town of Gent in Belgium
Student in the old town of Gent in Belgium


Where To Look For Scholarships In Belgium

The number one go to website for answers to all things education in Belgium is

The platform offers information on study programmes, walks you through the requirements, and allows you to search for scholarships based on your citizenship.

There is also a separate page with grants for all international applicants.

University Entrance Requirement

For the general university admission, students will need to provide a basic package that includes the following documents:

  •       ID or international passport
  •       Academic transcripts of the previous education
  •       Language proficiency certificate
  •       A cover letter
  •       A reference letter


Language Requirements

Since universities offer courses in both English and French, they require proof of sufficient language proficiency. For English this could be, IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, or C1 Advanced examination.

In case of French, you will be able to either take a language proficiency test upon arrival or submit the score of a French proficiency test.

Students are studying in library
Students are studying in library

Bachelor Programmes and Scholarships

In order to enroll in a bachelor programme directly, international students must provide a secondary education certificate that complies with the European

Convention on the recognition of qualifications concerning higher education in the European region.

Here is a list of qualifications that can grant direct access to the bachelor programme for international students at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Students with non-Flemish diplomas will need to pay the administrative application fee of € 50 which will be deduced from the final tuition fees upon enrollment.

Although Belgian universities don’t offer scholarships to cover the costs of bachelor programmes, a solution here would be to check governmental scholarships in your country.

In case there is a bilateral agreement between your home country and Belgium, chances are there will be scholarships available for students to come and study in Belgium either as an exchange student or a full-time undergraduate.

For example, US Department of State offers $5,000 scholarships to U.S. citizens wishing to pursue education or take internships abroad.

Through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, students are able to study abroad and acquire skills necessary for US economic prosperity.

Luckily, universities offer a great deal of postgraduate scholarships to international students. Let’s have a look at some of them.


Master scholarships

Flemish University Scholarships

A Belgian organization VLIR-UOS awards scholarships to applicants from 31 eligible countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to attend one of the selected trainings or master’s programmes taught in English at a Flemish university.

The master’s degree grant includes a monthly allowance of €1,150 and a one-time payment.


Flemish Ministry of Education and Training Master’s Scholarship

The Flemish Ministry of Education and Training awards scholarships for master’s programmes in Flanders and Brussels to outstanding students from around the world. A Master Mind Scholarship includes a grant of €8 200 + a tuition fee waiver per academic year.

The grant is paid in instalments and covers accommodation costs, insurances and a significant amount of their living expenses.

Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium

Ghent University Top-up Grants

Ghent University provides scholarships to students wishing to pursue a master’s degree taught in English.

There is no application form to fill in as the top students are nominated by the university.

However, if you want to stress the need for such grant you can contact the study program to explain your motivation and the need for the scholarship.

The scholarship fee consists of a monthly allowance of €1,000 and a full insurance coverage that includes health, civil liability, and repatriation. As a scholar, you will be responsible for paying tuition fees at an EEA-students rate.


Doctorate scholarships

Students wishing to pursue their PhD studies at Ghent University can benefit from a ‘sandwich’ scholarship offered by the university.

These grants are intended to support students pursuing a joint degree at two universities – Ghent University and a university in a developing country.

The University will finance the part of the 24 months long research that will be carried out in Ghent.

The candidate must have full-time co-funding for the other 24 months of research to be carried out at a partner university.


Postdoc Studies For Nationals Of Developing Countries

ARES, a federation of higher education establishments of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, offers nationals of a developing country a scholarship to pursue a four-to-six-month advanced training course or a year-long specialized master’s degree programme at an institution in Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Belgium.

Candidates should hold a master’s degree to be eligible. Master scholarships provide a monthly allowance of €1,150 for a duration of 12 months and an arrival allowance of €700.

As for the training course, the grant will depend on the duration of the course:

  • €83/day for stays lasting 8-17 days
  • €1400/month for stays lasting 18 days to one month (set amount)
  • €1400/month for stays lasting one to six monthd.


Short-term opportunities and internships

European committee of the Regions offers internships and traineeships that last up to six months. Students from both the EU and rest of the world can apply.

Standard traineeships that last for five months are remunerated at €1,200 per month. Health insurance and travel and mobility allowance will be provided. Application deadlinesa are on 31st March and 30th September annually.


Continuous Open Call For Short-Term Research Grants

Appointed professors and researchers from one of the following countries are eligible to apply for a full coverage of costs associated with short term study stay at KU Leuven.

Candidates are selected on a monthly basis. The grant will cover a return flight ticket, visa costs and other travel-related expenses, accommodation, and a per diem of €75.

Studying at a university in Belgium is a great opportunity to enter the international job market upon completion of the programme. Students benefit from internship opportunities at global companies and receive a competitive advantage for the career.

These factors result in a compound effect regarding their future opportunities.

Photos: Shutterstock

Missed the Australia article? Take a look now.

Australian Scholarships: A Complete Guide For International Students

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