How to Study in Belgium for Free
Belgium is one of the countries with the highest quality of life in the world. This reflects on its higher education as well, with demanding curriculums and great opportunities for international students. Belgium’s privileged locations make it extremely easy for those interested in visiting neighboring nations such as Germany and France. Furthermore, the country is a very multicultural place and foreigners feel immediately welcomed. In this article, we will be looking at ways to study in Belgium for free.
Numerous Belgian universities are ranked among the best in the world, which makes it even more attractive as a destination to pursue your higher education. The country is divided in the Flemish region, Wallonia, and Brussels, the capital. Depending on where you go you’ll hear a predominance of either French or Dutch. Therefore, if you have prior knowledge of any of these languages, you might want to think about which city to choose. For studies in English, Brussels tends to be the best option. Furthermore, prices of tuition might vary depending on the region as well as the scholarships available to you.
The tuition fees in Belgium are not free, however, there are numerous ways in which you can find a way to afford to pursue your studies in this beautiful country, which boasts of having one of the best weathers in Europe during the entire year.
Study in Belgium for Free
1. Government Scholarships
In the interest of attracting more international students to the country, the Belgian government offers several scholarships. Some of these are:
VLIR-UOS Training and Master Scholarships in Belgium
As the name states, these scholarships are aimed at students that wish to pursue training courses or a master’s degree in the country. More specifically, students are eligible if they are from countries located in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Certain countries from these continents are favored over others. The classes dictated will be in English. This scholarship covers full tuition fees as well as living expenses. Another specific characteristic is that applicants can’t be older than 40 years old. Students with research experience and professional background are preferred but it’s not a condition that must be met to be eligible.
Erasmus Mundus Programmes
This program is offered in the entire European continent. This is probably one of the most popular methods to study in Belgium for free. In Belgium, one Erasmus program is specific for the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. This program offers two types of grants, one is aimed at students from outside the EEA while the second is offered to EEA nationals. Students must be interested in getting a masters or doctorate. Belgian universities are eligible for students that have received this grant.
Government of Flanders Master Mind Scholarship for International Students
This is one of the more popular scholarships offered in Belgium. Students from all countries are eligible for this scholarship if they wish to pursue a masters’ degree in Flanders. In Flanders, most people speak Dutch, so it’s advisable to get familiar with the language even if your studies will be in English. Students from the USA, Japan, Palestine, and Mexico have a number of set scholarships made available to them every year. Academic excellence is required for eligibility and the scholarship covers up to €8,000 per year.
2. Find A Suitable Job
Another way to finance your studies in Belgium is by taking up a job. It’s important to notice that you will need a residence permit to be eligible for work. You should be able to get it after you arrive in the country with your student visa. International students are allowed to work for 20 hours a week as long as there’s no interference with their studies. Furthermore, there are great opportunities for research programs and paid internships. This will allow you to earn money while you do something related to your field. During the holidays, you can work as many hours as you want and you won’t need a work permit for that.
Keep in mind that your employer will need to provide a fixed contract for you. This might make things more difficult as not all employers are willing to do this, especially if the student will be there for a short amount of time.
3. University Scholarships
Universities in Belgium offer several scholarships that can cover a student’s entire tuition, part of it, or the tuition and living expenses. Many students utilize these scholarships to study in Belgium for free. Here are some of the aids offered by universities in this country:
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
The Science school at this institution offers a scholarship for international students interested in the areas of Chemistry, Statistics, Geography, and Physics. The amount covered is that of the tuition for one year as well as health insurance. However, they can also award a non-specific amount for living expenses. The specific sum might vary. If the student is enrolled in a two-year program, they must have an excellent academic record during the first year to be eligible for the same award during the second year.
The Heritage Foundation at this institution offers scholarships for international students. This scholarship encourages students to present what they’re planning to do for their research project early on. It is offered to masters and doctorate applicants only. However, there are other scholarships available at this university in case you’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree. It’s important to apply with sufficient time as responses can take months with these specific scholarships.
This university offers masters’ grants aimed specifically at students that come from developing countries. Getting scholarships at Ghent University is a great way to study in Belgium for free. Insurance, as well as living expenses, are covered by this scholarship. Only 10 applicants will be selected to receive €1,000 per month. It is important to clarify that Ghent is a costly city, therefore, combining this scholarship with a part-time job might be the ideal approach to be able to afford your costs of living here. This is not an all-inclusive scholarship and it’s not meant to cover all of the students’ expenses.
Belgium is a great destination for the high quality of its institutions and how peaceful the country is. However, it might be an expensive option for many students. It’s important to consider all your options before deciding to come to this multicultural nation.
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