Study and work opportunities in Belgium for international students:
Belgium is known to be a small country with a few public universities, some of which ranked among the top 200 universities in the world in recent QS World University Rankings. This article, there is all you need to learn about studying and working in Belgium as an International Student.
As a top study destination in Europe with a serious language barrier, Belgium is preferred by thousands of international students. The predominant languages of instruction – French, Dutch, and German – are officially recognized as the official languages of the country. However, the official languages used by Belgium’s higher institutions are solely dependent on the communities housing that university.
Tuition fees and living costs for international students in Belgium
Belgium institutions consist of both private and public universities but however the tuition fees at Belgian universities are relatively affordable,
EU students are expected to pay around 800-850 euros per annum depending on the choice of the institution while non-EU students are expected to pay higher between the range of 1000 euros to 4000 euros depending on the choice of institution.
International students studying for master’s and undergraduate degree programs are required to pay applications fee. Although scholarships are available for this purpose but are usually very competitive.
Cost of living
Living cost in Belgium varies depending on the city in which you live, Brussels, the capital, is the most expensive city in the country. The highest amounts of your budget would be spent on accommodation and if you decide to eat mostly at the restaurant, you should be aware that some of them have expensive prices.
However, there are nice accommodations on campus and also private residences, but the campus accommodations are quite cheaper and affordable for students who can’t afford private residence, on average students may spend between €750 and €1 100 per month which covers accommodation, feeding, travel, and other expenses.
You could also get a part-time job to augment your expenses while studying.
Buying foodstuffs and cooking at home is the best way to manage finances however on average, you would spend around 150 EUR/month for your groceries, and eating out in a restaurant would be about 12 euros for a meal or even less depending on your residential location
The easiest model of transportation for international students is trains and buses monthly passes for students on public transportation usually cost around 20 euros/month. taxis are rather expensive, meaning you can expect to pay around 25 euros for inner-city trips, however, if you plan to rent or travel by car, the price for gas is between 1.39 and 1.60 euros a liter which might end up being more expensive than going by train.
Here are a few examples of other expenses while living in Belgium:
- Books: 35 – 50 EUR/month
- Entertainment: 50 EUR/month
- Insurance/ health care: 30 EUR/month
- View and compare 80 Bachelor programs in Belgium
A resident can be applied for at the regional employment embassy in Belgium as an international student. With a valid resident permit, you are allowed to work 20 hours per week while school is in session. It could be more during the holiday and you may not need the work permit.
- The residential permit must be applied for 8 weeks on your arrival to Belgium, make a call to the local municipal administration offices to register for a residence permit. With the residence permit, you can open a bank account, apply for a work permit and also purchase an insurance policy in Belgium. However, in some cases, you can apply to live on the campus residence in whichever way you will be helped out.
Note: If you need to extend your visa, you should apply for an extension of your residence permit. You should make an appointment at least 14 days before your expiration date. You have to apply at your local administration office or town hall.
Top universities in Belgium to Study
Some of the top universities in Belgium include:
- University of Leuven
- University of Antwerp
- Ghent University
- University of Liege
- Vrije Universities Brussels (VUB)
Job opportunities for international students in Belgium
As an international student studying in Belgium, getting a part-time job to support your studies is very important. It will help ease your financial burden while studying in Belgium. However, earning from such jobs would not be sufficient to pay for tuition fees but it will be of little help to support your studies for example to pay your food bills or maybe entertainment costs.
The type of job you get may largely depend on your qualification, previous work experience, and your ability to understand the native language. But having a part-time job helps me understand the culture and language faster and meet new people.
Part-time job opportunities are better for students enrolled in graduate programs or research. For candidates enrolled in undergraduate programs or certificate courses of short durations, opportunities are limited. Commonly available part-time jobs for international students include;
- Newspaper delivery
- Filling station attendant
- Bar attendant
- Working in an amusement park
- Work from home (remote jobs)
- Working in a restaurant
Advantages of studying in Belgium
The following are the numerous advantages of studying in Belgium they include:
- Affordable transportation: transportation is very affordable in Belgium, which makes it great for students to travel during their spare time. The available transportation means are rams, metros, buses, and even trains. Which are very affordable
- Affordable housing: renting an apartment in Belgium is very cheap and affordable, Belgium has no record of housing shortage for international students getting an apartment to stay in while studying in Belgium is very easy and affordable
- Standard universities and business schools: Belgium universities are recognized globally and rank among the top universities in the world. Surprisingly, even with the excellent learning facilities, the schools are very affordable for international students compared to their counterparts around the world.
Disadvantages of studying in Belgium
Some of the few disadvantages of studying in Belgium would include:
- Rainy weather conditions: the rainy weather condition may have a negative effect on international students who are not used to such weather conditions.
- Excessive taxation: Taxes in Belgium are some of the highest in the world. The personal income tax brackets range from 25 to 50 percent. Giving away half of your salary to the government surely pinches.
- Language complexity: Belgium has 3 official languages namely French Dutch and German So if you do not know any of the three languages, things can get tough for you. These three languages are difficult to learn and can be challenging as well.
In conclusion, studying in Belgium is a very good option for international due to the low cost of living and standard of learning. However, the language barrier could be a problem, except you are able to learn at one of them.