Why study in Belgium?

Why study in Belgium?

Studying in Belgium is an attractive, and often overlooked, option for international students. Situated between Germany, the NetherlandsFrance and Luxembourg, it is ideally placed for visiting nearby cultural treasures, in the UK and Western Europe, and has  an excellent transport system to get you there. Belgium’s geography encompasses the forests, gorges and caves of the Ardennes, sandy plains and fertile valleys. The 12 million strong population  lives in one of three regions: the Flemish, the Walloon and the Brussels Capital Region, and this social differentiation is reflected in the fact Belgium has three official languages -Dutch, French and German.

Study in Belgium - an overview

Belgium is world-renowned for its chocolate, waffles and chips, being the birthplace of Hercule Poirot and Tintin, its 1100 types of beer and successful national football team, with players like Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard amassing  fans all across the world. Belgian musicians such as Django Reinhardt and Stromae of ”Alors, on danse” fame  are hugely popular, but Jacques Brel continues to be the most iconic figure in the Belgian musical pantheon. Belgium is also well-known for its many festivals, liberal spirit and international focus. It has a strong economy and modern infrastructure, and an excellent healthcare and education system.

Belgium is more than gorging on mussels and thick frites! It has produced celebrated artists, architects and multidisciplinary figures, including Magritte, Wim Delvoye  and Panamarenko, along with the Bruegels, van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch. You will be able to see their works at the imposing and rich art museums of Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp.

Belgium’s history is not only mirrored in its art, but it is also reflected in its artefacts and buildings. You will get a real sense of the passage of time and the evolution of artistic movements while wandering through its cities’ winding medieval streets. If you enjoy relaxing by the water, Belgium has one of the densest system of canals and waterways in Europe, ideal for hiring a houseboat and cruising down to visit Trappist abbeys or castles, or to  explore Bruges, the Venice of the North. You will enjoy living and studying in Belgium!

It is a correct alt text

Study in Belgium

Belgium’s public university fees are extremely reasonable, with the majority of undergraduate courses costing less than 1000 euros a year for EU students. The cost of living in Belgium is lower than in neighbouring countries, and recent alumni state that their overall expenses amounted to approximately 10,000 euros a year. As is always the case, private universities and business schools charge higher fees, and what you spend depends on the type of lifestyle you choose. Brussels, the capital, is marginally more expensive than Antwerp, while Ghent and Leuven are 10 per cent cheaper, when measured by the cost of living index (Numbeo, 2023).

Belgian universities have a strong international outlook  and offer a broad range of programmes taught in English – particularly at Master’s level. Bachelor’s degrees take three years to complete, and Master’s degrees run from 1-2 years.

Belgium’s top research universities are:

UniversityQS global ranking 2023THE ranking 2022
KU Leuven 7642
University of Ghent14396
Free University of Brussels210201
Vrije University251251
University of Antwerp280143
Liege University521351
Hasselt University551301
University of Mons691501
University of NamurN/A801

Belgium’s English-taught programmes are mainly available at postgraduate level, but at undergraduate level, you could consider the following:

KU Leuven

  • Business engineering
  • Business administration
  • Engineering technology
  • Philosophy
  • Theology and religious studies 

Ghent University/Vrije University Brussels

  • Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences

Vrije University

  • Business economics: International Business
  • Business economics: business and technology
  • Linguistics and Literary studies

Belgian universities regularly modify their courses, so if you are thinking of applying to study in Belgium, contact Elab to get up to date information on the courses which are available and taught in English.


Studying in Belgium – choosing a university

Belgium also offers international students the option of attending a University of Applied Sciences, which differs in its aims and methods from the more traditional research universities, listed above. If you would like to study in Belgium, contact Elab so you can discuss whether you wish to study at a research university, and get an academic bachelor’s degree. You may discover that your interests and desire for practical, vocational studies could be better met by going to a University of Applied Sciences and following a professional bachelor’s programme. A professional bachelor’s degree combines general knowledge with practical competences, including compulsory internships, and is highly sought-after by employers. 

Among the most popular courses taught at UASs are:




  • Bachelor of Applied Computer Science-AI
  • Bachelor of Automotive technology  
  • Bachelor of electronics
  • Bachelor of international communication and media branding 
  • Bachelor of Orthopedic technology 


  • Bachelor of Applied Computer Science -cyber security
  • Bachelor of  digital arts and entertainment sound production 
  • Bachelor of Digital Arts-game development
  • Bachelor of digital arts – 3D animation
  • Bachelor of industrial production


  • Bachelor of international business management
  • Bachelor of international organisation and management
  • Bachelor of international journalism
  • Bachelor of international communication management


  • Visual arts-costume design
  • Visual arts -fashion
  • Visual arts -fine arts
  • Visual arts -Jewellery design


  • Bachelor of Arts in Music -Jazz
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music – instrument/voice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music – conducting/music theory

NB: Universities of Applied Sciences do not fit the criteria used in  global university rankings, which are based on research output and volume of citations, along with doctorate to bachelor ratio, and factors such as institutional income etc. If you would like to learn more about a specific University of Applied Sciences, then contact Elab. One of our Europe specialist consultants can guide and advise you, and give you a full breakdown of Belgium’s Universities of Applied Sciences and the courses they offer.

Belgium: the application system

Belgium’s application system is not particularly straightforward and you will be well advised to ask Elab for help. Given the political, cultural and educational  division between French and Dutch speaking Belgian regions, and the fact the country has seven parliaments, it is not surprising that Belgium does not have a centralised admissions process for higher education. You will need to submit individual online applications to your chosen universities, and may be asked to sit an entrance test or to upload different documents, as well as proof of English language proficiency. In addition, certain courses limit the number of students who can be enrolled, since they are heavily over-subscribed every year. 

Among the courses subject to these limits you will find:

  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Medicine
  • Dental science
  • Psychological sciences
  • Speech therapy audiology.

If you would like detailed information on the procedures, dates, documents and deadlines for applying to a research university or University of Applied Sciences, just contact Elab.

Belgium does not require EU students to have a visa, but you will need to enroll in person on your course, and apply for a residence permit within eight days of arriving in Belgium.

Study in Belgium - Student life in Belgium

Belgium is known for its beer, hearty, tasty cuisine and joyous traditions and festivities. It is the only country in the world where people go shrimp fishing on horseback. At the famous and raucous three-day Carnaval de Binche people dress up as harlequins and Pierrots, while townsfolk dress up as Gilles the clown and dance  in clogs to the music of drums and violas. As a student you will be warmly invited to take part in the many parades and celebrations which take place the length and breadth of Belgium

You can attend the Carnival of Aalst and watch effigies of unpopular politicians going down the streets on floats, or take part in the broom dance in the town’s central square. Or why not join in the festival of Krakelingen and Tonnekensbrand, and relive a 14th century historical siege while being showered with bread, sipping fish wine  and watching a wooden barrel being set alight to signal the end of winter. If you enjoy spectacles on a grand scale, many cities and towns organize processions of dragons and giants, or religious-themed ceremonies and celebrations- like Bruges’ procession of the Holy Blood. 

Belgium has a thriving music scene and holds dozens of festivals every year, from the world-famous Tomorrowland , to Rock Werchter and Dour Festival, all of which attract thousands of fans from Europe and further afield. More niche events include Bruges’ Musica Antiqua Festival, which celebrates medieval music, and Afrodisiac, a family event which highlights Africa and its challenges.

Belgium values sport and has excellent facilities available to all. 

  • Football
  • Cycling
  • Tennis
  • Table tennis
  • Athletics
  • Swimming
  • Motor cross
  • Track 
  • Rowing 
  • Auto racing
  • Badminton
  • Judo 

It has been estimated that 19 per cent of the population regularly play sports, so you will have no trouble signing up to take part, both on and off campus.

Belgium’s student towns and cities:

  • Brussels: Home to the EU and NATO headquarters, Brussels is an international hub and offers excellent internship opportunities. Brussels is a dynamic, multicultural  city which offers everything you would expect from a capital. The  imposing Grand Place is one of  several UNESCO world heritage sites and stunning to walk around.
  • Antwerp: the second-largest  port city in Europe, some 40 miles north of the capital, Antwerp is known for its fashion and diamonds, and well-preserved landmarks.
  • Ghent: a port city  famed for its medieval architecture, monasteries and churches, which have been protected over the centuries and can now be enjoyed thanks to its car-free city centre.
  • Leuven: home to the Belgian equivalent of Silicon Valley and the country’s largest university, it is a vibrant student city with its roots back in the 15th century. It also houses the world’s largest brewery and supports a range of artisan industries.
  • Liege: situated in the east of Belgium, the city is famed for its steel and gunsmithing past, and now focuses on aerospace and biotechnological innovations. Home to Georges Simenon, Liege prizes modern art and has outstanding museums  and a thriving commercial quarter.

Study in Belgium with ELAB

Belgium is the ultimate destination for students who wish to “eat, drink and be merry” -and benefit from an excellent education in the heart of Europe. Its reasonable tuition fees and affordable cost of living make it attractive to international students -120,000 of whom have chosen to study in Belgium.

If you are interested in joining them, then call or email Elab and we will start helping you to choose the right course and university, and put together a strong application to maximize your chances of securing a place, studying in Belgium.

Call or email us today so we can start working together to maximise your chances of being offered a place at one of Belgium’s prestigious universities.

Study in Belgium!

Leave your details and an Elab Education Consultant will contact you within 48 hours to turn your academic aspirations into reality.