Belgium

 

 

Belgium is a small, highly developed and densely populated country (with 10 million of inhabitants) at the cross-roads of Western Europe. Belgium is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, as well as those of several other major international organizations such as N.A.T.O. The official currency of Belgium is Euro.

 

There are many reasons to want to study in Belgium: world-renowned 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. An established hub for international politics, Belgium’s capital Brussels has even 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 have become permanent citizens.

 

Higher education in Belgium is organized by the country’s two main language communities: the Flemish Community and the French Community. German-speaking students typically attend a Belgian university in the French Community. While French and Dutch are the standard languages of teaching, there are also many international programs taught in English. There are various different types of higher education institution (HEI) in Belgium, including universities, university colleges (called hautes ecoles in the French Community), art colleges (called ecoles supérieures des arts and only offered in the French Community), institutes of architecture (only available in the French Community) and the academy of the Belgian Army. In both Communities, there are also registered HEIs which issue specialized degrees or provide education in a foreign language, and degree programs or entire institutes that are recognized by a foreign country rather than by the Flemish or French Communities.

 

As in most European countries, a bachelor’s degree usually takes three years to complete and a master’s degree one to two years. Bachelor’s degrees are categorized as either a ‘professional bachelor’ who has a vocational element, or an ‘academic bachelor’ who is more academic and prepares students to pursue a master’s degree. Having obtained a master’s degree, students can then pursue research projects leading to a doctorate degree. Bachelor and master’s degrees can be awarded by both colleges and universities in Belgium, while PhDs are only awarded by universities.