Studying in Brussels, Belgium

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Belgium

Brussels at a glance

At the heart of Europe, the city of Brussels matches perfectly the definition of the proverbial melting pot. Brussels is the largest student city in Belgium, offering top quality academic environment, a dynamic international atmosphere and many great opportunities for students. In addition to plenty of English-taught study programmes, you will also be able to study in French or Dutch (Flemish), the two official languages of the city. Brussels is the capital and the largest city in Belgium, hosting over 1.2 million inhabitants. The city is a major centre for international politics and the seat of some of the most important institutions in the European Union.

Studying

Studying in Brussels

While French and Dutch are the standard languages of teaching in Brussel’s higher education environment, there are also many international programmes with English as the language of instruction, especially postgraduate degrees fully or partly taught in English.

The educational offer from universities in Brussels include the whole spectrum of undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes: Bachelors, professional certificates, postgraduate diplomas, Masters, summer schools, preparatory programmes, research and doctoral studies. There are plenty of Erasmus Mundus programmes, as well as scholarship opportunities for students coming from inside or outside the EU zone.

The academic education in Brussels is based on many practical assignments and students benefit from the many facilities that the universities offer. These include: extensive libraries, cutting-edge labs, career centres, sport facilities, medical care, language schools, student restaurants, and cultural centers.

Career

Career opportunities in Brussels

An established hub for international politics, Belgium offers many career opportunities in diplomacy, journalism, translations, or governance, and is the headquarters of many international businesses and organisations. Because it is such a widely visited place, the leisure, hospitality and tourism sectors are also highly developed in Brussels.

If you wish to study and work in Brussels, here is a list of large employers that offer students jobs: IBM, KU Leuven, Ernst & Young, Unilever, BNP Paribas, Primark, Brussels Airlines, Procter and Gamble, Ericsson, Sony, Kellogg’s, and more.

Life

Brussels city life

Brussels is a surprising eclectic mix that reunites 4 parliaments, the impudent Manneken Pis, comic strip museums and centres, breathtaking art nouveau architecture, over 450 different varieties of beer and some of the most luxurious chocolate shops in the world. This is a city where something always goes on and that knows how to cater for many different tastes.

Some places to include in your city tour are: the Grand Place, the Cantillon Brewery, Notre Dame du Sablon, the Royal Palace, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Horta Museum, and the Saint Hubert galleries, the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Parlamentarium, the Magritte Museum, or the Belgian Comic Strip Centre, among many others.

The nightlife in Brussels is not as large as in other European capitals, but it is indeed diverse: RnB clubs, lounge bars, electro clubs, blues pubs, live rock shows, jazz festivals, summer musical events, etc. Keep an eye out for many student promotions and discounts.

International atmosphere in Brussels

Brussels is known for its internationality and diversity, receiving a large number of foreign visitors, expats and international students each year. Brussels has over 45 different nationalities and 46% of the Brussels population is not of Belgian origin. The largest groups of foreign residents include immigrants from France, Morocco, Italy, Romania, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey. Studying in Brussels will open doors to experiencing new cultures and ways of seeing the world from different points of view.

Weather Brussels

Temperatures are relatively mild during the whole year with the average low at 1°C (34°F) in winter and only 23°C (73°F) in summer. You should often be prepared for rain in Brussels (similar to London and Amsterdam), the rainiest months being July and December.

Costs

Accommodation costs in Brussels

Housing options include halls of residence or private accommodation, such as shared apartments, homestays or hostels. The student rooms on university campuses cost about 350 EUR/month, but places are typically limited and the non-exchange students have priority.

Many students choose to share an apartment with other students, as this is usually the cheapest option (about 250 EUR/month without expenses). The other most popular option is studios but they can be expensive, at around 390 EUR for a room minus utilities. Living in a hostel can cost you at least 500 EUR per month.

Living costs in Brussels

Brussels is a relatively expensive city, but within the Western European standards. You will need an average monthly living budget of 800 EUR. Depending on your lifestyle, monthly grocery shopping should cots you around 250 EUR, while a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around 15 EUR. A one-way ticket with the local transport costs 2 EUR.

Universities in Brussels

Ranked as one of Europe’s top universities, VUB combines award winning research and a broad range of study programmes in the heart of Europe. VUB’s three campuses are located around the city center of Brussels enabling you to enjoy the energy of a capital city on the one hand and to appreciate the quietness of the green compact campuses on the other hand. Thanks to the scale of Vrije Universiteit Brussel students and professors work closer together stimulating interdisciplinary learning, beyond the boundaries of faculties and sciences.

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The EIT Digital Professional School brings digital innovations to the market and supports the digital transformation of companies and organizations by creating a learning ecosystem. Our initiative is powered by continuing education courses, specially designed to provide critical digital knowledge, insights and skills to European professionals and executives, leveraging the EIT Digital Action Lines and partners' research activities.

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The Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is an academic Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and a policy think tank that focuses on the European Union in an international setting. The Institute advances academic education and research in various disciplines, and provides services to policy-makers, scholars, stakeholders and the general public.

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