Belgium is actually known to be a small country with a few good public universities, some of which have high rankings around the world in the recent QS world university ranking. In this article, we will discuss how you can both study and work in Belgium as an international student.
Belgium has over the years been the preferred destination for international students, yes, the language barrier has restricted a lot of international students, however, the official language that is been used by the Belgium higher education is usually dependent on the communities housing that university.
Tuition Fees and Living Costs for International Students in Belgium
Belgium as a country is made up of two kinds of institutions, both private and public universities, however, when it comes to the tuition fee in these universities, we can boldly say that it is quite affordable.
A student that belongs to the EU is usually expected to pay around 800-850 Euros per annum and this is dependent on the choice of the institution whereas non-EU students are usually expected to pay a higher fee that will range from 1000 to 4000 Euro depending on the University of their choice.
It is worthy to note that international students that are studying for their Master’s and undergraduate programs are usually expected to pay an application fee, although they are actually scholarships for this purpose, they are usually very expensive.
Student VISA Application
Students that belong to EU do not actually need VISA to study in this country, however, non-EU students are usually required to apply for VISA that will help them in this country.
You will need to visit the Belgian embassy that is in your country of residence to apply for a VISA; however, before doing this, you should be guaranteed admission first. This is because you will be required to demonstrate your acceptance letter from the university as proof of admission.
Also, a student residence permit is usually required by international students to study in Belgium, and as a student, you will need a long-term visa. The visa process might take up to 60 days or more, this is why it is advisable that you start the process quite early, preferably, 70 days before your departure.
Documents Required for VISA application
All of the following application documents are very much necessary for all applicants for the visa application process.
The following document should be provided by all applicants:
- A passport that is actually valid for 3 months and must be longer than the VISA
- At least 2 original visa applications.
- Approved Recommendation letter
- Proof of language proficiency.
- Acceptance letter from the university that you applied to
- Medical certificate
- Copy of identification document
- Copies of your educational certificate
- A cover letter
- A proof that shows adequate financial means to take care of your study and living expenses
- Past criminal record if you are above 21 years of age
- Visa application fee.
Keep in mind that this list isn’t limited to the above; other documents may actually be required.
A resident can actually be applied for at the regional employment embassy in Belgium as an international student. Having a valid resident permit will give you the ability to work for at least 20 hours per week while school is in session. These work hours can be more during the holidays and you may not actually need a work permit if you study in Belgium.
The residential permits must actually be applied for 8 weeks on your arrival to Belgium, you will need to make a call to the local municipal administration offices, and these are the people that will help you register for the residence permit.
With the residence permit, you will be able to open an account, apply for a work permit and also help you in purchasing an insurance policy in Belgium. However, in some instances, you can also apply to live on the campus residence whichever way you will be helped out.
Note that if you extend your VISA, you should also apply for an extension of your residence permits. You should make an appointment at least 14 days before your expiration date. You will have to apply at your local administration office or town hall.
Job opportunities for International Students That Study in Belgium
As an international student that is studying in Belgium, it is very important to get a part-time job that will help in supporting your studies. This part-time job will really help in easing your financial burden while studying in Belgium.
However, in all honesty, earning such jobs isn’t always sufficient to help in paying for the tuition fees but it will be of little help to support your studies, for instance, it can help you pay for food, bills, and maybe some entertainment cost.
The sort of job that you get is usually dependent on your qualifications, previous experience, and your ability to understand the native language. But then, we can’t deny that having a part-time job will help you understand the culture and language faster and you will get the chance to meet new folks.
Part-time jobs are usually great, especially for students that are enrolled in a graduate program or research. For students that are undergoing their Bsc or some certificate course, opportunities like this are usually very limited. Some commonly available part-time jobs for international students usually include the following:
- Newspaper delivery
- Filling station attendant
- Bar Attendant
- Working in an amusement park
- Working from home (remote Jobs)
- Working in a restaurant
In conclusion, studying in Belgium is a very fantastic option for international students due to their low cost of living and standards of learning.
However, one thing that will have to be put up with is the language barrier, this could pose a challenge, but the good news is that it is very much learnable.