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The number of people seeking to study in countries like Belgium increases daily. And as a result, the Belgian government and other organizations have made tuition-free scholarships available for interested persons. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about applying for a scholarship in Belgium. You’ll understand why Belgium is a good place to study, a few scholarships available for international students, and how to go about your scholarship application process.  

Why should you study in Belgium?

With an advanced economy and way of life, Belgium is considered one of the safest and most peaceful countries in Europe.

According to the reviews of most international students already studying in Belgium, the quality of city life and culture of Belgians is very favorable.

Its rich cultural legacy allows you to enjoy a variety of extraordinary cuisines and vibrant festivals. Its magnificent architecture also makes the country a must-see travel destination.

The population of people living in their cities is very accepting and accommodating, especially to international students.

The country has three linguistic communities: the Dutch-speaking community, the French-speaking community, and the German-speaking community, which make up a smaller population.

Aside from these cultural benefits, the educational system in Belgium is top-notch.

Studying in Belgium will give you access to diverse research programs that can aid your academic growth

From historical times till date, Belgium cities like Brussels, Antwerp, and Bruges play an important part in the country’s educational advancement and house some of the world’s renowned universities.

For international students seeking to study politics or international relations and diplomacy, or for those who wish to work in the European Union studying in Bruges will be an advantage, as the city is the home of the College of Europe. Belgium too is one of the six founding countries of the European Union.

Asides from these areas, Belgium universities have art schools and business schools that offer top-notch arts and business programs for undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees.

Students wishing to explore the medical field also have a variety of universities offering first-class medical programs to choose from.

Can International Students work in Belgium?

In Belgium, students from the European Union or countries in the European Economic Area (EEA, comprising of EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) are allowed to work without any additional permit or permission.

However, all international students are required to get a work permit to be eligible to work while studying.

All conditions for working as a foreign student are stated in the residence permit issued by the municipality.

International students are not permitted to work for more than 20 hours in a week while school is in session.

Working for more than the stipulated time means your major reason for coming to Belgium is to work and not to school. And this may present problems to your employer, and to you also when you’re trying to renew your residence permit.

However, working for longer periods is allowed during school holidays and vacation periods.

Some of these holidays include Christmas, spring, and summer holidays. The summer holidays are the longest holidays you have during the school period.

Furthermore, job opportunities for international students are competitive. This is because the country has three official languages and English is not one of them.

Applying for jobs will mean competing with nationals who can probably speak more than one language.

To stand a chance when you apply for jobs, it is important to master the official language of your region, as language skills play a major role in recruitment.

Aside from this, you also have to up your game in whatever role you’re applying for.

Another way to increase your chances of getting jobs is to sign on with recruitment agencies.

This will open you up to better job opportunities as most of these agencies have specialties in different sectors and know the best available jobs for students.

Places that could have vacancies for students include restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, warehouses, and other public places.

There are a lot of freelance jobs available online too for students ranging from writing, graphic design, and web design, to digital marketing and social media management.

If you’re interested in getting jobs in any of these roles but lack the proper skill, there are courses online you can take to up-skill.

Students in French-speaking Belgium do not need to request for work permits. All they need is an essential ‘single permit’.

List of Tuition-free Universities in Belgium

A number of universities in Belgium are free for both national and international students. Some of them include:

  • Vesalius College
  • University of Namur
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Ghent University
  • Vesalius College
  • UC Leuven-Limburg
  • Hasselt University
  • University of Liege
  • Boston University.
  • University of Antwerp

How to acquire a fully-funded Scholarship in Belgium

  • Proper preparation: One of the ways to stand out when applying for scholarships in Belgium is to prepare adequately. This way, you avoid unnecessary mistakes most applicants make in their application process. Some universities conduct interviews to choose those that will benefit from their scholarships. In instances like these, proper preparation will allow you to answer interview questions properly.
  • Using the right website: When applying for scholarships, it is essential to use the right websites. Some websites give unreliable information which can hinder your registration process. As a result, it is advisable to register using the university’s official website.
  • Stand out of the crowd:  Many applicants apply for Belgium scholarships, and it is important to be different from the numerous other applicants. You could showcase your uniqueness through your cover letter and scholarship essay, your skills, hobbies, work experience and even volunteer experience. 
  • Good academic performance: Good performance in your academics increases your chance of getting a scholarship in Belgium, especially as an international student. However, there are universities that prioritize financial needs over academic performance during their application process. Even with this, scoring good grades and having a high CGPA will help you maintain your scholarship.
  • Write a unique scholarship essay and cover letter: Thousands of students submit cover letters and scholarship essays to universities every year. For you to stand out from this crowd, your essay and letter have to be exceptional. And for your letters to be unique, they have to be void of mistakes. You have to successfully capture your reader’s attention right from your introduction. You have to avoid mistakes like wrong grammar and flawed spellings. You should seek the help of a friend to proofread your essay and watch out for mistakes like this. 

Scholarship Requirements for International Students in Belgium

Before you apply for a scholarship in Belgium, you need to know the boxes you should tick for your scholarship application to be processed.

However, students from countries in the EU or EEA don’t need to worry as their application does not require much.

Most scholarships in Belgium are not open to people that have already enrolled before. 

Basic Documents you need to apply for a Belgium Scholarship

  • A passport
  • Bachelor’s degree certificate or high school certificate and result
  • Proof of language proficiency

List of Available Scholarships for International Students

  1. VLIR-UOS Training and Masters Scholarships

Criteria for Eligibility

Age limit (s): 40 years or less (Masters program) and 45 years (Training)

Nationality: Any of the four eligible countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America 

Educational level:  Masters 

Mode of Application: Online 

Apply here

  1. ARES Scholarship 

Criteria for Eligibility 

Age limit (s): 40 years or less (degree programs) and 45 years (Training courses)

Nationality: Nationals of Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia (only for training courses in English), Peru, the Philippines, DR Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Haiti, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, and Vietnam.

Educational Qualification: Applicant must possess a diploma equivalent to a graduate diploma from Belgian universities. 

Mode of Application: Online 

Experience: Professional experience of at least two years after graduate studies

Apply here

  1. Government of Flanders Master Mind Scholarships for International Students

Criteria for Eligibility 

Age limit (s): 40 years or less (degree programs) and 45 years (Training courses)

Nationality: All nationalities

Educational Qualification: Applicant must possess a previous degree obtained from a higher education institution located outside Flandershigher education institution located outside Flanders

Mode of Application: Online 

Experience: Professional experience of at least two years after graduate studies

Scholarship grant: € 8200 + a tuition fee waiver per academic year (60 ECTS).

Language requirement: good knowledge of the English Language 

  • an overall band score of a minimum of 7.0 on the IELTS test;
  • a minimum total score of 94 on a TOEFL test;
  • a C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference;
  • or a similar result in another official language test (recognized by the Host institution. 

Apply here

  1. Science@Leuven Scholarships

Criteria for Eligibility

Age limit: No age limit 

Scholarship grant: €10,000 for one year plus basic health insurance 

Nationality: Any nationality 

Educational qualifications: applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from a non-Belgian university. 

Language requirements: applicant must have good knowledge of English Language, and must show proof of proficiency 

  • TOEFL iBT: minimum overall score of 94, with minimum subscores of 19 for Reading, 18 for Listening, 19 for Speaking and 21 for Writing
  • IELTS Academic test: minimum overall score of 7.0, with minimum subscores of 6.5 for Reading, 6.0 for Listening, 6.0 for Speaking and 6.0 for Writing
  • Advanced or Proficiency Cambridge Certificates: minimum score of 185, with at least 176 for reading and 169 for listening, speaking and writing.

Mode of Application: Online 

Apply here

  1. Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Program

Criteria for Eligibility

Age limit: no age limit 

Nationality: EU member states plus North Macedonia, Serbia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Turkey. Countries in Asia, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbeans, United States and Canada. 

Educational level: Masters level

Scholarship grant: €1,400 per month 

Educational requirements: applicant must have a bachelor’s degree or be in their last year of bachelor studies and graduate before the master’s programme starts

Language requirements: Proof is English proficiency

Mode of application: Online

Apply here 


Studying in Belgium is not that difficult. Having a full understanding of the living conditions and education system, as as the scholarship requirements for universities in the country, before commencing your application process as an international student.  

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