Study and work opportunities in Belgium 2024 for international students

Study and Work Opportunities in Belgium for International Students

Study and Work Opportunities in Belgium 2024 for International Students

Belgium, recognized as a compact nation, features a limited number of public universities, several of which have achieved placement within the top 200 universities worldwide according to the recent QS World University Rankings. This article provides comprehensive information for international students on studying and working in Belgium.

Renowned as a prominent study destination in Europe, Belgium attracts a significant number of international students despite the notable language challenges. The primary languages of instruction are French, Dutch, and German which are officially acknowledged as the country’s official languages. Nevertheless, the specific official languages employed by higher education institutions in Belgium are contingent upon the linguistic communities associated with each university.

Tuition Fees and Living Costs for International Students in Belgium:

Belgium’s educational landscape encompasses both private and public universities, with tuition fees at Belgian universities being notably reasonable. For EU students, the annual tuition typically falls within the range of 800-850 euros, contingent upon the chosen institution. Conversely, non-EU students face higher tuition costs, ranging from 1000 euros to 4000 euros, depending on the selected institution.

International students pursuing master’s and undergraduate degree programs are obliged to pay application fees. While scholarships exist to alleviate these costs, securing them tends to be a highly competitive endeavor.

Cost of Living for International Students in Belgium:

The cost of living in Belgium is subject to variation based on the city of residence, with Brussels, the capital, being the most expensive. A significant portion of your budget is typically allocated to accommodation, and if you opt for frequent dining out, it’s essential to note that certain restaurants may have higher prices.

Fortunately, there are attractive on-campus housing options as well as private residences. Campus accommodations, in particular, tend to be more budget-friendly, providing an affordable alternative for students with financial constraints. On average, students may anticipate monthly expenditures ranging from €750 to €1,100, covering accommodation, meals, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.

Food Cost for International Students in Belgium:

Opting for grocery shopping and preparing meals at home proves to be the most effective approach to financial management. On average, monthly expenses for groceries typically amount to approximately 150 EUR. If you choose to dine at a restaurant, the cost is estimated at around 12 euros per meal, with variations depending on your residential location.

Transportation Cost for International Students in Belgium:

For international students, the most convenient modes of transportation are typically trains and buses. Monthly passes for public transportation, tailored for students, generally hover around 20 euros. Taxis, while accessible, tend to be relatively pricey, with inner-city trips averaging around 25 euros. Should you contemplate renting or using a car for travel, it’s noteworthy that gas prices range from 1.39 to 1.60 euros per liter, potentially making it a costlier alternative compared to utilizing trains.

Extra Costs of Studying in Belgium for International Students:

Below are some instances of additional expenditures associated with residing in Belgium:

  • Books: 35 – 50 EUR/month
  • Entertainment: 50 EUR/month
  • Insurance/ health care: 30 EUR/month
  • View and compare 80 Bachelor programs in Belgium

Student Visa Application for International Students:

European Union students are exempt from the visa requirement for studying in Belgium. Conversely, non-European international students must undergo the visa application process. This necessitates a visit to the Belgian embassy in their country of residence. These students must secure admission to a Belgian university before applying for a visa, as the acceptance letter serves as proof of admission.

In addition to a visa, international students are also mandated to obtain a student residence permit to study in Belgium. As a student, a long-term visa is required, and the application process may extend up to 60 days or more. Therefore, it is advisable to initiate the visa application approximately 70 days before the planned departure. In cases where a short-stay visa is needed, commencing the application process three weeks before departure might suffice.

Required Documents for Visa Application:

  • A passport that is valid for 3 months longer than the visa
  • 2 original visa application
  • Acceptance letter from your university of study
  • Copies of your educational certificates
  • Cover letter
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of adequate financial means to take care of your study and living expenses
  • Past criminal record if you are above 21
  • Visa application fee (€210 for a long stay and €70 for a short stay)

Kindly be aware that the list is not limited to the above, other documents may be required.

SEE ALSO: Fully Funded SI Scholarships 2024 for Global Professionals

Resident Permit for International Students in Belgium:

As an international student in Belgium, you can request a residence permit from the regional employment embassy. Possessing a valid residence permit authorizes you to work for up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session, with the possibility of increased hours during holidays, and in certain cases, a work permit may not be required.

It is crucial to initiate the residential permit application process within 8 weeks of arriving in Belgium. This involves contacting the local municipal administration offices to complete the registration for a residence permit. Upon obtaining the residence permit, you gain the ability to open a bank account, apply for a work permit, and acquire insurance coverage in Belgium. Alternatively, in specific situations, you may opt to apply for campus residence, with assistance provided as needed.

Be aware that in the event of requiring a visa extension, the process involves applying for an extension of your residence permit. To facilitate this, it is imperative to schedule an appointment at least 14 days before the expiration date. The application should be submitted at your local administration office or town hall.

List of Top Universities in Belgium to Study:

Job Opportunities for International Students in Belgium:

For international students pursuing studies in Belgium, securing a part-time job is of significant importance. This endeavor proves instrumental in alleviating the financial strains associated with studying in the country. While the earnings from such employment may not fully cover tuition fees, they can considerably contribute towards daily expenses such as food bills and entertainment.

The nature of the job you secure is likely to hinge on factors like your qualifications, prior work experience, and proficiency in the native language. Engaging in a part-time job not only provides financial support but also accelerates cultural and linguistic adaptation, fostering interactions with new acquaintances.

Part-time job opportunities are more prevalent for students enrolled in graduate programs or engaged in research activities. Conversely, students enrolled in undergraduate programs or short-term certificate courses may encounter fewer options. Common part-time job opportunities for international students include:

  • Retail and Hospitality: Due to the booming tourism industry in Belgium, there are many part-time job opportunities in retail and hospitality. This includes working in restaurants, cafes, hotels, and shops.
  • Language Teaching: Belgium is a multilingual country, with three official languages – French, Dutch, and German. This creates a high demand for language teachers, especially for English. You can find part-time teaching jobs in language schools or private tutoring.
  • Call centers: Many international companies have call centers in Belgium, which often offer part-time positions. These jobs require fluency in one or more foreign languages.
  • Freelancing: With the rise of digitalization, many companies offer freelance positions in areas such as graphic design, writing, translation, and virtual assisting. This allows for flexible working hours and the possibility to work from home.
  • Event staffing: Belgium hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including festivals, trade shows, and conferences. Event staffing companies often hire part-time staff to help with setup, ticket sales, and customer service.
  • Babysitting and pet sitting: There is a high demand for part-time babysitters and pet sitters in Belgium. This is a great option for those who enjoy working with children or animals and are looking for flexible hours.
  • Delivery and courier services: With the rise of online shopping, there is a high demand for part-time delivery and courier services. This can be a great option for those who have a valid driver’s license and own a car or bike.
  • Data entry and administrative work: Many companies in Belgium offer part-time positions for data entry and administrative tasks. These jobs often require basic computer skills and can be done remotely.
  • Tour guiding: If you have a passion for history and culture, becoming a part-time tour guide may be a great option for you. Many tour companies in Belgium hire part-time guides to lead groups around popular tourist destinations.
  • Tutoring or coaching: Whether it’s academic subjects or sports, there is always a demand for part-time tutors and coaches in Belgium. This could be a great option for those who have a specific skill or expertise in a particular area.

Advantages of Studying in Belgium:

  • Belgium offers highly affordable transportation options, making it an excellent choice for students seeking to travel during their leisure time. Accessible modes of transportation include trams, metros, buses, and trains, all of which are cost-effective.
  • Securing an apartment in Belgium is notably inexpensive and within budgetary reach. Belgium does not face housing shortages for international students, ensuring that finding suitable and affordable accommodation while pursuing studies in the country is both straightforward and economical.
  • Belgian universities enjoy global recognition and consistently hold high rankings on the international stage. Remarkably, despite offering outstanding learning facilities, these institutions maintain affordability for international students in comparison to their counterparts worldwide.

Disadvantages of Studying in Belgium:

  • The inclement rainy weather may adversely impact international students unaccustomed to such atmospheric conditions.
  • Belgium imposes some of the highest taxes globally, with personal income tax brackets spanning from 25 to 50 percent. Surrendering half of your salary to the government undoubtedly constitutes a significant financial obligation.
  • Belgium boasts three official languages: French, Dutch, and German. Consequently, individuals unfamiliar with any of these languages may encounter difficulties. Learning these three languages proves to be challenging due to their complexity.

SEE ALSO: Study and Work Opportunities in Germany 2024 for International Students


In conclusion, Belgium presents promising study and work opportunities for international students, underscored by its globally recognized universities and affordable education. The availability of diverse transportation options, budget-friendly accommodation, and a welcoming atmosphere contribute to the overall appeal of studying in Belgium. While the country’s three official languages may pose a challenge, the immersive experience can enhance cultural and linguistic adaptation. International students should navigate the visa and residence permit processes diligently, leveraging part-time job opportunities to ease financial burdens. Despite higher tax rates, the investment in education and cultural exposure makes Belgium a compelling destination for those seeking a quality academic and enriching international experience.

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