Ever wanted to practice both French, Dutch and dabble in German? Love International Business? Do you have constant cravings for beer, chocolate and waffles? If you answered yes to these questions, Brussels, Belgium; aka ‘The Capital of Europe’ is the perfect place for you!
With an old town and new town, three official languages and plenty of unique food and drink options to keep you entertained, you would find it difficult to be bored in Brussels.
Planning Your Trip
Study abroad companies such as ISA, CIEE, BCA and AIFS all have programs heading to Brussels at any time of the year and go for as little as a summer program to a full year. The most common courses to study are liberal arts and business.
Belgium universities are generally large and offer a huge variety of courses, so picking the right program will be essential for your time in Brussels.
Since Belgium as three official languages, it’s not surprising to hear that most classes are taught in French or Dutch. If you don’t feel all that confident in your language skills, some universities also offer some classes in English.
To get a true Belgian experience most students opt for living in a homestay where you are assigned to a Belgian family for the duration of your study abroad time. If you like your space, ask about dormitories or renting your own apartment!
These are only a few activities to look forward to when heading to Brussels.
Food: Brussels is killer on the food scene considering you really can’t go anywhere without passing a waffle truck, chocolate store, restaurants selling French fries (‘Frites’) by the bucket or bars with taps by the hundreds (check out Delirium with over 400 beers on tap!).
International Business Centers: Since Brussels is the NATO and EU capital, the city is a gold mine for anyone interested in International Business and how other governments work.
Art and Concerts: There is no one special museum or art gallery to see in Brussels like there might be in Paris and London, but the artistic community is alive and well within the city. Many galleries move through town with tons of exhibits and expos to check out every month. Also, because of Belgium’s central location in Europe, there are heaps of big artists rolling through town with, albeit fast selling-out concerts, tremendously intimate shows that you can’t get everywhere.
Sites to see! Brussels is the ultimate melting pot of cultures and you only have to take a quick jaunt around both old and new town to soak in the, not only different, but wonderful architecture. To see more modern influences, check out the EU Quarter and United Nations building. On the other hand, to see the older style buildings then your first stop MUST be Grand Place, which has been hailed as one of Europe’s most beautiful squares. And no trip in Brussels can be complete without a trip to the Mannequin Pis statue that brings giggles to thousands of tourists every year.
Student Life Tips and Tricks
- A huge advantage of studying Belgium is that you’re at the heart of Europe, so a weekend trip away to Italy, England or Spain are totally viable options for all budgets. To get the full student experience, check out airlines such as RyanAir or AirLingus for cheap prices!
- If you don’t feel like jet-setting every weekend, other Belgium gems, like Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges, are only a short train ride away from the city center.
- Belgians pride themselves on their beer so make sure you do your part to appreciate it by taking a group of friends to a local brewery or bar to sample all their local favorites.
Students from an EU member state or from a country in the European Economic Area are NOT required to get a visa. However, students from the US must obtain a student visa if their trip is longer than 90 days in total.
Although the most important thing to do when searching for scholarships is to ask your school about their options, here are a few scholarships to help you finance the trip of your life.
One of the biggest decisions a university student can make is whether to study abroad or not and when the decision is made to go, you have to choose between so many programs! If you’re looking at Europe, Brussels, Belgium has everything that a Europe town could ever want.