1. It can open doors to an international career
Belgium was a founding member of major international entities like the EU, NATO, eurozone, the World Trade Organization, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Furthermore, many international organizations are headquartered in its capital city of Brussels, giving it a pivotal position on the international stage. It’s also home to the world’s second-largest press corps.
Historically, Belgium has been one of the strongest voices for multilateral cooperation, which is “part of [its] diplomatic DNA.” This is at least due in part to its central location and defenseless borders, which spurred its use of mediation, diplomacy, and neutrality as successful defensive strategies.
In short, Belgium is a country which embodies the ethos of internationalization. Whether you are looking to work for an international organization or are simply planning on an international career, immersive studies in Belgium offer an invaluable vantage point.
2. It’s a hotspot of innovation
Belgium is a hub of innovation across many areas. Business design and innovation strategy firm Board of Innovation proposes, “Belgium is a high magnetic forcefield when it comes to attracting innovation talent. Innovation touches almost every sector of this small northern European country, from fashion technology, to the famed comic book movement, to the way we use the Internet of Things to process big data at speed at one of the largest ports of Europe in Antwerp. Inventions seem to (Brussels) sprout from the ground.” Belgium has also been heralded as a leader in sustainable e-commerce.
While cities like Brussels and Antwerp may be more well known, others have also distinguished themselves. Take Leuven, for example, which is not only the country’s most famous university city, but is also a mecca for startups.
The Next Web asserts, “With its international population and relatively small size, Belgium is the perfect testing ground for multilingual startups seeking to grow in Europe — and it seems that venture capital investors agree.”
Also supporting and strengthening its innovatory spirit is Belgium's membership of the Benelux Union, a politico-economic union and formal international governmental cooperation consisting of the neighboring states of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, all of which are ranked among the most innovative countries in the world.
3. It’s a great place to study medicine
Many programs, including medical degrees, are offered in English. Belgium’s commitment to internationalization is exemplified in its medical schools from diverse faculty to robust international exchange.
Arianne Zamora, a student from the Philippines studying a Master of Epidemiology at the University of Antwerp, says, “I think that one of main strengths of the program is the diversity in the students. My classmates (and friends) are from all over the world, some of whom are doctors, nurses, university lecturers or mathematicians. I learn a lot from them almost as much as I learn from the actual classes. [...] Other strong points of the programme are: the program’s emphasis on work collaboration and the rich academic and professional network that the program is associated with.”
4. You can be a polyglot, and improve your career prospects in the process
One of the most exciting aspects of studying in Belgium is its multilingualism. While English is widely spoken in the country, Belgium’s three official languages are Dutch, French, and German. Whether you hope to work in Belgium or aspire to an international career, Belgium is a wonderful place to learn or master a second, or third language. Wherever your career takes you, bilingualism, trilingualism, and beyond are highly valued by today’s global companies.
5. It’s international student-friendly
As a diverse country known for its spirit of internationalization, Belgium is a uniquely welcoming, tolerant, and open destination for international students. In fact, the Belgian government and many other organizations offer scholarship and funding opportunities to international students. Belgium also boasts relatively low tuition fees compared to many other European countries, as well as a lower cost of living than many of its neighbors in western Europe. This is especially appealing given its high standard of living.
There’s plenty to see and do in Belgium, and it’s easy to get around thanks to a well-organized and efficient public transportation. The country’s central location also makes it an excellent home base for seeing many other parts of Europe. You can get on a train or a bus and be in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, or Germany within just a few hours.
6. You’ll experience a fascinating culture
Belgium lays claim to a rich cultural legacy across everything from its extraordinary cuisine and vibrant festivals to its incredible architecture and picturesque countryside. In selecting Belgium as a bucket list country, Culture Trip also celebrates its prominence on the international art scene, remarkable landmarks and “the Belgian sense of humor.”
Meanwhile, TripZilla explains, “Belgium is truly an underrated country in Western Europe. There is so much more to Belgium than Brussels and Bruges, beer and chocolate -- although these destinations and yummy things are definitely major highlights of a visit to Belgium!”
7. International students give it excellent reviews
You could take our word for it, but why would you when you can hear it from your peers? As reported by QS, international students from all over the world give studies in Belgium high marks!
One student from Austria who studied in Antwerp raves, “The city is the greatest place for Erasmus students! It's small enough to go around by bike and big enough to find everything you need. You have lots of culture there: The Plantin Moretus Museum, the Rubenshuis, the Mayer van de Bergh Museum, Fashion Museum, the MAS Photo Museum, and so on. In summer, you have the summer of Antwerp with open-air cinemas, concerts, readings, summer bars and festivals! You can go shopping there -- it's a fashion city with all the big names! Enough to do. I was never bored in the eight months I stayed there. They also have many pubs and so much excellent beer and chocolate. It's amazing!”
Another student from Spain adds, “I think it's a very international [destination] where you can improve both your French and English. Besides, it is in the center of Europe, so there are a lot of wonderful places to visit such as Bruges, Amsterdam, Paris, London and so on. The university is quite good, with a good academic level, not too overcrowded and providing great sports activities.”
So Belgium may be small in size but it’s big on appeal, especially for international students!