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Why study in Belgium? Well, perhaps you want to practise your French, or German. Perhaps you like the idea of studying in Brussels, the so-called 'capital of Europe'. Or maybe you just love Belgian waffles...
Home of the European Union (EU) and NATO, Belgium, home to about 10.5 million people, is a truly international country in a relatively small geographical space.
Bordering both France and the Netherlands, the country's official languages are Dutch, French and German although English is widely spoken. Many areas of Belgium also have their distinct regional dialects. The capital city is Brussels.
If you intend to study politics or international relations, Brussels is probably your place. With 20,000 people working in the EU offices on any given day, you will have a better chance of meeting influential people who may be able to help you find related jobs after graduation, whether you intend to remain in Brussels, or relocate abroad.
Belgium places much emphasis on higher education, and boasts six universities in the top 200 of the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings.
While French and Dutch are the standard languages of teaching, Belgium does cater to international students by offering many international study abroad programs in English.
All in the global top 300 of the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings are: Katholieké Universiteit Leuven, Université Catholique de Louvain, University of Ghent, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the University of Antwerp and the University of Liege.
Culinary Belgium isn't just made up of the nation's famous waffles, chocolates, and chips. In no other country in the world is beer such a celebrated commodity.
Producing more than 450 types of beer in breweries dating back to the 14th century, the country is worshipped by beer connoisseurs out to sample everything from the country's prized Lambic beer to raspberry and chocolate beer. Accordingly, if you love beer, everything from brewery tours to beer festivals and museums await you in Belgium.
If fashion is your thing, look no further than Antwerp ' Europe's best-kept secret and diamond capital of the world. This creative outlet in the Flemish centre of Belgium has bred such famous designers as Ann De Meulemeester, Dirk Bikkemberg and Dries Van Noten, and is home of the impressive MoMu (Mode Museum) fashion museum.
See where Belgium's capital, Brussels, ranks in the QS Best Student Cities >
Accommodation in Belgium is readily available; however, if you wish to rent a private flat, it's often necessary to sign a one-year contract.
Expect to pay between €150 and €400 per month, depending on whether you prefer university housing or private accommodation.
Home-stays are also popular in Belgium, and give students a chance to learn, first-hand, about Belgian culture, while possibly taking on a new language.
Contact your university's international student support services or international student department for further information on securing housing in Belgium.
Weather in Belgium can be slightly unpredictable but generally summers are warm and winters relatively cold. Snow can be expected throughout the winter months.
The public transportation system throughout Belgium is excellent. The most dense railway network in the EU includes SNCB, which operates frequent and affordable trips to places as diverse as the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Portugal, and Denmark, making weekend getaways irresistible.
Additionally, the Eurostar links Brussels with Paris and London, and Thalys runs a rapid service to Amsterdam and Paris. Trams and buses operate in most Belgian cities and students receive discounted fare.
The metro system in Brussels is exceptionally efficient and the perfect way to get around town. But the healthiest and most interesting modes of transportation in Belgium are your feet and a bicycle.
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