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Study in Brussels

By Niamh O

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Don't be fooled by Belgium's small size - there are plenty of reasons why you should choose Brussels to earn your degree.

The capital of Belgium and headquarters of the European Union, Brussels is known for its international character – and this is reflected in the high proportion of international students at its universities (13,000 to be precise).

Known for its international diversity and central role in European politics, Brussels is also famed for its delicious Belgian chocolate, pubs, french fries, comic strip art, cafés and attractive architecture.

Two Brussels-based universities feature in the QS World University Rankings® 2022Universite libre de Bruxelles (207th); Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (221st) – both ranked within the world’s top 230.

Universite libre de Bruxelles is a French-speaking university and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is a Dutch and English-speaking university.

Brussels is ranked at 40th for desirability in this year's ranking.

When asked to name the best thing about studying in Brussels, one student commented: “The diversity of people and the many internship and job opportunities.

Would Brussels get your vote? Tell us why.

Best universities in Brussels: QS Best Student Cities ranking: 50th

Universite libre de Bruxelles (207th); Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (221st)

More about Brussels

Number of universities ranked by QS

2

Highest-ranked institution

Universite libre de Bruxelles (207th)

Population

2,081,000

Average international fees (at ranked unis)

US$2,400

Desirability rank

40th

Employer Activity rank

54th

Affordability rank

41st

Student View rank

71st

To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Brussels

Home to large international organisations

Brussels is home to both the EU and NATO, meaning there's a large student population working as interns with a wealth of work experience opportunities available at these organisations or organisations related to the EU and NATO using Brussels as their base.

If you think you want your career to have a base in one of these organisations, then Belgium is a great place to take some time to study a postgraduate course and should provide you with plenty of opportunities for networking.

Gastronomic treats

The heavenly Belgian waffle is one such food item that shouldn't be missed when you're in Brussels.

But did you Belgium is actually the globally recognised capital of chocolate and beer (there are around 200 breweries in a country with a bit more than 10 million people). And let's not forget that Belgium gave the world ‘French’ (the irony) fries. Think of all the local food products you have to look forward to trying.

Cost of studying in Brussels

Brussels landed a spot in the top 50 most affordable student cities in the world at 41st this year. 

Numbeo estimates that a single person's monthly costs in Brussels without rent will be US$959.73, but a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre will be US$1,000.73.

It's worth noting that travel is also very reasonable when travelling around the city by train.

Careers in Brussels

Brussels is home to the headquarters of the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), both big employers of international workers.

Other large Belgian employers include:

  • Ageas (insurance)
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev (brewing)
  • Bekaert (steel wires)
  • Banque Nationale de Belgique (banking)
  • Colruyt Group (food retail)
  • D'Ieteren (vehicle distribution)
  • Elia (energy)
  • KBC Bank (banking)
  • Proximus (telecommunications)
  • Solvay (chemicals)
  • UCB (biopharmaceuticals)
  • Umicore (materials technology)

You can search for jobs in Belgium at:

This article was originally published in July 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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