Study Abroad - Incoming Students


As the centre of the European Community, Brussels is the ideal place for students of varied interests and major areas of study to enrich their undergraduate experience. Located in the heart of Brussels, the Brussels School of Governance allows students to get the most out of the city while studying.

Over 300 international students of about 60 nationalities attend the School's programmes every semester, providing a truly cosmopolitan and culturally enriching environment. The Brussels School of Governance is a cozy community within a bigger mother-university offering classes fully taught in English and located in a French/Dutch bilingual city.

Thanks to our low student-teacher ratio, classes are interactive and students benefit from personalised attention. The School offers enriching academic internship opportunities to implement what they have learned in the classroom.

The Brussels School of Governance is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. The Study Abroad programme is organised by Vesalius College.

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Our School also offers a unique programme that provides insight into the changing nature and fundamental challenges of contemporary security issues from a distinct Brussels perspective. The European Peace and Security programme (EPSS) features four interrelated courses offered by the School and its partners, including the Royal Military Academy. The courses, which are all offered in English during the fall semester, can be taken separately, along with another course from across the curriculum. If all four EPSS courses are taken within the fall term, the student will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the term. The programme also includes a lecture series, which sees prominent academics and practitioners of the field of peace and security giving lectures and engaging with students and other experts.

Study abroad students can also benefit from seminars and workshops that feature some of the key decision-makers and leaders in the European Union.

As a student of the School, you will have access to all the facilities at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, including libraries, computer labs, cafeterias and sports facilities.

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Academic information

The courses offered for the Fall and Spring semesters will be available on our website during the preceding semester. Course schedules will be made available to you or your Study Abroad Coordinator by 1 April for the following Fall semester courses and by 1 November for the following Spring semester courses. The list of BA Course Descriptions of the current academic year (subject to change for next academic year) will provide you with a better understanding of the courses offered.


Pre-Registration for Language Courses

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The School provides a detailed Orientation for new students at the beginning of each term. For the Fall and Spring terms, orientation takes place over 3 days (Wednesday–Friday) in the week preceding the first week of classes. During the Summer term, orientation takes place in the first half of the first day of classes. Attendance at all orientation activities is mandatory for new Study Abroad students.

Students are given various sessions to allow them to familiarise themselves with all aspects of university and city life.

Prior to arrival, students will receive a “Getting Settled Guide” to provide them with information regarding living and studying in Brussels.


Pre-registration for language courses

If you wish to take any French or Dutch course other than those at the elementary level (i.e., requiring no prior knowledge of the language – French-LFR 101; Dutch-LDU 101), you will be required to take a language placement test (oral and written) on the Thursday of orientation week. This will ensure that you are registered for the language class that truly corresponds with your language level.

Please note that, due to differences between European and American learning outcome expectations for foreign language instruction, the level (course number) at which you are placed in the language programme may not correspond with the course level achieved at your home university; it may be lower. You should inform your home university advisor of this potential discrepancy and should request that your home university grants you language credit, even if the language ‘course number’ you take at the Brussels School of Governance is lower than what you would take at your home university.

You should list your language course choice in the same way that you list other courses. If you list any language course other than the basic level course, however, we will not automatically pre-register you for that course until you have taken the placement test and have been placed in the appropriate course level based upon test results.

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Deadlines and application process
  Fall semester Spring semester Summer Term
Deadlines 1 May 15 November 3 May


Note: please be advised that for the Summer term, visiting students might not need to apply for a student visa to enter Belgium. For further details, please contact the Study Abroad Office at


Application process

You should start thinking about Study Abroad at least six months before your Study Abroad semester at the Brussels School of Governance. This will give you ample time to select your courses and have them approved by your home institution. Early applications are important as the process for obtaining a Belgian student visa can be lengthy (3 weeks – 2 months).

If you come from one of our partner universities, you should contact your Study Abroad Office to verify whether you are eligible and potentially be nominated to study at the Brussels School of Governance. Once we have received the official nomination from your home university, we can proceed with your Study Abroad application.

If you do not come from one of our partner universities, please contact the Study Abroad Office at


To APPLY, please click here to access the online Application Portal. 


What happens after I have applied?

How can I apply for a visa?

Is accommodation provided?

Where can I find more information about the campus and facilities?

What is the cost of living in Brussels?

Do I need a health insurance?

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What happens after I have applied?

We aim at providing you with a decision within three weeks from receiving your complete application and payment of the 50 EUR application fee.  You will receive our decision by e-mail. In case of acceptance to the programme, this e-mail will contain practical info about the next steps.

How can I apply for a visa?

As a first step, you will need to identify your closest Belgian Embassy and/or Consulate and get further information about their own visa application process.

As you might want to travel during your stay in Brussels, we strongly recommend that you ask for a multiple entries ‘Type D’ Schengen Visa, which will allow you to travel to any of the countries within the Schengen region. This type of visa is not issued by all embassies/consulates. Please contact the nearest Belgian embassy or consulate for details on specific procedures and requirements.

Relevant web links :

Student visa page of Belgian Immigration Office (including travel documents)

Belgian Student Visa Application

Schengen Visa Information


Is accommodation provided by the University or should it be arranged individually?

At the Brussels School of Governance, a number of different housing options are available for incoming study abroad students: Click here for more information about accommodation. 

Homestay/Host Family: If you are looking to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of a Belgian and improve your French or Dutch, then staying in a host family is the ideal option for you! All our families are located in Brussels and speak English.


Where can I find more information about campus and facilities?

The School is located on the campus of the Vrije Univeriteit Brussel (VUB), a green campus in Etterbeek in Brussels. Modern sports facilities with sports halls, tennis and squash courts, and a swimming pool can all be found on site. Monthly gym subscriptions are available at Basic Fit, a modern and well-equipped gym right on campus. The student restaurant offers a large choice of meals and snacks at self-service counters. The campus is easy to reach by train, tram, bus or metro from the city centre or the outskirts of Brussels. Also the school offers the opportunity to attend career seminars and individual coaching sessions and psychological counselling (free of charge) as well. Click here for more informations about campus life, services & facilities and Living in Brussels


What is the cost of living in Brussels?

Brussels is one of the least expensive European capitals, especially when it comes to accommodation, grocery shopping and travel costs. However, students should budget for more than they think they will spend, especially if international travel is planned. Although difficult to estimate precisely, it is common for students to spend between €150–€250/week, but frugal students will be able to get by on much less. This amount takes into consideration day-to-day expenses like snacks, coffee, etc., as well as eating out, shopping and nightlife, etc. For reference, please visit this list with estimated costs.


Do I need a health insurance?

Visiting students are required to obtain and provide proof of international health insurance prior to arriving in Brussels. We do not provide a health insurance plan; however, we do recommend that students consider obtaining supplemental Belgian national health insurance for Spring/Summer/Fall terms in Brussels. Click here for more information about insurance.

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Have a question about the programme? Get in touch with us!

Have a question? A remark? Want to know more about our Study Abroad programme? No problem, ask us your questions via the Contact Form below (in the Program of Interest field, select 'Study Abroad - Incoming Students), or drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can:

Contact us