Studies are Distinctively French or Dutch
Belgium is a country immersed in contradictions. Nestled between Latin influences to the south and the Germanic north, it has two main languages and cultures that reflect both. Belgium is quite equally divided between French and Dutch factions, which extends to the university system. A smattering of German speakers populate the country as well. Belgium is also a land between times - reflected in it’s culture through 17th century architecture housing Art Nouveau exhibits.
This mix of cultures creates a wonderful environment for education and experiencing the wonders life has to offer. Wandering off into the countryside provides many options for leisure and exploration, from dune-filled beaches and pristine lakes to dense forest and underground caves. And if you want to travel a little, Belgium is well positioned for access to all of Europe, located just a short distance from destinations like Amsterdam and Paris.
Students will find this diversity is carried over to the educational system in Belgium as well. On the Flemish side, there are six major universities, with over 20 affiliated University Colleges and more that ten other accredited institutions of higher education. The French distinguish clearly between its seven universities (four of which are listed in the top 400 universities worldwide), 20 colleges and 16 art colleges. With the abundance of help from governments, schools and private resources, students will find study in Belgium not only richly rewarding but easily accessible as well.
Federal Funding Diversifies Next Gen Professionals
Students whose economic and social background have traditionally excluded them from collegiate study abroad programs in places like Belgium, may now take refuge in the plentiful scholarships offered by the federal government. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships are designed to provide up to $5,000 to over 2,300 financially disadvantaged undergrads annually. Applicants must be Pell Grant recipients, a solid measure of economic challenge. Candidates must also be very academically motivated. The goal of this program is to create a whole new generation of business and industry leaders with roots in all ethnic and economic backgrounds; which makes for a more balanced, highly educated social fabric.
The Fulbright-Schuman Program is jointly financed by the U.S. State Department and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission. The program focuses on research and/or post-graduate study on EU affairs or U.S.-EU relations at an accredited American university or independent research center. This program is open to citizens of all 27 EU member states and US citizens with two years of relevant experience. Grants are available for student mobility at advanced undergraduate and graduate level between EU and American institutions participating in joint consortia projects.
The US Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Culture’s Exchange Program offers US citizens a numbe of scholarships and grant programs for international study in the arts, science and technology, language and culture and more.
The Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad (VLIR) - The Flemish Inter University Council – awards government scholarships to students from less developed countries. They can study in any one of 15 International Course Programs or choose any of the 6 available International Training Programs. The program covers all expenses for international students studying in Flanders. 180 scholarships are awarded annually.
Erasmus Mundus is a program set up by the EU to promote higher education through scholarships and cooperation between Europe and other countries. This program offers scholarships to students at all levels of higher education from all parts of the world. awards are available to follow an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course or Joint Doctorate at two or more European universities, as well as scholarships to promote the mobility of students between European and non-European universities.
Fellowships to study in Belgium are often awarded through the Government of Flanders to eligible U.S. students. Applicants must be enrolling for a term of study in a Belgian university that is affiliated with the Flemish, or French region, one of two distinct governmental areas of the country. Courses of study should be in the arts or humanities. In addition, the Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) awards fellowships for advanced study or research at a Belgian University or institution of higher learning. The BAEF will award up to eight fellowships each carrying a stipend of $25,000 for one year. Applicants must either be registered in a graduate program towards a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the United States or register in a graduate program in Belgium.
Marie Curie Fellowships are European research grants available to researchers regardless of their nationality and field of research. In addition to generous fellowships, researchers have the possibility to gain experience abroad and in the private sector, and to complete their training with competences or disciplines useful for their careers. These grants promote excellence and innovation in Europe.
The EU-US Atlantis program funds joint study programs (including joint/double degrees and exchanges of students/staff) involving EU and US institutions; and institutional partnerships that help students study abroad.
College Scholarships Focus on Business and Humanities
Many colleges offer programs for study abroad, along with scholarships and grants to help with expenses. This works on both sides, with opportunities available from schools both in the US and in Belgium. Check with your school and the school you wish to attend to see what opportunities are available.
Michigan State University administers the International Relations in Brussels, Belgium program. This particular international program is best suited to students majoring in international politics or business. Applicants may apply for the following scholarships:
- Georges Jules Joyaux Memorial Scholarships are given to students heading off to destinations where French is widely spoken. Nearly half of Belgium is French, so this is an appropriate award for students going to Belgium. Preference may be given to students proficient in the language.
- Forest Akers Scholarships are widely distributed to students who have a deep financial need for auxiliary funds.
- MSU Federal Credit Union is a huge provider of scholarships. These are offered to the most general population of students traveling abroad.
Marquette University offers students a unique chance to study in Antwerp, Belgium, right in the heart of European commerce and business. The program is particularly ideal for students whose career track is international business or finance. Besides location-specific scholarships, Marquette offers business majors studying abroad the Square D Scholarship for International Business. Up to $2,500 may be earned for at least a semester in Belgium.
Belgium is renowned among art historians for its Flemish art. Duke University sponsors a summer program in Flanders focused on an intensive survey of Flemish art, past and present. This is a pricey program and students may apply for the Stephenson Pope Babcock Scholarship. Applicants are awarded on a combination of academic merit and need.
Study Abroad Organizations
Knowledge Exchange Institute provides half-dozen programs in Belgium through its well-choreographed organization. Students may participate in programs targeted to international business, law, finance, as well as culture, arts and language. KEI, like other well-respected study abroad organizations, provides its own brand of scholarships especially for students who do not qualify for other study abroad funding. KEI Scholarships are awarded for a combination of outstanding academics as well as financial need. Typical awards range from $500 to $1,000.