Many nations claim to be “the heart of Europe”, but Belgium may be closest to the truth: The small, cosmopolitan nation played an important role in shaping the Europe we know today, and its capital, Brussels, is the seat of the European Union government. With many study options available, Belgium is also an exciting destination for international students.
Flanders and Wallonia
Belgium as a whole does not have as much of a common national identity as many other countries because it is divided into two distinct areas, Flanders and Wallonia. The Flemish are the inhabitants of Flanders and they speak Dutch; Wallonia, on the other hand, is predominantly French speaking. Because of this, there is no national television or newspaper that caters for everyone, and each region keeps pretty much to themselves, including within the field of education. You will find that whichever university you choose, it will be either Flemish or Walloon, and although there are many courses taught in English, the other main language will always be either Dutch or French but rarely both.
This is not to say there is any animosity between the two sides, more that there is less integration when the languages are so different and the regions are so distinct. Brussels is slightly different in that it lies between the two, with a mix of both Dutch and French spoken, as well as English and a host of other languages, as it is the governmental center of the European Union.
Student life in Belgium
Whether you choose Wallonia, Flanders, or Brussels for your further education, you will experience a fantastic quality of life with a cosmopolitan feel. Because Brussels houses the European Parliament, it has many international opportunities for post-degree employment and even just networking. The student facilities are excellent, and the universities are also very keen on helping students with a huge range of guidance and support opportunities.
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