- How do i obtain a student visa for Belgium?
- What is the academic calendar?
- How will i be met upon arrival at UCLouvain?
- How do i find housing?
- How much should i budget?
- Can i take French classes at UCLouvain?
- Can you suggest a way to learn french before coming to UCLouvain?
- Do i need to buy health insurance?
- What about other insurance?
- Where can i exercise or play a sport?
- What if i have a crisis?
- Does UCLouvain admit only catholics or christians?
You do not need a visa if you are a national of one of the 28 countries of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway or Switzerland. If you do need a visa, the Enrolment Office will provide you with a registration authorisation letter to add to the student visa application you submit to your Belgian embassy or consulate. In either case, all students must register with their commune of residence within eight days of arrival in Belgium. Complete information on Belgian visas.
The academic year is divided into two terms. The first begins mid-September and ends mid-December and is followed by an exam period in the first three weeks of January. The second term begins at the start of February and ends mid-May and is interrupted by the two-week Easter holiday. It is followed by an exam period in June. A third exam period takes place from mid-August to early September during which students can retake exams whose initial results were unsatisfactory. Consult the UCLouvain academic calendar.
The first people to receive you and help manage your stay at UCLouvain will be the persons in charge of exchanges in your host faculty. Each faculty organises welcome sessions specifically for exchange students. Other actors will also help you integrate, such as the International Student Council (Coordination générale des étudiants internationaux, CGEI) and the International Erasmus Student Network (IESN).
UCLouvain is unique for having so many furnished student housing units. Many students live in shared flats (with individual bedrooms, kitchen, living room and communal bathrooms). If you would like to live in UCLouvain housing, you will be able to apply online via the Accommodation Office webpage. Private housing offers are also available on university campuses.
The cost of living in Belgium corresponds to the European average. You should budget approximately €800 per month to cover housing (average UCLouvain room rental is €300/month), food, transport, medical care and entertainment.
Of course! (If you’re an ‘Erasmus+’ exchange student, you can even get a head start on improving your French before your programme begins, by taking online classes on the OLS platform – see next answer below). Intensive preparatory courses are offered to international students prior to the start of the academic year. After that, you can take classes at the UCLouvain Language Institute (Institut des langues vivantes, ILV) or improve your French via student organisations offering learning activities such as conversation groups, knowledge exchange, text correction, etc. Complete information on learning languages at UCLouvain.
For ‘Erasmus+’ students, yes: the Online Linguistic Support platform offers skills assessment in their programme’s main language of instruction. After taking the first test, you can take an interactive class free of charge and at your own pace. OLS also offers collaborative learning opportunities such as live coaching and a forum. This support is available for the duration of your stay at UCLouvain. More information about OLS.
In Belgium, all students must have health insurance. If you are a national of a European Union country or of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, consider requesting your European Health Insurance Card, provided free of charge and allowing you to access the same health care available to Belgians. If you are not a European Union national, you must join a mutual insurance company (€100-120/year) upon your arrival in Belgium and present proof of this coverage to register at UCL.
In principle, your home university should continue to insure you against accidents and civil liability during academic activities. Please contact your university to learn about the terms of its insurance policies. If it does not provide insurance for you, as a registered UCLouvain student you receive ‘accident’ coverage (including during transport between your housing and the university, study trips, internships) and ‘civil liability’ coverage for academic activities. Please be advised that there is no ‘accident assistance’ component for accidents that take place in Belgium (e.g. repatriation to your home country in case of accident).
The university has excellent sport and fitness facilities, especially in Louvain-la-Neuve, home to French-speaking Belgium’s largest sport and fitness centre (including 25 sport and fitness halls, two swimming pools and three hectares of outdoor grounds). In addition, through a membership (‘affiliation sport’, €30 for exchange students) you gain access to almost 90 sport and fitness activities each week and you will be insured against any accidents that occur while participating in them. UCLouvain sport and fitness information.
The university provides a Student Support Service (‘Service d’aide’) that can help if you find yourself facing a crisis, such as trouble adapting to university life, personal or relationship problems, financial difficulties, health problems, or challenges related to a disability. Some 50 professionals (social workers, psychologists, doctors) are here to help. Information on social and financial support. Information on health and psychological support (fr).
No. Students of many religions attend UCLouvain, and no religious involvement is required.