Brussels is the capital of Belgium and also hosts many political and administrative headquarters of the European Union, such as European Council, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. Although the EU has no official capital, Brussels has long been given this de facto title. The city of Brussels and its municipalities has a population of nearly 2 million and is officially bilingual with both French and Flemish spoken here.

There are several universities in Brussel, notably the French speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Dutch-Speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel. You will not generally find courses at these universities taught solely in English. These are the reserve of registered institutes of Higher Education, such as Vesalius College.

Brussels has a lot to offer with it’s cosmopolitan culture, trendy nightlife, contrasting architecture and historic monuments. There’s plenty for students to do. Brussels, as part of Belgium, is famous for its world class beers and fantastic chocolates.

Video courtesy of

Brussels is a relatively compact city and you can travel easily around via metro, tram and bus networks. As a student studying more than 20 hours a week and under the age of 24, you can access a student pass which is around 200€ a year.

You can also use Villo which is a network of 180 bike rental locations. After paying an access fee (daily, weekly or yearly) you can hire a bike for 30 minutes for free. After that you either return the bike or start paying a usage charge. You will need your bank card for short term hire. Longer term access arrangements will already be linked to your bank.

Getting to and from Brussels

As the “capital of Europe” name suggests, Brussels is really well-connected and it is possible to get to some of Europe’s major cities, such as Paris, Amsterdam and London, in around two to three hours.

To get to and from the UK, there are flights to Brussels Airport several times a day with British Airways and Brussels Airline from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Newcastle. Located around 7 miles from the city centre, the airport is connected to Brussels’ three main stations by a train directly in the terminal buildings.

There is another airport at Charleroi which is around 30 miles away and has a small number of low-cost airline flights to the UK.

It is also possible to take the Eurostar from London St-Pancras to Brussels Midi/Zuid, which takes around 2 hours.

Practicalities of living in Brussels

Not all universities offer halls of residence, so it is common for students to rent in the private sector. Student rooms in with shared facilities and studios cost around 450€ to 700€ a month not including bills. If you are looking for an apartment expect to pay around 700€ - 1000€
You’ll usually be required to pay 2 months rent in advance as a security deposit in addition to your first month’s rent. Rental contracts are usually for 12 months.

Depending on how well you like to live, other living costs include food, books, travel, mobile phone etc will cost around an additional 500€ + a month.

You may need to purchase health insurance in Belgium to cover medical, pharmaceutical and hospitalisation costs. You may be covered for a certain period by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but it’s worth checking with EHIC in the UK and your institution in Belgium. You must have healthcare cover whether it’s through the UK or by a Belgian health insurance company.

Universities in Brussels

About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.