When Chinese students plan to study abroad, they often dream of the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. Belgium, located in the heart of Europe, can be seen more as the hidden champion for Chinese students. Chinese students who opted for ‘exotic’ Belgium can confirm how unique and enriching the Belgium experience can be. They return to China with a great knowledge of Europe, numerous friends and a great future network. They were right to opt for Belgium! President Xi Jinping certainly had good reasons to visit the College of Europe in April 2014. During his speech at the College of Europe he rightfully said: ‘To move our relationship forward, China needs to know more about Europe, and Europe needs to know more about China (Xi Jinping, 2014, p. 3).’ Chinese students who experienced Belgium can confirm – it’s a real European experience.
Belgium (officially the Kingdom of Belgium) is located at the heart of Europe. It borders with the Netherlands in the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. Thanks to its geographic location, Paris, London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are only few hours away from Belgium. The capital Brussels hosts the headquarters of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In addition, more than 200 international administrative centers and more than 1,000 official organizations have set up offices here. It is not only the capital of Belgium but also the official capital of Europe.
European universities aim to be as attractive as possible for Chinese students. Each Chinese student counts. Certainly, Oxford or Warwick University, offer a high level of education and it’s easy to make Chinese friends. Yet it is difficult to fully engage in the foreign culture, because there are classes only offered for Chinese students. In Belgium however, Chinese students will find themselves among Belgian and international students. This allows for a full cultural and educational experience.
The Belgium education system is one of the best and most highly regarded systems in Europe. Belgian universities are known for their pioneering research in a wide range of disciplines, such as economics, business, medicine, veterinary medicine, physics and chemistry. In recent years, major headway has been made by Belgian universities in the fields of microelectronics, nuclear energy, biomedicine, materials, and environmental studies with some key breakthrough moments. Since 2016, KU Leuven has been named by Reuters as Europe’s most innovative university four years in a row and University of Antwerp is ranked No. 5 by Times Higher Education Millennials 2020.
Belgian universities understand the competition they are in with other international destinations. To attract Chinese students, they offer services to help students feel at home and gain a full emersive experience. Just like China, the Belgian educational landscape offers Master’s level Business School education, which mostly hold international accreditations. In Belgium, the most reputable Business Schools are Antwerp Management School (AMS), Vlerick Business School, Louvain School of Management and Solvay Business School. Their programs are very popular among international students, because they offer smaller classes with bespoke post-master and PhD programs. Executive Master Programs offer a great way to enhance knowledge, build up a strong network and receive prestigious Master’s degree diplomas.
he Financial Times has ranked Vlerick Business School and Antwerp Management School (AMS) in the top 50 of European Business schools. AMS was even ranked number 45 worldwide in its Executive MBA Ranking in 2021, the highest ranking ever achieved by a Belgian business school.
Business schools offer a very unique, personalized experience, in combination with unique educational offering. Students embark on a personal development journey through which they are able to grow as a leader and build up a network in Europe. During this journey, students enjoy a tailor-made program that helps them develop a global mindset and thus also understand Europe better.
If Chinese students aim for a PhD degree, Belgium also holds an advantage. A Belgium PhD degree is highly desired and considered very prestigious within Europe. If students aim to enjoy the service of a Business School while receiving a PhD degree from one of the highly ranked universities, there are joint PhD programs for executives at a business school combined with a university.
For more information on the educational landscape in Belgium and the history of the country, please click here.
- Information on studying in the French community: http://www.studyinbelgium.be/en
- Information on studying in the Flemish community: https://www.studyinflanders.be/
- Xi Jinping. (2014). Speech By H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China At the College of Europe. Bruges: College of Europe & Xinhuanet