三人行,必有我师焉 When I walk along with two others, I certainly have someone to learn from. - Confucius 孔子

Confucius Institute | Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The Confucius Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB-CI) is a collaboration between Sichuan University, Renmin University of China and the VUB. 

Officially launched in 2016, the VUB-CI is embedded within VUB as an internal knowledge hub, ensuring similar quality standards, trust, and objectivity as the VUB itself. It pursues pertinence in research, language teaching, cultural exchanges, entrepreneurial attitudes, innovation and knowledge transfer. The VUB-CI was established with four main purposes:

  1. Supporting academic research and academic reflection on (contemporary) China in collaboration with Chinese universities and institutions. 
  2. Contributing to the enhancement of VUB educational and research cooperation with Chinese universities and institutions
  3. Deepening the understanding of (contemporary) China
  4. Promoting the teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture

Situated in Brussels, the Confucius Institute has also a special focus on EU officers, representatives from international organisations and headquarters in Brussels, diplomats, and representatives from member states as well as NGOs.

Introduction Video

29 June 2015 | Confucius Institute Headqurters (Hanban) and VUB Agreement in the presence of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel.

Our partners

学而时习,不亦说乎? 孔子 | To study and become skilled over time, isn't that a joy? Confucius

Chinese Language Classes at VUB-CI

VUB- CI Chinese language classes of every level ( beginners, intermediate and advanced) are open to everyone outside VUB. Courses are organised at VUB Etterbeek campus with the guarantee that: 

  • the teacher is a native speaker
  • the language of instruction is English
  • we use HSK textbooks and course-levels are organised accordingly

Group courses will start again on 10 February 2020 and they will end on 29 May 2020. Tailor-made private classes that can also be organised on request by email.

FOR MORE INFO ON PRICES, TIMETABLES AND REGISTRATION please consult the dedicated webpage.

Tai Chi Courses

The Confucius Institute at the VUB offers Tai Chi courses, both at the Etterbeek campus and at the Jette campus. Tai Chi is a soft Chinese martial art that was derived from Kung Fu. It is characterised by slow, fluid movements of the body that increase the strength of the body, concentration and awareness. Starting from academic year 2019-2020, the Tai Chi and Kung Fu courses at VUB are also accessible with the VUB sports card. Find out more and enroll here.

Open Courses

Every semester, the VUB-CI organises courses that allow everyone (VUB student or not) to learn more about Chinese culture. The courses are organised as a series of lectures around specific China - related topics.

More information on the open courses for the Autumn Semester of 2019 are displayed on the dedicated webpage.

    Summer Camp

    Every year, the VUB-CI organises a  summer camp to China of two weeks in collaboration with the two partner universities, Renmin University of China and Sichuan University. Students have the unique opportunity to combine Chinese language classes and culture introduction classes with a broad variety of cultural activities.

    The Summer camp is open to VUB-CI students aged between 15 and 30 that attended at least 39 hours of courses during the academic year. The Confucius Institute covers the greater part of local expenses in China for all participants. The summer camp is also accessible to people older than 30 who are also enrolled as students at the VUB. 
    For info, find more information about the arrangements of last summer camp here.

    Credit Courses at VUB

    From the Autumn semester of 2017, the VUB-CI supports the Arts and Philosophy Department in offering credit courses for the Chinese minor embedded in the Multilingual Master in Linguistics and Literary Studies, an elective module within the profile of Multilingual Mediation and Communication. The module  includes Chinese language and culture courses for a total of 30 ECTS spread over two years.

    • In the first year of the minor, two courses are offered: Chinese Language Proficiency I & II (both semesters),  and Chinese History and Culture I (first semester).
    • In the second year, the scheduled courses are Chinese Language Proficiency III, Chinese History and Culture II and Chinese Language and Literature.

    The Chinese Language and Literature course can also be given in the first year, depending on the distribution of elective courses between the second and third year of the bachelor programme at VUB.

    Courses in Schools

    The VUB-CI has established cooperation with few secondary and primary schools in Belgium that intend to gradually integrate Chinese language and culture courses in their school curricula. By learning Chinese, primary school students develop a stronger sensitivity for different languages and develop a stronger appreciation for diversity in society.

    Started in 2017, the Chinese language project at the Voskenslaan Primary School currently focuses on an optional talent class for children from the 1st to the 4th grade and an integrated Chinese language course for all students in the 5th and 6th grade. A total of around 150 students are being taught Chinese once every two weeks at present. In 2018 the VUB-CI started a new collaboration with De Wijze Boom or Wise Tree Primary School. Chinese language classes at this school are offered to around 60 pupils. 

    If you are a School Director interested in offering Chinese language and culture classes to your pupils, please contact us at vub-ci@vub.be

    学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆 - 孔子 | Learning without thought means labor lost; thought without learning is perilous - Confucius

    Supporting research at VUB

    The VUB-CI, through its annual call for proposals, supports VUB research collaboration with Chinese universities and institutions, thereby promoting knowledge exchange, mutual understanding and academic cooperation with Chinese universities and institutions.

    As a part of the VUB, the VUB-CI fully embraces the principle of free inquiry and offers a neutral platform where independent and critical analyses of all subjects can be carried out.The funding for research projects is based on a co-financing by the research promotor (VUB ZAP member) and the VUB-CI on a 50/50 basis. Funds can differ according to the entity of the project and they are subject to VUB-CI and Confucius Institute Headquarters’ (Hanban) approvals.

    In total, 6 research projects are being funded on different subject areas such as Linguistics, Sport Education, Political Science, Culture and Media & Communication.

    2019 Call for proposals for research projects NOW OPEN!

    To download VUB-CI 2019 call for research projects proposals please click here.

    Deadline for application is 10 December 2018.

    Projects awarded in 2016

    • Internationalising the Chinese martial arts: The development of a Wushu teaching method for children in Europe, Prof. dr.Theeboom Marc , Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy
    • Intercultural Pragmatic Competence and Awareness in Second Language LearnersProf. dr. Peeters, Ann Department of Linguistics and Literature Studies.

    Projects awarded in 2017

    • Chinese and European Perspectives on Moral Constraints on War, Prof. dr. Coppieters Bruno, Head of Department of Political Science
    • Chinese Academic entrepreneurs: who are they and what drives themProf. dr. Crispeels Thomas, Department of Business Technology and Operations
    • Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, critical heritage studies and animation in China: a comparative perspective, Prof. dr. Jacobs Marc, Coordinator UNESCO Chair on Critical Heritage Studies and the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, Faculty of Arts
    • China Young Cultural and Creative Talents Nurturing, Prof. dr. Segers Katia; Department of Communication Sciences

    知者不惑,仁者不忧,勇者不惧 . 孔子 | Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace - Confucius

    Events & Conferences

    While supporting specific research projects, the VUB-CI encourages academic collaboration and facilitates the knowledge exchange with Chinese universities and institutions through the organisation of conferences, workshops, seminars etc.

    In close cooperation with partners in Brussels and with the network of CIs in Brussels and in Europe, from 2016 to present, VUB-CI has jointly organised and supported more than 60 academic events on a wide range of topics with a focus on China or EU-China relations. To have an overview of the events organised by VUB-CI, you can download the list of VUB-CI 2016-2018 activities.

    Call for proposals for activities

    The academic activities of VUB-CI are either organised directly by VUB-CI or proposed and implemented by VUB staff. The VUB-CI publishes every year a VUB-CI call for proposal for activities. The aim of the call is to support VUB staff in organising academic activities showcasing and/or investigating different aspects of (contemporary) Chinese societal issues, policies, cultural practices as well as the relationship between China and the European Union.

    The variety of partners and the interdisciplinarity of the researchers and professors invited to the events has allowed to cover a great diversity of topics over time.


    2019 Call for proposals for activities NOW OPEN!

    • Are you part of VUB staff ( teaching staff, administrative staff, Phd student etc.) ?
    • Would you like to organise an academic activity ( guest lecture, workshop, seminar,etc.) aimed at investigating China related topics and/or and event showcasing Chinese cultural practices?

    We have just published the VUB-CI 2019 call for activity proposals. Download the call here

    Deadline for application is 10 December 2018.  For more info: vub-ci@vub.be

    Your Voice

    Are you a Sinologist or a China expert not based at VUB?

    Is there a particular topic that interests you and you would like to suggest for an event?  Please just contact us at vub-ci@vub.be. We would like to hear from you!  



    开卷有益 - 孔子 | Reading broadens the mind - Confucius

    VUB-CI Bookshop

    Are you a student of VUB-CI and you need a textbook or workbook for your language course?

    Through our online bookshop, you can easily find the book you need online.

    Click here to visit our bookshop

    VUB-CI Chinese Language App

    The Confucius institute at the VUB is also mobile now!

    We have created an APP that assists language learners to review courses and learn new content with a user-friendly design and thematic contents.

    At the moment, the VUB-CI Chinese language app is available only for VUB and VUB-CI students. If you are a student and you are interested in this learning tool, you can download the  app ‘Confucius_VUB’ from Google Playstore or Apple Store and then create an account.  You will then need VUB-CI authorization for validating your account and start using the app. For your account validation, please contact us at: vub-ci@vub.be

    Confucius Institute Scholarships

    The Confucius Institute Scholarship programme offers several types of scholarship. 

    1. Language Teaching Scholarship (Language Teaching)
      • Scholarship for Master's Degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (MTCSOL)
        • max. 2 years scholarship
        • language requirements: min. 210 on HSK level 5 test a 60 on HSKK (oral test).
      • Scholarship for Bachelor's Degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (BTCSOL)
        • max. 4 years scholarship
        • language requirements: min. 210 on HSK level 4 and 60 on HSKK
    2. General Scholarships
      • Scholarship for One Academic Year Study
        • max.11 months scholarship
        • language requirements: HSK 3 (min. 270) or HSK 4 (min. 180) depending on subject (see link)
      • Scholarship for One Semester Study
        • max. 5 months
        • language requirements: min. 210 on HSK 3
      • Scholarship for Four Week study
        • HSK test score required
        • depending on format, only available in group (min. 10-15 participants)

    More information available on the Confucius Institute's Scholarships Website.


    China Studies Programme

    Under the China Studies Programme, Hanban provides the other following opportunities for visiting China or supporting academic reserach on China. 

    1. Joint Research Ph.D. Fellowship
      • 6-24 months
      • language requirements: HSK level 3
    2. Ph. D. in China Fellowship
      • 3-4 years
      • language requirements: HSK level 5
    3. 'Understanding China' Fellowship
      • duration depends on format (Visiting scholar to China, short visite, Chinese visiting scholar)
      • no language requirements
    4. Young Leaders Fellowship
      • 2-6 weeks
      • participants under the age of 40
    5. International Conference Grant
    6. Publication Grant

    More information about the application requirements, procedures, funding, etc. Can be found on the China Studies Programme Website.

    Meet the Directors and our staff

    Director - Prof. Dr. Jun ZHOU

    There is currently no China director present at the Confucius Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Prof. ZHOU Jun, who will take this position, has not yet arrived in Brussels.

    Director - Prof. Dr. Chang ZHU

    Prof. dr. Chang Zhu is Professor in Educational Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel since 2010. Prof. Chang Zhu coordinates the LEAD (Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education) project (from 2015-2018); and from 2013-2016 she was project coordinator of the EU-China DOC project under the EU Erasmus Mundus Program. Prof. Chang Zhu is director of the EU-China Higher Education Research Center (ECHE), the Online and Blended Learning Competence Center, and the Belgian Director of the Confucius Institute at VUB. She is promoter and principal investigator of several key fundamental research projects in the field of higher education, internationalization, university governance, academic leadership, international academic mobility, student competence and literacy development, educational innovation, online and blended learning, MOOC, ICT-supported learning and social inclusion. 

    Prof. dr. Shan QIN

    Prof. dr. Shan QIN is from Jinan University, Guangzhou, China. In 1993, she obtained her MA Degree in World History at Wuhan University. From 1996 to 1999, she was a doctoral researcher at Nankai University, with a special focus on Woodrow Wilson’s policies to China. After receiving her PhD degree, Prof. QIN has been teaching courses, such as American Government & Politics, Chinese Government & Politics, and Modern China, at Jinan University.

    In 2006, Prof. QIN was partially funded by China Scholarship Council and went to Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the US, as a visiting scholar. She visited Temple University again from 2013 to 2014, as a Fulbright scholar.

    Prof. QIN has various areas of interest, but she particularly focuses on the US-China relations, American Studies, Chinese History and Culture.

    Language Teacher - Deng Yun

    Deng Yun has been teaching Chinese as a foreign language for more than 7 years. She is a Chinese language teacher from School of Overseas Education, Sichuan University. She also has worked in 2 Confucius Institutes before coming to VUB.  

    She is experienced in teaching Mandarin Chinese for different levels. Her class is informative, interactive and always innovated by immerging students into various language activities.

    She is a traveler and enthusiastic about exploring the regions and cultures of Chinese minority nationalities. She also volunteered in an environmental protection NGO group in Qinghai Province.


    Language Teacher - Dr. Lei ZHANG

    Lei Zhang is a lecturer and researcher in law at VUB and has taught Chinese language for ten years.She has the qualification of a Chinese lawyer, junior judge, junior prosecutor and notary public.

    She worked as a TV program director at the CCTV, legal consultant at Belgian law firms and project manager at ETRO, VUB.

    Project officer - Maarten GERNAY

    As a sinologist, Maarten's strongest interests lie both in traditional Chinese culture, such as art, calligraphy, tea culture, history, weiqi and more, and in the complex state of China's modernity: Chinese domestic politics, technology and international relations etc.

    Before arriving at the VUB, Maarten worked as a translator and interpreter for a Belgian Chemical company, assisting in importing Chinese knowhow. After switching to a more political direction as an assistant in the Taipei Representative Office, he had the opportunity to start at the VUB as a managing assistant. Here he organises the applications of incoming Chinese students and the educational side of the Confucius Institute, both in a part-time function.

    Our partners