Prof. dr. Romain Meeusen, Vice-Rector Internationalisation picture: @Jean Cosyn

International Relations at the VUB

Ranked as one of the world’s top comprehensive universities with a history spanning 180 years, the VUB combines award-winning research and accredited English and Dutch-taught study programmes (Bachelors, Masters and PhDs) with high impact on social, economic and cultural innovation.

At the VUB, students and professors work closely together. We coach our students to become open-minded world citizens, with a strong commitment towards sustainable humanistic societal values. Our graduates are well prepared for professional careers in an increasingly multilingual and international environment. An independent research attitude, as well as a multidisciplinary, international and intercultural environment are key features in the VUB’s ambition to be an open, international university platform. Our expertise and strategic position at the heart of Europe makes us an ideal partner for excellent research and education with a wide outlook on Europe and the world.

Go Abroad Fair Goes DIGITAL

Where will you go next?

COVID-19 impact

Pleinlaan 2 (visitors: 5), 1050 Brussels, Belgium.
+32 (0)26148101- international.relations@vub.be

our offices are closed.
Contact us by phone/email

Why study in Brussels and at the VUB ?

Listen to what some of our international students have to say on why they choose Brussels and the VUB for their studies. Here's an overview of all available courses in English: www.vub.ac.be/en/programmes

The VUB is one of Europe's top universities!

The VUB is among the top 17% of universities worldwide, according to the 2021 QS World University Rankings - VUB scores particularly well in terms of teaching quality and international attractiveness for teaching staff. Brussels is 43rd in QS Best Student Cities ranking from 2019. When asked to name the best thing about studying in Brussels, one student commented: “The diversity of people and the many internship and job opportunities.” - read on to the full story.VUB is one of Europe's most innovative universities, appearing in 59th position in Reuters' top 100 European list of most innovative universities. Also, check out the listing for the U-Multirank



You can email us at prospective.students@vub.be to set up a TEAMS meeting with one of our recruiters to answer any questions you have. Just email us the topics you want to discuss and we'll set up a time for a chat. 

27-28 November 2020 - INDONESIA - We'll be at the virtual EHEF Fair.

Latest News from International

The Caroline Pauwels Relief Fund: When students have difficulties, talent, effort and dedication are not enough to obtain a diploma. To guarantee equal education opportunities, rector Caroline Pauwels launches a Relief Fund for students, to help those in financial, material, social or psychological need. The return on investment into this fund is helping to make our society more resilient and inclusive, and VUB Foundation is looking for partners: alumni, enterprises and VUB-sympathizers. Spread the word!

Six VUB students present their undergraduate research at ICUR2020: Together with its EUTOPIA partners, VUB is participating for the second year at ICUR2020 and we are proud to have six of our students present. They are all in action on 29 September, and the presentations can be followed via the ICUR App (icurportal.com). 

Where next for university development cooperation? In the last few years, the usefulness of university development cooperation has increasingly been questioned. But according to Nico Koedam and Kora Tushune, such North-South partnerships are key in the search for answers to global issues like climate change.

VUB International Relations Photo Book 2019: Discover what the VUB International Relations office has been up to this past year with our 2019 photo highlights!

Stars4Media project is launches call for applications for exchange and training for young media professionals across Europe: VUB coordinates the EU-funded project. 

VUB International Relations office wins EU project UNISTAR and is partner in SIEM: In addition, the VUB is also coordinator of three capacity-building projects. 

CALL OPEN for Internationalisation activities organised by VUB students - funding available!

EU's biggest enlargement anniversary theme of VUB's first Europe Day: On 16 October the VUB International Relations office organised another thematic day, this time focussing on Europe, with a fair, language try-outs and an academic panel discussion on the 15th anniversary of the EU's biggest enlargement. 

VUB, University of Cambridge, ESPCI, Empa and SupraPolix receive 3 million Euro in European support for groundbreaking research into self-healing robots: This support is provided in the framework of the "Future & Emerging Technologies" programme of the European Union

Blending modern European counselling practices with Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness concept: VUB Study Guidance centre partner in Erasmus+ project led by the Royal University of Bhutan along with the University of Birmingham and ISMAI in Portugal. The project looks at how to help Bhutan's students' well-being and set up guidance centres, and how to marry Bhutan's famous Gross National Happiness index with Western practices. It's an exciting project!

EUTOPIA awarded €5mln by Erasmus+! EUTOPIA, the European alliance of six universities, set up to create a connected and inclusive community to address global and local challenges, has been awarded a €5mln grant by the Erasmus+ 'European Universities' programme. The alliance includes Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the University of Gothenburg, l’Université Paris Seine, the Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, the University of Warwick, and is led by the University of Ljubljana. 

©Academic Refuge Project - http://www.unica-network.eu/sites/default/files/e-handbook_final_0.pdf


Why Higher Education Values Matter at Universities Matter: Amid record number of displacements in 2018 (70mln), making the pathway to higher education more accessible for refugees and academics at risk is more important than ever. Embedding higher education values in every day life at universities is vital. The VUB International Relations was at two events the past week to present its efforts to welcome refugee students and help academics at risk.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi in Berlin said "Students can play a vital role in advocating for refugees", putting power of students and education centre stage! 

Find out what our VUB Welcome Refugee Programme is all about, and how to still apply for the preparatory year (InCAMPUS) if you need more support/guidance. 

Honorary doctorate for José Ramón Saborido Loidi: On 15 May 2019 the five Flemish universities each awarded one honorary doctorate to a person who has had impact in the field of academic development cooperation. The honorary doctorate of the VUB went to Professor José Ramón Saborido Loidi from Cuba.

The Monsoon School: In February, 18 students from the 2nd year Master of Oceans and Lakesspent 12 days in Zanzibar to participate in the Monsoon School, a project funded by Vliruos. We talked with Professor Nico Koedam about the Monsoon School to find out more.

The Science Behind Chocolate: With variations in sweetness and bitterness depending on the variety, chocolate is highly popular in the form of bars, as coating or filling or as a (hot or cold) drink. You’d be forgiven to think that with its wide availability globally, its development and production into consumable goodness is easy-peasy. However, looking at the science of how chocolate starts its life, a different story unfolds.

Large VUB delegation visits Bolivia to further research cooperation, as well as staff and student mobility. The trip comes after an agreement was signed between VUB and the Comité Ejecutivo de la Universidad Boliviana (CEUB) last year.

The LEAD2 Project Launched! Capacity Building in Higher Education project supported by the Erasmus+ programme runs from January 2019-January 2022

VUB strenghtens ties with the Université Internationale de Rabat in Morocco:  From Monday 11 till Thursday 14 February two colleagues from the VUB International Relations office will be spending time at the Université Internationale de Rabat (UIR) in Morocco. It’s part of an Erasmus+ staff mobility project.

Some 35 full degree programmes taught in English!

Check out our academic offer

EXCHANGE: Enrich your student life and study in Brussels!

Incoming Students

EXCHANGE: Expand your horizons & study abroad!

Go Abroad Students

International Student Platform

The ISP is an advisory committee to the Student Council of the VUB. The International Student Platform represents the interests of international students who come from 129 countries around the world. This student structure takes on any issue the VUB's international students may face. The ISP, which consists of a group of 12 international students,  plays an active part in the decision-making process at the VUB.


VUB coordinates or is a partner in several international projects.

Some projects below…


Everyone knows about the "classical" development cooperation, but did you know that VUB is involved in several research and teaching activities with universities in the Global South? Each year, VUB professors work together with their colleagues from countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia to tackle global issues and perform excellent research. At the same time, student mobility (North–South or South-North) is geared towards the exchange of knowledge and experience. As such, the whole VUB community and their partners are  each strengthening their capacity and building sustainable relationships. The University Development Cooperation unit is part of the VUB International Relations office. 

More information on our vision, projects and publications can be found on our dedicated page.


In 2016 VUB started a project on Arabic language courses for children between 6-15 years old. It is the first secular Arabic language course in Belgium with academic supervision. The curriculum is checked by specialists and PhD experts in Arabic language. It is a non-profit programme where each lesson contains extra learning activities next to the regular teaching, such as games, Arabic songs etc. Students will receive a certificate of attendance by VUB. A video was made (in English) to showcase the classes and the reason why the VUB is coordinating this project.

Check out ALEF Project website for more information.


The LEAD2 project a Capacity Building in Higher Education project supported by the Erasmus+ programme. The aims of the LEAD2 project are to: Strengthen the capacity of higher education institutions in governance and academic leadership; Enhance the knowledge and capacities of academic leaders and potential academic leaders on university governance and leadership; Implement innovative and targeted blended training (MOOC, workshops & peer learning) for academic leaders; Deepen the understanding of university governance and academic leadership through comparative studies; Create an online Knowledge Base,  Referencing Tool & Networks; Establish an EU-China Center on University Leadership. The project is coordinated by VUB . 


Enhancing Mental Health, Counseling, and Wellbeing Support for University Students in Bhutan (EMCWUB) is a Capacity Building in Higher Education project supported by the Erasmus+ programme. The project aims to establish a counselling service centre at all the colleges in the Royal University of Bhutan in order to create an enabling and inclusive environment for students’ development. These counselling centers will embody the hybrid of western counselling principles, and the Bhutanese concept of Gross National Happiness. The project is coordinated by the Royal University of Bhutan and VUB is one of the three European partner institutions.


The main goal of the Sport Physical Education And Coaching in Health (SPEACH) Project is to increase awareness and behavioural change in sports professionals and European citizens towards an active and healthy lifestyle.


The overall objective of EUCA INVEST is to strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship and creativity within Higher Education in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. Higher education institutions should become actively interested parties for socio-economic development by strengthening the collaboration between the "corporate mindset" of the University and the "academic involvement" of the industry. 

Partners & Network

Global challenges require going beyond the borders of individual institutions. The VUB therefore supports international relationships emerging from bottom-up initiatives from within the academic community, but also builds institutional partnerships with leading like-minded partners. Our relationship with each partner is unique, but fits into the three levels of the VUB’s mission: research, education and societal impact creation.

Education: individual or group student mobility; staff mobility and international guest lecturers; joint curriculum development; double or joint diploma programmes; summer schools.

Research: collaborative research projects; joint PhDs; international joint research groups.

Societal impact: societal outreach; knowledge and technology transfer; incubator facilities; interregional development.

Strategic partners with whom the VUB has exceptionally strong alliances at these three levels, with an ongoing commitment for expanding the collaboration to several disciplines and faculties, are considered Privileged International Partners (PIP). Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China, is the VUB’s first PIP.

Check out the map showing European mobility intensive partnerships.

EUTOPIA - European University

EUTOPIA is a challenge-led, student-centred, place-based inclusive alliance of entrepreneurial, change focused universities. The EUTOPIA alliance brings together 6 universities in Europe and unites over: 
165,000 students - 30,000 members of staff - 90,000 international alumni. With research centres in 760 areas, EUTOPIA’s expertise spans multiple areas, highlighting the network’s breadth of knowledge.

European Networks - UNICA

UNICA is an institutional network of 46 universities from 35 capital cities in Europe, combining over 150,000 staff and 1,800,000 students.

European Networks - EUA

The European University Association (EUA) is the representative organisation of universities and national rectors’ conferences in 47 European countries. EUA plays a crucial role in the Bologna Process and in influencing EU policies on higher education, research and innovation. Thanks to its interaction with a range of other European and international organisations EUA ensures that the independent voice of European universities is heard, wherever decisions are being taken that will impact on their activities.

European Networks - IMISCOE

International Migration, Integration & Social Cohesion (IMISCOE) is Europe's largest network for migration and diversity research institutes. BIRMM-VUB was accepted as an institutional member of the network in early July 2018. Our expertise on migration and diversity will contribute to IMISCOE's success. VUB's location in the capital of Europe, which is the second most diverse city in the world, constitutes an outstanding location for IMISCOE's activities and visiting researchers.

European Networks - EIASM

The European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) is an international network for management research and teaching that includes more than 50,000 management scientists from all over the world. EIASM's mission is to enhance high quality in research and doctoral studies in management and related disciplines.

Global Networks - Scholars at Risk

Scholars at Risk works with its global network of higher education institutions around the world to arrange temporary research and teaching positions for threatened scholars.

Global Networks - Top International Managers in Engineering

Top International Managers in Engineering (T.I.M.E.) is a network of leading technical universities and engineering schools founded in 1989. The members have a strong international dimension in their research, teaching and industrial relations, and are all committed to international cooperation and student exchanges and recognition of studies abroad. The association consists of 57 members in 21 countries.

Global Networks - Universities Against the Death Penalty

Membership of the Universities Against the Death Penalty Network implies the conscientious application of member universities’ moral and intellectual weight and voice. It is a statement of support for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. Network members lend their name to the struggle.


See below a selection of knowledge hubs active at VUB


The heart of Europe can without any doubt be considered as one of the most creative places on Earth. Painters, video artists, fashion designers, musicians, choreographers, film directors, … living and working in Belgium and its capital Brussels, are among the most respected masters in their specific domain, worldwide.

Our experiences of the last years - particularly in the Far East - in tight collaboration with Belgian and Flemish artists made it clear that this creative potential can serve as an excellent instrument for the promotion of Belgium and its regions as a place in the world that is driven by a unique form of innovation and creativity. A project methodology applying a special grass-roots approach was developed. The preparation of each project starts with the development of a human network in each city, connecting local artists, curators, universities and business people. This methodology, which must be understood as intertwining cultural and academic diplomacy, comes with the surprising effect that the opening of an exhibition becomes at the same time the celebration of a first constructive phase of a relationship. All events are fine-tuned to local interests, putting talented contemporary artists, belonging to different cultures, in the spotlight while combining artistic creation with academic reflection centred around thematically challenging and appealing themes.  There is always an educational aspect linked to the events, involving students in the arts.

Contact Information and opening hours

The international relations office welcome desk for students and visitors is closed throughout November 2020 for any in-person meetings due to the coronavirus situation.

We remain available for general questions on email international.relations@vub.be or telephone +32(0)2 614 8101. For specific questions on,

Who is who

Meet the team:

Vice-Rector & Director


Romain Meeusen, Vice-Rector International Relations

Jacqueline Couder, Director International Relations office

Welcome & Information Desk & Secretariat

Ingrid Bauwens

Carine Steenwinckels

John Vandewijer

Steven Verhulst

Rita Vynck

Social Services, Finance, Data management & international scholarships

Patrick Boeckstijns, Social services

Hilde De Haseleer, Data management & international scholarships

Vincent Spiessens, Finance

University Development Cooperation

Adriana Moreno Cely

Francoise De Cupere

Yann De Troyer

Martine Gheysen

Olivia Lebbe

Jannes Motmans

EU Cell

Email incoming exchange students: exchange.incoming@vub.ac.be

Email outgoing exchange students: exchange.outgoing@vub.ac.be 

Email: erasmusprojects@vub.be

Khaola Al Rifai

Eugenia Marchetti

Eric Valck

Ann-Sophie Vanderschueren

Sander Verhoef

International marketing, recruitment & communications

Daisy Bocchi, International marketing & recruitment

Maarten Gernay

Kim Hardie, International communications

Diana Kentsch, International data governance

Xiaohong Tong, International marketing & recruitment + VUB China Network

Up-front Financing, International MoUs & State Missions

Annabel Van Damme

Student Refugee Programme

Email: refugee@vub.ac.be

Khaola Al Rifai

Tahaney Kattash

Brussels Diplomatic Academy

Email: bda@vub.be

URL: www.brusselsdiplomaticacademy.eu 

Delia Barbu

Gunter Gaublomme

Len Ishmael

Cailin Mackenzie


Arabic Language Classes Project

Email: arabic.class@vub.be

Hala Aboud

Sami Azar

+ Teachers: Rita Khayat, Roula Murjane, Rola Ibrahim, Nemah Morjanah, and Abdulmuhimn Othman.