Monday 18 September – ​ The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has launched its welcome week with a campus festival in Etterbeek. Through a series of information sessions and fun activities, the new student intake can get to know VUB, its support services, student associations and each other. More than three in four students signed up to be part of this warm welcome.

In keeping with tradition, VUB is holding its annual welcome week to give new Belgian and international students a great start to their time here. Since last year, it’s taken the form of a campus festival. A welcome show in aula Q is followed by a series of outdoor activities, including a zipline, silent disco, graffiti art, food trucks and a bar.

“We’ve noticed that new students really appreciate a warm welcome to our university community after the difficult Covid years,” says VUB rector Jan Danckaert. “Via a series of info sessions and fun activities, we let the new student intake get to know VUB, its support services, student associations and each other. That’s how we build connections together. When classes begin next week, they’re already familiar with their new environment. That contributes to a smooth start and better study results.”

Settling in

The first day of the welcome week is also the point when 850 students move in to their dorm room on campus.

“I was stressed about this moment, but it actually went very smoothly,” says new political science student Floris vanlinge. “After getting my key, I could immediately start decorating my room. I also got to meet met my three roommates. It made me feel immediately welcome on campus.”

Student Floris voor het eerst op kot

Floris vanlinge, new political science student at VUB

It’s also the perfect chance for new students to meet staff and their dorm coach.

“It’s really important to us that students feel at home in their dorms from the start,” says Bart Geelen, head of Student Accommodation. “That’s why our staff, including the specially appointed dorm coach, Tino, are there to answer all their questions. Students can also turn to them during the academic year. Outside working hours, the concierge takes care of them. So they always have someone they can count on while they’re at VUB.”

English-language courses growing in popularity

The registration period at VUB is still in full swing, with an upward trend in the English-language undergraduate courses Business Economics and Linguistics and Literary Studies. That’s a good sign, says rector Jan Danckaert:

“Ever since its inception, VUB’s location in the capital of Europe has made it an international university, with around 25% of students being international students. As well as Dutch-language programmes, VUB offers English-language courses that take into account supply and demand. That’s all part of the university’s ambition to attract foreign students and so maintain its international appeal. It’s a demand stimulated by Flanders and Europe and the labour market need for candidates for whom we must also be able to recruit internationally.”

Courses such as Civil Engineering, Commercial Engineering and Medicine are also doing well. The application period for enrolments for the 2023-2024 academic year is open until 30 September.