Exchange study at Howest
Apply for exchange study at Howest
This is the application link for Erasmus, Erasmus Belgica and exchange students from our overseas partner institutions, and here you find a an explanation on how to apply via this link. Also students coming in for an internship through one of the Howest study departments need to apply via this link.
Erasmus+ students should use the Learning Agreement form from their home university. Other exchange students can use their own institution’s form or this Learning Agreement.
Non-EEA students (students from outside the European Economic Area) must request a valid student visa for Belgium, even when your home institution is already situated in the EEA. Students who come to Belgium without a valid Belgian visa, cannot be enrolled officially at Howest and are here at their own risk. Count on at least 8 weeks to get a student visa! More visa info.
The Howest application form has to be submitted by:
June 1st for study in Autumn Semester.
- May 1st for nationals from outside the European Economic Area AND for traineeship in Nursing or Psychology. May 1st is the only yearly deadline for traineeships in Nursing, also for Spring of the academic year to follow.
November 30th for study in Spring Semester.
- October 30th for nationals from outside the European Economic Area
You find the Howest admission requirements in the Education and Examination Regulations. For enrolment you need to present yourself in person at the student administration office of the Howest campus where you want to enrol.
Non-exchange students who want to apply for our English-taught semester programmes can do so via the online Application Form above. They can attend those programmes as Postgraduate courses. In that case the minimum diploma requirement is a Bachelor Degree. The fee for each of the Postgraduate semester programmes is a €1000, non-refundable. Please note that our English-taught Semester/Postgraduate programmes are not in themselves degree programmes. An admission letter for those programmes is not sufficient for the Belgian Consular Offices in quite some countries to grant the applicant the necessary entrance visa to Belgium.
Howest language expectations
The minimum proficiency level expected from incoming students is the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Foreign Languages (CEFR), in reading, speaking and understanding skills.
Howest has either English or Dutch as teaching languages.
We expect applying students* to provide proof of their proficiency in the language of instruction in the chosen programme in one of the following ways:
- The results of a (free) online language test which can be related to the CEFR B2 level,such as Dialang and Testpodium. The online test should have been taken under the supervision of the sending institution. The result sheet needs to be stamped and signed by a staff member of the sending institution. (only valid for exchange students)
- An official certificate or score report referring to the European Framework or from one of the recognized language tests, e.g. TOEFL: paper based 550/internet based 79/computer based 213 or IETLS: 5.5, no partial results below 5.
Howest reserves the right to contact the sending university to verify the information on language proficiency, or to contact the applicant to have a telephone or Skype conversation in English.
*The following applicants are not required to document their language skills for study in English or Dutch respectively at Howest:
- applicants from Erasmus programme countries for study/traineeship at Howest coming under the Erasmus programme.
- applicants from countries having the chosen modules´ teaching language as their national language.
- applicants attending a full-time degree programme at their home institution taught in the same language as the Howest modules they are applying for.
English-taught semesters are an integrated part of the Howest Bachelor courses. Howest fully applies the ECTS grading system and awards credits for the successfully achieved course units. After concluding the semester, all students receive an official ECTS transcript of records and Certificate.
Howest grading system
The Transcript issued by Howest contains both the Howest and the ECTS grades. The Howest (and Flemish) grading system is based on evaluations out of 20 points. 10/20 is the pass score. A 16/20 is considered excellent in Flanders, and students obtaining results of 18/20 and more are rather exceptional.
|ECTS grade||% of successful students normally achieving the grade||Definition||Howest grade on 20|
|A||10||EXCELLENT - outstanding performance with only minor errors||16/20 and more|
|B||25||VERY GOOD - above the average standard but with some errors||14/20 &15/20|
|C||30||GOOD - generally sound work with a number of notable errors||12/20 & 13/20|
|D||25||SATISFACTORY- fair but with significant shortcomings||11/20|
|E||10||SUFFICIENT - performance meets the minimum criteria||10/20|
|FX||-||FAIL - some work required before the credit can be awarded||8/20 & 9/20|
|F||-||FAIL - considerable further work is required||7/20 and less|
For partner universities who prefer to work with grading tables:
Howest participates in the European EGRACONS project, which enables universities to convert grades based on a Grading Table system. EGRACONS is fully compliant with the guidelines in the ECTS Users’ Guide 2015 and is officially mentioned there as an example of good practice.
You can find our tables in the EGRACONS tool. We invite you to join the steadily growing group of EGRACONS users, which will it make it really easy for both parties to operate the correct conversions.
For exchange students sent by our Erasmus and overseas partner institutions this course is tuition free.
Non-exchange students pay a tuition fee of a € 1000 per postgraduate semester. The fee does not include course or other materials, nor the cost for cultural visits or study excursions (transportation, museum entrance …). Those have to be paid on location.
Howest has cashless campuses. Payments can be made through a debit card. Don’t forget to activate the Maestro function on it before you leave your country.
Howest Students Affairs (Stuvo) will help you find suitable accommodation.
As soon as your application has been approved by Howest, go to Stuvo’s website and you will find specific information regarding the housing possibilities Howest helps facilitate for internationals students, and about how to rent one of these rooms.
A student room in Bruges will tipically cost you between €250 and €400 per month; a studio flat between €400 and €600. A student room in Kortrijk will generally cost you between €270 and €470 per month.
The sooner you apply and start the accommodation procedures, the higher your chances to get a room which comes up to your expectations. Howest cannot be expected to offer ‘emergency housing assistance’ upon arrival. Here you find Stuvo’s housing brochure with tips.
Next to housing Student Affairs are also the ones to contact for all the things that can make your life as a student more comfortable. Think about mobility, sports, … You will hear all about it during the Orientation Week preceding your semester at Howest.
Insurance incoming students
University Insurance Policy incoming students
Incoming exchange students without insurance coverage by their home institution will be covered by the Howest insurance policy for third-party liability and physical accidents during the school related activities and on their way to and back from the campus or work placement, but not during private time of the exchange period. That coverage does not replace a normal health and travel assistance insurance, which each incoming student needs to take. The Howest insurance will only come into action after exhausting the student’s Home School Insurance coverage.
- Health, medical and assistance Insurance
All incoming students need to arrange themselves sufficient health, medical and travel assistance insurance, including repatriation of corps. More information
A BUDDY for every International Student!
International students will have buddies to help their international pals feel welcome & at home at Howest in Kortrijk & Bruges!
For incoming international students
What is a buddy?
A Howest student who will welcome and inform international students, show them around in Bruges or Kortrijk, introduce them to the student life at our campuses and make them feel at home. We want all incoming students to be well guided during their stay in Belgium. There’s no better way to ensure this than by connecting international students with Belgian students from our buddy community! We match up regular Howest students with incoming students and connect them in time to make an arrival, meet-up plan!
Starting your studies at Howest soon and haven’t heard from your buddy yet? Contact us!
For Howest regular students
Interested in being a buddy in Kortrijk or Bruges? Read more
Manmohan and Thibeau
"Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave and impossible to forget."
Coloma and Gildo
"Ten months after Gildo and I met, we still remember it as if it was yesterday. Even though I have seen him very little, he knows how much I appreciate him.
Since day one, he has been there to hug me whenever I asked him. Always humble, this is how I would describe you, dear Gildo! Thank you, Gildo, for all the moments. Thank you for making me feel comfortable and protected with you. Good luck in life. You will always have a friend in Spain ❤️!"
Kira and Maxim
"Kira Altomari, from Chestnut Hill College Philadelphia, with an Erasmus+ grant: “I was so impressed with your buddy program. I had Maxim, and I could not have asked for a better buddy. I have to say he was so welcoming and helpful.
I was very excited to receive his message before I had left the U.S. When I got to Brugge I was very nervous, especially about the City Hall meeting, but I didn’t even have to ask Maxim, he offered to take me and make sure everything went smoothly.
There are endless amounts of things I could say about him and everything he did for me. I am so happy to say that I have made a lifelong friend."
Claudia and Lisanne
"For me this Erasmus has been also an opportunity to see a girl that I met in Berlin the previous year, Lisanne Traas, and indeed she ended up being the buddy that Howest assigned to me. It was so good to see her after such a long time and we became very good friends through the buddy programme.
We kept in touch throughout the semester, went to parties together, biked together to university and grabbed coffees in the weekends.
We shared memories that I will cherish forever and I hope we will manage to see each other in a not so distant future. "
Julia & Leonida and Rhuwe & Marlies
"In the picture, you see us, Julia and Leonida, together with our buddies Rhuwe and Marlies. Rhuwe picked us up from the train station on our arrival day and from that moment on our friendship started. We not only met at university for lunch, we also went out for a coffee at Kaffee Renée or went out for a great party night. It was nice to have someone at our side, whenever we needed advice, or you just wanted to meet up somewhere for a coffee.
We very much appreciated that Rhuwe took some time for us on our last day to grab a burger at Paul's Boutique. He also surprised us with Belgium pralines and a goodbye card, as a goodbye present – for Rhuwe it was self-evident that he also cared about the internationals he wasn’t even Buddy for – including Leonida, which we are very grateful for. You saw that he loves being a buddy and meeting internationals. We are glad that we had such nice Buddies and we are looking forward to seeing them again."
We organise a fulltime orientation week before the start of the actual lessons. We warmly recommend all incoming students to attend it, since it will offer you the opportunity to:
- get to know the other incoming students and the locals through fun team building & other activities
- get to know Howest and the campus(es) where you will spend your semester/year
- explore the Howest cities Bruges & Kortrijk together with our local students and dive into student life
- discover some Belgian cultural treasures through student-friendly sightseeing trips to our most beautiful art cities like Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, …
- get loads of practical tips from our students while getting installed in your student room
Howest does not charge any participation fee for the orientation week, but students do need to pay for their own expenses, such as a couple of train trips (with a Go Pass for 10 rides this comes down to max. €5,3/train journey if you're under 26 / single tickets cost €6,4 if you're under 26), some entrance fees (at student & group fares) and your own food & drinks. Everything in the low-cost way, and without any obligation as to participate in the paying activities.
Price for the orientation week in 2019-20 is €53 for the train tickets (some trips will be left) and €47 for the excursions. To be paid cash at the first day of the orientation week.
Dates of the Orientation Week:
- Autumn Semester: 16 – 20 September 2019
- Spring Semester: 3 - 7 February 2020
English for exchange students
Howest offers – for both incoming and outgoing students - an intensive, weekly English course at Howest Kortrijk and Howest Bruges.
Incoming students can obtain 3 ECTS by adding the English course to their Learning Agreement. Students following the English course within their Learning Agreement have priority over students following the course on a voluntary basis. The course is intended for students with various levels, from beginner to intermediate to advanced. Students who are positively assessed and officially enrolled for the course obtain 3 ECTS credits.
Learn how to communicate in an international context by practicing the four communicative skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Outgoing students with little knowledge of English can be admitted to the English course. Students with some knowledge or students who wish to review the basics are also very welcome to attend. Outgoing students, however, have to follow the English course on a voluntary basis without obtaining credits.
This English course provides exchange students with an intensive training in speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, all focused on their ongoing or upcoming academic experience. The lecturer will take the diversity of academic areas of the participants into account, by addressing a range of topics and choosing subjects which are relevant to the attending students when possible.
The course aims at the B2 proficiency level and combines various methodologies, including but not limited to the IELTS approach. We strongly recommended it to all inbound and outbound exchange students who have not fully achieved the B2-level in English at the time of application for their mobility project. For the more proficient students, we still see the course as a useful immersion experience.
The course will also function as an excellent networking opportunity for both the local and the international students.
“English for exchange students” will start in the week of 10 February and will take place in both Bruges and in Kortrijk. The examination period is organised at the end of the semester, with exams on the courses completed in that semester. Students enrolled voluntarily are not able to sit for the exams.
Howest charges no tuition fee for the course, but some learning material has to be paid for by the participating student.
Locations for Autumn semester 2019
- Duration: 24 h
- Start: Thursday 13 February 2020
- Every Thursday, from 6.15 (18.15) till 8.15 pm (20.15)
- Campus Brugge Station – BST5 in room C.0.06
Rijselstraat 5, 8200 Brugge
- Duration: 24 h
- Start: Tuesday 11 February 2020
- Every Tuesday, from 6.15 (18.15) till 8.15 pm (20.15)
- Campus Kortrijk Weide - Building A/B in room KWE.A.1.010
Graaf Karel de Goedelaan 5, 8500 Kortrijk
To be confirmed (please wait to purchase it): Complete IELTS, Bands 5-6.5 Student’s Book with answers, Guy Brook-Hart and Vanessa Jakeman.
This subscription is only for Howest students planning (or who are selected) to go abroad for study/internship and who are following a training programme that does not recognise English for Exchange Students.
Incoming exchange students can only register AFTER receiving the official admission notification by the Howest International Office.
Howest has cashless campuses.
All payments should be made via a European debit or (international) credit card. This is also the case for the “petty cash” payments like in our beverage machines or the purchase of a coffee in our cafeterias: no cash allowed in any of those. Those payments are made through your Howest student card, on which you can upload money via your debit or credit card.
If possible please activate the (European) MAESTRO function your regular bank card via a request in your home bank agency. You should do this before departing to Belgium.
Practical information upon arrival
Go to the internationalisation coordinator of your Howest department on the agreed day and time. You will have received an email informing you about the exact time of the welcome session for international students at your campus before your arrival. The coordinator will help you with your registration at the student administration office. For those students who arrive way before the agreed day and time, please make an appointment with the administrative support officer of your campus. You find her email address on the contact page.
Formalities to be accomplished:
- student card application (don’t forget a passport photo!)
- filling in of the online “local contact data & emergency” tool
- preparation of your registration at the local register office (City Hall)
- practical arrangements such as log-in data, electronic learning platform, schedule etc.
- upload your student card with the sum you will need to print, make photocopies or buy items at the Cafeteria at the reception desks (see also the item “Howest cashless campuses”)
All Howest and exchange students should bring their own laptop, with all necessary and officially licenced software. The course overview mentions the specific software (if any) necessary for the course unit.
Within the first 8 days of your stay you have to present yourself at the City Register Office, if you are staying longer than three months in Belgium. For non EU students in Kortrijk, Howest will arrange you a registration appointment at the city hall (normally during the Orientation Week).
(your campus international coordinator will inform you of other requirements)
- your identity card/passport + visa
- your address during your study period at Howest
- 3 to 4 passport photos, depending on the town you will be staying in
- for non-EU citizens: “D studies visa”. In Kortrijk it costs €20,20; in Bruges €21,70.
After you have been registered, the policeman on the beat will come around to check whether you really live at the given address. The town services will invite you then for a second visit.
After completing all these formalities you will receive your residence permit. Students who needed a Visa to enter Belgium, are usually not allowed to enter Belgium a second time without having received their residence permit first! So do not leave Belgium (if you want to come back) unless you are absolutely sure that you have the right residence permit which allows you to come back in.
Don’t forget to deregister at the same register office about one week before you leave!
All Howest campuses have fully-equipped first aid rooms. A permanent staff member in each campus vouches for first aid administration. Howest doesn’t have its own medical service, though.
When you have medical problems, it is common practice in Belgium to consult a general practitioner first. Most general practitioners give consultations in the morning and early evening. Sometimes only consultation by appointment is possible.
Contact data of several general practitioners, both in Bruges and Kortrijk, are included in the welcome information, given by the Campus International Coordinator during the welcome activities. Your buddy can also assist you in finding a general practitioner.
More information about general practitioners
This website is aimed at expats who plann a long term stay in Belgium but offers lots of useful information for incoming students as well.
Whenever you need a dentist or a pharmacy, see Mediwacht.be. This website offers all important medical contact data in your neighbourhood as well as their availability and however the website is only available in Dutch, with google translator you will manage to find the person/pharmacy you need.
You can find a list of dentists (Dutch translation is ‘tandarts’) by googling ‘tandartsen Brugge’ or ‘tandartsen Kortrijk’. You will see a map where dentists in Brugge or Kortrijk are located as well as their contact details.
Chemist’s shops have the same opening hours as other retail shops on weekdays. In larger towns, most of them are also open on Saturday mornings. More details about the chemist on night duty can be found on the facade of most chemist’s shops (open 24 h/24). Information can be found on pharmacie.be (in Dutch and French).
In urgent and serious medical cases, immediately go to the emergency department of the nearest hospital or dial the European emergency number 112, which is available everywhere in the European Union (EU), free of charge, 24/7 for the police, the emergency medical services or the fire brigade.
Read the previous section on ‘insurance’ for more information about the financial matters of medical assistance. Howest does not provide any type of medical or health insurance to incoming students.
Costs of living
In general we can state that you will monthly spend about €240 on food, €80 on social life, €20 on printing costs, €50 (per 3 months) on public transport and/or €6 on bike rental in Bruges /€5 on bike rental in Kortrijk.
Accommodation prices can be found in the respective sections.
Below you find a few prices of some current food products to give you an idea of the costs of living in Belgium:
- small loaf of bread (400 g): €1.60
- big loaf of bread (800 g): €2.20
- 1 litre of milk: €1.14
- 1,5 l of Coca Cola: €1.49
- 1 kg of potatoes: €1
- 1 kg of oranges: €2.30
- ham/kg: €16.90
- cheese/kg: €7,59
- 1 pint of beer (in a pub): €2.00
- 1 coke (in a pub): €1.80 à €2.00
You can keep a lid on these costs by shopping in cheaper supermarkets (like Aldi, Lidl or even Colruyt if you stick to their cheap generic brand) and visiting student-friendly places. Moreover, students enjoy reductions on many sports events, culture and leisure activities, and in some shops.
Each Howest campus has a restaurant, a cafeteria or a bar where you can buy a hot midday meal, snacks, soup, bread rolls and drinks at very democratic prices. Of course, each campus has all necessary facilities to eat your own packed lunch. The cafeteria is the place to be for meeting other students and participating in social campus life.
Here are some prices to give you an idea (these are indicative prices):
- fresh soup costs €0,70
- a daily special can be bought at €4,00
- warm snacks cost €1,80 to €3,00
Bear in mind that Howest has cashless campuses (see that item below).
Banking in Belgium for foreign students
When you want to open a free bank account in Belgium as a foreign student, you need to fulfil the following conditions:
Account for young persons (+18y) (account free of charge)
- to be of age and younger than 25 years (minimum 17 years and 10 months and maximum 24 years and 9 months)
- being competent
- not married
- have a domicile address in a EU member country other than Belgium or a candidate country for EU membership (in the country where the identity card was issued).
- foreign identity card/passport AND
- certificate of domicile (if not mentioned on the identity card or passport)
- holding a valid Application Form of a Belgian University or University College AND
- holding a valid, complete rental agreement of a student residence in Belgium, signed by all parties.
The account cannot be opened if the student:
- is minor or incompetent
- does not hold a foreign identity card/passport
- has no foreign domicile address
If other conditions are not fulfilled (eg. older than 25 years, married, no Application Form or rental agreement of a student residence in Belgium), only a regular bank account can be opened (with costs).
Please note that if you are a non EU student, your fully signed rental agreement of your student residence in Belgium may not be accepted by the bank for opening a Belgian bank account. In that case you are recommended to request the city hall for a document called ‘Model 2’, which will confirm your residence address in Belgium.
Are incoming students allowed to work during their study period at Howest?
Students are allowed to work during their study period at Howest. You have to apply for your work permit once you arrive, because you need your residence permit to do the registration.
How to apply?
- apply for the work permit at the work migration office in Brugge (tel 050/24.74.70). You are not allowed to work more than 20 hours/week and not during school time.
- it will take 1 to 2 weeks before you’ll receive your work permit
- final step: once you have received this work permit, you go, together with your residence permit, to the immigration office in the Town Hall of Kortrijk or Brugge to do the registration.
Dienst Economische Migratie Provincies Oost- en West-Vlaanderen
- Address: Koningin Maria Hendrikaplein 70 bus 60 - 9000 Gent
- Monday, Tuesday and Friday: 9u - 12u
- Tel: 09 276 18 50
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Near Campus Rijselstraat: Laundrette ‘t Zeepbelletje’, Rijselstraat 118, 8200 Sint-Michiels (Brugge)
- Near Campus Sint-Jorisstraat: Laundrette ‘Belfort’, Ezelstraat 51, 8000 Brugge (next to youth hostel ‘De Snuffel’)
- Hendrik Consciencestraat 44a: Laundrette ‘den Appel’
- Rijselsestraat 52, 8500 Kortrijk
- Koning Albertstraat 100: Laundrette ‘Was O Matic’
- Sint-Denijsestraat 4: Laundrette ‘Comfort Wash’
In Belgium waste is being sorted in order to be recycled. Some types of rubbish are collected at your house. But you can also get rid of it at collection points and container parks.
You can reduce your waste by buying products with less packaging, by using glass instead of plastic bottles etc. The following categories of rubbish can be sorted:
- Paper and cardboard
- PMD waste
- Organic waste
- Small hazardous waste
- Old and expired medications
- Building waste and rubble
- Reusable textiles
- Discarded electrical and electronic appliances
Every waste type has a specific pick-up day and needs to be put in front of the house or residence between 6:00 and 7:00 am on collection mornings. The waste collection calendar, provided by the City of Kortrijk, shows the different pick-up days.
Incorrect sorting or not respecting the pick-up days will result in fines. The official bags for waste collection can be bought in most supermarkets.
Every city has one or more recycling centres where people can bring their large domestic waste, small dangerous waste and other specific waste fractions such as construction debris, wood etc. In the Kortrijk area, there are four recycling centres.
You can only access the recycling centre with your electronic ID-card. Small dangerous waste and old electronic appliances can be brought in for free. For all other waste you will need to pay a fee depending on the kind of waste and the volume.
Experiences of international students at Howest
Howest University of Applied Sciences in Kortrijk and Brugge, Belgium is a great place to study!
Check out French student Oriane’s video from our International Day made for her internship at Howest’s MediaLab Quindo.
Check out testimonies from our international exchange students!