Practical information on arrival

Formalities

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).

Formalities:

(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!

Medical facilities

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.

Meals

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)

Conditions:

  • 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).

Documents needed:

  • 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).

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.

More information

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: arbeidskaart.gent@vlaanderen.be
     

Laundry

Brugge

  • 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’)

Kortrijk

  • Hendrik Consciencestraat 44a: Laundrette ‘den Appel’
  • Rijselsestraat 52, 8500 Kortrijk
  • Koning Albertstraat 100: Laundrette ‘Was O Matic’
  • Sint-Denijsestraat 4: Laundrette ‘Comfort Wash’