Prof. dr. Romain Meeusen, Vice Rector Internationalisation

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.

 - Professor Romain Meeusen, Vice Rector Internationalisation

Call for Internationalisation Activities OPEN

Students can apply for funding for international activities

International Relations Office

Pleinlaan 2,1050 Brussels Belgium - Visitors: Pleinlaan 5 - T: +32(0)26148101 - E: international.relations@vub.be Open: Mon/Tue/Fri:9:00-12:30 & 13:30-16:30 Wed/Thur:9:00-12:30

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 182 in the QS World University Rankings

VUB is one of Europe's most innovative universities, appearing in 48th position in Reuters' top 100 European list of most innovative universities. 

Check out the listing for the U-Multirank

Brussels is 45th in QS Best Student Cities ranking. 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


You can email us at international.relations@vub.ac.be to set up a skype call 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. 

Latest News from International

VUB Launches new European University Alliance 'EUTOPIA' with 5 partners: VUB joins forces with five other European universities for structural international collaboration on education and research.

VUB International Relations Office launches call for internationalisation activities organised by VUB Students: The objective is to provide funding for students to organise events related to internationalisation. This means events which,

=> enhance the international spirit of the VUB
=> contribute to the concept of an international campus
=> build capacity on international and intercultural skills within the VUB community
=> contribute to the mix of international and local students.

Albinism in Tanzania: fighting ingrained beliefs and reducing stigma - A one-day conference on 25 October looking at stigma, stigma reduction strategies & fostering future collaborations

VUB hosted ESN Citizens' Dialogue event with EU Commissioner Navracsics, and other high-level representatives from the EU Institutions. Critical thinking vital in fostering active citizenship among Europe's youth

WisePocket app, a spin-off of the VUB and the Universidad de Oriente, Cuba win Digital for Development (D4D) Prize. The award was for most promising innovative idea in the category iStartup.

VUB hosts Latin American visitors for a working week on internationalisation - 14 RIESAL Network members will also join VUB's Latin America Day.

VUB International Relations office organises the 1st Latin America Day on campus


New Vice Rector for International Relations: The VUB Board of Directors appoints Prof dr Romain Meeussen as new Vice Rector for Internationalisation.

Joint EU-Japan statement following the first EU-Japan policy dialogue in education, culture and sport: The meeting was also the occasion for Commissioner Navracsics and Minister Hayashi to launch two new Japan-EU joint initiatives: (1) A joint call for proposals to co-finance consortia of excellent European and Japanese universities to develop highly integrated master programmes and provide scholarships for talented students from Europe and Japan to study abroad. The joint call will be published in the framework of the EU Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree action and the Japan Inter-University Exchange Project (IUEP). (2) A short-term staff-exchange programme for EU and MEXT officials to promote peer-learning and boost cooperation.

VUB Alumnus becomes VUB Fellow: Dr James Kairo, an ambassador of mangroves: Mangroves are rapidly degrading and disappearing around the world. This is of serious concern to Dr James Kairo, who has been put forward as a VUB Fellow in recognition of his unique work studying and protecting mangroves. 

VUB high on list of innovative universities in Europe - Vrije Universiteit Brussel is the third Flemish university on Reuter’s prestigious list of most innovative universities in Europe. This year, VUB moves up one place from 48th to 47th. It reafirms VUB’s decision to sustainably invest more in innovation. 

VUB, Université Paris Seine & University of Warwick join forces to create 'European University" - On Tuesday, 5 June, professor Caroline Pauwels, rector of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and professor François Germinet, rector of the French Université Paris Seine, will sign a memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The same day, a previously signed MoU with the University of Warwick will be ratified into a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). In these agreements, the European universities commit to collaborate more closely with regard to research and education in the future. The commitment is to be seen in light of the call made by the European Council to create a network of European Universities by 2024.

Daphne Caruana Galizia honoured posthumously by VUB and ULB - On the occasion of Difference Day which celebrates freedom of press and freedom of expression, the VUB and ULB jointly presented Daphne Caruana Galizia's family with the  Difference Day Honorary Title for Freedom of Expression. On 3 May, Difference Day, two human rights activities were also awarded an honorary doctorate: the Tunisian journalist and human rights defender Sihem Bensedrine and the Burundian human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa .  

VUB Rector's Team Visits Ugandan Universities - From 15 to 20 April 2018, a VUB mission led by Rector Prof Caroline Pauwels went to Uganda to visit several university partners, and there was a chance to meet VUB alumni in Uganda too!

New agreement strengthens links between universities in EU and UK despite Brexit - Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Warwick to establish a double master’s in Politics, International Studies and European Integration

VUB 1st Belgian University to join UNHCR Coalition #WithRefugees - check out the video and sign the petition!

Orientation Day 2018: VUB Welcomes over 100 New International Students - On Friday 9 February 2018, the VUB International Relations office organised an afternoon session to welcome the more than 100 new international students who have arrived at the VUB to start the 2nd semester through their exchange programmes.

A selection of events:

No events available

More than 40 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…

CARIBU is an Erasmus Mundus Action 2 (EMA2) partnership programme which aims to increase academic mobility, research and capacity-building opportunities between 8 EU universities and 12 countries from the African, Caribbean & Pacific region. The project creates a forum for mutual scientific cooperation, learning enhancement and exchange of best practices. All partners strive to meet the needs of the countries involved, including the support to disadvantaged regions, with special attention given to equal opportunities and gender balance.


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. 


The LEAD project is an Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity Building Project in the field of higher education supported by the European Commission. The project is coordinated by VUB and aims to enhance the capacity of higher education institutions related to governance and academic leadership in the context of innovation and internationalisation of higher education. 


VUB has started a project on Arabic language courses for children between 6-15 years old. It is the first Arabic language course in Belgium with academic supervision. The curriculum is checked by specialists and PhD experts in Arabic language. As a non-profit programme only the material is charged (80 EUR per school year). 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 the website page for more information on the classes and to register.   

VUB's Arabic Language Classes project in Brussels - a video

Arabic is a world language. To provide them with a neutral learning platform, the VUB in collaboration with UCOS and de Scholengroep, set up these courses to give youngsters in Brussels the opportunity to learn Arabic in a well-founded and qualitative manner.


Wednesday 20 June 2018 is World Refugee Day. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has a long history of welcoming refugees and encourages those with an academic background or academic ambition to make use of the various opportunities offered on campus. In 2015 the Student Welcome Refugee Programme was set up at the university to provide support to those wishing to pursue their studies. in 2018 VUB also launched the InCAMPUS programme with additional support for some 20 refugee students.

  • One of our refugee students is Abbas. He made a video on behalf of the UNHCR showing a day in his life at the VUB, how he is learning French and acts as an interpreter. His video has gone viral - have a look yourself!
  • Back in March, VUB was the 1st Belgian university to join the UNHCR's coalition #withrefugees: read all about it here and check out the video we made with some of our students and staff.
  • If you want to find out more about the Student Welcome Refugee Programme and InCAMPUS, check out the website.
  • There is even an InCAMPUS animation movie (very short!) to explain more about the programme. 

#WEAREVUB #WithRefugees #WorldRefugeeDay

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.

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 - 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 Industrial Managers for Europe

Top Industrial Managers for Europe (T.I.M.E.) is a network of fifty-three engineering schools, faculties and technical universities. The oldest European network of engineering schools in its field, the T.I.M.E. Association promotes graduate student exchanges and double degrees throughout Europe and the world to enable students to achieve a broader, high-level scientific engineering education with in-depth intercultural experience.

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.

Meet the International Relations office team

For general enquiries: international.relations@vub.be


Romain Meeusen, Vice-Rector International Relations

Jacqueline Couder, Director International Relations office

Welcome & Information Desk & Secretariat

Ingrid Bauwens

Carine Steenwinckels

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

Arlind Cara

Adriana Moreno Cely

Sanne Clynhens

Francoise De Cupere

Martine Gheysen

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

Marie Aurousseau

Emilie Flambeaux

Laura Gruyaert

Ann-Sophie Vanderschueren

Sander Verhoef

International marketing, recruitment & communications

Daisy Bocchi, International marketing & recruitment

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

Welcome Refugee Programme & InCAMPUS

Email: refugee@vub.ac.be

Email: incampus@vub.ac.be

Khaola Al Rifai

Tahaney Kattash

Brussels Diplomatic Academy

Email: bda@vub.be

URL: www.brusselsdiplomaticacademy.eu 

Delia Barbu

Gunter Gaublomme

Cailin Mackenzie

Arabic Language Classes Project

Email: arabic.class@vub.be

Sami Azar

Mujadhed Ibrahim Hattab

+ Teachers: Hala Aboud, Linda Akel, Sara Al-Saadi, Rola Ibrahim, Nemah Morjanah, and Abdulmuhimn Othman.

Confucius Institute at VUB

Email: vub-ci@vub.ac.be

Maarten Gernay

Eugenia Marchetti

Xinning Song

Chang Zhu