Prof. Sonja Snacken, Vice Rector International Policy

International Relations at the VUB

Ranked as one of the world’s top comprehensive universities with 180 years of history, the VUB combines award-winning research and accredited English and Dutch-taught study programmes (BSc, MSc and PhD) 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. They are trained to keep high employability throughout their whole career. 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 independent university platform, embedded in international networks.

Our expertise and strategic position in Brussels - the heart of Europe - makes us an ideal partner for excellent research and education with an wide outlook on Europe and the world.

 - Professor Sonja Snacken, Vice Rector International Policy

Doctor Honoris Causa Day + Conference

Register Now!

International Relations Office

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

For studies & internships, GO ABROAD!

Did you know that going to abroad for internships or studies actually helps you get a job later on?

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

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. Check out the website page for more information on the classes and to register.   

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.

Brussels Diplomatic Academy

The Brussels Diplomatic Academy has a clear focus on economic diplomacy, entrepreneurship and international trade. It is embedded in powerful and prestigious networks and counts renowned academics and specialised field experts among its teaching staff. It has an international vocation through cooperation with top universities in other cities with important diplomatic activity (e.g. Washington and Shanghai). Please visit the Brussels Diplomatic Academy Website for more information.

Brussels Academy for China and European Studies - BACES

The Brussels Academy for China and European Studies (BACES)is a platform for exchanging academic ideas, promoting understanding between Chinese and European people and is established in the framework of the China-EU “High Level People-to-People Dialogue”. The Academy has an assignment in the field of education, research and policy advice. BACES was founded by four universities: Renmin University of China, Sichuan University, Fudan University and the VUB. Other universities can apply for membership as affiliated partner. Please visit the BACES website for more information. 

Confucius Institute at VUB

The primary focus is research and academic reflection. The Confucius Institute at VUB is a collaboration between Sichuan University, Renmin University of China and VUB. It is embedded within VUB, as an internal knowledge hub, ensuring similar quality standards, trust and objectivity as VUB itself. It focusses on contemporary China: political and economic sciences, cultural diplomacy, contemporary art, university knowledge transfer, new learning methods, martial arts and language teaching. Check out the Confucius Institute website for more information.


Institute for European Studies (IES)

IES is an academic Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and policy think tank focussing on the European Union in an international setting. The Institute advances academic education and research in various disciplines, and provides services to policy-makers, scholars, stakeholders and the general public.

EU-China Higher Education Research Center (ECHE)

Established in July 2012, ECHE is a transnational research group, a platform dedicated to research and cooperation on higher education issues in the EU and China.

Interuniversity Institute for High Energies (IIHE)

IIHE was created in 1972 by ULB and VUB. The main topic of research is elementary particle physics. The current research programme is based on the extensive use of the high energy particle accelerator and experimental facilities at CERN (Switzerland) and DESY (Germany) as well as on non-accelerator experiments in the Antarctic.

Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (IB)²

The Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels is a new interdisciplinary research initiative supported by ULB and VUB. The goal of the (IB)² is to bring together research groups from both universities specialised in bioinformatics analysis of large scale omics data, into an interuniversity, cross-faculty (Medicine, Sciences, and Applied Sciences fromULB and VUB) laboratory.

International Joint Research Groups (IJRGs)

Through long-term strategic collaboration, international joint research groups reinforce the participating partners and establish a common inter-university identity. The goals of this type of structural collaboration are multiple: attract international project funding, coach joint PhDs, increase visibility, produce joint publications, build critical mass and competences to tackle multidisciplinary R&D, deepen the background knowledge in selected themes of research, and establish a common Intellectual Property portfolio.

Close the Gap

Close the Gap is an international non-profit organisation which aims to bridge the digital divide by offering high-quality, pre-owned computers donated by large and medium-sized corporations or public organisations to educational, medical, entrepreneurial and social projects in developing and emerging countries.

University Center for Development Cooperation (UCOS)

The University Center for Development Cooperation is an educational non-profit organisation. Its mission is reinforcing world citizenship competences for students in higher education. UCOS is affiliated to the VUB but delivers services to all institutes of higher education in Flanders.

Vesalius College (VeCo)

Vesalius College, an affiliated partner of the VUB, is situated in Brussels and home to a thriving international community. Vesalius College offers students a unique educational experience. With four academic departments in Business, Communications, International Affairs and International & European Law, the College offers 4 bachelor programmes and two certificate programmes.

Cultural Diplomacy

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.


Latest news from International!

3.3% more first-generation students: VUB keeps growing, success for science faculties and more incentive to study abroad!

Public Finance Management training course: For officials from the national treasury of south africa co-funded by BTC.

We welcomed our new international students to VUB and Brussels on Tuesday 29 September with a general presentation welcome event. Have a look at some photos from the afternoon on our facebook page!

Mixed Feelings/Gemischte Gefuehle - Brussels/Berlin #1 2017 - to celebrate 25 years of partnership between the cities of Brussels and Berlin, there will be an art exhibition opening on 9 October 2017 at Flughafen Tempelhof in Berlin. More information on the exhibits on display can be found in the invitation flyer.

VUB students selected for Huawei’s Seeds of the Future programme & VUB wins best organiser prize - The Seeds of the Future scheme is organised every year by Huawei, the Chinese ICT company, as part of their CSR programme. The aim is to provide a 2-week work experience in China in August for 15 Belgian students who are in their 3rd bachelor year.

Latest news stories from International

VUB reconfirms excellent 182nd position in QS 2018 rankings: VUB maintains its excellent positioning in the QS 2018 rankings: 182, and is the 4th Belgian university in the listing.The ranking evaluates some 4,000 universities and includes 965 of the best universities in the world. To see the full overview and description regarding VUB’s position in the rankings, go to:

The Royal Academy for Overseas sciences is organizing an international conference on "Sustainable Energy for Africa" in Brussels on 23, 24 and 25 October 2017.More information on the programme and how to register can be found on the event's website.

VUB Ranks 48th (up 2 places) in Reuters Top 100 Europe's most Innovative Universities! VUB went up 2 places from 2016 and was particularly good with regards to patents and publications. 

Brussels ranked 45th of Best Student Cities in the world - Brussels also scores very well for both Desirability and Affordability, offering relatively low tuition fees - read the full story

A selection of events:

Thursday 16 March, 08 U - 23 U

Global Minds 2017 - Calls

Global Minds is launching several calls, aimed at a variety of groups. Below is the list of calls with their matching forms to be filled in and where they need to be submitted or uploaded.   1)   XREI – staff mobility The objective of this call is to stimulate the mobility of ...

Global Minds is launching several calls, aimed at a variety of groups. Below is the list of cal...

Wednesday 13 September, 00 U

Global Minds 2018

Global Minds is launching several calls, aimed at a variety of groups. Below is the list of   calls with their matching forms to be filled out and where they need to be uploaded.   1)   XREI – staff mobility The objective of this call is to stimulate the mobility of staff. This ca...

Global Minds is launching several calls, aimed at a variety of groups. Below is the list of   ...

Monday 25 September, 17 U - 20 U

Chinese language Courses 2017-2018

The Confucius Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel organises Chinese Mandarine language courses at the Brussels Engineering, Sciences & Humanities Campus (Campus Etterbeek). Some guarantees are made for these courses:...

The Confucius Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel organises Chinese Mandarine language ...

Tuesday 7 November, 17 U

Chinese Language Corner

New at the VUB, a Chinese language corner! Are you learning Chinese and want to take your first conversational steps with a native speaker? Are you an intermediate language learner and want to put your skills to practice? Are you interested to meet new people and cultures with a...

New at the VUB, a Chinese language corner! Are you learning Chinese and want to take your first c...

Tuesday 28 November, 19 U - 14 U

Doctor Honoris Causa day: EVER - "Engaging Values, Education and Responsibilities: Refugees and Migration - The Role of Higher Education"

EVER: "Engaging Values, Education and Responsibilities: Refugees and Migration - The Role of Higher Education" 28-29-30 November 2017, Brussels, Belgium 28 November 2017, evening Doctor Honoris Causa dinner in partnership with Dine with Us (invitation only) 29 November 2017,...

EVER: "Engaging Values, Education and Responsibilities: Refugees and Migration - The Role of Hig...

Friday 1 January, 12 U

The beginning of Chinese Wisdom: An Introduction to the Early Chinese Philosophy

VUB-CI offers a general introduction course to the early Chinese philosophy from the perspective of comparative studies. Chinese philosophy has its own origin and categories. Tracing back the philosophical tradition to its beginning, the lecture examines different schools of...

VUB-CI offers a general introduction course to the early Chinese philosophy from the perspective ...

Friday 1 January, 12 U

Traditional Chinese Religions and Contemporary Society

The course is open for undergraduate students, graduate students and everyone else who is interested in Chinese culture. The main purpose of the course is to introduce the functions of traditional Chinese religions in traditional Chiense society and rethink their roles in the...

The course is open for undergraduate students, graduate students and everyone else who is interes...

Friday 1 January, 12 U

Tai Chi group classes for beginners at Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus

Join the Tai Chi group classes for beginners organised by the VUB Confucius Institute at Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus...

Join the Tai Chi group classes for beginners organised by the VUB Confucius Institute at Bruss...