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University or University of Applied Sciences? Navigating Higher Education in Belgium

Howest University of Applied Sciences

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For such a small country, Belgium offers a remarkably wide range of higher education possibilities, in Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia, including both universities and universities of applied sciences. While both are commonly known in Belgium and other parts of Europe, the university of applied sciences is often an unknown concept for students from outside of Europe.

Understanding the differences between the more traditional university and the quickly evolving canvas of the university of applied sciences is your first step in making the right choice for your education in Belgium. To help unravel those differences, let’s take a closer look.

Educational Landscape of Belgium, the 101:

First, let’s tackle the big question – what exactly separates universities from universities of applied sciences in Belgium? While both provide students with incredible opportunities to pursue various academic disciplines and professional fields, in essence, it comes down to their focus and approach to learning. 

Universities in Belgium are like the “old souls” of higher education where the focus is on more traditional scholarly pursuits: knowledge for knowledge’s sake. They offer a wide variety of academic programs across the arts and sciences and tend to be known for their larger class sizes. 

It might help to think of universities as the marathon runners of education, preparing students for the long haul in academia or research-oriented careers with a healthy dose of theory and research.

Universities of applied sciences – enter the sprinters! Also offering a wide array of programs to choose from, the universities of applied sciences are all about getting students ready for the job market. With their finger always on the pulse of industry and societal needs, these institutions act like a bridge between academic theory and the professional world. Smaller class sizes, personalized attention, and a community vibe also help them feel a bit more like home. 

Universities of applied sciences generally take a more practical stance to education, emphasizing hands-on learning and real-world applications. Their practice-based curriculum is finely tuned to align with industry and societal demands ensuring job-readiness upon graduation.

Spotlight on Howest University of Applied Sciences

Still not sure about this university of applied sciences thing? Let’s look a little closer at one of the fastest growing universities of applied sciences in Belgium to see what the appeal is.  

It’s not just about the cutting-edge facilities or the dynamic campus life; Howest University of Applied Sciences is all about creating a learning experience that prepares its students for the global stage. 

Located in the vibrant regions of Kortrijk and Bruges, Howest has built a solid reputation for being the trend setter when it comes to universities of applied sciences in Belgium. Howest is well known for its global outlook and forward-looking approach, which has made it a popular academic choice for students from all around the world.

Image of 6 people stood in the atrium of Howest University of Applied Sciences

Howest setting trends across the board! 

  • International Focus: Howest’s English-taught programs attract a diverse student body, fostering a culturally rich environment. It has a thriving Global Community which offers a warm welcome and continued support to all international students. International mobility is also a rich part of Howest’s DNA and there are countless opportunities for students to broaden their international horizons. 
  • Immediately Relevant Programs & Training: Howest prides itself on its strong connection to local businesses and players within various industry hotspots. Howest also has a growing network of non- and social-profit organizations working hard in the region to tackle today’s societal challenges. Both aspects allow Howest to offer programs tailored to meet the evolving demands of the employment market. Have a look at Howest’s range of English-taught programs that cater to various interests and career paths.
  • Innovative Teaching Methods: Project-based learning and practical applications are at the core of Howest’s teaching, preparing students for future-proof careers and giving them the tools they need now for the challenges they’ll meet tomorrow.

To get a better idea of what goes on at Howest, check out our socials, Instagram and Facebook.

Choosing Your Path

As you can see, Belgium’s higher education landscape is diverse and full of opportunities. The choice between a university and a university of applied sciences depends entirely on your career goals, learning style, and the kind of academic experience you’re ultimately seeking. 

Remember, though, choosing where to study is just the beginning of your adventure. Whether you opt for a traditional university or a university of applied sciences, like Howest, Belgium offers a rich educational experience that will open doors worldwide. So, take your pick and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey of learning and discovery!

Learn more about Howest University of Applied Sciences

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