Belgium is known as one of the best countries for international internships for both history buffs and those who want to take a road less traveled. Students who participate in internships in Belgium can go back in time, yet live in a bustling atmosphere that emphasizes present-day politics and business. Internships in Belgium offer interactive training, hands-on experience, and personal attention. And thanks to the variety of disciplines available, Belgium is a prime location for internships in Europe.
Belgium is considered a safe and relatively crime-free country. The nation’s landscapes span from rural farming communities to lively cities, though most internships in Belgium are located in larger cities.
Most internships in Belgium are located in Brussels, the country’s capital city and largest city by population. Brussels is Belgium’s hub, offering restaurants, museums, shops, and other businesses for interns to explore. Internships in Brussels cover a number of fields, providing options for almost any interest area.
Internships in Antwerp are also common, Belgium’s second most populated city. It is home to one of the largest seaports in Europe and also has several majestic churches and museums highlighting some of the nation’s artwork. Antwerp is also heavily involved with the petrochemical and electrical generation industries, as well as the diamond trade.
Internship opportunities are also available in the city of Ghent, which hosts several special annual events, including the Ghent Festival and I Love Techno festivals. Also, Ghent is home to Ghent University, making this college town the perfect place for foreign university students seeking both courses and internships in Belgium.
Internships in Belgium
Belgium is known for its beer, waffles, chocolate, and other delectable foods. However, is also considered a medieval destination filled with abundant history and castles. There are a handful of specific industries that tend to offer the most internships in Belgium.
Breweries. There are more than 120 breweries in Belgium. So there are opportunities to learn about this industry through everyday tasks, marketing, and participation in associations/groups during internship placements.
History. Internship opportunities in Belgium related to history include helping preserve historical items at museums and contributing to genealogy services.
Engineering. Belgium features leading firms that offer design and implementation internships in engineering, allowing interns to learn from the experts.
Agriculture. Learn more about farming, including eco-friendly and organic techniques.
Students can intern in these fields and many more through various businesses and institutions in Belgium, including the European Union, Greenpeace, Federal Express, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Internship placements within these companies may include research assistance, chemical engineering, marketing, or internal sales. Hotel management is also a common internship placement in Belgium.
Once you get an internship in Belgium, make sure you own a good watch because being on time is a valued trait. Also, expect to wear business casual clothing. You want to look professional and not show up in a t-shirt and ripped jeans. Most internships are available during the summer months or last up to six months in duration. Typically, interns in Belgium work eight hours a day, 40 hours a week. Another important thing to note, there are a good amount of internships in Belgium for English speakers.
Salary & Costs
Interns in Belgium can expect to pay about 13 Euros or $19 for an average meal. One of the perks sometimes offered to interns by their employers is daily lunch provided up to a specific value. While interning in Belgium, interns will find travel to be both easy and cost-effective thanks to the local metro system. One metro ride usually costs about $2.50, though most people can walk to wherever they want to go in larger cities.
Most internships in Belgium are unpaid, although some include a salary or stipend - especially if offered through the European Union. Internship stipends or salaries range from about 400 to 700 Euros or $500 to $900 USD in Belgium.
Accommodation & Visas
For some international internships in Belgium, interns will be provided with housing, either through staying with a Belgian family or in an assigned apartment. However, some internships require students to find their own housing. Housing can be expensive in Belgium, especially if your employer doesn’t help cover the costs of accommodation. It costs more to live in populated areas in comparison to more rural locations, though wherever intern stay they are sure to gain a full cultural experience. To rent flats or rooms in Belgium, prices range from about 400 to 1,000 Euros or $500 to $1,200 per month.
Individuals do need a visa to intern abroad in Belgium, but interns will be allowed up to 90 days for their initial stay in Belgium. Visas can be obtained from the Embassy of Belgium in each interns country of origin for the most part. For individuals who plan to live and intern in Belgium for more than 90 days, a temporary residency visa must be obtained. Interns need to request such a visa from the nearest Belgian consulate or embassy at least three weeks before they intend to travel to Belgium.
Benefits & Challenges
- Internships cover a wide variety of industries.
- Interns will have the chance to be involved or witness important decision-making processes within large companies and gain valuable experience for future jobs.
- The high cost of living in Belgium makes it difficult for interns to live on a tight budget for too long.
- Familiarity with Dutch, French, and German languages is needed for some internships in Belgium.