Steps to take BEFORE departure

Administrative preparation

  • Visa regulations
    Most interns from ASIA will need a visa for Belgium. All information is available via the Federal Public Service for Foreign Affairs and the Foreigners Department of the FPS Home Affairs.
    Be sure to apply for the correct visa. Changing from one visa type to another is not always possible.
  • Work permit? (in progress)
    Normally students doing an internship in the framework of their study do not need a work permit in Belgium. Check at the Belgian embassy in your country.

Financial matters

  • Cost of living in Belgium
    Living standards are quite high in Belgium. It is recommended to make sure that you have the necessary financial means for your stay in Belgium, before leaving your home country. Average personal living expenses are about 850 euro per month, including accommodation, meals, local transport, some excursions,….). How much money you actually spend will of course depend on your personal needs, your life style and spending habits.
  • Payment by host company ?
    Flanders internships in the framework of education are normally unpaid. However it is uncommon for host companies to give trainees a remuneration (but no salary) or benefits in kind (reimbursement of expenses, compensations, meals, public transport, …) to help to cover the interns’ expenses.
  • Grants
    Unfortunately there are no grants available from Ghent University nor the Flemish Ministry of Education to support incoming ASEM interns.


Although we encourage looking for accommodation before leaving your home country, it is quite a challenge to find suitable accommodation from afar. Lodging your first days in a youth hostel will help to bridge the gap in a democratic way between arrival and finding final accommodation.
The costs for a room or studio, for example, may differ considerably (300-450 euro/month). Keep in mind that you will be asked to pay a deposit of one (to three) months' rent.


It is important to take care of your insurance policies before leaving your country. Some insurances are obligatory, others optional.

    • Health insurance
      You are legally obliged to have a health insurance during your stay in Belgium. Health insurance is of the utmost importance as medical costs may occur unexpectedly and can be very high in Belgium. Check before travelling to Belgium whether you are covered by your homeland medical insurance company during your traineeship period in Belgium.
      In case you do not have the European Health Insurance Card you have to associate with a local health fund upon arrival in Belgium. The payment of a fee allows you to get unexpected medical costs partially reimbursed.
      A repatriation insurance is optional but highly recommended.
    • Occupational accident insurance
      In Belgium it is the company‘s (receiving organization) responsibility to take out work related accidents insurance for trainees. Sound out on this when discussing your traineeship with the host company.
    • Civil liability insurance
      This kind of private insurance is strongly recommended. You may need it when accidentally injuring other persons or damaging other person’s property during your private life.
    • Other insurances
      In case of hiring a room, check whether there is a fire insurance included. If not, it is recommended to contact an insurance company to take out insurance for your personal belongings.

Language preparation

Language skills are an important selection criteria for the ASEM internship. English language proficiency will be tested by the potential host company (skype interview) before giving final consent for the internship.
No doubt that exercising the language skills you need during your internship will have an immediate return on investment, by better communication and integration in and around your work place.
The official language in Flanders is Dutch, spoken by a 23 million people in the world.

Cultural preparation

Before travelling to your host country, try to learn as much as possible about it beforehand; travel to it virtually via internet.
Try to meet people who have experience in your destination. Prepare yourself for leaving your familiar culture and environment to live in a new and different culture. Cultural preparation will help you to integrate and help you to avoid a cultural shock.
Belgium at a glance
Belgian languages and culture, greeting habits, cultural norms

In Flanders, the northern part of Flanders can boast of a rich cultural heritage and a lively cultural present. A view on Flemish food, arts and museums, design and fashion, Belgian chocolate, etc. can be found on: