This post maybe more appealing to self-funded international students, if you are not one of them, you can kindly continue to some of my beautiful writings and recipes on the blog.
Having studied at KU Leuven and currently living in Leuven, I think I am in the right position to inform students with the same background like mine and hope they find this useful.
I talked briefly about accommodation in my previous post. The housing situation for students in Leuven is still an issue of concern to many.
The moment you are certain to continue your academic pursuit in Leuven, please that should spell sleepless nights in the quest for a decent, reasonably priced student room. You need to get an address as fast as possible in order to proceed with registration, this is especially important if you intend to pick up a student job (who will not want to work with all the expenses?). One thing you have to keep at the back or rather at the front of your mind is the rents are outrageously expensive. Yesterday, I was at the verge of tears when I visited a friend of mine in her little kot, I was even more angry when she told me how much she pays her landlord monthly! A room has a living surface of <12m², just enough for a single bed and a study desk. She pays 280 Euros monthly + 400 guarantee (waarborg) and another unexplained 600Euros deposit.
This may be okay for students who only live in them 4 – 5 days in a week and go to their homes over the weekends and holidays.
Sometime last year, I went room hunting for another friend, we visited one accommodation, the landlady told us the room will cost 280 Euros or so, but besides that, my friend will pay 50 cents each time to shower! Wonderful I never believed anything existed like that, so if you pay 50 cents each time you shower and let’s assume you take a shower 2x a day, that will mean 1 euro for each day…The lady continued with her explanation as though to convince us “You don’t have to take a shower daily, you can make use of the wash basin in your room to clean up and take a shower twice a week, that is how the other students do it”. That didn’t seem right to us, does it? Imagine living with that agreement for a year..that maybe okay for someone who will go home in the weekend to take a proper shower but not for anyone thousands of miles away from home.That is what I am talking about, living space just between a single bed and the desk!
For an international student, that little dwelling is going to be your home for the +/_2 years of your studies and believe me, it can’t be pleasant especially considering how much money you have to pay for it. I still don’t understand why the rooms are so expensive, but well you got to pay for it or leave it! We all agree the tuition fee in KU Leuven is comparatively affordable but the living cost seems to squeeze the euros out of your pocket.
Renewal of stay
I remember when I studied, August was a time when so many international students who didn’t make the 50% pass mark yet in their courses had to put in their very best to do so. Why? You risked not being given an opportunity to re enrol if you do not have a 50% pass in cumulative study efficiency in the program for which you were enrolled in. Without which that will mean no renewal of your stay and off course how will you remain legal in Belgium after losing your student stay.
Universities in Flanders have a system of learning account whereby if you have a negative learning account, then you can’t re-enrol for a year and in some cases three years. You can read more about the learning account here. It is a check system to make sure students are responsible and take studies seriously. Each student in the bachelors and masters program is subsidised by the Flemish government, reason why you are refused registration after failing a course for three academic years. Unlike Cameroon where one could take a course multiple times, in Flanders, the story is different. You have to work hard and gain back your learning credit at the end of the academic year. Because of this many found themselves being kicked out of the university and subsequently out of the country.
I will encourage any self-funded international student to work hard within the year, and make all your courses to avoid any problems in September.
Stay tuned for some survival tips for self-funded international students..