Belgium serves as one of the top study-abroad locations for international students. However, there’s a catch! The official languages of Belgium are Dutch and French, making it difficult for international students to communicate with their classmates and teachers.

But fret not! We’re here to guide you on the language tests you need to embark on your study-abroad journey in Belgium. So, without any further ado, let’s get straight to it!

What are the Basic Language Requirements Needed in Belgium for International Students?

When applying for a university in Belgium as an international student, you’ll generally encounter two main languages: Dutch and French. Dutch is predominantly spoken in the northern region of Flanders, while French is the primary language in the southern region of Wallonia. Although many universities in Belgium offer programs in English, having a basic understanding of Dutch or French can be beneficial for daily life outside academics.

However, the actual language requirements may vary based on the university, program, and level of study (undergraduate or graduate. Therefore, it is crucial to consult the university’s official website for precise information regarding language proficiency.

Language Tests in Belgium for International Students

Whether you plan to study in Dutch-speaking Flanders or French-speaking Wallonia, having insights into the language tests and proficiency expectations is essential. So, let’s explore the language tests needed for international students in Belgium, ensuring you’re well-prepared for a successful academic journey.

French And Dutch Language Tests for International Students

Some French and Dutch language tests widely accepted in Belgium for international students are here.

1. DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française)

The DELF is a widely recognized language proficiency test needed by international students in Belgium, particularly for programs taught in French. It assesses a candidate’s French language skills and is commonly accepted by universities and institutions in French-speaking regions of Belgium.

It is an official certification awarded by the French Ministry of Education, which evaluates a candidate’s proficiency in the French language. Generally, it consists of four sections corresponding to one of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels.

The levels are DELF A1 (Beginner): Basic language skills; DELF A2 (Elementary): Survival-level skills; DELF B1 (Intermediate): Threshold level for independent users; DELF B2 (Upper-Intermediate): Vantage level for effective communication.

However, the minimum scores required on the DELF exam can vary depending on the university and the specific program. For instance, Université catholique de Louvain and Université Libre de Bruxelles require you to have at least DELF B2 as an admission requirement.

2. DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française)

DALF is an advanced French language proficiency test international students need for admission to Belgium universities. The DALF exam is part of the DELF-DALF series of French language proficiency tests and is considered the most advanced level.

Unlike DELF, it consists of only two levels: DALF C1 (Advanced) and DALF C2 (Mastery). This test mainly assesses the candidate’s listening, reading, writing, and speaking abilities, covering advanced aspects of language proficiency such as complex grammar, vocabulary, and critical analysis.

The standard benchmark for international student acceptance is often at the C1 or C2 level, as these levels indicate advanced and near-native proficiency in French. The University of Liège, one of Belgium’s prominent universities, accepts DALF C1 or C2 as proof of advanced French language proficiency for admission.

3. NT2 (Nederlands als Tweede Taal)

Nederlands als Tweede Taal, abbreviated as NT2, is an essential language proficiency test required in Belgium, primarily for international students planning to study in Dutch-speaking regions such as Flanders.

NT2 translates to “Dutch as a Second Language. It evaluates candidates’ competence in Dutch, ensuring they have the necessary language skills to succeed in academic and professional environments.

Similar to the other tests, it also has different levels. For instance, NT2 Program I (Programma I) is equivalent to CEFR B1, and NT2 Program II (Programma II) is equivalent to CEFR B2. The minimum scores for these tests are not specific but depend on your program and university. However, universities like Ghent University generally require at least B2-level proficiency for admission into degree programs.

English Language Proficiency Test for International Students

Next, we have some English proficiency exams to enter your dream Belgium university. So, let’s take a closer look at them.

1. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTS is considered one of the top language tests for international students to pass the admission requirements. It is a valuable tool students need to demonstrate their English Language proficiency, especially for programs taught in English.

So, to qualify for English-taught programs, you must provide proof of your English Language proficiency. There is no set criterion for the minimum IELTS score needed. However, the competition is tough. Therefore, you must prepare for it beforehand. To give you a gist of the competition, famous universities of Belgium like KU Leuven and Hasselt University accept 6.5 IELTS bands.

2. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

The next test you’re most likely to encounter for English language proficiency in Belgium is TOEFL. It assesses the applicant’s ability to understand and use English in academics and daily life. It encompasses four critical areas:

Reading: This will evaluate your ability to understand academic texts by answering questions based on passages.

Writing: In this section, you must write an essay demonstrating your ability to present well-structured arguments and ideas.

Listening: Here, your listening power will be tested. You’ll be represented in academic lectures and conversations to assess your skills.

Speaking: As the name suggests, the speaking section requires candidates to express their thoughts and ideas on various topics.

Most universities in Belgium accept TOEFL scores between 70-120. For instance, Université catholique de Louvain and the University of Antwerp want you to have a TOEFL score of 79.

3. DET – Duolingo English Test

The DET, or Duolingo English Test, is a language proficiency test accepted in Belgium that has gained recognition as an alternative to traditional English language exams like TOEFL and IELTS.

Like IELTS and TOEFL, DET also evaluates a candidate’s English language skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking through an online adaptive test format. Its scores range from 10 to 160, with higher scores indicating higher proficiency levels.

However, each university may set its own minimum DET score requirement; Antwerp Management School would require you to have a Duolingo score of 110.

So, if you’re also planning to move to Belgium to open gates for your career, make sure you’re equipping yourself with the necessary language requirements needed in the country for international students. You’d need Dutch and French proficiency through DELF/DALF language tests, and English language proficiency through IELTS, TOEFL, and DET. Therefore, it’s high time you start preparing for your better future!

 

We hope that this article on the language tests needed in Belgium for international students was informative. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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