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Rules - POWRi.com

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Rules - POWRi.com

INFOFILE

BEFORE YOU TAKE OFF

1 INTRODUCTION 1

    1.1 Belgium .......................................................................................................... 1 1.2 Brussels .......................................................................................................... 2 1.3 The Vrije Universiteit Brussel. ........................................................................ 3 1.4 Health insurance: compulsory for enrolment at VUB ...................................... 5 2 HOUSING 6

    2.1 Temporary lodging ......................................................................................... 6 2.2 Permanent lodging .......................................................................................... 7 3 ADMISSION TO BELGIAN TERRITORY 8

    3.1 Who need a temporary resident permit? .......................................................... 8 3.2 Visa “Type D” : temporary residence permit ................................................... 8

    3.2.1 Type D visa for students ........................................................................... 8 3.2.2 Type D visa for employee or self-employed person .................................. 8

    3.2.3 Type D visa for a spouse or a child of a foreign student in Belgium .......... 9

    3.3 Other visas ...................................................................................................... 9 3.3.1 Tourist visa .............................................................................................. 9 3.3.2 Family reunion visa .................................................................................. 9 3.4 How to get a type D visa (temporary residence permit) as a student ................ 10

    3.4.1 Where to apply for a temporary residence permit ..................................... 10 3.4.2 Which documents do you need ................................................................. 11 3.4.3 Procedure ................................................................................................. 11 3.4.4 Timing! .................................................................................................... 12 3.5 Proof of sufficient financial means .................................................................. 12 3.5.1 Scholarship or student loan....................................................................... 12 3.5.2 Engagement to take financial responsability ............................................. 12 3.6 Remarks ......................................................................................................... 14 3.6.1 Validity period of your temporary residence permit .................................. 14 3.6.2 Family reunion ......................................................................................... 15 3.6.3 Procedure ................................................................................................. 15 3.6.4 Additional documents to bring ................................................................. 16

4 ARRIVAL: PRACTICAL INFORMATION 17

    4.1 Let us know when you will arrive! .................................................................. 17 4.2 At Zaventem Airport ....................................................................................... 18

    4.2.1 Money-exchange agents and telephones ................................................... 18

    4.2.2 Card-operated pay phones ........................................................................ 18

    4.2.3 Coin-operated pay phone .......................................................................... 18

    4.2.4 Luggage ................................................................................................... 19 4.3 From Zaventem Airport to VUB ..................................................................... 20

    4.3.1 Train ........................................................................................................ 20

    4.3.2 Taxi ......................................................................................................... 21 4.4 Once you’ve arrived: go to Forstis ! ................................................................ 21

    5 HOW TO CONTACT US 22

    6 LIST OF APPENDICES 23

     1 Before You Take Off

    1 INTRODUCTION

    Congratulations! You have been accepted for enrolment at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. We want to wish you good luck in your academic aspirations.

    To organise the important practical aspects of your trip to Belgium, the Social Sector of the VUB has created a series of infofiles. All together these booklets form a useful manual that enables you to settle down in Belgium, Brussels and the VUB. Through this we hope you can achieve your academic aspirations in the best possible conditions.

In this infofile, “Before You Take Off,” we will provide you with all the necessary

    information that you need to organise your trip to Belgium. You will receive other infofiles once you've arrived.

    After a short introduction to the country, the city, the university and its ideological basic principle, we will point out the conditions to enrol. Next, you will find valuable information on formalities you have to take care of before you leave for Belgium. We will also give information that is helpful to find the VUB.

We’ll start this booklet by giving you background information on the country, the city

    and our university. This will help you to get an image, however limited, of some things you can expect to find here.

1.1 Belgium

; The Country

    Belgium (België in Flemish, Belgique in French) is one of the most underrated, least known and little explored nations in Europe. Surrounded by the “big guns” in European affairs: France, Britain and Germany, Belgium has spent much of its thhistory being fought over and dominated by its neighbours. Only in the 19 century

    did it gain independence and since then has emerged as a distinct separate identity.

    Belgium is a small country (11.779 square miles or 30.518 square kilometres) situated just north of France and just south of the Netherlands. In the Northwest corner of the country there is a small coastal strip. This coast is on the North Sea and separates the European continent from the United Kingdom. The country is flat in the north, and hilly in the south. The highest point is just over 700 meters above sea level (Botrange, 694 m).

    The climate is moderate, with drastic seasonal changes. In the summer, temperatures are usually somewhere between 20?C (68?F) and 30?C (86?F), and between minus 10? (14?F) and plus 10? (50?F) in the winter. It usually rains a lot, no matter what season it is. The weather can be very unstable especially in spring and autumn.

     2 Before You Take Off

    ; The People

    Belgium has more or less 10 million inhabitants. There are two main cultural groups, the French speaking Wallonians, mainly in the South and East (42% of the population) and Dutch speaking Flemish, mainly in the North and West (57% of the population). There also is a small German speaking community in the East (approx. 1% of the population).

    Not all people living in Belgium are native Belgians. At present approximately 9% of the population is of foreign origin, in other words about 900.000 people. These foreigners originate from countries both inside and outside the European Community. The largest groups of foreigners are Italians, Moroccans, Turks, French, large contingents of Dutch, German and British people. Of course Belgium also has inhabitants from other countries all over the world, in relatively small numbers.

; The state

    Belgium is a constitutional monarchy since its foundation in 1830. This means that the King is subjected to the constitution, and therefore has limited powers. The present king of Belgium is Albert II.

    The history of the Belgian State has been determined by the way the two main cultural groups have related to each other. From 1970 on, the country has evolved from a unitary state into a federal state.

    At present the state consists of three "language communities" and three "regions". The language communities, Flemish, French and German, have authority over cultural and "personal" matters. The regions, Flanders, Wallonia and (bilingual) Brussels, have authority over "territorial-bound" matters. This all adds up to a total of no less than six governments: the federal government, the Flemish executive, the Wallonian regional executive, the Brussels regional executive, the French community executive and finally the German community executive. It hardly needs said that there are frequent conflicts regarding to whom is competent in which matter. Constitutional reforms aren't always very clear. So don't worry if you are confused after having read this. We will not linger on this subject too long. Still we hope to have given you a general idea of the complex constitution of the Belgian State.

1.2 Brussels

    Geographically Brussels lies in the heart of Belgium. The city is bilingual, but predominantly French speaking. About 80% of the population of greater Brussels speaks French. Nevertheless Brussels is completely surrounded by the Flemish region, as a sort of bilingual, predominantly French speaking enclave. The bilingual aspect of Brussels is very obvious: all streets have a French and a Dutch name, and even many of the 19 communes that together form greater Brussels have a Dutch and a French name.

    Brussels has many faces. As a city, it is the capital of Belgium, where the King resides, and where the federal parliament and government have their seat. The Flemish parliament and government also have their seat in Brussels. Although Brussels is not part of the Flemish region, it is its capital.

     3 Before You Take Off

    Brussels is also called "the Capital of Europe": the European Community has Brussels as its main administrative centre, next to Strasbourg in France. This involves a lot of European administrators living in Brussels, the so-called "Eurocrats". This European dimension has also turned Brussels into an important international business centre: a lot of foreign and multinational companies and businesses have branches in Brussels. Add the large groups of Moroccans, Turks, Congolese, ... and you will see that Brussels is a place where not only the different cultures of Belgium, but also the cultures of the world meet.

    Brussels is also a region on itself, with its own parliament and government with territorially orientated authorities. This region is comprised of 19 communities that form greater Brussels. Since Brussels is officially a bilingual region, the French and Flemish language communities have authority over cultural and personal matters of their language groups within the Brussels region.

    As this short introduction illustrates, Brussels is a junction in many ways. Want to know more about it? Come and see for yourself!

1.3 The Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

    ; General information

    The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a young university with a rich past. It was founded in 1970 when it split off from the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). At present the VUB is a completely independent university, though still ideologically and philosophically related to the ULB. Nowadays it is a medium-sized university, with some 9000 registered students. About 1300 VUB-students are from outside Belgium, about 750 of them come from Asia, Africa and South America. The VUB has two campuses. The main campus is in the commune of Elsene: Campus Oefenplein. Most faculties are located here. The Campus offers many facilities, and it is certainly the liveliest of VUB-campuses. Next in line is the Campus Jette, where the Medical and Pharmaceutical faculties reside, next to the Academic Hospital. The Graduate program “Human Ecology” and “Medical and pharmaceutical research” are based on Jette Campus.

; Free Inquiry

    The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a Flemish university with a specific ideological basic principle: Free Inquiry. Due to this ideologically and philosophical principle the VUB has, together with ULB, a very distinct place within the university landscape in Belgium. A basic understanding of Free Inquiry will help you to understand this special position.

    Free Inquiry begins with the supposition that the truth is complex and dynamic and our view on reality is incomplete. Free Inquiry is a way to acquire knowledge about reality by constantly adjusting our view on reality. This implies the willingness to confront knowledge with new knowledge, to take other views in consideration, to submit your views to the consideration of others, to draw conclusions out of these confrontations and considerations, and finally, the willingness to change your view if these conclusions prove this necessary. This is the deeper meaning of the motto of

     4 Before You Take Off

    the VUB "scientia vincere tenebras", Latin for "conquer darkness through knowledge".

    Dogmas and prejudice have no place in this never-ending process of acquiring knowledge. Free inquiry is a threat to the "Absolute Truth", and the "Absolute Truth" is a threat to free inquiry. In view of this the distinction between the VUB and other universities is obvious because the VUB is not neutral. This can be illustrated by the social implications of free inquiry in a humanist context: everybody has the right to free inquiry, everyone has the right to participate in the quest for truth. This means that everyone must have the chance to develop himself, and that free inquiry must serve the realisation of the conditions that facilitate the personal development...of all.

    Free inquiry thus implies working towards a global society which offers everyone the

    possibility to practice free inquiry. This is far from a neutral position. However, this doesn't mean that all persons who adhere to free inquiry share the same view on global society.

    We would like to conclude by stating that the VUB is a pluralist university, in the sense that it is open to everyone no matter what religious or philosophical convictions. But you must respect the fact that the education and research at the VUB, and our outlook on society are based on the principle of free inquiry. To the free inquirer meeting people with different backgrounds and views is an enrichment, therefore he should be open to them. Everyone who comes to the VUB with the same openness of mind and heart is more than welcome.

     5 Before You Take Off

1.4 Health insurance: compulsory for enrolment at VUB

    In Belgium health insurance is compulsory for virtually everybody. For foreign students health insurance is not compulsory by law. However, the university makes it compulsory and, therefore, a condition to enrol. The benefits of health insurance are clear: life in Belgium without a health insurance is very risky because medical costs are extremely high.

    Without health insurance treatment of a simple disease, lets say a simple touch of "influenza", can cost you around 50 Euros. Treatment of medical complications or severe injury can cost several hundred Euros or even more if it involves surgery or hospitalisation.

    Of course health insurance doesn't protect you from sickness or accidents, but it will prevent medical complications from resulting in financial disaster. We have seen foreign students facing financial ruin because they neglected to take out a health insurance, in spite of our advice to do so. In these cases there was nothing the VUB could do, and the result usually is that the students can forget about their studies altogether. That is why the VUB-authorities have decided that foreign students

    either have to prove they already have a valid health insurance or

    arrange coverage at once upon their arrival.

    The price of the insurance varies. As long as students do not have their regular Identity card delivered by the local authorities (commune), a subscription will be arranged under the student status (cost approx. EUR 20,00 a month). After students are in the possession of their Identity card, a switch can be arranged to an even cheaper “resident” status, if their yearly taxable income is under a limit fixed by the

    Ministry of Health (cost approx. EUR 6,00 per a month). Virtually all students will be able to benefit from these reduced rates.

    You will get all necessary information from the Service for Foreign Students, as soon as you get here, and if you wish they will also assist you with taking out a health insurance.

     6 Before You Take Off

    2 HOUSING

    Studying at the VUB includes living in Brussels. You will need a place to stay. After your arrival you need to stay a few days in a transit-room.

2.1 Temporary lodging

    Preferably you should take the necessary steps to arrange a temporary house from abroad. If you have relatives or friends in Belgium we advise you to set up a short-term stay with them. If not, you can get in contact with a Youth Hostel or a hotel. In case you didn’t make a reservation from abroad, the FORSTIS-office will assist you

    in finding a transit room. The most convenient hostel is the centre sportif d’Oudergem. It is relatively close and the bus stops just in front of the sportcenter. It

    costs 15,00 EUR for a single room and 20,00 EUR a double room a night.

    When you arrive in Belgium we advice you to go straight to your hotel and then visit the university. It will save you hassle with your luggage. Another option is to go to the university. The Forstis office can store your luggage until you have permanent accommodation. A shuttle service will bring you to the hostel.

Hostels and youth hostels

    ; Center Sportif de fôret de Soigne

    2057 Chaussée de Wavre

    1160 Brussels (Oudergem)

    tel. (+32) 02/6722260

    louise.fricq@csfds.be

; Sleepwell - Auberge de Marais

    Dambordstraat 23

    1000 Brussels

    tel. (+32) 02/218.50.50

     info@sleepwell.be

; Generation Europe

    Olifantstraat 4

    1080 Brussels

    tel. (+32) 02/410.38.58

    fax. (+32) 02/410.39.05

    gener.europe@laj.be

; Auberge de jeunesse Jacques Brel

    Rue de la Soblonnière 30

    1000 Brussels

    tel. (+32) 02/218.01.87

    fax. (+32) 02/217.20.05

     Brusselsbrel@laj.be

     7 Before You Take Off

; Breughel

    Heilige Geeststraat 2

    1000 Brussels

    tel. (+32) 02/511.04.36

    fax. (+32) 02/5212.07.11

    jeugdherberg.breughel@ping.be

    For more information on the Youth Hostels in Brussels look at the following websites: ; www.vjh.be

    ; www.laj.be

More information on short term housing in Brussels :

    www.besthotels.com

    www.bnb-brussels.be

    cyrillantus@infonie.be

Or you can reserve a hotel-room: www.brussels-hotels.com

    2.2 Permanent lodging

    Next, you need to find a permanent place to stay. Only foreign students with a scholarship qualify for accommodation in VUB-lodgings. Thus all other students will have to find a room from private landlords.

    Since only a few foreign students with a scholarship qualify will be selected for VUB-housing, most will need to find housing in the private sector. This will take up some time and energy.

    The Housing Service will provide you with all the vital information about housing offers and prices. The temporary room hunting team of Forstis will assist you in the room search within the Quartier Latin file.(www.qlb.be) The Quartier Latin (QL) file is a file where the landlords had to fulfil certain criteria in order to be registered. The QL aims to create a network of safe, reliable housing. In case problems arise between landlord and the tenant, the university can and will intervene.

    The student is free to hire a room outside the Quartier Latin File, knowing that the room hunting team won’t assist and intervene in case a problem arises.

    Please be warned that rents are relatively high in Brussels. For the monthly rent you should expect to pay approximately 250,00 EUR for a room and 400,00 EUR for a small apartment.

    Important: rooms are furnished, but kitchen utensils or sheets are not included. You must bring your own or be prepared to buy the necessary items once you arrive in Belgium!

    More information concerning accommodation can be found in the Infofiles

    “Housing: General Information” and “Housing in the private sector”.

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