International Students Pick Belgium’s Ghent City as Their Top Favorite Erasmus Destination for 2023

Belgium Europe International Studies Europe by Erudera News May 04, 2023

Ghent, Belgium

The East Flemish City Ghent has been voted the best Erasmus Destination for the year 2023, as the favorite study destination for the highest number of students compared to other cultural and educational places in Europe.

The selection was announced during the Erasmus Generation Event, held in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, during which Ghent ranked first, leaving behind study destinations such as Valencia, Padua, Toulouse, and Vienna, reports.

The Belgian city was highly acclaimed for its excellent cooperation between universities, colleges, authorities and international student associations.

Frederik De Decker, representing Ghent University, pointed out that taking care of students can be challenging, especially when it comes to housing – a common issue encountered by many European cities in recent years.

However, the recognition given to Ghent as a study destination is expected to bring more international students to the city and De Decker notes that UGent can welcome some more students while at the same time it receives about 1,500 Erasmus students every year.

"Ghent is now popular with Spaniards. Large countries simply have big groups of students that want to study abroad. We also see that, for example, many Polish students also find their way to Ghent. German and French students are also well represented. We also have cooperation agreements with smaller countries such as Estonia and Sweden and larger groups of students are now also coming here from these countries as well,” De Decker said for VRT News.

The first Erasmus exchange program was launched in 1988 and a year later, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) was founded in Ghent. The network is an international students’ association dedicated to making Erasmus exchange students feel welcome in countries they have picked to pursue academic careers.

There are currently 14,000 members of the association, while around 12 million people from Europe were a part of the Erasmus exchange program at some point since the association was founded.

According to Erudera University Rankings, there are some 44,000 students going to the public Ghent University, founded in 1817. The official university website shows that there are more than 7,000 international students, representing 15 percent of the total number of students, including exchange students.

The majority of students come from European countries like the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France, while Ghent University is the top study destination pick for many Asian students, prominently those from China, South Korea, Iran, India and Türkiye.

As per Belgian students, more than 1,722 Ghent University students studied abroad during the 2022-2023 academic year, with 1,169 of them doing so through the Erasmus+ framework, and the main destinations were France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

Ghent has inherited the Erasmus Destination title from the Greek city of Thessaloniki, which last year was appointed as the best study destination. Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University is popular among international students, and it has around 49,715 students, with 2,345 of them being foreigners.

Image source: Dimitris Vetsikas | Pixabay

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