Belgium's French-speaking universities take in 100 students from Ukraine

Belgium's French-speaking universities take in 100 students from Ukraine
Université Libre de Bruxelles. Credit: ULB

This academic year, 2022-2023, the six universities of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation are welcoming 108 students from Ukraine.

Each institution has put in place arrangements to facilitate the students’ integration into the university community, and the main obstacles encountered are the equivalence of diplomas and language.

Interviewed by Belga, the six French-speaking universities specified the number of students from Ukraine following courses within their walls: 44 at l’Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 26 at Université de Liège, 14 at Université de Saint-Louis, 13 at l’Université catholique de Louvain, 10 at Université de Mons and 1 at Université de Namur.

Several universities have set up mechanisms to facilitate the integration of Ukrainian students on campus.

At ULB, for example, “the Help Ukraine campaign (…) is no longer an emergency aid campaign but has been integrated into the regular channels. This means in particular that students can now register by following the procedure for international students,” spokeswoman Ophélie Boffa explained.

UCLouvain has set up the ‘Access2university’ welcome programme, which provides “administrative support, housing, financial, psychological or educational assistance,” says Louise Frère, coordinator of the programme.

At UMons, the Ukrainians have been able to benefit from individualised follow-up thanks to the Programme d’accueil des étudiants réfugiés (PAER), says the director of the communication department, Valery Saintghislain.

All the universities organise French-as-a-foreign language courses for prospective Ukrainian students.

The six universities note the language barrier and problems of diploma equivalence as the main obstacles to the integration of these students. ULiège also has to deal with “an enormous number of requests for financial aid” from Ukrainian students, says Céline Mathy, who is in charge of student affairs at that university.

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