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Logo UHasselt Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action


Maybe you have had some experience abroad yourself? If so, you will undoubtedly have discovered how hard it can be to find your way in a new environment and to familiarise yourself with local ways of doing things. This is why we are looking for Buddies to help international students find their way around when arriving in Hasselt.

What is the Buddy Programme?

Every year, Hasselt University welcomes hundreds of students from all over the world. The purpose of the Buddy Programme is to help international students integrate into Flemish student life. In return, the Buddy gets the opportunity to practise a foreign language and learn about new cultures.

The Buddy is a Hasselt University student who is willing to provide support to a new international student. The International Office will do its best to find a good match for each Buddy and international student. At the start of each semester, a Buddy meeting will be held to which all Buddies and international students are invited, so that they can get to know one another personally. Various activities will also be organised during the semester, but it is up to the two of you to determine how much interaction and support is needed.

If you have any questions or you would like more information, do not hesitate to contact the International Office.

Would you like to become a Buddy?

Would you like to meet students from all over the world, share your knowledge of UHasselt/Hasselt/Belgium, improve your language skills and strengthen your intercultural skills? Then help an international student and become a Buddy!

Examples of activities you can do as a Buddy:

  • meet the international student at the trainstation
  • give him/her a tour of Hasselt (shops, bar, etc.) during his/her first week
  • introduce him/her to Belgian customs and student life
  • take part in the welcome activities for Buddies and international students
  • ...and plenty more besides these.

Interested in becoming a Buddy? Register via this link. The International Office will try to find a perfect match; you will then receive an email with the contact details of your international student, and the international student will receive an email with your contact details. From then on it is up to you to contact the student and get to know one another. We also organise a welcome event for you and your international student after he/she has arrived.

Do you want to request a Buddy?

The Buddy Programme is designed to make it easier for you to settle in at Hasselt University and in Belgium. You will be matched with a UHasselt student who has volunteered to help you find your way around during the early days of your stay and introduce you to Belgian customs and student life here.

Interested in requesting a Buddy? Then register via your pre-registration dossier. The International Office will try to find a perfect match, and you will then receive an email with the contact details of your Buddy, while your Buddy receives an email with your contact information. From then on it is up to you to make contact and get to know one another. After your arrival, we also organise a welcome event for you and your Buddy.

At the request of African students who were experiencing difficulties in meeting and getting to know other students, the World Evening originated in 2005. A friendship evening was organised at that time, and in view of success of the initiative, Africa Night became an annual World Night. During this evening, foreign students can present their culture with workshops, food stands, music and dance.

Each year, the World Evening takes place halfway through the month of March in Diepenbeek. The next edition will be organised on 21 March 2019, so save the date! More information on this activity can can be found here.

Since 2014, the Hasselt University Student Council, StuRa, also has an advisory body, the International Council, to give students speaking different languages a chance to participate in policymaking. Meetings of the International Council are therefore held in English.

More information about the International Council can be found in the code of conduct.

Read the personal account of Caroline Osoro, chairwoman of the International Council during the academic year 2014-2015.

Wouldn't it be great if all students of Hasselt University, both Flemish and international, came together to share and discover different background, languages and cultures? If they could work together on projects and get the chance to get to know and learn from each other?

The International platform is a place for real-life exchanges between cultures and for the organisation of activities with the goal of raising awareness about issues related to internationalisation and development cooperation. It's open to everyone: students, researchers and professors!

What do we offer?

  • Meet students and staff from all over the world
  • Improve your language skills during our two-weekly language café
  • Develop your intercultural competences, highly valued by employers
  • Receive a certificate of participation
  • Benefit from several discounts with your membership card

Current activities:

  • Buddy programme for incoming international students
  • Language café (conversation style): Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish
  • World Evening
  • UHasselt United Cup (football)
  • Table tennis tournament
  • Spring
  • BBQ
  • Quiz

If you want to know more about the International Platform, please contact us via internationalplatform@uhasselt.be.


UHasselt means it!
Hasselt University was declared 'sold on fair trade' in 2006. Obtaining this title was seen as a starting point rather than an end point - a lever to achieve new engagement in the area of sustainable production and consumption. This campaign came to an end in 2007. Max Havelaar, Oxfam Wereldwinkels, 11.11.11. and Vredeseilanden then decided to develop the concept further with the 'FairTradeGemeente' scheme. UHasselt obtained the label 'UHasselt means it' and has further pursued its commitment to fair trade.

One of these awareness-raising initiatives is the optional interdisciplinary course North-South (1955), in which speakers from the North and the South are invited to take an in-depth look at certain development issues. This optional course is part of a series of interactive and educational events that provide an opportunity for critical thinking about development cooperation. Both the lectures/debates and the actions are open to all students and anyone who is interested.

Initially, the optional course was part of an awareness-raising cycle that started in the academic year 2005-2006, entitled Development Cooperation: Unknown? Unloved?, financed by Hasselt University and supported by VLIR-UOS. In 2006-2007, the title Development Cooperation: multidisciplinary aspects was chosen and the initiative became co-funded by VLIR-UOS. Various lectures and debates were organised by different faculties, touching on a range of diverse topics. The following year, in 2007-2008, it was decided that the lectures and debates under the tittle Traffic & health: essential issues in development should be organised by two interdisciplinary institutes. The focus was on traffic safety and health, with a special interest in sub-topics such as governmental approach, labour and the millennium development goals.

Starting in academic year 2008-2009, the lectures and debates relating do development were offered as an optional interdisciplinary course, and were now organised in the framework of policy-related and family issues in the South. In this way, Hasselt University acted on its goal/ambition of giving students a broad education. The speakers came from the different disciplines that have been taught at Hasselt University so far: Science & IT, Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Economics, Social Sciences, Transportation Sciences and Law.

The lectures of the 2009-2010 academic year, Pro- & Re-activity in the South, were intended to give a rigorous, interdisciplinary theoretical and applied training in sustainable development. The objective was to promote in-depth scientific debate about cultures, their knowledge systems and different ethical orientations. The positive feedback from students about the optional course North-South: Crossing Borders in 2010-2011 led in the following two academic years to optional course North-South: an interdisciplinary exploration, in which increased attention was given to integrating basic concepts about North-South relations at the beginning of the course. In 2013-2014, the focus was on India as a developing country, as a framework for the lectures. In the lectures of 2014-2015 the elective course was titled 2015 European Year of Development which focussed on the contemporary and future challenges regarding development cooperation. The subjects were amongst other things HIV, Fair Trade, locally embedded human rights laws, and sustainable urban development. A Wold in Transition, an approach that was followed in 2015-2016, offered through multidisciplinary lectures a diversity of contemporary matters and paradigms that people encounter in the field of development cooperation.

More information about the elective course, its content, dates and registration can be found here.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's)

By the end of September 2015, all members of the United Nations created 17 ambitious goals, Sustainable Development Goals, to improve the world by 2030. These SDG's are developed based on the success of the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDG's). The first 15 goals correspond to the 3 pillars of sustainable development: people (social), planet (ecology) and prosperity (economy). The last two goals create the vital framework: peace (SDG 16 - peace and security) and partnership (SDG 17). To be able to reach these goals, everybody has to contribute: governments, private sector, individuals, and also Hasselt University!


Unfortunately, the deadline to upload your thesis has passed. 

What is it?

From 2018 on, Uhasselt  wants to give extra attention to students who have written a development relevant master's thesis. This is because, as a university, we want to underscore the importance of development issues in a globalized world and your role as 'global citizens'. As part of the Global Minds program of VLIR-UOS, UHasselt commits itself to awarding an annual award for the best development-relevant master’s thesis: one for a Flemish student and one for an international student.

More info can be found in our regulations.


What can you win?

The best development relevant master’s thesis will receive a prize worth € 800. For the Flemish student, this is a travel voucher from Joker Reizen, an organization that is committed to SDG Voice 2018 for sustainable adventure travel. The international student receives a check worth the same amount. Also the 2nd and 3rd prize is a beautiful, sustainable prize worth € 100.


How to participate?

Did you, as an UHasselt student, write a development relevant master's thesis * that was adequately assessed in a period of 1/08/2017 and 15/07/2018?

Then you can compete for the award for best development relevant master’s thesis. All you have to do is upload your master's thesis here, together with a fluently readable journalistic article about your master's thesis of max. 1000 words BEFORE 20 JULY, 12h, midday. Flemish students write this article in Dutch, while international students write in English.

More information about writing the journalistic article can be found here. More info can also be found in our regulations. Don’t forget to smack your article with beautiful photos or interesting graphs.

 *Important; it is not necessary that you travelled to a developing country for writing a development relevant master’s thesis!



A jury of internal and external experts in development cooperation and migration first of all assesses your submitted journalistic article. So make sure you pay enough attention to this article; academic abstracts or acknowledgements do not make the selection. The composition of the jury remains secret until after announcing the shortlist.

Your work will be assessed on development relevance, impact (at UHasselt and developing countries) sustainability of your results and writing style & readability.

A shortlist of 6 nominees will be published in mid-September; 3 Flemish and 3 international students.The jury will judge for these students on the basis of the master’s thesis document who will be the final Flemish and international laureate.

The award will be presented on November 20th in Diepenbeek at 19h30.


Any questions? Please check out our FAQ page!


This award is possible through support of VLIR-UOS.















More information? Sofie.Ignoul@Uhasselt.be