Loyola University Maryland

International Programs



Leuven Program Video

Check out how students in Leuven are staying safe and getting festive in Leuven!

Apply to this Program

Loyola welcomes Dr. Sara Scalengahe as Leuven's newest program director. 


Loyola operates a program at Katholieke Universiteit at Leuven (KU Leuven). Founded in 1425, KU Leuven is the oldest Catholic university in the world and one of the premier academic institutions in the Lowlands. This picturesque, historically rich university has a vibrant intellectual and social life. KU Leuven has about 45,000 students; almost 6,000 of whom are internationals. It is world-renowned for philosophy and theology, but our students take courses in many other departments as well.

Belgium is a very small country located in the heart of Europe. It is bordered by four countries: France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg. There are 9 million people there, and three official languages (Dutch, French, and German), though English is widely spoken. Leuven is a town of 80,000 people that is located 20 miles east of Brussels, in the Dutch-speaking Flanders region. It is less than three hours by train to Amsterdam, Cologne and London, and just one and a half hours from Paris. In Leuven, the campus is the city and vice versa. With its cobblestone streets and impressive gothic architecture, it is a quaint and charming city that pulses with the life of the university.”

Criteria for Applying

  • Sophomores with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • If you have a QPA between 2.8-2.99, you may apply for an appeal. 
  • Must be able to take the equivalent of 5 Loyola courses (15 credits) abroad
  • Good disciplinary standing at Loyola
  • Attend 1 Study Abroad 101 Session held by OIP
  • Have declared your major (and minor if applicable)

Please be mindful that the spring semester in Leuven ends later than at Loyola and therefore may present a challenge for those students especially interested in securing a summer internship.

Criteria for Remaining in the Program

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 by the end of the semester prior to going abroad. OIP will do a final check of students’ GPAs just before going abroad.

In addition to meeting the academic requirements to study abroad, students are also expected to maintain their good disciplinary standing. Receiving disciplinary action at Loyola prior to departure can jeopardize a student’s eligibility to study abroad.


  • All courses are taught in English.
  • All grades earned at KU Leuven will transfer back to Loyola
  • Students take two required courses while abroad:
  • Dutch as a Foreign Language (3 credits)
  • ML102 European Culture & Civilization (1 credit) - taught by Loyola faculty! 
  • Students will register for courses upon arrival in Leuven
  • All courses (aside from ML 102) are made up of both international and Belgian students
  • A limited number of courses are offered through the PECS program, which is designed for study abroad students. Most courses offered at KU Leuven are undergraduate and initial masters level courses
  • This program is designed to primarily accommodate humanities, social science, and certain business concentrations. However, all students can take fulfill core requirements and free electives.
  • Students should ensure they have satisfied any prerequisites for the courses they wish to take in Leuven before going abroad
  • Course information is subject to change
  • Official transcripts from KU Leuven are usually received in late August or early September. Due to this delay, students are often not able to be considered for Dean's List.

Disclaimer: In case of strikes or unexpected disruption to the academic semester Loyola University will work with the host university abroad to provide additional support or other academic arrangements to enable students to complete their coursework in agreement with the rules and regulations of the host university and the laws of the host country. Loyola University Maryland will not makes any changes to its course, grade, or credit transfer policies following such circumstances.

Housing and Meals

  • Students live in Nachbahr Huis, a student residence building for the year.
  • Nachbahr Huis has an international community that is made up of Loyola students and Erasmus students attending KU Leuven.
  • Students can choose to live with international students from around the world.
  • Meals are not included in the program.
  • Students buy produce and other food products and cook in the huis kitchen.
  • Each floor of Nachbahr Huis has a kitchen with stove, refrigerator, and table/chairs. In addition, each student receives a personal bin with a lock and key in the kitchen cabinet to store non-perishable items.
  • Students can rent kitchen supplies to use during the year.
  • Students can choose to live in a double or triple room. Some rooms have a loft at the top of the room.
  • Students are encouraged to room with an international student.


  • Students are eligible for consideration for all forms of federal, state, institutional and private sources of aid, with the exception of the federal work- study assignment. Contact the office of Financial Aid for specific information.
  • All students must have a comprehensive health plan, which includes hospitalization and accident coverage that can be used while overseas.
  • All students must have a valid passport. The passport must have at least 18 months left after the study abroad program end date.
  • Bedding, towels, and kitchen supplies can be rented and reserved your arrival in Belgium.
  • Accepted students will pay a study abroad program deposit to confirm their participation in the program.

Items not covered by Loyola & additional personal expenses:

  • Meals (past students suggest budgeting $1,500–$5500)
  • Passport (if you do not hold a valid one already)
  • FBI background check if student will be 21 years or older before departing to Leuven (you can add it last on the list of items) 
  • Cell phones and other communication expenses;
  • Medical expenses
  • Bedding and kitchen rentals (appr. $25 for the year)
  • Refundable room and key deposit (approx. $115)
  • Health insurance (if you do not have a health plan that is valid abroad or you purchase the recommended Belgian health plan while abroad);
  • Travel to and from the departure airport
  • Personal travel (hostels, hotels, airline or rail tickets, food, etc.)
  • Bike rentals (optional: approx. $75 per year)
  • USPS overnight mailing envelope for receiving your visa documents


  • Support of two full time dedicated on-site directors
  • Tuition and registration fees
  • Living community with students from all over the world in Loyola's International Nachbahr Huis
  • Organized trips for Loyola students ranging from day excursions to week-long trips. Past groups have visited: Italy, France, Amsterdam, Brussels, Antwerp and more!
  • Group meals upon arrival and over the holidays
  • A welcome reception at the director's home
  • Two-round trip tickets for year-long students; year-long students come home for Christmas (2 1/2 weeks). One-round trip ticket for semester only students; fall students come home before Christmas
  • Sponsored student activities

Length of Stay

  • Year-long and fall semester only students depart in mid-August to mid- December. The year-long return to Belgium in January and return in late June or early July.
  • Spring only students will depart in early February and return in late June or early July.

Onsite Support

The program has a Loyola faculty member who is the director of the program for a two year cycle. The program also has an associate director who is a Belgian native and who is responsible for the resident community and assisting students in their acclimation to Leuven. The associate director is in constant contact with KULeuven’s Student Affairs Office to coordinate any other student affair’s needs. The on-site director works with the students to ensure academic success and leads trips to various historic and relevant sites.

Travel to and from Belgium

  • Group flights are arranged for students traveling to Leuven. Students will travel with their group from the U.S. to Brussels International Airport. From Brussels students will take a bus to Nachbar Huis in Leuven with the program director.
  • Loyola will not be financially responsible for any changes or fees a student and/or parent makes to existing arrangements. Students and parents should consult the Office of International Programs before making any changes to confirm if Loyola will reimburse for any additional costs.

Documents for Abroad

Currently, the following documents are required to travel and study in Leuven:

  • Valid, signed passport (with 18 months left after the program end date)
  • Student visa (allows students entry into the country and requirements can change at any time)
  • Letter from student's health insurance provider verifying overseas coverage
  • Official letter of acceptance from KU Leuven
  • Letter of support from Loyola University Maryland
  • Passport-size photos for visa, KU Leuven application, and file in Leuven
  • Prepaid envelope with a tracking system (to receive your passport and visa)
  • Students who will be 21 years of age or older BEFORE departure will have to obtain an FBI background check as part of the visa application. Students over 21 will need to budget for the cost of obtaining the background check report.
  • Residence Card (obtained at City Hall in Leuven)

Health and Wellness Abroad

  • The Office of International Programs wants all students to enjoy a positive and healthy study abroad experience! Students are encouraged to research all resources available to them at KU Leuven.
  • Remember, it’s common to experience both culture shock and homesickness while abroad. Confiding in friends and family, as well as fellow Loyola group members, can be helpful in acclimating to your new home.
  • Any students currently taking prescription medication should plan to bring a full supply to Leuven with them. This is usually easier than seeking out refills while abroad. Shipping medication overseas is highly discouraged as it is generally illegal.
  • It is advised that all students remain current on immunizations. The CDC and Loyola’s Student Health center will advise what immunizations, if any, are required for study abroad in Leuven.
  • The on-site staff in Leuven will happily work with any students with pre-existing medical conditions or learning differences to ensure they will have the necessary support while in Leuven. Please also inform your program director at Loyola if this support is needed.
  • KU Leuven requires documentation for any learning disabilities, and it must be presented before attending classes. It is strongly recommended that you submit any documentation you have in advance of departure to ensure any support services you may need are 1) available at KU Leuven and 2) can be arranged for you.

Read additional information on the KU Leuven Student Health Center website.

Health Insurance Abroad

All students must be covered under a comprehensive health insurance plan while studying abroad. As part of your documents for abroad, you will need to submit a letter from your health care provider on their stationary verifying you have comprehensive health insurance for abroad. The original letter you must take with you abroad, but a copy must be made and submitted to the Office of International Programs. The letter should state the following:

  • Student’s name
  • duration of coverage (date of departure straight through date of return)
  • includes hospitalization and accident coverage (at the minimum)
  • what the plan specifically covers
  • coverage limits

Money Matters

Belgian Currency

The Belgium unit of currency is the Euro, which is abbreviated as EUR.

Credit/Debit Cards

If you wish to bring an American ATM or debit card with you, we advise confirming with your bank prior to departure the card, as well as its PIN, will work overseas. It is also important to inform any bank you may use while in Leuven that you will be travelling internationally.

Research possible international transaction or ATM fees to be prepared ahead of time.

Credit cards are another option for expenses abroad. Please not that Visa and MasterCard are more widely accepted than American Express.

Application Requirements

  • Interested students are encouraged to apply by submitting their application through Terra Dotta by the deadline.

Apply to this Program

*Please keep in mind that study abroad information, dates, benefits, and fees are subject to change without notification. You are encouraged to contact the Office of International Programs directly for the most up-to-date information regarding any study abroad programs offered at Loyola.
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