Fulbright Grants for Graduate Studies fund Belgian and Luxembourgish citizens to study or conduct research in any academic field at an accredited U.S. institution. Approximately 10-15 awards are given to students every year.
Requirements to apply include:
- Belgian or Luxembourgish citizenship
- Proficiency in English
- Minimum of a bachelor’s degree
- Academic excellence generally defined as distinction or onderscheiding in each year of study or a grand distinction or grote onderscheiding in the most recent year of study; please note that candidates without these grades are still encouraged to apply if they have outstanding personal or professional backgrounds
The most competitive applicants for Fulbright awards demonstrate ambassadorial qualities and a genuine interest in cultural exchange. It is important for candidates to be able to articulate a clear, creative, and feasible plan for their time in the United States and to explain why right now is the right time to pursue this plan and how their grant will ultimately help them achieve their personal and professional goals in the future. The Commission is looking for candidates who will have a multiplier effect within their U.S. and Belgian/Luxembourgish communities and who wish to ultimately return to Belgium/Luxembourg to share their newfound knowledge and experience after their grant has ended.
For answers to frequently asked questions about eligibility, please see below.
HOW TO APPLY
Interested applicants must complete an online application. The application opens on 15 September 2018 and closes at noon on 1 December 2018; we do NOT require applicants to contact us before beginning the application.
As part of the online application, candidates will be asked to provide the following:
- Biographical information
- Americanized CV
- Study/Research Objectives Essay
- Personal Statement
- Transcripts and diplomas from most recent degree
- Three letters of recommendation (uploaded directly into the online application)
- Letter(s) of admission or affiliation from a U.S. host institution; this letter should contain the institution’s letterhead and mention the dates (or academic term) of your stay and may be provided after the application deadline (as late as May)
In addition, candidates are responsible for applying and securing letters of admission or invitation on their own. While these letters are not required at the time of application, they do strengthen an application if they are included and they must ultimately be provided by selected grantees in order to receive the grant.
Incomplete applications will not be considered for an award.
Please note that we do NOT require supplemental forms, the letter of the home institution, the signature form or official test results (e.g., TOEFL). You may include test results in the appropriate application fields if you so desire. In addition, the application is to be completed entirely online; NO papers should be mailed to our office.
Candidates with strong completed applications submitted by the deadline will be invited to the Commission in January for a mandatory interview in English. Interviews are in person, and cannot be rescheduled. The interview will include a discussion of your motivations for going to the U.S., your plans when you arrive, and how you will improve U.S.-Belgian resp. U.S.-Luxembourgish relations as an alumni when you return. Successful candidates will demonstrate ambassadorial qualities, English proficiency, and the ability to explain their academic proposal in simple terms. The interview committee is composed of Belgian/Luxembourgish and American professors, professionals, government officials, and Fulbright alumni from various fields.
For answers to frequently asked questions about the application process, please see below.
FULBRIGHT PARTNER AWARDS
The Commission administers grants for educational and cultural exchange to Belgian, Luxembourgish and American citizens looking to study, research, or lecture in the partner country. While most of the funding comes from the Belgian, Luxembourgish and United States governments for awards whose eligibility is defined autonomously by the Commission, some awards are sponsored by individuals, companies, associations, and accredited Belgian, Luxembourgish and American universities solely for Fulbright applicants coming to or from their institutions. Click here to read more about Fulbright Partner Awards.
HEAR FROM THE GRANTEES
Ingmar Samyn, Fulbright Grantee to Yale Law School (2015-2016): “The Fulbright goal is to build human global networks, humanize relations between people all over the world to decrease the prospect of conflict, and infuse those international relations with empathy and mutual understanding. I am grateful to Fulbright for having given me the opportunity to study at Yale University, but also to better understand what kind of leadership and personal character traits are necessary to realize those universal goals.” Read more about Ingmar’s experience in the United States here.
Michaël Rubens, Fulbright Grantee to Yale University (2017-2018): “Being a Fulbright grantee in the USA profoundly affected both my academic and personal growth. Interacting with Yale faculty and graduate students has been intellectually very stimulating, and laid a cornerstone for an invaluable international research network. Beyond academics, the program also changed me as a human being. Building friendships with passionate people from so many countries greatly increased my understanding and appreciation of American and other cultures. Coming back home made me realize how much the Fulbright program and the US have become part of my DNA. I hope to continue sharing my enthusiasm for both in the future!”
Marie-Gabrielle Verbergt, Fulbright Grantee to the University of Chicago (2017-2018): “From intense and rewarding scholarly challenges to forming loving friendships with people from all over the world; my time in Chicago as a Fulbright Grantee had it all. When I imagined my U.S. adventure before I left, I never anticipated learning so much in such a short time. With its essential interdisciplinary character, American academia challenges you not only to become a critical and innovative thinker in your field, but also to be able to communicate your expertise to peers from various other disciplines. The experience and knowledge I gained during workshops, in class discussions, and during conversations with my professors has already proved essential for my future career, and I am sure it will continue to do so for a long time to come. Thank you, Fulbright Belgium!”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- I am a Belgian/Luxembourgish citizen living abroad. Can I apply? As a Belgian/Luxembourgish citizen, you may apply for a Fulbright Award if you are living in any country except the United States. If you are resident in the United States, a dual U.S.-Belgium or U.S.-Luxembourg citizen, or hold a Green Card at the time of application, you are ineligible to apply.
- I do not have Belgian/Luxembourgish citizenship, but am currently living/studying/working there. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program? No. Eligibility for the Fulbright Program is based on nationality, not residence.
- I am a Belgian/Luxembourger currently pursuing my studies in the United States. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program? Candidates already in the United States at the time of application and those who have resided in the U.S. for five or more years in the six-year period preceding the date of application are ineligible to apply. Moreover, please note that preference will be given to who have not had substantial recent experience in the U.S. with “substantial recent experience” being study, research or employment for a period of aggregating more than an academic year (9 months) during the past five years.
- As a participant in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, will I be subject to the two-year home requirement after my grant? Yes. All Fulbright grantees must travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa, which requires them to return to Belgium or their country of permanent legal residency for at least two years at some point after their grant before they are allowed to return to the U.S. to live or work permanently on an H, L, K or LPR visa. More information about the two-year rule can be found here, and a list of documents that fulfill the proof of legal residency requirement for each EU country can be found here.
- Am I responsible for arranging my own affiliation/acceptance to my host institution? Yes. Applying to a host institution in the United States is a separate, simultaneous process. Please note that if you have chosen a university as your host institution, its accreditation should be recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education.
- What is the difference between the Study/Research Objectives essay and the Personal Statement? The Study/Research Objectives essay should provide a clear and detailed description of your study/research objectives, and your reasons for wanting to pursue them. Be specific about your major field and your specialized interests within this field, but remember that your application will likely be read by a variety of people, including some who are not experts in your field. Describe the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan fits in with your previous training and your future objectives. The Personal Statement is a narrative statement describing how you have achieved your current goals; it should include information about education, practical experience, special interests, and career plans. You can also use the Personal Statement to describe any significant factors that have influenced your educational or professional development and explain your existing practical experience.
- When do I need to provide proof of affiliation/acceptance to a U.S. university in my application? Student researchers should upload invitation letters from their host institutions before the 1 December deadline if possible. University acceptance letters may be submitted far after this deadline (as late as May).
- The online application has asked me to do something different to the application instructions on the website. What should I do? The online application system is used by Fulbright Programs around the world, and application procedures differ greatly from country to country. You must follow the guidelines presented by the Fulbright Commission in Brussels.
- Does the Fulbright Commission in Brussels require me to contact them before beginning the application? We do NOT require applicants to contact us before beginning the application. Please begin your application without contacting us.
- Does the Fulbright Commission in Brussels require supplemental forms? We do NOT require supplemental forms, the letter of the home institution, the signature form, or official test results (e.g., TOEFL).
- Can I mail physical documents to the Fulbright Commission? No. The application is completed entirely online.
APPLICATION TIMELINE & NOTIFICATION
- When will I hear from the Fulbright Commission if I have been selected for an interview? Selected applicants for the Graduate Studies Award will be contacted via email in mid-January. Interviews will take place during the last week of January.
- When will I hear from the Fulbright Commission if I have been selected for a Fulbright Award? Successful applicants for the Graduate Studies Award will be contacted via email in late February or early March. Successful applicants must then be approved by the Foreign Fulbright Scholarship Board and should receive confirmation of their grant in mid-March.
- What happens if I am offered a Fulbright Award, but not a place at university? If you are not accepted to a U.S. university, the offer of a Fulbright Award will be withdrawn. Follow our EducationUSA advice to strengthen your chances of admission.