Study in Belarus: A Guide for International Students
Lush green spaces, historical but modern cities, and friendly, welcoming people— Belarus! The landlocked country is the former Soviet republic in Eastern Europe which has its economic and political capital as Minsk.
Minsk, located towards the country’s center, contains many of the most important political and cultural areas of Belarus, as well as one of its most prominent universities, Belarus State University. The university which was founded in 1921, still exists today as a public institution, offering a wide variety of courses across the Belarussian capital with a key focus on research and on broadening its academic frontiers, with conceivably the institution’s most famous alumni being 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich.
Much like Ukraine, the culture of Belarus has been heavily formed, polished, and shifted by the legions of people that passed through it, be it the Russians passing into Europe, or European travelers migrating eastwards. But despite maintaining close cultural ties with its neighbor Russia, it has a distinct and proud culture of its own to appreciate, its language, customs, cuisine, and art.
Much like those in other countries in the region, students who choose to study in Belarus will experience a relatively cool climate, with cold winters and mild summers. And its affordability is another key attraction for the 6,000 thereabout international students who study there yearly. It might not be your first choice when you think of studying abroad, but not with the lots Belarus has to offer!
You want to join them in Belarus for study? Read on to find out;
7 Reasons Why You Should Study in Belarus
When compiling the list of schools and countries for your study abroad goal, Belarus may happen to be the least or may not even make its way on your list of options. Nevertheless, here are 7 intriguing reasons why you’ll want to and should consider studying at a Belarusian university;
- The Good Mix of Green Areas and City
- Permanent Residency and Settlement
- High-Quality Academics Standard and Ratings
- Affordable Study and Living Destination
- IELTS and TOEFL free
- Easy Visa Acquisition
- A Safe Place to Be
1. The Good Mix of Green Areas and City
About 40% of its territory is known to be covered by forests, although the plurality of its population lives in urban areas. With the myriad very rare species of flora and fauna, this Eastern European country is perfectly suitable for you if you enjoy or like a good mix of green areas. And its city? Its cities filled with stunning architecture that includes castles and churches will almost not allow you a second thought before jumping in love with Belarus.
2. Permanent Residency and Settlement
The chances of Permanent Residency & Settlement in Belarus or Europe as a whole after completion of your study program in Belarus are very high.
3. High-Quality Academics Standard and Ratings
The Education qualification is globally accepted as an indication of a high level of competence in a broad spectrum of fields – from science to business, foreign language training to arts and from legal studies to medicine. Although, the country is largely known for its strong scientific schools in the field of physics, mathematics, and natural science. But, with their high education standard in Belarus, and international recognition for depth and quality courses you will be opportune to get very good jobs after graduation.
4. Affordable Study and Living Destination
Belarus universities have about the lowest tuition fee in the world, hence students can easily afford the cost of education. The Cost of education and general living is relatively cheap, compared to most of the other European countries. To fully know the affordability of a country, the factors and cost break down you should put into consideration are;
- Tuition Fees
- Living Expenses
- Students’ Accommodation
- Medical Insurance
- Tuition Fees
1. Annual tuition fees for preparatory programs
International students can expect to pay between $1600—$1800 (if you have to go to the country on your own. But if you’re an international student who is going based on inter-university or international agreements, the tuition fee depends on the agreement)
The fees for the first stage of higher education: You can expect to pay about $2,000 per year
The fees for the second stage of higher education: You can expect to pay about $2300 or more per year, depending on the specialty and curricula.
- Full-time degrees: Expect to pay about $2,500 per year or more,
- Part-time degrees cost: Expect to pay about $1,400 per year or more
Please note that these tuition fees vary depending on the program or courses chosen, study level, and duration.
2. Living Expenses
The cost of living in Belarus is also low as compared to other European countries. However, Living expenses vary by lifestyle. As a student, you can expect to spend between $200 — $300 per month.
3. Students’ Accommodation
Many higher education institutions in Belarus provide accommodation to students on campus. And off-campus accommodation is also available too.
Dormitories: Dorm rooms are generally shared by 1-3 students. You can expect to pay $15 — $50 per month (The cost varies depending on the people sharing it and the type of dormitory).
Rented apartment: As a student, you can also opt for a rented apartment. For rent per month, you can expect to pay between $300 — $600. This cost varies and depends on the location (within or outside the city center), facilities offered (number of rooms- one, two, or three), and amenities.
The transportation system in Belarus is well-developed. Public transport in Belarus comprises trams, taxis, buses, subway, and trolleybuses. Getting to Belarus is possible by all means of transportation— rail, taxis, air or water transport. You can easily purchase the ticket for public transport in a vending kiosk at the stop, from the driver or conductor.
Traveling to Belarus: Traveling to Belarus by air, rail, and water transportation depends solely on where your home country is situated and its distance to Belarus.
Getting around by bus: You can get around Belarus either by bus or minibus. There are bus stations in all cities where you can purchase a ticket. Belarus has only 1 metro that is situated in Minsk but trolleybuses, buses, trams, taxis, and route taxis are available all around the country. This would cost you $0.97— $58
5. Medical Insurance
Medical care is also available to International students in Belarus. Medical care for international students is done in terms of mandatory medical insurance. But health care for pupils is offered by all states’ medical establishments.
As an international student, you are expected to compulsorily have medical insurance covering the duration of your stay. The insurance cost is;
- Per 2 days stay: $1
- Per a 1-year stay: $85
Please note that prices are variables and subject to change. Also, expenses depend on many factors including the course type and the area you choose to live in. And the Insurance/medical policy issued to you by foreign insurance companies must be valid in Belarus.
5. IELTS and TOEFL free
Unlike most universities in Europe and abroad in general which primarily require IELTS or TOEFL for admission. In Belarus, this is off the list of admission requirements. Entry procedures are simple and straightforward.
6. Easy Visa Acquisition
Their intending students are often not refused visas. Getting a visa to study in Belarus is relatively easy and almost fully guaranteed.
7. A Safe Place to Be
Apart from being an opportunity for you to meet with— thousands of foreign students of different cultures and countries, its people who are crazy sport fanciers and its cuisine filled with potatoes and local meats (which can’t be missed). Belarus’s environment is very safe compared to most parts of Europe. Plus, there is little or no corruption there.
5 Cheapest Universities in Belarus
Following the Bologna process which they adopted five years ago for their higher education system— the bachelor’s degree programs last for four years, master’s degree programs last for two years (one in some cases), and doctorate programs last for three years. The only exception is for programs in medicine, in which the first stage lasts for six years.
Although admissions usually consist of a series of entrance exams. But generally, as an international student, you are only required to submit documents.
I know by now your thought begs the question, “are there tuition-free schools in Belarus?” Then I bring you good news but, with a clause. The clause being a bit of sad news is that tuition is not free in Belarus, but the good news is, it is very much more affordable than in other parts of the world.
The typical annual tuition is between $2,000 — $2,500 (1600 – 1800 Euros) per student. Which textbooks are inclusive of the tuition cost and are distributed by the university libraries.
The majority of the universities in Belarus are public (state-owned). Only 10 out of the 55 universities and colleges are private. However, regardless of your university or nationality, all international students are required to pay a compulsory but cheap tuition fee.
Quite affordable it screams right? So, while exploring your options when choosing a major Belarusian university. Here is the list of five (5) cheapest of its cheap universities to help your search.
- Belarusian State University (BSU)
- A.S. Pushkin Brest State University
- Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU)
- Francysk Skoryna Gomel State University
- Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno (YKSUG)
You can find the list of other universities here too.
6 Best Scholarships in Belarus for International Students
Despite students getting an internationally recognized education cheaply in Belarus, there are 394 study scholarships available to assist students.
Apart from its affordability, foreigners even have the opportunity to study for free in Belarus! As an international student, it means you can grab the opportunity of any of these scholarship programs in Belarus to ease your study expenses. While concurrently enjoying their world-class curriculums, they have numerous standby professors on visiting status from top-notch universities across the world.
Here goes the list of the top 6 scholarships in Belarus for international studies:
- Visegrad Scholarship
- Erasmus + Study Abroad Program
- DAAD Bilateral Exchange of Academics
- Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno Discount System
- Economics and/or Business Administration
- VSMU – Leibniz ScienceCampus EEGA Scholarship Grants
1. Visegrad Scholarship
The Visegrad scholarship is the best in Belarus for international students, funded by the European quartet— a collection of Central European nations. This funding is only restricted to graduate degrees, covering only four semesters as the maximum.
It aims to support its students and those from neighboring countries to enable them to study in universities throughout the continent. Through this, Visegrad country residents, and close-by regions may benefit from studying for free at Belarusian universities.
You’re expected to submit a copy of a valid ID document, transcript of records, and a letter of acceptance from the Belarusian institution. And it’s also needed for you to include a detailed working plan in this packet, for application.
Funding will be sent to you upon your arrival at the host university, if or once accepted. You are required to compulsorily submit a progress report, confirmation of study continuation, and copy of published articles (if any) to be qualified and privileged to the rest of the scholarship funds.
Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for up to four semesters.
Eligible Degree: Master’s degree at participating Belarusian Universities.
2. Erasmus + Study Abroad Program
To qualify for the Erasmus + Study Abroad Program, you need to be enrolled in a recognized program, your travel abroad plan should be related to the curriculum of the program you are studying. Likewise, should your university have an Erasmus agreement with the Belarusian university wherein you want to study.
The amazing part of getting this Belarus scholarship is that, apart from you receiving tuition exemption during your stay, you may also get a travel and subsistence allowance from Erasmus. This, however, will depend on the program or grant with which you’ve qualified.
Also, you’re not exempted from getting the chance to study for free in Belarus (though only for up to 12 months), if you’re already enrolled in a university, with this scholarship.
Importantly! To apply for the Erasmus + Study Abroad Program, you don’t need to course your application to the host Belarusian university. You can send your documents directly to the Erasmus office in your current university.
Scholarship Amount: Tuition exemption for 3-12 months
Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate at participating Belarusian universities
3. DAAD Bilateral Exchange of Academics
DAAD or the German Academic Exchange Service aims to improve international relations and bilateral cooperation between Germany and neighboring countries. And DAAD has handily sponsored the ‘Bilateral Exchange of Academics’ program for qualified postdoc scholars, to accomplish this.
This scholarship is modeled for research stays in Belarusian and other European universities, it covers and provides a monthly stipend to awardees and the travel costs— granted that another funding source does not cover this, for a maximum of 3 months. The allowance, however, varies according to the scholar’s position.
To apply, the most important requirement for you as an applicant is to have already been working as a researcher or academician in your home country. And also meet the Selection Committee’s stringent requirements. Awards will be given based on your academic achievements, published papers, and research proposal.
The application procedure varies according to nationality, visit the DAAD program website to get comprehensive information regarding this process.
Scholarship Amount: $2,375—$2,555 (EUR 2,000 —2,150) per month for up to three months.
Eligible Degree: Post-doctoral research at participating Belarusian Universities.
4. Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno Discount System
Yanka Kupala State University‘s discount system is based in Grodno. This university, founded in 1940 as a teachers’ training institution but now considered the second-best university in the country, boasts the most extensive campus in the whole of Belarus.
As a prominent choice amongst foreigners, the university aims to attract more by offering one of the best scholarships in Belarus for international enrollees.
Presently, there are two discount programs in place for applicants.
One, given to those who have graduated from the university’s preparatory department. The discount being $250, can be used to defray the first-year education costs. Noteworthily, this is limited to a Russian-taught program.
Another is offered to members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The assistance costs being $450, can be used to pay part of the first-year tuition. This is exclusively for English-taught baccalaureate degrees.
Also note that this aid is approximately 10% of the undergraduate tuition, ranging from $2500 — $3500 a year.
- Bachelor’s degree: Discount of $450 — $300 for full-time study, $200 -– $100 for part-time study.
- Master’s degree: Discount of $300 — $150 for full-time study.
Eligible Degree: First year of bachelor’s study at the Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno.
5. Economics and/or Business Administration
Economics and/or Business Administration teaches business administration courses to both undergraduate students and/or to professionals in the M.B.A. program.
Currently, this grant comprises two sets. One lasts for 4- 5 months, a one-semester grant, and the second for 9 months, which is a two-semester grant.
Only Business Administration and Economics applications will be considered. Albeit, specializations may include marketing, finance, investments, multinational corporations, management (strategic, international), organizational behavior, and other acceptable specializations that fall in the range.
The benefits of these awards include:
- Monthly stipend and allowances
- Assistant professor or below: $4,240 — $4.790
- Associate or full professor: $4,460 — $5,010
- Travel and relocation allowance: $3,650 — $8,850
- Book and research allowance: $1,500
- Dependent tuition allowance
6. VSMU – Leibniz Science Campus EEGA Scholarship Grants
The VSMU- Leibniz ScienceCampus “Eastern Europe – Global Area” (EEGA) offers various scholarships (each with several funding places) that address guest scholars and postdocs, and adequately support the organization and implementation of thematic workshops, twice a year.
The Leibniz ScienceCampus EEGA is committed to developing new research perspectives on Eastern Europe, engaging in knowledge exchange activities in the region with stakeholders, and promoting young researchers.
Hinging on the funding format, the Leibniz ScienceCampus EEG supports the scholarship holders with coaching sessions and workshops, individual scholarships (based on the current funding rates for research grants of the German Research Foundation / DFG), or grants for workshop organization costs (involving the journey, accommodation, guests, event materials), or may also promote Joint publication projects, for example through support for editorial meetings and writing retreats.
As an awardee, funding rates vary and are formulated individually, depending on your origin and employment situation, as well as the duration of your stay.
Fellowships are intended to cover your costs of living in the Leipzig-Jena-Halle science region and may not be used to supplement grants obtained from other funding organizations or your income from employment.
The EEGA focuses on five research areas:
- Mobilities and Migration Regimes in Eastern Europe.
- The Self-Positioning of Eastern Europe in a New World Order In The-Making.
- Business Strategies and Frameworks of Political Economics.
- Cultural and Intellectual Perspectives and Identifications.
- Eastern Europe in Times of Europeanization.
18 Fast Facts About Belarus
- Capital: Minsk.
- Population: 9.5 million.
- Currency: Belarusian ruble.
- Official languages: Belarusian and Russian. Nonetheless, the main language of instruction at Belarusian universities is Russian.
- Gained independence from the Soviet Union on 25 August 1991.
- Average international tuition fees: US$2,000 — $3,500 a year.
- The average amount needed for living costs per year: US$2,400 — $3,600.
- All international students need a visa (Belarus is not a member of the European Union).
- Main industries in Belarus include mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, food, textiles, and agriculture.
- Belarus is slightly smaller than the United Kingdom at 207,600 square kilometers (80,200 sq mi).
- Temperatures range from -8.5°C in the depths of winter to 18-20°C or more in summer.
- Belarus has a very low unemployment rate. Only 0.5%.
- Popular traditional Belarusian dishes include machanka (pork stew), vereshchaka (homemade sausages), drink (thick potato pancakes), kolduny, and jetski (dumplings), and babka (baked grated potato pie).
- Nearly one-third of Belarus is made up of forests. There are also thousands of lakes.
- Belarus has borders with Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, and Latvia.
- More than half of its population are religious, with Eastern Orthodoxy and Russian Catholicism being the most common religions.
- Belarus doesn’t use Daylight Saving Time.
- There are still around 400 monuments to Vladimir Lenin in Belarus.
Due to the high demand for Internationally recognized universities and courses, almost all the Institutions are already open to the English medium of Instruction. This means you can study in English medium in almost all the courses available.
However, this article does not fully cover the assorted favorable scholarships available to and for you in Belarus, but skillfully provides you with extensive knowledge regarding studying in Belarus as an international student and the enthusiasm to proceed in your journey!
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