U bent hier: Home / Studenten / In het kader van ontwikkelingssamenwerking / Travel Grants for students travelling to the South

Travel Grants for students travelling to the South


travel grants

European students intending to do part of their study programme (thesis research, a practical training) in a developing country, may apply for a Travel Grants of 1,000 euros. Travel Grants provide an excellent opportunity for young people to experience life in the South.

As a KU Leuven Travel Grant student, your assignment in the South should take at least 6 weeks. One of the local organizations needs to welcome you and guide you during your stay. This could be a university, an NGO, a government institution or a hospital. In addition, your KU Leuven promoter or supervisor should support your project abroad.



Who can apply for a Travel Grant?

Are you enrolled as a student at KU Leuven? If so, you can apply for a Travel Grant, provided you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a student in one of the following programmes:
    • a Bachelor’s programme
    • a Master’s programme
    • an advanced Master’s programme.
  • You are a citizen of one of the member states of the European Union or Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland (European Free Trade Association). 
  • Your assignment is related to one of the parts of your KU Leuven study programme for which you will obtain credits, such as thesis research or a practical training. Just following courses in a developing country is not enough.
  • You will be staying in one of the 54 eligible countries (see the countries listed below).
  • Your stay in the South will take at least six weeks (during the academic year or a holiday period).
  • At least one month of the total period abroad must be scheduled in 2017.  However, you are allowed to depart for your host country in 2016 or to return to Belgium in 2018. Participants who will be leaving for their host country after 1 December 2017 will be referred to the next edition of the Travel Grant Programme.
  • The Travel Grant application must be submitted before departure for the South and before the final deadline.
  • You have never received a VLIR-UOS/IRO Travel Grant before.
  • You do not receive any other kind of grant to finance your study travelling period.
  • Students applying for a travel grant are expected to attend the intercultural preparation day and the infosession on safety, health and paperwork.

To which country in the South?

All destinations in developing countries that qualify for a Travel Grant are situated in Latin America, Asia or Africa. Please consult the list of Travel Grant Countries below.

Please note: the list of Travel Grant countries was modified by VLIR-UOS. However, KU Leuven continues to provide scholarships for all destinations listed below.

KU Leuven Travel Grant Countries
1 Bangladesh 15 Ethiopia 29 Malawi 43 South Africa
2 Benin 16 Gambia 30 Mali 44 Sri Lanka
3 Bolivia 17 Ghana 31 Mexico 45 Suriname
4 Brazil 18 Guatemala 32 Morocco 46 Tanzania
5 Burkina Faso 19 Guinea 33 Mozambique 47 Thailand
6 Burundi 20 Guyana 34 Nepal 48 Togo
7 Cambodia 21 Haiti 35 Nicaragua 49 Tunisia
8 Cameroon 22 Honduras 36 Nigeria 50 Uganda
9 Colombia 23 India 37 Palestine 51 Uruguay
10 Congo DR 24 Indonesia 38 Paraguay 52 Vietnam
11 Ivory 25 Jordan 39 Peru 53 Zambia
12 Cuba 26 Kenya 40 Philippines 54 Zimbabwe
13 Dominican Republic 27 Laos 41 Rwanda    
14 Ecuador 28 Madagascar 42 Senegal    

High-risk countries

In order to check whether it is safe to travel to a specific country or region, you can consult the official travel advise that is available on the website of the national authorities of the following countries:

In case of a negative travel advise, KU Leuven students will not be granted the permission to undertake the travel. The KU Leuven Advisory Committee on High-Risk Destinations will assess the risk that goes with a specific destination. The Committee's decision has an obligatory effect, whether a Travel Grant has been awarded or not.

Students wishing to travel to high-risk countries are therefore recommended to anticipate and provide an alternative destination in consultation with their supervisor, thus enabling the Travel Grant Selection Committee to assess the safety of the alternative destination as well.

Who is the partner in the South?

When applying for a Travel Grant, it is essential that you have already established a good contact with your supervisor in the country of your destination. After all, one of the local institutions will be your host institution for the entire period of your stay in the South. The local institution can be a university, an NGO, a local government institution or a hospital.

You should discuss your stay abroad well in advance with your host institution and, in an ideal situation, also with the European partner organization that may be involved. Clear arrangements should be made concerning the local supervision and guidance related to your assignment. A solid local support is therefore considered to be essential.

The KU Leuven professor who will supervise your thesis research or your practical training will also be your first source of information on existing co-operation projects with partners in the South.

Important selection criteria for students applying for a Travel Grant

When evaluating the Travel Grant applications, the focus will be on the quality of the applications. Several aspects will be taken into account as far as the student, the proposal, and the available support and supervision in the North and the South are concerned.

1. The student
  • The candidate must have the required academic and personal capacities. The application must show that the student is motivated (taking into account the specific context of a developing country, carefully completed forms).
  • A good language knowledge is required (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese / local language, depending on the destination).
  • The student must refer to an adequate preparation as far as intercultural abilities and practical matters are concerned.
  • Preference will be given to students who already made an extra effort to prepare themselves for the research or practical training abroad (by taking a course on developmental issues, participating in relevant debates, learning the basics of the local language, starting to contact persons or institutions involved).
  • In case of equal files preference will be given to students who received a study scholarship from the Flemish Government the year before.
2. The proposal
  • The proposal must fit in with the study programme of the student.
  • The subject of the research or practical training must be described very clearly.
  • The subject of the research or the practical training must be feasible.
  • The subject of the research or the practical training must fit in with the priorities of the local institution and/or with the local culture, reality or needs.
  • The proposed research or practical training must offer opportunities for the student to get in touch with the local population.
  • Preference will be given to individual applications or to an interdisciplinary duo, rather than to similar applications from a number of students following the same study programme and travelling to the same destination. In the case of several students travelling together, the Travel Grant applications must include an individual work plan and describe the applicant's personal motivation.
3. Supervision and support in the North and the South
  • The subject of the research or practical training must clearly be supported by the Leuven supervisor and by the local partner.
  • A solid support by the KU Leuven supervisor (and staff) must be guaranteed before, during and after the stay in the South.
  • The scientific and/or professional support of the student in the South must be guaranteed.
  • The practical support of the student in the South must be guaranteed.

Application procedure for 2017 Travel Grants

How to apply for a 2017 Travel Grant?

As a student, you must prepare your application in consultation with your professor or promoter, or with the supervisor of the part of your KU Leuven study programme that is related to your assignment abroad. Furthermore, you must consult the partner in the South. The application must be written in an international language - English or French, depending on your destination.

You must apply online through the webpage of VLIR- UOS (including uploading the requested letters) prior to departure and before the travel grant deadline. After having submitted the application, the Travel Grant application file can be downloaded as PDF documents. You will have to upload these documents when applying for a study period abroad through KU Loket.

Online application via VLIR-UOS

You will have to apply online through data.vliruos.be. You will be asked to register first and then you can start the application. After your return from the South, you will have to use the online tool once again to send your travel report. Please make sure you remember your registered mail address and password. Below you can find a short description of the application procedure.

Register/log in

The first time you use the tool, you will be asked to register. Once you are logged in, you can continue working with the same email address at any time.

  • The first email address you will be asked to enter is your personal email address.  From that moment onwards, this address will also be your username.
  • When adding an institution, VLIR-UOS will ask for the email address of the institution. Please enter your student email address.

Start a new application

In the left menu, select "calls scholarship proposals". You will find a project named "Travel Grants 2017 KU Leuven". By clicking on the pencil, you can start your application.

Continue working in your application

In the left menu, select "my scholarships". You will see your application. You can continue working in your file by clicking on the pencil. Do not forget to click on "save" just now and then. You can change and save the information, and continue working later, until you "submit" your application (see the information below). 

Completing all tabs

An application file consists of several sheets. You will have to complete them all. Questions related to the content of your project abroad are on the "application form" sheet.

Upload attachments

On the "attachments" sheet you will have to upload 3 PDF files:

  • A motivation letter (max. 1 page). Why do you intend to travel to the South for thesis research, practical training? Why do you wish to apply for a Travel Grant?
  • A signed recommendation letter or email, written in Dutch, English or French by your promoter (max. 2 pages). Your promoter must support your project abroad. If necessary, he should be able and willing to provide extra information on the assignment and on the existing co-operation with the partner in the South.
  • A signed invitation letter or email, written in English or French by the supervisor at the host institution in the South (max. 2 pages). A letter in Spanish, Portuguese or Dutch will only be accepted if this is the official language in your country of destination. The local supervisor must support both your trip to the South and the assignment you will work on. If necessary, he should be able and willing to provide extra information on the assignment, or on local professional and practical support.

Submit the application

After having completed the online application form, you select "submit". From now on your application is submitted, and no further changes are possible. You can, however, consult the information you have provided.

Download Travel Grant application file

After having submitted your application, go to the "attachments" sheet to download your Travel Grant application file (form + 3 letters). Make sure you save the 4 PDF files, so you can submit them when applying for a study period abroad via KU Loket.

Application content

This is an overview of the questions you will have to answer during the VLIR-UOS online application procedure.

Deadline for Travel Grant applications

Students leaving for the South between 1/12/2016 and 1/12/2017 must apply for a Travel Grant prior to departure and before the faculty deadline.


Faculty Contact Deadline
Theology and Religious Studies Frauke Gevaert 15 March 2017
Institute of Philosophy Stefan Rummens 15 March 2017
Law Gema Rodriguez Valls 15 March 2017
Economics and Business Suzanne Steijleman 15 March 2017
Social Sciences Ria Laenen 15 March 2017
Arts Roger Janssens 11 December 2016
Psychology and Educational Sciences Netje Dirikx 15 March 2017
Science Bieke Dutoit 15 March 2017
Engineering Science Isabelle Benoit 1 April 2017
Bioscience Engineering Matt Tips 15 March 2017
Engineering Technology Hilde Lauwereys 1 April 2017
Architecture Nele De Meyere 15 March 2017
Medicine Lynn Timperman 15 March 2017
Pharmaceutical Sciences Jackie Jaspers 15 March 2017
Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences Bavo Meert 15 March 2017

Contact at the International Office : Marijke Nicolaï 

No Travel Grant applications will be accepted after the faculty deadline. Students travelling after 1 December 2017 are referred to the next edition of the Travel Grant Programme.

Travel Grant Report (upon return from the South)


Travel Report

Within one month after returning from the South, Travel Grant students must report on their stay abroad.


At the end of their stay abroad, Travel Grant students must complete the assessment form in an international language and have it signed by their local supervisor.

Payment of Travel Grants

Within one month after returning from the South, Travel Grant students must send their Travel Grant file to reisbeurzen@kuleuven.be. The Travel Grant file must include the following documents:

  • a travel report, completed and signed by the student
  • an assessment form, completed and signed by the student's local supervisor
  • a proof of travel insurance
  • a Travel Grant payment form, completed and signed by the student: Travel Grant payment form

As soon as all the administrative requirements have been settled, the Travel Grant will be transferred to the student’s bank account.

Additional information is available at the International Office - Marijke Nicolaï