650 international students started their studies at BME English-language programs.
"You have made the right decision by choosing our university, as Budapest University of Technology and Economics (or BME in short) is one of the most renowned technical universities in Europe, with a history of training engineers for 240 years" – highlighted Emília Csiszár, Vice-Rector for International Affairs in her speech at the Opening Ceremony of the English-language programs of BME. She emphasised that there are seven undergraduate and nineteen graduate programs and twelve doctoral schools available at the eight faculties for international students.
In this academic year, 2300 international students from more than 30 countries participate in the study programs, including those 650 students who start their university careers as either scholarship holders or regular students.
Our university owns worldwide recognition and holds an important position in international rankings. Our university's unique advantage and exceptional strength are that it offers a first-class education not only in engineering and IT but also in natural sciences, economics, and social sciences. Thanks to the variety of study programs, we provide the labour market with professionals having a broader understanding of different disciplines and complex problem-solving skills – emphasised the Vice-Rector.
The distinct goal of the university's new leadership is to increase the share of students in the English language programs at BME – stressed the Vice-Rector. Currently, 14% of BME students are enrolled in one of the English language programs across the eight faculties.
Various scholarship programmes facilitate the studies of international students, such as Erasmus, Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship, Scholarship for Christian Young People, Hungarian Diaspora Scholarship. Out of which, the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship is the most significant. The Vice-Rector pointed out that as a professor, she is delighted to see the students in person since the lively professor-student relationship, the hands-on experience gained in small group lab practices, and individual laboratory work all shape innovative and pioneer mindsets.
Members of the presidency walking to the pulpit for the "Gaudeamus igitur" traditional university hymn sang by the University Choir: Emília Csiszár , Vice-Rector for International Affairs; Gábor Nagy, Director of BME Directorate of Student Services representing the Chancellery; Tamás Lovas, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering; Imre Orbulov, University Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering; Ágnes Balogh Gyetvai, Associate Professor, Vice-Dean at the Faculty of Architecture; Zoltán Hell, University Professor at the Faculty of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, Head of the English-language program; László Sujbert, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics; Ádám Török, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Transportation Engineering and Vehicle Engineering; Ferenc Simon, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences; Mária Szalmáné Csete, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences; Bendegúz Papp, international and Erasmus representative of BME Student Representation Union.
Our guest of honour was Ms Orsolya Pacsay-Tomassich, State Secretary for the Hungarian Diplomatic Academy and Stipendium Hungaricum Programme, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Mr Dale A. Martin, President of the European Engineering Learning Innovation and Science Alliance (EELISA), European University Alliance (https://eelisa.eu/), former President & CEO of Siemens Zrt.
Representatives and diplomats from foreign representations accredited to Hungary were also present at the Ceremony.
The online streaming is available here.
On behalf of the Government of Hungary and as the responsible State Secretary for Stipendium Hungaricum Programme, Ms Orsolya Pacsay-Tomassich welcomed the students at the Ceremony. As she said, the Stipendium Hungaricum program launched in 2013 with three partner countries and 60 students is a real success story. Since then, the programme has become hugely popular. For this academic year SH has received a record number of almost 50 thousand applications, and at present about 13,000 SH students from all over the world are studying in Hungary. Based on surveys, most of the graduates would choose the same institution and the same program for a second time as well. The State Secretary was delighted to see the high number of Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship holders present at the Opening Ceremony of BME.
The State Secretary reconfirmed that students made a wise decision having chosen Hungary and BME for their studies, as the Hungarian higher education institutions fully meet the high international standards. She added that the program is mutually beneficial: thanks to international students, the number of courses and research programs offered in English are increasing in Hungary each year.
Ms Orsolya Pacsay-Tomassich emphasised that the condition of in-person education is combatting the pandemic effectively: the most important means is vaccination; therefore, she urged everyone to get inoculated.
"I encourage you to study and deepen your relations with the Hungarian professional community, and when returning to your home country, please become ambassadors of our country. In addition, enrich your personal self as well: get acquainted with Hungary's cultural heritage, its culinary specialities, and learn Hungarian. Furthermore, last but not least, enjoy your student life!" – concluded the State Secretary.
"You are here in Hungary, in Budapest, within the old and beautiful walls of BME: so you have already proven that you can step out of your comfort zones" – addressed the audience Mr Dale A. Martin, President of European Engineering Learning Innovation and Science Alliance (EELISA), former CEO of Siemens Zrt. In his remarks, he recalled that when he was young and started his studies in a foreign country in a different culture, so he knows all the challenges and opportunities these students are facing right now.
The President of EELISA emphasised that the Association consisting of 9 universities of 7 countries, offers an excellent opportunity for students to establish international professional relations, to get to know global social issues and potential solutions to these problems.Az igazgató hangsúlyozta, a hét ország kilenc egyetemét tömörítő EELISA kiváló lehetőséget nyújt a hallgatóknak a nemzetközi szakmai kapcsolatok kialakításához, a globális társadalmi problémák megismeréséhez és a lehetséges megoldásukhoz.
"I encourage you to do three things: first, get to know the rich cultural heritage of Budapest, second, stick to your decision and try to overcome the difficulties over and over again and enjoy getting over these challenges: because this is called success. Create value both for the society and for yourself as well!" – expressed his thoughts the President of EELISA.
It is part of the traditions of the international opening ceremony that first-year students take an oath, the solemn declaration. The text of the oath was read by Mr Gellért Szarvas, Erasmus coordinator, and Ms Layan Sawalha, a first-year student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering from Jordan, encouraged her fellow students by repeating the text loudly. The newly sworn university citizens were saluted by the University Choir.
On behalf of first-year students, Mr Artyom Csarkovszkij, a Russian student of Computer Engineering, addressed the guests of honour, the leaders of the university and the audience. As he said, he had visited Hungary several times before and was amazed by the rich history and culture, just like by the beauty of Lake Balaton and its surroundings. As he was interested in computer programming from an early age, it was an easy decision for him to choose the prestigious institution of BME after his high school studies. He is not disappointed so far: friendly classmates and helpful professors greeted him after his arrival. Finally, he wished the best of luck and success to his fellow students.
Bendegúz Papp, an international and Erasmus representative of BME Student Representation Union, delivered the message of upper-grade students. In his welcome speech, he emphasised that apart from academic excellence, outstanding professors, and promising research programs, BME offers students a wide variety of opportunities. They have the chance to decide whether they wish to participate in these activities, but joining the student community and participating in events such as sports days, excursions and community events have their great advantages.
Bendegúz Papp was happy to announce that the first official student club for international students is being established, where international students can also organise useful programs and meet other students with similar interests.
"The university provides much more than just education: relationships, competencies, and friendships, which become part of students' lives. The Student Union assists in organising faculty students' days, dormitory days, university festivals for all 22 000 students of BME, but at the same time, it also supports students as a circle of friends. International students should also turn to us when needed" – said the international and Erasmus representative of BME Student Representation Union.
After the speeches, Emília Csiszár PhD, Vice-Rector for International Affairs, officially opened the 240th jubilee academic year of Budapest University of Technology and Economics for international students. The ceremony, as a long-standing tradition, was concluded with the Hungarian National Anthem.
Photo: Geberle B.