“Be the ambassadors of our university and Hungary!”

Due to the coronavirus restrictions the first virtual graduation ceremony was held at BME for the 150 graduates of the foreign-language programmes.

“We have students arriving from over thirty countries, which means that Hungary, a small country in the Carpathian basin, has attracted half of the world. This is essential for intensifying the internationalisation of our institution: talented young people studying here enrich us with their culture, while they are also able to grow professionally and as human beings”, Rector János Józsa stressed in his welcome address at the graduation ceremony of the English-language programmes, attended by the leaders of the faculties and a handful of representatives of the students, with the event broadcast live online.

In János Józsa’s words, the past few months have been about combatting the impact of the epidemic, with most of the work focused on organising remote teaching. The professor also talked about the fact that a few decades ago BME was among the first universities to introduce English-language academic programmes, which later helped in the transition to the two-tier Bologna-system. The objectives set at that time have become even more important by today: the popularity of the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme is a testament to the increased importance of studying abroad. He added that BME graduates would spread the word everywhere about the high quality of the university’s academic programmes, so he asked them to become the ambassadors of BME and Hungary.

Members of the Academic Procession arriving to the tune of Gaudeamus Igitur: János Józsa Rector, Károly Veszprémi Vice-Rector for Education, Tamás Lovas Vice-Dean (Faculty of Civil Engineering), Imre Norbert Orbulov Dean (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering), Zsolt Vasáros Vice-Dean (Faculty of Architecture), Zoltán Hell University Professor (Faculty of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology), Eszter Udvary Gerhát Associate Professor (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics) head of the English-language programmes, Ádám Török Vice-Dean (Faculty of Transportation Engineering and Vehicle Engineering), Imre Varga Vice-Dean (Faculty of Natural Sciences), Gyula Zilahy Vice-Dean (Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences), László Gergő Vígh Head of the Directorate of Foreign Language Programmes.

The master of the award ceremony was yet again György Ádám Horváth, assistant professor at the Department of Environmental Economics at BME’s Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.

“Your voyage on the flagship of Hungary’s engineering higher education has come to an end, and now you are embarking on a new journey”, were the welcoming words of Vice-Rector for Education Károly Veszprémi, with which he addressed the new graduates. He went on to say that despite all the hardships of the past few years, the students had enjoyed their time here. “Instead of being passive passengers, you were active participants in your programmes: laden with obligations, you worked hard and studied for your exams”, he explained, adding that he hoped that all their efforts would yield dividends. He added that in the past few months, during the epidemic, personal safety has become a priority on this “journey”. The professor emphasised that the university did everything it could to mitigate any danger. “The knowledge and competencies acquired during your studies will give you a solid foundation, onto which you can build in the future”, BME’s professor stressed.

Next the deans of the faculties held their welcome speeches, then one graduate from each faculty was presented with their diploma in the Assembly Hall of BME’s Central Building.

The deans of the faculties reminded the audience that young people studying abroad not only face challenges and lay the foundations of their professional careers, but they also gain experiences which will shape their lives forever. The professors emphasised that they were fully aware of the difficulties faced by students along the road to graduation, including being far away from their families and their usual environment. At the same time, as the semesters passed students who worked hard needed less and less effort to obtain the necessary knowledge. Although the epidemic brought about a completely new situation, requiring much more effort from the students and the academic staff alike, the basics of teaching and graduating in engineering basically remained unchanged.

The new graduates, the best of their faculties, bid farewell to BME, including Nino Tabadadze civil engineering graduate from Georgia, Usama bin Khalid mechanical engineering graduate from Pakistan, Karina Kasatkina architecture graduate from Russia, Said Cosic electrical engineering graduate from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Shen Xinyi computer science engineering graduate from China, Aydin Horozoglu transportation engineering graduate from Turkey and Hellen Shalate who graduated from BME’s Faculty of Natural Sciences.

These students, who had excellent academic results, said that apart from Budapest University of Technology and Economics being a prestigious institution, the impressive built environment, history and natural beauty of Hungary and Budapest, as well as the friendliness of the people ensured an inspiring atmosphere that was instrumental in their personal development. They added that they were proud to be members of BME’s multicultural community, which gave them so many valuable experiences. They explained that they looked at the situation created by the pandemic as an obstacle to be overcome, which they eventually managed to do. Last, but not least graduates from the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme talked about the importance of the grant received from the state, thanking their professors and mentors for their outstanding support. On behalf of BME’s remaining students, Diamond Mean from Cambodia said good bye to the new graduates.

The master of the award ceremony quoted the words of prominent English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who passed away two years go. “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is rare and don't throw it away”, said György Ádám Horváth as a farewell.

Budapest University of Technology and Economics offers 39 bachelor, master and PhD programmes for international students studying in Hungary. The first of these was launched in 1984 and BME currently has cooperation agreements for joint programmes with around 240 higher education institutions from 58 countries. Members of BME’s mentoring network, renowned for their excellent work throughout Hungary, helped foreign students settle here and achieve good academic results.

Every year around 2500 students from over 70 countries study in the various English-language bachelor, master or PhD part-time or full time programmes. 156 graduates received their diplomas at the virtual graduation ceremony at the end of the 2019/2020 academic year. 35 of them graduated with distinction or an honourable mention for their excellence. 80% of the new graduates took part in the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme.

This semester’s new graduates come from over 30 countries, most coming from China and Brazil, but also from Algeria, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Vietnam.

38 students graduated from the Faculty of Civil Engineering, 8 from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, 20 from the Faculty of Architecture, 17 from the Faculty of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 41 from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, 23 from the Faculty of Transportation Engineering and Vehicle Engineering and 9 from the Faculty of Natural Sciences in July 2020.

Fee-paying students complete the same English-language courses as students in the Erasmus and Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programmes. Most Stipendium Hungaricum students arrive from the same countries as the fee-paying students.

In the spring semester of 2020, similarly to Hungarian students, their foreign peers were also taught online at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, so everybody had the opportunity to complete their studies.

Photo: János Philip