March 08, 2021 09:41
Interview with Giuseppe Habib, an alumni PhD student and researcher from BME

'When in Rome, do as the Romans do'- says the proverb. Giuseppe Habib attained an Italian top university in Rome, but, because he was mesmerised by Budapest, did his Erasmus scholarship and PhD at BME Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Later, he returned to Hungary as a researcher, and today works as a senior lecturer at the Department of Applied Mechanics of the faculty.

You graduated as a mechanical engineer at the La Sapienza University of Rome in 2008. Why did you choose Mechanical Engineering?

Since when I was in high school, I was fascinated by the possibility of predicting the dynamics of physical objects by using mathematics. This made me love physics and in particular mechanics. When I had to choose which university to go to, I was undecided between mechanical engineering and physics, what I knew is that I wanted to deal with mechanics. In the end, I chose mechanical engineering because it gives more job opportunities.

After obtaining your master in mechanical engineering, you did not start immediately a PhD. What did you do in the meantime and why you decide to go back to academia?

After obtaining my master’s degree I was pondering the possibility of starting a Ph.D. However, I wanted to see first how is working in industry. I then worked for two different companies as a mechanical designer, first in Rome and then in Budapest, but in neither of them I was fully satisfied with my job. My feeling was that most of my knowledge acquired during my bachelor and master was not really useful for the engineering practice, in particular, regarding mathematical methods. After one year in industry, my mathematical knowledge was quickly going back to my level at the beginning of my university studies. This motivated me to return to academia and start a Ph.D. This clearly showed me that the theoretical level reached in university engineering studies is rarely required by most engineering companies.

You came to Hungary during your Master with an Erasmus scholarship. Why did you choose Hungary?

Few months before choosing my destination, I spent a weekend in Budapest. I was really thrilled by the life here and I realized that Budapest could be an excellent destination for spending an Erasmus. Regarding the university, the BME provides a lot of courses in English, which are well described on the faculty website. However, to be honest, Erasmus was not mainly about following courses at the university. Apart from that, the amount of the Erasmus scholarship did not depend on the destination; considering life cost in Budapest at that time I had the possibility to keep a quite good standard of living out of the scholarship.

What was your impression of life here?

I had a great time in Budapest, especially during my Erasmus! I really love the vibe of Budapest, for me one of the best in the world. I think Budapest is the perfect place for spending university studies. Many people speak about the pessimism of Hungarian; well, I never had that impression in Budapest. I rather see a strong will to live, especially in young people.

If you want to read more about the experiences of Giuseppe Habib, please visit the official blog site of the BME Faculty of Mechanical Engineering HERE! Please, visit the website of the International Mentor Team of the University to get more information for your stay here in Hungary.