Matteo grew up in Milan, Italy. He started his undergraduate career reading Italian Literature and, after a short break, switched to Sociology. For Matteo, life as an undergrad was enjoyable and full of variety: ‘We didn’t live as monks. There was plenty of distraction.’ Because he was also passionate about Economics, he joined an MSc programme in Economics and Management of Innovation Technology at Bocconi University in Milan. It involved a semester in the USA, an internship with a company in Milan, and some paid work as a guide to Da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting. Then came a PhD.
‘I knew about Twente because of its football team!’
‘The idea of doing a PhD had been on my mind for quite some time, and I was interested in studying in the Netherlands: I had visited before and really liked the country. I was also aware the education system was excellent, offered programmes in English, and good scholarships. I signed up to receive notifications from Academic Transfer, and kept an eye on things.
‘One day an opportunity at the University of Twente came up. It looked perfectly tailored to me. I had heard about Twente, mainly because of the football team. I didn’t know the city of Enschede, but it looked like a nice place, so I applied to do a PhD at the Behavioural, Management, and Social Sciences faculty (BMS). And I was accepted! I was a little nervous about moving from a big city like Milan to smaller Enschede. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Enschede is vibrant. I enjoy the city centre, which is very cozy, and great for going out for dinner and drinks with friends. Quite often the city organises events or concerts in the main square. I also enjoy the nature side of Twente and biking in the surroundings. You certainly don’t get bored here.’
‘Doing a PhD is a wholesome experience!’
‘You hear a lot about doing a PhD. That it is very stressful. I was anxious about the academic level, too, and by what it would be like being surrounded by all those smart people. But as it turns out the environment is stimulating and very supportive: there was nothing to worry about. The university, my peers, and the faculty are welcoming and friendly. I have daily interactions with my supervisor and can ask questions at any time. There are helpful annual reviews. And there is a PhD association that offers lots of scope for friendship and academic support. The unique Dutch blend of formality and informality is a lovely experience and the facilities here at UT are amazing. Very modern!
Matteo has a year and half to go before he completes his PhD. He is looking into the possibilities of continuing in academia after that, in a way that will allow him to apply all that he has been learning.