Twelve of the 40 Ethiopians who studied in NITK between 1980 and 1984 are attending the institute’s global alumni meeting.

By Raghava M |

Fifty-two-year-old Fekadu Mengistu and his 11 engineering classmates from the 1980 batch of the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, are now staying in the college hostel.

They are visiting their alma mater as part of the Global Alumni Convention which started on Friday.

“This was then the Ethiopian hostel,” said Mr. Mengistu about the International Students Hostel of the NITK, where they are now staying. “We all stayed in the rooms on the ground floor,” said his classmate Getachew of the building which now has two storeys.

They were among the 40 Ethiopians — the first batch of foreign students — who studied engineering in this institute which was then called Karnataka Regional Engineering College.

“Our government gave us scholarship to study here,” recalled Mr. Getachew.

Mr. Mengistu said the Ethiopian government wanted qualified engineers and they found the KREC Surathkal “the best”. Their country had only one engineering college then. “The situation has changed now. We have 38 engineering institutions. Experts come from India to teach there,” he said.

Mr. Mengistu, who works as a deputy manager in an industry dealing with heavy machinery in Ethiopia, said the four-year course in Surathkal provided them technical expertise and turned them into professionals.

Ethiopian chapter

Mr. Mengistu and Mr. Getachew are part of the 12-member Ethiopian chapter of the NITK Surathkal Alumni Association. Two of them, including Mr. Getachew, now work in the U.S. “I make it a point to visit our institute’s website often to know the progress it has achieved,” Mr. Getachew said, and added, “I’m in touch with only a few Indian classmates.”

This visit has given them a chance to relish boiled rice with sambar, and masala dosa, which they used to eat here as students. “We did have difficulty then with this food. But we got used to it,” Mr. Mengistu recalled.

Source: The Hindu
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