It was a mix of Indian and foreign cultures at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) as the premier institution observed its International Day.
R Nagarjan, dean of International and Alumni Relations and professor, department of chemical engineering, told City Express that the day highlighted the cultural diversity in the campus to help international student acclimatise to the Indian environment. The campus has more than 80 students from across the world, of which a majority are from Germany with whom the institute had a tie-up since its formation in 1959 revealed Nagarajan. “We also have students from France, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan, Italy, Korea and Australia,” he said and added that it was a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi as it the day was celebrated during Gandhi Jayanthi.
Interestingly, it was the enthusiasm among the foreign students that caught the eyes of visitors to the Student Affairs Council. Many dabbled with their native cuisines while some tried to adopt the Indian culture. Tobias Gebauer, a German student in Mechanical Engineering and Business administration in IIT-M, said that he was in India for the first time. “I’ve heard many good and bad things about India. This is totally a different world,” he said and added that the campus is beautiful.
Gebauer also tried his hand at displaying his culinary skills. “I am preparing Arme Riter, a traditional dish from Germany that was served after Second World War,” he said. “It’s mostly vegetarian,” he added, smiling.
For Simone, a German student at the Department of Mathematics, the Indian experience was a beautiful one. “Germans keep to themselves. They hardly mingle,” she said and added that people here were friendly and helpful. “Days like this makes one open-minded and understand people better,” she said.
The other foreign student, who tried to tempt people into eating his Spanish Omelette, was Angel Bueno Rodriguez. After hearing about his seniors’ Indian experiences, Rodrigues opted to study in IIT-M though the University of Granada. “This is my last year. I would try to continue studying in India,” said the Spaniard. He said he had heard many bad things about India but after coming out here he found most of it untrue. “I like the food, people and the culture of India,” he told City Express.