Nitin Gupta spends his mornings studying industrial engineering and manufacturing processes at IIT-B. And twice a week, he spends the evening learning to read and write Japanese — and eat with chopsticks.
"I'm interested in animation technology and Japan is the best place for that," he says.
"Since I plan to work there for some time, knowing the language and culture will help me fit in."
That's exactly why, over the past six months, the elite Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay has introduced two, eight-month foreign-language courses — and included a bit of culture and etiquette in the syllabus.
While the institute has offered French courses for six years, IIT-B introduced Japanese six months ago and German last week. The basic and advanced courses are conducted by natives from these countries, who teach the students how to read, write and speak the language and how to conduct themselves in these societies.
"Europe and Japan are technology hubs, so these languages will be useful for engineers," said Subhasis Chaudhuri, head of international relations for IIT-B.
"Our teachers are all native of these countries, so they also instruct students in culture and etiquette."
The courses are finding more takers than expected, most of them students who plan to work or study in these countries.
For instance, the German course, organised in association with the German consulate, was meant for 30 students but began with 44.