Ethiopians and Eritreans at Home at MUM

Walking through the McLaughlin Building, home of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics at Maharishi University of Management, you meet students with a rich diversity of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. While more than 40 nationalities are usually represented in the MSCS program on-campus at any given time, it becomes apparent that there are more Ethiopians than any other nationality represented. In fact, since our MSCS program began in 1996, the largest number of graduates come from Ethiopia. Out of 1205 graduates, 289 are Ethiopian. Among currently enrolled students on-campus and doing internships around the U.S., Ethiopians are also the largest group represented with 155.

Why do so many Ethiopians come to the US for graduate school?

According to Sundus Yousuf, who first got interested in computers in Ethiopia at age 10, and is currently doing his curricular practical training internship in the Research Information Systems Department at the University of Iowa, “It’s the American Dream. The USA gives this world image that it’s such a great country and that anyone can be successful if they work hard enough.”

Professionally, Sundus would like to work his way up from small organizations involved in software development, and then take another step to larger innovative IT organizations. Next, he hopes to earn a PhD, so that he can contribute to research related to Artificial Intelligence or the IBM Smarter Planet®.

Why attend MUM in particular?

Sundus transferred to MUM from another U.S. university when he didn’t see his goals being achievable at that university.

“The attraction of MUM was that:

  • It is made up of people from almost every nation, tribe, and region of the world. MUM is the most diverse university that I have come across. Study at MUM gives international students the chance not only to experience American culture, but to meet people from every corner of the world.
  • Another undeniable reason is the financial support that the school provides for its esteemed international students. This is a very big plus for any international student as it gives us the chance to explore our limits without any financial boundaries.
  • Last, but definitely not least, is the employability record and reputation the school has developed among the U.S. Fortune 500 IT companies. It’s every student’s dream to be employed in any of these companies, and to put their knowledge to the ultimate test by practicing it in the real world.”

What pleases you the most in your experience at MUM?

“Because classes are on the block system, we study one course a month, and then change. This is great because you never get bored or feel unsatisfied in a class for an extended period of time. The environment is very calm and peaceful, and this helps you focus deeply, achieve your daily assignments, and fulfill your dreams. The courses offered in my program are well tailored to the current era of technology, which is a very good thing, since technology is evolving so rapidly.

What advice would you give software developers for success and satisfaction in life?

“What was yesterday is not today and will not be tomorrow, so keep yourself up-to-date on the latest technologies to stay in the game. One more thing—knowing what you need to know matters, whether you’re just starting out as a software developer (or planning to become one), so make a good commitment to it. MUM’s Computer Professionals education system is wonderful. The courses offered are up-to-dateespecially the two-week seminar courses, which play a big role in keeping us current. Moreover, the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique is integrated with the education system, which gives us a clear vision of the road ahead.

Eritrean students and graduates 2013.

Along with the Ethiopian students, in recent years we have seen a steady growth in the Eritrean student population. This is understandable when you consider that Ethiopians and Eritreans share a common border in East Africa, have similar climates, languages and traditions, and both have high quality undergraduate computer science education. There are currently 15 Eritrean students in the MSCS program, and the 2013 outstanding graduate is Eritrean. Students from both countries enjoy each other’s company, whether it’s on the football (soccer) field or in a group posing for a photograph.