UKZN Civil Engineering student, Mr Lloyd Chaitezvi has recently returned from Italy where he spent six months at the University of Trento, Italy, as part of the Erasmus+ Mobility Exchange programme.

Originally from Kadoma, a small mining city in Zimbabwe, the UKZN Master’s student is interested in the design and implementation of Smart and Sustainable cities in Africa using Sustainability Indicators.

While at Trento, he carried out his research under Associate Professor Antonnio Frattari who also supervised his case study in the city. Chaitezvi also presented a conference paper in Naples on Building a Framework for a Sustainable African City of the Future.

Chaitezvi was a dedicated student who made good use of his time abroad by immersing himself in Italian culture. His fondest memories include enjoying the stunning Italian scenery, exploring ancient castles and cathedrals and eating ‘marvellous pizza’!

He delighted in meeting “friendly and accommodating people” at the “culturally diverse” university. ‘It was also safe to walk around at any time of the day and I met students from around the world,’ said Chaitezvi.

The Engineering student relished learning how ancient buildings were designed and constructed and the measures the city (Trento) took to be ranked one of the Smart Cities in Europe.

While the medium of instruction at the University of Trento was Italian for Bachelor’s degrees, Chaitezvi was relieved that English was used for higher degrees. ‘I also attended Italian courses where they taught us the basics of the language to be able to effectively converse to Italian natives. Quite a number of Italian nationals spoke little or no English at all,’ he said.

Highlights from his trip include learning how to walk in the snow and how to make pizza.

Challenges he faced included the language barrier as well as learning to adapt to the extremely cold, snowy environment.

Student Exchange/Study Abroad Co-ordinator, Ms Preshantha Reddy was delighted that Chaitezvi enjoyed his time abroad and said the Erasmus+ Project was strengthening international collaborations.

The fourth born in a family of five children, Chaitezvi has two older brothers, William and Victor, an older sister Grace, and a younger sister named Sharon. ‘We are all enthusiastic about sport and our parents gave us a lot of support. They also ensured that we excelled both academically and in sport, becoming disciplined children in the process,’ he said.

His hobbies include playing cricket, rugby and hockey, travelling, reading motivational books and designing structures and houses.

Chaitezvi is set on being a renowned Structural Engineer and plans on going into industry after his Master’s. ‘I have a passion for bridge design, and later in life I intend to start my own Civil Engineering firm. I also want to help those less fortunate by putting them through school so they can better their lives,’ he said.

‘Be yourself, your only competition is you and you don’t need to be intimidated by other people’s success. Focus on you, believe in yourself, and whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability,’ he told fellow students.

Words: Raylene Captain Hasthibeer