Global Gators: Three UF Graduate Students Teach at Colombian Universities This Summer

Release Date: August 13 2019

University of Florida graduate students expanded both their own expertise and the UF Graduate School’s global reach by teaching at prestigious universities in Colombia this summer.

UF doctoral candidates Peijuan Cao (Curriculum and Instruction) and Riya Chakraborty (Curriculum and Instruction) taught at the four-week Level 7 English Program at Universidad del Norte (UNINORTE) in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Cao spoke of the reciprocity of the experience, saying of her students: “They were not only interested in learning the English language, but also in learning about other cultures… They also taught me many thing about Colombian culture and society. This was a mutual learning opportunity for both sides.”

Chakraborty added, “The whole experience turned out to be significant to both the students’ learning and also my understanding and improvement as a teacher. It was a cultural exchange between two different countries, and the greatest satisfaction that I got was that the students expressed that they enjoyed the course and learnt a lot.”

Meanwhile, at Universidad Externado de Colombia in the capital city of Bogotá, UF Master of Fine Arts alumnus Afsheen Misaghi (Theatre, Class of 2019) taught “Imitating Creativity,” a two-week course addressing both art and artificial intelligence.

He expressed enthusiasm over “teaching something I knew a lot about (art) and combining it with something I had to learn about (artificial intelligence). I had an absolutely great time in Colombia… I truly hope I can return next year.”

Through such teaching exchanges, the UF Graduate School helps its student develop cross-cultural skills and confidence as instructors while building bridges to institutions of higher learning and culture outside the United States.

For more information about teaching abroad opportunities offered through the UF Graduate School, email Dr. Emilia Hodge (Director, Graduate Education Outreach) in the Office of Graduate International Outreach (OGIO) at

For more information on OGIO, click on this link: UF Office of Graduate International Outreach.

UF Curriculum and Instruction doctoral candidates Riya Chakraborty (left) and Peijuan Cao (right) at Universidad del Norte (UNINORTE) in Barranquilla, Colombia

UF alumnus Afsheen Misaghi (Master of Fine Arts 2019, center) and enthusiastic students at Universidad Externado de Colombia in Bogotá, Colombia

Spirited students of the English language at UNINORTE take a break from the classroom with instructor Chakraborty (center)

UNINORTE students develop conversational English skills with instructor Cao over the international language of food and drink

Universidad Externado de Colombia students discuss connections between art and artificial intelligence in instructor Misaghi’s classroom