Get to Know Us!

A monthly showcase of the amazing staff who make the International Center a place where the UF community meets all its international goals.

Anita Badhwar

Anita Badhwar plays an important role in the functioning of the Office of Global Teaching (OGL) here at UFIC. She coordinates various marketing initiatives and award disbursement, event planning, and managing student employees and their day-to-day tasks within her unit. A role as diverse as her background, Anita’s life and career are anchored by various international experiences, and whether she’s teaching, advising, or writing children’s books, Anita infuses everything she does with a passionate global perspective.

Born in Toronto, Canada to Indian parents, Anita has a firsthand experience of living a multicultural identity. Even to this day, as a part of a UFIC cohort participating in the True North: Facilitating Intercultural Learning, Anita reckons with what that identity means, “When you stop sit and reflect on your experiences, you realize that you have many layers—you start learning a lot about yourself.” Anita earned her BA in economics from the University of Toronto, before moving to Massachusetts and eventually to Gainesville, where she graduated with an M.Sc. in Management from the Hough Graduate School of Business, here at UF.

Anita began her career in International Education with Santa Fe College, as a Study Abroad Specialist and eventually became International Education Coordinator, “We put forth several Study Abroad programs. It was a great experience—it was my first introduction to international education and how these programs were presented in higher education.”

She spent a few years working in K-12 education, working as a paraprofessional (teacher’s assistant) in Alachua County Public Schools. “Even there, I tried to infuse an international perspective,” says Anita. She recalls working with young students on projects about India and finding that the children were very receptive to new information, about cultures of which they were unfamiliar, “They loved it! The parents love it. The administration loved it. Everyone was just so surprised at that age could absorb so much.”

In February last year, Anita rejoined the Gator Nation at the International Center and now works with OGL as a Program Support Specialist. Anita assists with all the various programs that OGL administers, including the International Scholars Program (ISP), Virtual Exchange Training, Collaborative Online Learning (COIL) for staff, and Global Learning Institute, “All of our programs seem to be growing!” In her role, she focuses on the marketing and promotion of these programs and leverages her student workers to help, “These students have some great opportunities to get involved with everything,” says Anita. With her guidance, the students are gaining general administrative experience, as well as experience with digital marketing, event planning, and more.

Anita’s international experiences started as a young child. “I have been traveling since a very early age,” she recounted. Her parents were born in India, so she traveled back and forth as a child, and since then, she has been to Europe, the Caribbean, and Singapore, but her favorite destination will always be India. “I am so biased,” jokes Anita, “I’ve been to India, seen the Taj Mahal five times, but there is so much to see. I am due for a trip back!”

Her love and pride for Indian culture led her to self-publish seven children’s books. The series, which has been featured in Canadian Living Magazine and several other online magazines in Canada, the United States, and England, is about Little Princess Rani. She says she wrote the series because, “when I was growing up, I never had any children’s literature that was Indian-themed.” She continued, “When I had my kids, I was looking for literature to help them connect with their heritage and culture, and it wasn’t there.” Inspired also in part thanks to her first trip to India with her children in 2012, Anita wrote and illustrated the books to teach children about Indian holidays and festivals and to highlight travel experiences that were particularly impactful for Anita and her family. “Seeing the process unravel and develop from an idea, to weaving it into a story,” is the most rewarding part of writing, reflects Anita.

Anita plans to continue promoting Indian culture at every opportunity she’s presented. UFIC is pleased that she has become an international ambassador for children’s literature, and we wish her great success in her entrepreneurship as a writer.

To check out Anita’s published books visit: https://abadhwar2.wixsite.com/littleprincessrani" target="_blank">abadhwar2.wixsite.com/littleprincessrani

Thank you, Anita, for making a world of difference!

Story by: https://internationalcenter.ufl.edu/about-ufic/staff/terrence-funke" target="_blank">Terrence Funke
Photos: https://internationalcenter.ufl.edu/about-ufic/staff/christina-cozart" target="_blank">Christina Cozart