As an established teacher hoping to further her own education, the objectives that brought Pia Maiti to TC from Argentina were fairly conventional.
But a straight-line path it was not.
“I crossed the world and back to get here,” Maiti says.
The itinerary: Buenos Aires to the Berkshires, back to Buenos Aires, then on to Australia, Buenos Aires (again) and, finally, New York City.
A 2022 graduate of the International Educational Development program, Maiti unabashedly “loves teaching.”
“My days were never boring,” Maiti says, describing a decade spent teaching English in Argentina following her graduation from Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
There nonetheless came a point that Maiti desired to embark on adventures beyond her own country.
The conclusion prompted the successful submission of an application to the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA), a professional development program that fosters cross-cultural understanding and learning by matching foreign educators with U.S. colleges and universities.
Off Maiti went to Williamstown, Mass. to teach Spanish at Williams College – a year-long appointment that ended with Maiti resolving to pursue a graduate degree in the U.S.
Maiti “had no idea the field” of international and comparative education existed until learning about it from fellow “Fulbrighters” during her stay in Williamstown.
The intrigued Maiti dug deeper and discovered a wide-ranging academic domain with tentacles in multiculturalism, research, policy and curriculum development. Maiti explored her grad school options while teaching in Australia, yet another point on her adventure around the world.
Simply put, the field of international education was “everything I’m passionate about – I wanted to learn more.”
Maiti has done exactly that since her journey led her at TC.
Drawing on her heritage, Maiti – with the guidance of Associate Professor of International & Comparative Education Carol Benson, “a great mentor” – undertook an ambitious integrative thesis on the topic of intercultural bilingual education in Argentina.
Meanwhile, course work introduced Maiti to “the world of international and comparative education and peace and human rights education, which have all been very influential because of their teaching but also inspiring at a personal level.”
Under the study of faculty members like Oren Pizmony-Levy, Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education; lecturer Felisa Tibbitts; and Mary Mendenhall, Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education, Maiti along with her classmates gained the framework and tools to develop and lead international research, policy and organizations with the expertise of their chosen concentration.
Maiti’s TC experience has moreover transcended the classroom with the presidency of the Society for International Education, a student organization at the College, and an internship with the Columbia University Sexual Trauma Response team.
Looking ahead, she reflects, “I wouldn’t mind going back to the classroom again. I really miss it. But first I’d like to work on the development side” of literacy development in international communities.
After crisscrossing the globe for the better part of a decade, Maiti is right where she wants to be.