Priyanka Pahuja in front of a cherry blossom tree in bloom

International Student Spotlight: Priyanka Pahuja

Priyanka Pahuja is an international student, here from Pakistan to study in the MS Marketing program at UF.

Q: What is your background?

Pahuja: “I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. I’m the only girl child and have 2 elder brothers, so I’ve always been pampered. I got married last year to my best friend of 7 years and he continues the tradition of spoiling me to the fullest. Since I’ve always enjoyed the creative aspect in everything and loved art and crafts, I ended up doing my bachelor’s in design, followed by a master’s in advertising in my home country before moving to the US.

I’m currently enrolled in the MS Marketing program at the University of Florida.”

Q: Tell us about your home country.

Pahuja: “Pakistan is officially called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and is the fifth most populous country in the world. I grew up in Karachi, the metropolitan city, and am among the 2% of minorities in Pakistan. Pakistan is a land rich in natural resources and enjoys the sea in the south, mountains and valleys in the north and a lot of agriculture, along with urbanization in the big cities.”

Priyanka Pahuja poses in front of a decorative building.

Q: What was the most difficult part of your journey to where you are today?

Pahuja: “I’m an extremely emotional person and moving away from home meant that a lot of tears were shed in the process. I mostly come across as a very strong person, but the people closest to me know the child inside me and I end up swelling my eyes.”

Q: What do you miss the most about your home country?

Pahuja: “I miss my family and friends the most, followed by the food and nightlife. Karachi does not have any night clubs or bars, but the restaurants and activities are open till midnight or even later, making it a very happening place be, day or night.”

Q: Why did you decide to come to the University of Florida? What is your favorite thing about being here?

Pahuja: “My husband was based here in Florida and the University of Florida was the best option here. Having lived in Miami briefly before moving to Gainesville, I must say UF and Gainesville are extremely welcoming, diverse and full of life.”

Q: What additional languages do you speak? Have you visited any other countries?

Pahuja: “I am fluent in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, Sindhi, my maiden language, and Hindi, which is verbally same as Urdu, but the written script is different. I’ve been a frequent traveler to India, as my family lives there, and Dubai, as my brother used to live there. Other than that, I’ve also visited Thailand and am now exploring the US.”

Q: Tell us a cool fact about yourself.

Pahuja: “I’m labeled as the ‘She has a reference for everything’ and ‘She can get your job done’ person by everyone who knows me, be it family, friends, peers or colleagues. I’m a vegetarian and I really love food, eating out and cooking up feasts. So much so that I can cook different cuisines including Indian, Pakistani, Italian, Mexican, Thai and Indo-Chinese, as close to the authentic eateries as possible.”