America Calling book review. A foreign student in a country of possibility

Higher education expert underscores the deep impact of international students on American economy and innovation

Irvington, NY – Author Rajika Bhandari, a sought-after thought leader on cultural diplomacy, shares her personal education and immigration experience in “America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility” (Sept. 14, 2021, She Writes Press) that Kirkus Reviews calls “a valuable study of an extremely important area of ‘soft diplomacy,’ dispelling all sorts of easy and false assumptions.” Bhandari’s memoir speaks to the experiences of millions of international students, including many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and Nobel Prize winners, who navigate the convoluted education-to-immigration system in America and the expectations of American cultural assimilation.

Growing up in middle-class India, Bhandari watched as generations of her family looked westward, where an American education meant status and success. She initially resists the lure but finds herself heading to a US university to study, following her heart and a relationship.

When that relationship ends and she fails in her attempt to move back to India as a foreign-educated woman, she returns to the US and finds herself in a job where the personal is political and professional: she’s immersed in the lives of international students who come to America from over 200 countries, the universities that attract them, and the tangled web of immigration these students must navigate. 

An unflinching, insightful narrative that Midwest Book Review says “offers a view of not just international students’ lives (and especially Indian experiences), but how they live and what these students choose after achieving their educational goals.” America Calling is a deeply personal story of Bhandari’s search for place and voice, and an incisive analysis of America’s relationship with the rest of the world through the most powerful tool of diplomacy: education.

Check out Duffy’s other hidden independent book gems on her Book Blast page