Book Review: America Calling
International students and immigrants have been the secret ingredient in America’s recipe for global success. America Calling shares one immigrant’s story, a tale that reflects millions more, and shows us why preventing the world’s best and brightest from seeking the American Dream will put this country’s future in jeopardy.
Growing up in middle-class India, Rajika Bhandari has seen generations of her family look westward, where an American education means status and success. But she resists the lure of America because those who left never return; they all become flies trapped in honey in a land of opportunity. As a young woman, however, she 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 is 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 that a student must navigate.
An unflinching and insightful narrative that explores the global appeal of a Made-in-America education that is a bridge to America’s successful past and to its future, America Calling is both a deeply personal story of Bhandari’s search for her 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. At a time of growing nationalism, a turning inward, and fear of the “other,” America Calling is ultimately a call to action to keep America’s borders and minds open.
This is a lovely and wonderful book. Rajika's story gives a nice insight into what foreign students encounter when they migrate to America. People like Rajika and many others who come looking to enhance or better their life are sadly overshadowed by the bad actors.
I am adopted from South Korea. I was just a baby so I have had the experience that Rajika did but I did experience some racism due to my ethnicity. It was luckily, not as bad as people are dealing with it in today's world but still horrible. Yet, if I was older I could imagine myself experiencing what Rajika did with people interactions, food, and currency. All things that people who live in America don't really think about or take for granted.
As Rajika says that foreigners contribute to the US economy in a lot more ways than just financially. She is right. There are many that get an education in law, medicine, science, and technology to name a few. All important to our society. Thus, America needs to make it easier for foreigners to be able to stay in the US.