Growing up in 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 leave never seem to return; they become flies trapped in honey in a land of opportunity. As a young woman, however, she follows her heart and a relationship—and finds herself heading to a US university to study. As she works her way through America’s tangled web of immigration, Bhandari lands in a job that immerses her in the lives of international students from over 200 countries and the universities that attract them.
Spanning the US and India, America Calling is an unflinching Asian American immigrant 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. The book is both a deeply personal story of Bhandari’s search for her place and voice and an incisive analysis of America’s relationship with countries like India and China through the most powerful diplomacy tool: education. At a time of growing nationalism and fear of the “other”, America Calling is ultimately a call to keep minds open through education.