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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility is a work of non-fiction in the memoir subgenre and was penned by author Rajika Bhandari. This touching and exploratory memoir is best suited to mature young adults and adult reading audiences owing to its complex discussions of culture, immigration, and personal identity. We find ourselves exploring the life of Bhandari as she succumbs to the pressure to move to the West and gain an education in America instead of her native India, only to find that the gilded promise is not what it first seems. In turn, she becomes a guide and advocates for others experiencing all the hidden difficulties that lie behind the ‘Made In America’ dream.
Author Rajika Bhandari gives a heartfelt account of her own experiences as a foreign student and foreign-educated person while also balancing this with a poignant examination of socioeconomic values and problems in modern education today. One of the things which most impressed me about the quality of this book was Bhandari’s experienced perspective, which was both logical and emotive in its reasoning. The stories she tells of her own struggles moving from one country to another and the shaping of her identity and new life because of it are touching and insightful. Expanding this, later in the work, to her new profession and hundreds of other students she sees, each with their own individual plight, only serves to emphasize the importance of this book. Look no further than America Calling to open your eyes to current issues of culture, identity, politics, and education.