A global expert in international education, Rajika Bhandari is the author of six academic and nonfiction books and several publications that touch upon the themes of movement, migration, and crossing borders. Her forthcoming book, America Calling: A foreign student in a country of possibility, is 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. The book is also a deeply personal story of the 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. 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.
Rajika’s writings on international students have also appeared in the Guardian, Times Higher Ed, the Huffington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and University World News. She has been featured on NPR, PRI International and Voice of America, and been quoted in the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Ozy, Quartz, DNA, the Times of India, and Time magazine. Rajika has spoken to large and intimate audiences about her work at over 100 panels in the U.S. and globally.
With a career in education that spans over 25 years, Rajika has held senior leadership roles in the private, academic, and nonprofit sectors and is a widely regarded thought leader in international education. She served most recently at the President and CEO of the IC3 Institute, prior to which she spent over a decade at the Institute of International Education (IIE), one of the world’s oldest and largest international education nonprofits, where she led IIE’s research, impact and thought leadership activities, including the flagship Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange–the most definitive resource on international students and scholars at U.S. colleges and universities and American studying abroad. Rajika has served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and was one of 100 recipients worldwide to be awarded an IIE Centennial Medal in 2019, marking the Institute’s 100th anniversary.
With a passion for working with students, Rajika mentors young professionals in international education, has been an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University, and regularly guest lectures at universities in the U.S. and abroad.
Rajika has lived first-hand the experiences she studies and writes about: she came to the U.S. as a foreign student from India in 1992 to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology at North Carolina State University, prior to which she obtained her B.A. (Honors) in Psychology at the University of Delhi, India.