A global expert on international students and international education, Rajika Bhandari is the author of six academic books and several publications that touch upon the themes of movement and migration, and crossing borders. Her forthcoming book, due out in 2021, is both a manifesto that argues the importance of international students and their value to the U.S., while also being a deeply personal story of her own journey as a foreign student from India. Spanning the U.S. and India, the book is an incisive meditation on aspiration and cultural assimilation, of the transformative power of education, and of the pursuit of the American Dream. The book is ultimately a call to keep America’s borders and minds open.
Rajika’s first nonfiction book, The Raj on the Move: The Story of the Dak Bungalow wove together history, architecture and travel writing to take readers on a fascinating journey of India’s 19th and 20th century British-era travel bungalows and inns. Her other books and chapters are based on her extensive research on the millions of foreign students that leave their countries to study overseas, and have been published by Palgrave Macmillan, SAGE, and Routledge among others.
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 is currently the President and CEO of the IC3 Institute which brings together high schools, universities and industry to ensure that students have access to career and college counseling and are prepared for their educational and professional futures. Prior to this, 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 at U.S. colleges and universities. 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.
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.