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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) dlivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Global roots, local love

Mohit+Dholi+and+Khushboo+Rathi+sit+with+Fan+and+Ke+Wang%2C+along+with+their+daughter+Georgia.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Carlos Romero

Mohit Dholi and Khushboo Rathi sit with Fan and Ke Wang, along with their daughter Georgia. 

Students at Texas A&M come from all over the world and moving to the U.S. can be a challenge. Bringing along loved ones, though, makes the move a different endeavor.
According to a headcount done in Spring 2016 by International Student Services (ISS), there were close to 5,500 international students enrolled at A&M, the majority of whom were graduate students. Many of these students have already obtained multiple degrees, gained work experienc, and started families in their home countries before coming to A&M.
For some students, it wasn’t until after beginning their studies at A&M that family came into the picture. This was the case for Mohit Dholi.
Khushboo Rathi, Dholi’s wife, had already received two degrees and worked for three years in India before marrying Dholi who, at the time, was in the middle of his Ph.D. in petroleum engineering at A&M.
They were introduced by each other’s parents, and Rathi knew from the beginning that marrying Dholi meant moving to the U.S.
“He was studying here, he wanted to do that and I wanted to support him,” Rathi said. “So in the back of my mind I knew I would have to come here. I was kind of prepared in that way.”
Adjusting to life in the U.S. their first year together was difficult, Rathi and Dholi said, mostly because Dholi was busy with his studies while Rathi was often left without a car at home.
Soon after arriving in the U.S., Rathi said she came across Discovery, a program for international women in the Bryan-College Station area.
“I started not feeling lonely, because I went there and they were on the same ground as me,” said Rathi, who is now working on her masters in computer science at Sam Houston State University. “They were dependent, they were searching for some friends and we had common classes to take — painting, gardening, piano.”
Melinda Hallmark has been the director of Discovery for 33 years, and
the program celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
Discovery, which holds activities every Wednesday in the First Baptist Church of College Station, has been an important resource for international women since its founding in 1967, Hallmark said.
“Discovery is a safe place for [international women],” Hallmark said. “They can come and make friends with Americans who love them and will treat them well, and they can also come and make friends with women from their country and other countries.”
Fan Wang, who came with her husband Ke Wang from Shanghai in 2014 for his Ph.D. in mathematics curriculum and instruction, is also a regular attendee of Discovery.
Fan originally followed Ke to the University of Georgia from 2012 to 2013 where he was a visiting scholar. While in Athens, Fan gave birth to their daughter, Georgia, who they named after the state.
Fan’s positive experience in Georgia was one reason they jointly decided Ke would come to A&M to pursue another degree. They now hope Ke can find a job to sponsor his visa so they can permanently settle down in the U.S.
“I like it here, I like the environment, it’s very simple. In Shanghai, everyone is incredibly stressed, but here it’s very relaxed. I’m still very busy with family though,” said Fan, who gave birth to their son this past year.
For others, life in the U.S. is often not expected to be so long term.
Naoto Araki was asked by his company in Tokyo to come study a master’s in petroleum engineering at A&M. His wife Chiyo and daughter Nanaka moved with him, both of whom understand they may only spend two years here before returning to Japan.
“I wondered how I could make friends here, and how I could improve my English,” Chiyo said. “And it turned out it was more difficult than I expected.”
Chiyo uses her spare time at home to learn English on her own, but said she has struggled to make substantial progress, making it difficult for her to befriend American parents at her daughter’s school. She said the rest of her time is spent running errands, taking care of chores at home and dropping off and picking up Nanaka from school.
Despite the difficulties, the couple said they remain positive. Their daughter Nanaka seems to be very comfortable in school and they have been able to make close friends with other couples like Rathi and Dholi.

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