The Student News Site of Saratoga High School

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior recalls transition after moving to America

Tightening the straps to her lavender backpack and adjusting her loose ponytail each morning, senior Nandita Mohan walks toward the science building and waves to her friend down the hall. She feels a sense of belonging, as though Saratoga had always been her home, even though she had only lived in the United States for five years.

Nandita was born in San Jose in 1998, but moved to Bangalore, India, with her family in 1999 for her parents’ occupations. Originally, the Mohans planned to return to the United States after one year there, but plans changed after they settled down and before she knew it, 365 days turned into 12 years.


In Bangalore, Nandita enrolled in a small school called National Academy for Learning (NAFL), which only taught 800 students. With only 50 students in each grade, it was easy to grow close with her classmates.

“Together, we complained about strict teachers, sung our favorite songs, fangirled over celebrities, shared lunches, petted stray dogs and played games,” Nandita said.

Part of the school spirit at NAFL was participating in sports, which led Nandita to quickly become a fan of cricket. She started playing recreationally at school and watched it on national television.

“Playing cricket was almost a means of showing patriotism for India,” Nandita said.

Aside from cricket, Nandita also played on a club basketball team and went to many regional and state tournaments.  

When Nandita was in seventh grade, Nandita’s sister received an acceptance from UC Berkeley and prepared for the transition back to California. After extended deliberation, Nandita’s parents decided it was time for the whole family to move back to America. Nandita was heartbroken to leave her friends behind.

After doing research, her family chose to move to Saratoga, setting Nandita on track to attend Redwood Middle School for one year, and then Saratoga High for the next four years. Nandita recalls her first day at Redwood as “very interesting.”

She arrived at school early in the morning and didn’t know what to do or where to go. Thankfully, senior Rishi Veerapaneni had offered to show her to her homeroom class.

“Everyone knew each other, and I didn’t recognize a single face,” Nandita said. “Not to mention there were so many different types of people from different ethnicities and backgrounds.”

Nandita remembers feeling shocked at how openly students talked back to teachers. In India, teachers were viewed almost as gods, and everyone had to respect them for the knowledge they were handing down, speaking and standing only when permitted.

“The first few months of Redwood were tough socially because I felt like I couldn’t connect with anyone on a deeper level,” Nandita said. “But after those few months, I found a great friend group who I spent the rest of my time in middle school with.”

After Redwood, Nandita prepared herself for high school, which she characterizes as a “whole new story, but the best one.”

From the first day of freshman year, Nandita set out on her mission of establishing friendships.

As sophomore year started, speech and debate became her second family, science club developed into her intellectual space and girls’ lacrosse became her team.

“Getting involved in these three things particularly was perfect because it really allowed me to interact with people from all walks of the social and academic spectrum,” Nandita said.

Nandita has since assumed the role of president of science club and has also claimed several awards at regional speech and debate tournaments.

Now, as a senior, Nandita is thankful to have “made friends that will last a lifetime, met teachers who give her the wisest advice and received opportunities she probably couldn’t have found anywhere else in the world.”

Furthermore, she is grateful to her parents for bringing her to Saratoga.

“My horizons have been broadened with my experiences in two wonderful countries, and so has my friend group,” Nandita said.

Even to this day, she chats and Skypes with her friends back in India and believes her friendships with them have only grown stronger. She is excited for what college has in store. She plans to major in computer science in college, but is also considering a pre-med track. She is thrilled to expand on her fascination with the science field by taking new types of classes and doing original research. She also hopes to continue playing lacrosse in some way, potentially in a club or intramural team at her future university.

“No matter what, I’ll be a Falcon forever,” Nandita said. “Thanks for a great time, Saratoga.”


Leave a Comment
Donate to The Saratoga Falcon

Your donation will support the student journalists of Saratoga High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Saratoga Falcon

Comments (0)

All The Saratoga Falcon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *