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#MyMessage — Harsh Bhatia

Meet Harsh Bhatia, an architecture senior from Bahrain.

Harsh Bhatia’s family has lived in Bahrain for more than 150 years. And yet he still considers himself an expatriate.

Bhatia, a fourth-year architecture major whose family emigrated from India generations before he was born, identifies as both Bahraini and Indian. Although his home is in Bahrain, he visits India once a year and is a practicing Hindu when he is at home with his family.

Check out #MyMessage for more stories about SU international students.

“I grew up in a joint family where I live with 10 people — my grandparents, my uncle, my aunt, their children — so family means a lot to me,” he said. “I usually Skype them once a week, usually on the weekends. I'm really bad at keeping in touch with my family and they hate that.”

But while Bhatia said he loves his family and his culture, he did not hesitate to leave Bahrain after high school. When it came time to apply to colleges, most of his applications were sent to American and British universities.

“I wanted to have the typical college experience,” he said. “I’d never left to live somewhere else besides Bahrain, I'd lived there my whole life. Although I had been to America for a holiday.”

Bhatia is only able to return to Bahrain twice a year, so he carries reminders of his family and his homeland to ward off homesickness.

On his left wrist, he wears a yellow bracelet that signifies his duty to protect and watch over his sisters. On his shoulder, Bhatia has a tattoo in Sanskrit that reads “family and prosperity.” He got it when he arrived in Syracuse.

“My dad was pretty mad about it,” Bhatia said, “but my mom was kind of happy I did something that relates back to my culture.”

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