Graduate Anshu Darbari radiates positivity as she talks about getting her diploma and moving to the next chapter of her life. Even though she won’t be walking the stage in her cap and gown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s still grateful for the opportunity to participate in a virtual ceremony—the first of its kind in CU Denver’s history.
“I feel special as a 2020 graduate,” said Darbari MUD ’20, who is from India. “With the virtual ceremony, I feel even more happy because even though my family and friends cannot come here, they can still attend the virtual ceremony online.”
After completing her undergraduate degree in architecture in India, Darbari knew she wanted to continue her education. She applied to universities in the U.S., but she had her eye on one master’s program. “CU Denver was one of the schools that had an urban design program that I’d heard a lot about,” she said. “I really liked that, whatever we are going to learn in the college is going to be for the city of Denver.”
Upon her arrival to Denver, Darbari was invited to the inaugural Denver Mayor’s Welcome to International Students event, where she met Mayor Michael Hancock and bonded with other international students studying in the city. After the event, she remembers calling her friends back home in India to tell them about the memorable experience. “This meant a lot to the students because a mayor’s welcome is a big thing,” she said. “It was a really nice cultural exchange.”
For her excellent academic record, Darbari is a ZGF Architects Scholarship Recipient, which has helped her financially and inspired her to learn even more challenging subjects. In her past two years in the College of Architecture and Planning, she’s acquired skills that she has put to use in an internship at the local architecture firm Alan Ford Architects.
What stands out most about her experience is the professors she’s met and the friends she’s made, all through the program. There are many challenges as an international student, she explained, but at CU Denver someone was always willing to help. “As an international student, I never felt like I was not being taken care of,” Darbari said. “I always had someone checking in on me.”
Darbari’s also served as an assistant in the Office of International Affairs, working with international students who are interested in attending CU Denver. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic she can’t physically be in the office, but she is still meeting with students virtually. “We act as the mediator between students and international specialists,” she said, adding, “You have to be very responsible when you are dealing with students on visa status. It takes a lot of responsibility and perseverance.”
After she graduates, Darbari will continue her internship and look for a job as an urban designer in the Denver area. Although the state of the economy in the midst of a pandemic is daunting, she remains hopeful her connections at CU Denver and beyond will work in her favor.
“Denver is where I’ve been for the past two years—it’s my home,” Darbari said. “I hope to live up to the name of CU Denver as a professional.”