International Student Stories: Meet Komal

Komal Gandhi is a senior with an International Business major, and a minor in Leadership. She is originally from Lucknow, India. Before deciding on International Business she switched majors around quite a bit, she debated doing things, such as economics and psychology.

The culture in India is very community service oriented. She misses all the family and friend gatherings back home, where she could listen to music, eat her favorite foods and be with her loved ones. Most of Komal’s family work in education; running schools, managing it, and also making the academic curriculum. After DU she plans on going to Graduate School to study more about education.

One thing in the American culture that Komal finds different is how often people will ask each other “how are you?”, and most of the time they don’t really want to know. She thinks this discourages open and honest conversations with each other. By asking this question, randomly, just as you pass by someone, you really only stay it in a surface level conversation. She thinks we should normalize answering this question with how we actually feel, unpack our struggles, vent to our friends. Talking about a problem or concern you have to your friends can make life ten times lighter.

She is part of the South Asian Student Association (SASA) and also participated in the University of Denver Programming Board (DUPB). Komal describes SASa as a very important part of her life. She describes this club as her “home away from home”. She joined SASA for the diversity, but ended up finding a piece of home in a different country. Being around South Asian students, who understand her culture, eating good food, and listening to music, makes her feel like she never left India. Her experience in DUPB is a little different, she joined this particular club because she loves planning events and bringing an unique international experience to the club. Through DUPB she has been able to meet students, faculty and school administrators she would have never had the chance. 

Komal’s advice to fellow international students is to join the International Student Organization (ISO) at DU, reach out and try to make friends with international students. Because if something, such as COVID-19 happens, you all are in the same situation and will be able to work it out together. However, it is also important to meet people you would not have met if you didn’t come to the US. So join clubs and teams you enjoy regardless of the people in it. Branch out and get out of your comfort zone. Embrace uncomfortability! 

The best Indian food in Denver, according to Komal, is Bawarchi, it is about 30 minutes away from the DU campus. In any case, Serene Cuisine of India is located right next to campus and has amazing Indian food. Her other favorite places to eat close to the DU campus are Bird Call and Tokyo Bowl, they both serve excellent and affordable food. 

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