Alex Wesner is an international student and scholar advisor in the Office of International Services (OIS), a unit within the Office of Global Engagement. Wesner advises international students and scholars, as well as the faculty, academic advisors and department personnel who support them.
What made you choose this field of work as a career?
I was fortunate to have an opportunity to work in this field open up while pursuing a master’s in international studies degree here at NC State. Although I was not very aware of this professional sector prior to beginning graduate studies, my involvement in international higher education was a natural outgrowth of my own family background and abiding personal interests. It is a fascinating and dynamic field of work, where one has to be knowledgeable of immigration regulations and institutional policies, applying and communicating them within a real, human-to-human advising relationship. It is within this context where one has the privilege of affecting a guiding influence on the lives of ambitious, intelligent, and hard-working individuals, people who often sacrifice much to come here from afar in order to pursue their academic goals.
The choice of this path for myself became quickly confirmed through the attractive blend of both the practical and theoretical spheres, through the desirable balance between interpersonal interaction and productive administrative tasks, all carried out within those seasonal ebbs and flows of an academic calendar and in what I would consider to be an excitingly innovative and outstanding university setting (and I say this also as a UNC alumnus, so that last remark should really carry some weight).
What do you like most about working in the Office of International Services?
That it is in a fascinating and important field of work; that it is situated in an institution of higher learning; but, above all, the people! I interact primarily with international graduate students, and it is the quality of the individual who comes here which helps make my job so enjoyable. The work is not without its challenges and difficulties, but none of these could be surmounted without both people OIS serves and especially the OIS staff. My colleagues are wonderful. And if that weren’t true, I certainly wouldn’t be here right now, after having spent the better part of five years in this office.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Days are filled with in-person advising appointments, document processing, presentations, email answering (and more email answering), staff meetings, and, as my co-workers can attest, for me, all while sustained by an embarrassing near-daily reliance upon a bag (or to be more accurate, a can) of potato chips. But, seriously, there really isn’t a “typical” day. And that’s something I really cherish about this field and office: it’s never dull or monotonous. No ‘groundhog’s day’ syndrome here.
Learn more about the Office of International Services.