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Graduating With a Global Perspective

NC State is a world-class education destination that welcomes thousands of international and globally minded students to Raleigh each year. Some stay for a semester or two, while others complete entire degree programs on campus or online. For these students, graduation not only represents their accomplishments; it symbolizes their commitment to taking risks, understanding different cultures and expanding their horizons.

As the semester comes to a close, we asked graduating students with international roots to reflect on their NC State experience.

Francisco Ortiz

Headshot of Francisco Ortiz wearing a red graduation robe.

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering 

Home country: Venezuela

Why did you decide to study at NC State?

I first came to North Carolina because my sister was starting a master’s program at Duke University. After she came here, my family visited regularly, and I fell in love with the Triangle area — the culture, the people and the amazing study opportunities present. I already had in mind that I wanted to achieve my degree in Industrial Engineering, and the best school for engineering in North Carolina is NC State University. Once I got into NC State, I decided to stay because I really felt welcomed in an environment that was much different from my own and felt like home.

Looking back on your time here, what are you proudest of?

I’m really happy with the connections I was able to make while at NC State, and I’m proud of the work I was able to accomplish here. NC State gave me the chance to gain a fresh start. Because I took advantage of that opportunity, I’m graduating with the honor of magna cum laude, something unthinkable for me before I ever got to NC State.

Do you have any advice for incoming international students or current international students working toward their degrees?

Always keep in mind your final goal. That’s the reason you first came to NC State and the United States. However, don’t miss out on the connections and friends you make during your time at NC State. Don’t let cultural differences become barriers and walls. You are part of NC State now — a part of the Wolfpack — and the Wolfpack stays together.

Asiya Nasser-Wright

Headshot of Asiya Nasser-Wright wearing a black graduation robe and mortar board.

Degree: Master of Arts in Liberal Studies: International and intercultural communication

Home country: Saudi Arabia and the United States

What is your favorite memory from your time at NC State?

Studying abroad in Cuba! I am still in touch with my neighbors and the people I lived with there.  We all check in with each other often and give updates about our lives. Not only did I gain lifelong friendships and knowledge about Cuba, but I also got to learn a little Spanish.

What was your biggest accomplishment at NC State?

Creating and publishing Global Storytellers for the Office of Global Engagement. It took a lot of prep work and hands-on interviewing, but I learned a lot for myself as well. I also wrote and published a book on Amazon, “The Black Identity Development.”  

What advice would you give to current or future NC State students?

You don’t always have to go with the flow. If you realize that you aren’t getting what you expected from NC State, find it or create it. When my classes started to seem mundane, I looked for things to challenge my thoughts more, so I minored in philosophy. The search can be in terms of education, activities, people or anything else you’re looking for.

Mengyang Wei

Mengyang Wei throws her mortar board in the air near the Memorial Belltower.

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering 

Home country: China

Why did you decide to study at NC State?

I decided to study at NC State because I heard the university is good for engineering, and I’ve been interested in majoring in industrial engineering since high school. 

What helped you acclimate to North Carolina and to the United States? 

I went to a lot of events at NC State, including orientation, Agriculture Awareness Week and Wolfpack Welcome Week. I’ve made a lot of friends in my classes. I spent two years in the Intensive English Program and four years earning my degree. 

What advice do you have for incoming international students?

People here are nice and friendly. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions and ask for help when you feel confused or lost!

This post was originally published in NC State News.