The highs and lows of being WCU’s International Student Advisor

Chris Pedo (middle) with international students at WCU.

Western Carolina University’s International Student Advisor, Chris Pedo, has just started his third year in this position on the Cullowhee campus. He is there to help students who are studying at Western and who come from other places all around the world, both before they arrive and during their stay in North Carolina.

This semester, he collaborated with around 50 new students, as they made their plans and filled out their paperwork, preparing for their stay at WCU. Since arriving, Pedo has helped them find their feet, providing them with orientation and campus information that they need to know. He says this is one of his favorite parts about the job which he does.

“I think it reflects the determination on the part of the student and the confidence that they have in this university, and the faith that they will do well that eventually brings them over to Western … With the economy of the world today, things change every now and again. And we have had so many students who can’t make it because of financial situations,” Pedo said.

As well as speaking about the economy on a global scale being problematic at times, Pedo talked about how the budget cuts at WCU have impacted his department. He described how small, personal home comforts, which were formally provided to the students upon their arrival have had to be cut back on, as well as sending staff from Western out to visit other countries to gain interest in the program.

“For instance, if you’re looking for Chinese students or maybe Saudi Arabian student to come to Western, what do you do? You can’t sit at a chair hoping that they come. We’ve not been able to even travel at all to go to where these students are,” he said.

Aside from some setbacks, Chris Pedo is extremely pleased with the achievements of his department and the students who he helps. To hear the full interview, click here.