Many may not know that just beyond Rocky Mount’s city limits, situated on 200 acres, lives a small, private college that is home to students from over 35 different countries.

This blend of cultures is what makes N.C. Wesleyan College such a unique and special place.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with one of our students from Turkmenistan. I came away highly impressed by his eagerness to learn and dedication to his education and future career. Not only did he take the time to research my career path and education ahead of time, but he also came to the meeting prepared with an extensive set of notes and questions.

This is the caliber of student that N.C. Wesleyan is preparing to go out and make a difference in the world and I have no doubt that this student will do just that.

Hopefully, you’ve had the opportunity to meet some of our students. They eat and shop locally, volunteer in the community and attend local churches. Those who support Bishop athletics may have also seen some of these students in action.

Most semesters, there is an opportunity for the community to come out and learn about these different countries and interact with our students during Global WesFest. This annual international festival is held in The Dunn Center and is open to the public. The event includes music, dance, food and a fashion show where our students are able to highlight important facts about their different cultures.

Due to COVID, we were unable to hold the event this past fall, but we hope to bring it back in the near future.

Many of our international students stay in Rocky Mount year-round. Most summers, many of these students remain on campus due to summer internships or because flying home is cost prohibitive. Individuals and organizations in our community have been instrumental in donating items to make their summers special.

Last summer, there were multiple donations of food items, cooking supplies and games. In addition, our “Go Group” is a team of community volunteers who help make N.C. Wesleyan a home away from home for our international students. They help with providing food, rides, gifts and sometimes lodging during the holidays to our international students.

The one behind the scenes who helps make all of this possible is Dawn Turner, our director of international student services, who also serves as the college’s principal designated school official. Dawn and her team provide many needed services to our students and also manage their non-immigrant status in and out of the classroom.

This service is provided throughout the student’s college career and continues for three years after they graduate. Dawn is an essential part of our international students’ educational journey. Her outstanding work performance and dedication to her students was recognized this month when she received one of only two Distinguished Staff Awards for 2020-21.

To learn how you can get involved with N.C. Wesleyan’s Go Group, contact Dawn Turner at

Stephen Mann is the social media and PR manager for N.C. Wesleyan College.