by BRIAN ASARE & GABRIELLA DEPINHO, Staff Writer & Asst. News Editor
Debbi Damico, the Director of International Student and Scholar Services, has worked with countless students from all over the world during her time here at Manhattan. Her work helps international students and scholars to feel at home at Manhattan College.
“It is an amazing experience and I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to meet and get to know students from all parts of the world. The opportunity to work with such unique, interesting, intelligent and truly special students is my favorite part of my job,” said Damico.
Her job requires her to make sure these foreign students get all the information they need in order for them to have all of their papers in place but also to feel as comfortable as possible in a new environment.
“Every August and January I have an orientation program for all of the newly-arrived international students at which time I inform them of the duties of my office, services and programs available to them on campus and some of the important requirements of their visas,” said Damico.
“I work very closely with Counseling and CAS since they sponsor programs which are specific to the needs of international students – for example: The Counseling Center sponsors a group which assists students in adjusting to college and they also have a staff psychologist who has had experience as an international student.”
According to Damico, the most common problem most international students face on campus is the language barrier. Most of these students that come from different countries may speak little or no English; for issues like that Damico is able to guide international students to the CAS which provides them with tutors that help them improve upon their language skills step by step.
However, while she loves her work and does everything she can to see them grow, there are hard parts to her job.
“Since I am required to enforce the regulations of the Department of Homeland Security, having to inform a student that he/she is in violation of a DHS policy or regulation [is the hardest part of my job]. It is then my responsibility to assist the student in whatever way I can to get back into lawful status,” said Damico.
All these essential task that require experience, major expertise and most importantly patience prove that Debbi Damico is among many of the College’s faculty that help makes Manhattan College’s prestigious institution what it is today.