November 18, 2011
Having been a student at the local school Windermere Prep since eighth grade, Maria Primera Darwich (Class of 2015) arrived on Rollins’ campus without the same sort of culture shock many international students face. Five years of American living plus a handful more living in France just prior to coming to the States has given this Venezuelan student a deep appreciation for the opportunities international study affords.
“Having come from a different country, I’m always comparing the differences between home and this new place,” shared Darwich, who speaks three languages and is studying German at Rollins. “I love meeting people from other countries. You see some things in a very different way. I’m always learning something new about our differences. Every country has their good things.” Darwich, who is joined at Rollins by her sister, Barbara Primera Darwich (Class of 2015), has a passion for art and languages but will likely pursue pre med.
Why did you choose Rollins?
I visited a lot of big schools, but knew that I wanted a small school where I could really get to know the teachers. I love the campus and the smaller classrooms. I know a lot of people say that but it means a lot. In the past, I’ve sometimes chosen my classes just based on my teacher. One-on-one attention with the teacher is definitely what I want. I also love that it is a liberal arts school and I get to experience so many different classes.
How has your first year been so far?
Sometimes I feel homesick but people here help me feel better. I love my RCC. It really helped me be involved in the school. And I love how the RCC model lets you get to know your teacher really well. Everyone here is so open to hearing about other cultures and wants to learn more about you. The teachers will always ask about how it is in your country. I honestly see a lot of appreciation for different cultures.
Student orientation was great. I met more people in one week than I have in one month. It really helped me a lot. The peer mentors explained everything that’s going on here on campus and gave us all great advice.
What are you enjoying about college?
Right now, I am loving my ballroom dancing class and participating in some competitions. Ballroom and German are my two favorite classes. I’m also going on a 10-day field study to Germany in December. We’re going to be doing a lot of German homework but also going to Berlin and three other towns. Since we’re going with our German teacher, we get to practice everything that we’ve been learning. It will be a great review.
Do you have any advice for international students considering Rollins?
Make sure you are basing your choice of school on the right thing. Not just on the superficial stuff, but on the important things like the teachers and administrators. Everyone who works here is just amazing. I brought my friend from Jamaica for a tour of Rollins and she loved it; she really wants to come. My number one thing is the teachers. The moment I brought her she was amazed that teachers know your name and ask you to sit with them at lunch. You never see that at other schools.
A celebration of international exchange worldwide, International Education Week runs November 14-18. The joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attracts future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States. Learn what Rollins is doing in celebration of this week.
At Rollins, international recruitment has doubled since last year (from 4 to 8 percent), and admission officers will have visited 30 countries by the end of the fall recruitment season. Once students arrive, the Office of International Student & Scholar Services provides the opportunity for international students to acclimate to the U.S. college campus, learn their rights and responsibilities related to immigration status, build community and gain experiences and skills necessary to achieve academic and career goals.
By Kristen Manieri
Office of Marketing & Communications
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