Rollins College-Home Away from Home


By Laiz Rodrigues

Rollins College is a private, liberal arts college, founded in 1885, the first recognized college in Florida. and located in Winter Park, Florida . It is a member of the SACS, NASM, ACS, FDE, AAM, AACSB International, Council for Accreditation of Counseling, and Related Educational Programs.

Rollins College educates students for global citizenship and responsible leadership, empowering graduates to pursue meaningful lives and productive careers. We are committed to the liberal arts ethos and guided by its values and ideals. Our guiding principles are excellence, innovation, and community.

Rollins provide opportunities to explore diverse intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic traditions. They are dedicated to scholarship, academic achievement, creative accomplishment, cultural enrichment, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. We value excellence in teaching and rigorous, transformating education in a healthy, responsive, and inclusive environment. just last year Rollins was considered #2 among regional Universities in the United States, South by US News & World Report.

Being one of the Most Beautiful US College Campuses, Rollins College has a reputation of excellence and proven History. Considering all these factors, students all over the world dream with the opportunity to study at Rollins,

Rollins Offers four divisions of Studies
College of Arts & Sciences
College of Professional Studies
Crummer Graduate School of Business
Hamilton Holt School

Every year, as many Brazilians Visit Central Florida for vacation, many will also come here to study.

Rollins recruiters travel to Brazil at least twice a year, the number of Brazilian students in campus is larger than India and China combined, Sixty countries from around the world come to study at Rollins

College is a time of greater learning, a path to adulthood and many discoveries. Where you study will shape the future for many years to come.
Studying at Rollins is an opportunity you can’t miss.

IMG_0009We had the opportunity to speak with Matias Meirelles Van Vliet who studies at Rollins. He told us about starting college in Brazil for Engineering, and it didn’t take long for him to realize he wasn’t happy.

Matias and his family shortly moved to the USA, once he arrived he was anxious to start his academic life , but he had to wait for six months, time it took to complete all his paperwork and exams such as SAT and Toffle.

He was able to get a scholarship from Rollins, which helped with his studies. Once a student, he also co-founded BatterEASE, a social Enterprise that provides portable up-cycled batteries that harnesses renewable energy, for those in need of energy.

You can find more about it here

It is an amazing honor, to see a student from Brazil to take this opportunity and make the best of it. And when you think the story ends here, surprise!

The Rollins team, BatterEASE, is one of only 50 selected to compete in an accelerator program in London next August. 

Out of those, six will be picked to pitch to the U.N. and then only one will get the $1 million in seed funding.

This year’s Hult competition is based around building a “sustainable social enterprise that can harness the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025.”

BatterEASE’s product is a battery that is Effective, Accessible, Sustainable, and Environmentally friendly.

The team consists of
Kinsley Gerks ‘20,
Nikki Hall-Elser ‘18,
Dayra Diaz-Marquez ‘18,
and Matias Meirelles Van Vliet ‘19.

Meirelles van Vliet said, “BatterEASE is a portable, customizable, upcycled battery that effectively harnesses renewable energy while mitigating e-waste. This accessible and environmentally friendly power alternative allows citizens from all regions to stay connected to families, access important information, and light their nights creating a sustainable future for an affordable cost.”

Matias says once he gathers all the knowledge he needs he will go baack to Brazil, but maybe the world will need him somewhere else, the talent and the hard work he has invested aws paramount to his progress, and the support Rollins has given is a great part of his success.

As e did many others can come and follow the great example, We asked, what would be his suggestion to others who wuld like to come and study and he said, don’t give up, fight, embrace the opportunity, enjoy every moment. Fight for what you deserve.

We are thankful for the opportunity to show, how amazing this story is, and glad we met Matias.

If you would like to know more about enrolling or opportunities at Rollins visit the site,

Photo: Scott Cook

Kinsley Gerks ‘20,
Nikki Hall-Elser ‘18,
Dayra Diaz-Marquez ‘18,
and Matias Meirelles Van Vliet ‘19.
View of Rollins College across Lake, October 2012, Photo: Scott Cook, Scott Cook Photography

Speaking With Mr. Ed Bustos
Director of International Admissions at Rollins

Speaking to Ed Bustos, Director of International Admissions at Rollins College, I asked the secret to host such a high number Of Brazilian Students at campus. Mr. Bustos a graduate of Rollins College, Crummer Graduate School of Business, with courses in Latin America and Caribbean Affairs himself, remembers that 20 years ago, Brazilian tourists used to arrive in buses to shop in Winter Park.

Ed Bustos

Brazilians learned to appreciate not only the stores and restaurants in Winter Park, but also the beauty they found in the City. Added to this, Rollins College is another main reference, that for sure is a decisive point. If you consider, safety, beautiful surroundings, Real Estate value and quality of life in general, there is no doubt that Winter Park is a great choice.

Rollins College started recruiting students from Brazil in 2009, sending recruiters to schools and Universities to several regions of Brazil, where the level of schools and students is higher.

We asked how was his experience in Brazil, since he has himself, visited Brazil several times as a recruiter. He said his visits were different in several occasions, either by himself or in group, he observed that the experience differed, depending on the region. The recruits come mainly from São Paulo, Brasilia, and Florianópolis.

If Brazil is having a rough time economically, that situation will affect the number of students that will apply for the Rollins Undergraduate program. Right now 18 students are participating in the undergraduate program at Rollins.

We asked Mr Bustos if the students stayed after graduating,but he explained that, since they are in the USA with a Student Visa, once their course ends, they need to return, but they can get into a Masters program and return for another year.

Mr. Bustos emphasized that the adaptation is paramount for the student, as a recruiter he will visit American Schools, and schools with a strong English program. The main concern is the student proficiency in English, since that will determine his success in the program. Organizations like Colégio Etapa, and Education USA, or equivalent in the different states. We also spoke about the program Science Without Frontier, created by the Brazilian Government in the past, that also helped to recruit students but today is no longer available.

The student population at Rollins, for undergraduate students, coming straight from High school, is only 1900 in its total. In total, all students combined is 3200. It is like a small town, where everybody knows each other, you can hear them saying oi! Tudo bem? In Portuguese, and it is a good sign, because leaving your home town is scary, there is always the question, will I be accepted? Will they understand me? And for that reason the new students are introduced to the older students, so they can interact and make a connection. When they graduate, they will say farewells to the ones who stay.

For Mr. Bustos is important to make sure the students are adapted, and since he is from Colombian Heritage, he will hire his mom to cook dinner for Brazilian students since our culinary is so similar.

Rollins is a Private School, and even having a higher cost, international students have scholarship opportunities, or financial assistance. Among the students admitted in 2018, about 80% were eligible to these programs. There are also athletic scholarships.
Right now, one of the Brazilian students admitted from Rio de Janeiro, is a swimmer, and has even broken records at the college and National level. There is a lot of help available, opportunities and Rollins will for sure be a great choice.

We were happy to speak with the Rollins Director of International Admission. His areas of recruiting are, Latin America, Europe,Egypt, Morocco India and Middle East.

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