In February, Alberto del Río Malo joined Reed as its new Director of International Programs. In his first few weeks in office, he has established himself as a friendly and helpful presence on campus. Last week, the Quest interviewed del Río Malo and discussed his past experience in the field of international exchange, his current responsibilities as director, and how he hopes to move the program forward and expand Reed’s international offerings in the future.
Del Río Malo has worked in various international programs for more than two decades. Originally from Barcelona, Spain, he first started in his home city with the exchange programs of Knox College and Dartmouth College. He went on to serve as Resident Director and Academic Director at the Council on International Educational Exchanges (CIEE) in Barcelona for seventeen years. In addition to his experience with international programs, he has taught both in Spain and the United States as a professor of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature at the Universitat de Barcelona, and as a visiting professor of Spanish Language and Literature at Knox College in Illinois.
When asked why he had chosen to take this position in Reed’s International Program, del Río Malo made his enthusiasm for the job clear, stating that “It’s a fantastic institution, so when I saw the position open, I decided to apply.” He’s been previously invited to speak at Reed about various international events and has also learned about the school through the students who have studied abroad in Barcelona. Because of his experience working with and designing various international programs, he is capable of offering a complete understanding of the study abroad experience, both the process of application and the challenges that may be faced while studying abroad.
In his new position as director, del Río Malo is in charge of all things international at Reed, both organization and implementation of programs abroad and the promotion of on-campus community. In recent years, COVID-19 has seriously affected travel, so part of his responsibilities involve adjusting Reed’s international offerings in a world where COVID-19 is a reality of life. This means helping members of Reed’s community, both students and professors, to explore the opportunities abroad that they may have missed out on in the past few years, and planning for future adjustments to ensure the health and safety of all those involved. More broadly, del Río Malo will be fostering a culture of the international community at Reed, providing opportunities for Reedies to study in other countries, for international students and language scholars to study here on campus, for Reed professors to explore research and teaching opportunities outside the United States, and for international professors to bring their expertise to Reed.
When asked what his goals are for the future of Reed’s International Program, del Río Malo emphasized the importance of cultural exchange in academia. He hopes to increase Reed’s study abroad numbers because he firmly believes that its value cannot be underestimated, noting that “This means, of course, that I have to work with students, faculty, and administration to make this easier…I think we can find new ways to allow more students [to have] the opportunity to study abroad.” Another project he hopes to implement in the future is the possibility of more faculty-led international opportunities. This would allow Reed professors to take small groups of students abroad to complete research or other projects, giving the students a chance for hands-on experience and travel, and offering the professor a team of eager-to-learn apprentices. Del Río Malo cites a two-week archaeological expedition to Cyprus expected to occur through Reed this summer as an example of the kind of program he wants to implement in the future.
If you’re considering taking advantage of any of Reed’s international offerings, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. With the appointment of Alberto del Río Malo as Director, the Department of International Programs is in good hands. The Quest welcomes you to Reed!