Rubin ready to help UB students discover the world
The travel bug first hit Adam Rubin at the age of 11 when he spent six months in the South Pacific while accompanying his father on sabbatical.
In the years that followed, he visited more than 70 countries around the world, including Japan, where he lived for 10 years.
Now Rubin, who started at UB in September as Assistant Vice-Chancellor and Director of Overseas Education, is ready to help students experience the world for themselves.
“There are so many perceived or real barriers to studying abroad and my goal is to help students overcome those barriers and find a program that meets their needs,” he says.
The first task for Rubin, who has 25 years of experience in the field of international education, is to revive study abroad at UB after the pandemic anchors the program for this fall and the entire of the academic year 2020-21.
“There was a formal overseas education revival plan that the SUNY campuses put in place that was submitted to the governor’s office over the summer,” Rubin said. “We are still waiting for a response to this stimulus package, so technically at the moment things are still on hold.”
He hopes that a full set of study abroad programs can return for the spring semester.
“The pandemic is still here,” says Rubin. “We need to monitor conditions and make sure we’re doing due diligence to keep students, faculty and staff safe. We also want to be transparent with students about the need for patience and flexibility. “
A native of Walla Walla, Washington, Rubin graduated from Whitman College, where his father was a professor of psychology.
Instead of pursuing a career in his specialties – economics and pre-med – Rubin chose his affection for international travel and left for Japan, where he had his first study abroad experience as a teenager. . This time he spent a few years teaching at a secondary school as part of a teacher exchange program.
Rubin returned to the United States and obtained a graduate degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University before returning to Japan. Inevitably, he landed a job at the Council on International Educational Exchange, a nonprofit that runs study abroad programs for colleges and universities around the world.
Rubin will spend the next 20 years with the organization, starting as a program director in Tokyo before becoming executive director of program development and evaluation, responsible for all of the study abroad programs. association.
“It gave me a really nice wide view of the world and to see the destinations not only as a pin on the map, but as a new opportunity for the students,” he says.
Most recently, Rubin was Director of Institutional Relations and Enrollment Management at the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University in suburban Philadelphia.
At UB, around 500-600 students typically go abroad each year on credited university programs, while another 200-300 travel abroad on uncredited programs, typically to schools and schools. individual departments, explains Rubin.
In 2018-19, before the pandemic, UB students traveled abroad to around 50 different countries, from Jamaica to Japan, from Ireland to India, from Turkey to Tanzania.
Rubin says the combination of her arrival and the pandemic break is a natural opportunity to assess the university’s study abroad program – what works and what doesn’t.
“My fundamental goal is to position UB education abroad as inclusive, academically rewarding, culturally engaging and offering diverse opportunities,” he says. “I also want to stress that I look forward to further engaging with faculty on the development of new programs and options for students.
Ultimately, Rubin wants to help more UB students have the opportunity to study abroad by removing barriers – both real and perceived.
Rubin calls them the three Cs.
“The first is the cost,” he says.
Institutions recognize that universities are expensive and are doing more to make study abroad financially possible by keeping tuition fees low, making deals with universities abroad, and adding scholarships.
The curriculum is the second hurdle for those worried about course scheduling and graduation on time. There is also the reality that many academic disciplines have not been represented in study abroad.
“In the past, studying abroad usually meant going abroad for a semester or a year to study a foreign language,” says Rubin. “Now the trend is not just towards shorter programs, but also towards programs that integrate credited internships, research and service learning.”
The third obstacle is culture. In many cases, this includes historically under-represented students who have never considered traveling abroad because it has never been part of their culture. Rubin emphasizes the importance of ensuring that UB’s study abroad programs are accessible and inclusive.
“Even if you are a first generation student, even if you have never traveled abroad, even if you do not come from a family with a lot of money, there are many different study options available to you. edge for you, ”he said. said.
“The expression I use a lot is ‘meet the student where he is’. This is something that we really have to do.
Rubin moved from Maine. He is an outdoor enthusiast and avid photographer who enjoys tennis, soccer and downhill skiing. He has two children, Alex, who attends Georgetown University, and Amelie, a freshman at Williamsville North High School.
As for his next adventure, he can’t wait to explore western New York.