Improving the transition and adaptation process of international students in the… [Read more]
Bunni website and mobile app helping international students to embed into UK life
Bunni is an online service provided via a website and mobile app which helps prospective international students prepare before they move to the UK and embed into the UK culture after their arrival thanks to 3 levels of interaction:
On the information level, it provides all the official details that students can find on university’s or government’s website - all in one place - it is easy to save and access the most relevant parts for a student.
The forum section brings the possibility to learn from other students experience, by videos, comments, reviews and tips on different student life issues.
The Buddy feature provides opportunities to interact with British students and create meaningful relations. Special icebreaker games make it easier to initiate the interaction and take away the embarrassment and awkwardness.
International students constitute around 20% of the total student population in the UK. They serve as links between countries and help reduce intergroup conflicts. But changing country can be stressful. International students constitute a high-risk group. Apart from the stress related to starting a new life as a student or leaving the family home and friends, international students have to face additional challenges connected with moving into a different country. Amongst all worries, psychological health is the most commonly mentioned adaptation and adjustment concern. International students may experience depression, anxiety, and higher levels of stress. They have more numerous and more severe university adjustment problems than domestic students.
The project aimed to understand the transition and adaptation process of international students in the UK to facilitate and improve this experience.
Primary research was conducted to gain a deep understanding of the challenges that international students face, their current strategies of adaptation and support that’s available for them.
Methods used: an interview with the chair of international student network, 4 semi-structured interviews with students, supported with generic methods including cards sorting to explore the hierarchy of problems and timeline drawing to retrace and map out the crucial adaptation moments. Mobile ethnography with 5 students asked to perform 3 tasks on their mobiles related to their perception of British culture - the further scope of research.
All data was gathered and organised for the analysis in experience maps, participant boards and an affinity map. Key insights found include:
Students struggle with cultural differences when they arrive in the UK, but they don’t have a way to anticipate and alleviate it.
To prepare and feel confident before arrival they need responsive and trustworthy information which should come from people of similar experience and background.
Making friends is crucial to adapt after they arrive. Students would like to have interactions with British students, but don’t feel understood and supported by them.
Students interact more with other internationals, because, among others, there isn’t a “cultural reference” problem
Following insights about the cultural challenges, an online survey and 6 interviews were carried out, supplemented with the students' input on the online whiteboard about British culture perception. For the key findings the “How Might We?” statements were then ideated to scope the design challenge and to think of divergent possible solutions. These were thematically grouped and led to create the design principles and initial concepts. The further process consisted of brainstorming key features using storyboards updated continually with user feedback gained during remote storytelling sessions. The MoSCoW prioritisation method was used to finalise features and user requirements. The concept was improved through co-design session and low-fi prototyping with students.
Special icebreaker games designed to prompt getting to know each other help make friends in a safe online way and build mutual understanding of experiences and cultural differences.
On the forum students can add questions signed or anonymously to avoid embarrassment.
Prompts of meetings considering mutual hobbies between students who have a lot of interactions support the development of relationships in the offline world.
An analytical mind combining a scientific approach with human-centred design interested in inclusive solutions with meaningful impact.
I have a first degree in Cognitive Science, graduating with honours from the College of Inter-Faculty Studies in Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Warsaw.
I’m always and eager to keep asking to find the answers for research questions. My scientific thoroughness and cognitive awareness helps me get to a deep understanding of users needs not being misled by cognitive biases. Supporting qualitative research with quantitative measures to reassure the best analysis of data leading to deep insights.
I always try to make sure the solution is logical and satisfying for users whilst meeting business requirements.
At the heart of everything I do is the practice of empathy and inclusivity and I look to continue working in organisations that embody such values.
I want to embark on a career in user experience design to participate in engaging projects and produce user-centred products.
Improving the transition and adaptation process of international students in the UK
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