'Adrift'was my chosen research project towards my honours degree at Massey University. It was inspired by a recent study exchange to Germany, where I experienced separation from home and family and a transition of culture shock into my new environment. The shock of having to again adapt to home on my return caught me by surprise and led me to ask, "How could design be used to help people with their transition between cultures?"
Using this as my research question for my final year for my final year project, I discovered that reverse culture shock was an important yet under issue, which is becoming increasingly more common with people travelling and working abroad, affecting peoples performance, mental state and also their socialisation. While the solutions to this problem are limited, the biggest factor to create a positive impact for returners is being able to communicate and share their experiences. Family and friends commonly brush over the time spent away from home, after what seems like our brief 'moment of fame' we receive on our return. This is a difficult reality for many returners, as those at home may not understand the internal struggle in being home. Many returners find comfort and relief in socialising with other travelers where they can openly express and share their feelings and overseas adventures.
The final solution 'Adrift' explores how experience design can be used to simplify transitions between cultures for travellers. Users are able to share their experiences, connect with others and engage with their location. Adrift also offers guides for adapting to different situations, minimizing mental and psychological strains associated with living abroad.