Enhancing the campus experience: Helping international students to adapt to North American campus life

Qiaoying Wang, Purdue University


This thesis investigates how culture adaption topic can be applied to a design solution by enhancing international students experience on North American campus. Each year more than half a million international students enroll in American colleges and universities. Many will spend several years on a campus working toward their degree. Most of them arrive with clear academic goals, but they may have no clue what their social lives will be like. In that case, a common phenomenon that most of the international students need to get along with is called “Culture Shock”, which involves culture and academic adapting difficulties, limited social contact with host nationals. While some educators and researchers have been studying on this issue and also considered the constructive suggestions, unfortunately, how to solve the culture shock on campus is rarely applied in interaction design area. To become a feasible design solution rather than just a suggestion, the approach to solve culture adjustments must be integrated into campus life. In this thesis, I propose a vision mobile-based campus application to provide international students useful information on the campus from four dimensions of culture difference: cognition, psychology, behavior and phenomenon. It aims to help international students adapt North American campus life and build social network with host nationals. In addition, providing some basic campus living information to the first-time students. Both qualitative data and quantitative data were collected through online questionnaires, interviews, and existing frameworks. Also, I will address the approach of implementing business model design and distributed user needs into the design outcome. In the end, a heuristic evaluation and a usability testing will be addressed to discuss refining the design outcomes. As a result, I would like to see how effectively and widely that culture differences can be implemented into campus in the future. Ideally, it is able to help international students to diminish the “cultural gap” between host nationals. It is my goal the design solution will help them adapt to culture differences, jump out of their comfort zoom, integrate with the diversity of campus life.




Qian, Purdue University.

Subject Area

American studies|Web Studies|Higher education|Computer science

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