Capstone Project at International Education and Resource Network (iEARN)

Project: Visualizing my emotions while studying abroad
Timeline: Aug 2017
Mentors: Ligaya Beebe, Signe Knutson, Nicole Weitzner

00 // Abstract

When I interned for a month with iEARN in the summer of 2018, I researched three different psychological models of culture shock and adaptation and interactively visualized my own emotions based on those models using Highcharts for my capstone project. My data came from the daily journal entries that I wrote while I was studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea, from September 2016 to May 2017.

This work was published in a two-part series on the NSLI-Y Blog on how these varying models fit my actual emotional experience of living in a new culture.

01 // Background and Motivations

I had only about three weeks to complete this project, so a lot of the work was done outside of the office and was self-driven. Before I went abroad to South Korea, my culture shock training at iEARN only include the ‘U-curve’ psychological model. This model is very inflexible and outdated, but it is still the go-to for international educators. Thus, I wanted to explore and see what other psychological models have been developed in regards to culture shock and adaptation theories.

Based on the models I researched and their respective criterias, I developed a scoring system that scored each journal entry on a negative-positive scale. Then, I taught myself a bit of Javascript and used Highcharts to visualize these three models.

02 // Presentation

I presented my work to the international educators at iEARN at the end of August. I recommended that their pre-departure orientations should include various psychological models to give students more ways to reflect on their experiences.

03 // Impact

As of 2018, my recommendation and presentation have been incorporated in their pre-departure orientation trainings.

Screenshot of Highcharts U-Curve Model Graph
Screenshot of Peter Adler's Model Graph