A new mobile phone game in development at the University of Portsmouth in England aims to help international students cope with the "culture shock" of adjusting to life in the U.K.
Known as C-Shock, the game is aimed primarily at students from countries where activities such as drinking, smoking and public displays of affection, especially involving women, are frowned upon.
The man behind the game, Nipan Maniar, is a senior lecturer in the university's faculty of creative and cultural industries. He says he experienced "massive culture shock" himself when he came to the university to do his MSc, not just from the environment that surrounded him, but also the informal relationships between students and teachers.
The game begins with the first day of university for a newly-arrived student. A map of the campus is displayed, and the student is required to find specific locations; along the way, clickable images will pop up, warning the student what to expect. As the student progresses through the game and becomes better-informed regarding accepted standards of behavior, the odds of "shock" when confronted with similar situations in real life is lessened.
C-Shock is in the final stages of development, and is expected to be available for download from the university website later this year, although Maniar is looking for a commercial sponsor to help produce the game.
Issahaku Kotomah, international students officer for the National Union of Students, said, "International students can find it hard going, and some students do find elements of UK campus culture a bit of a shock. It is, ultimately, very positive that the needs of overseas students are being taken into consideration."