Gabriela Genadieva

As a user-centred designer I believe in meeting core human needs, rather than creating human needs. Through incorporating user psychology and emotional design, I aspire to create products and services which evolve with the user and sustain in time.

Final Project

Mission: Cultural Exchange

The Problem

In the EU around 400,000 young adults move abroad every year for studying and volunteering (Eurostat, 2020). People who move abroad frequently have to deal with an adaptation period and cultural shock in the initial stages of moving, where negative emotional states can trigger depression and anxiety and prevent the formation of positive life memories part of the Reminiscence bump (British Psychological Society’s Occupational Psychology Conference, 1999)

The Solution

Mission: Cultural exchange is a collaborative board game created for young people who move abroad every 6 to 18 months. The game aims to facilitate the difficult adaptation period through a combination of game mechanics like thematic plot narration, mission challenges and storytelling. Players bond through shared experiences and become more conscious of their feelings about the transition period, thus easing it.

Creating Shared Experiences Through Storytelling

Through the storytelling action cards, inspired by the Hero’s journey, players are the heroes of their own story and are rewarded with XP points for their storytelling skills. Challenge cards are ‘bought’ with XP points and push players outside their comfort zone to win game tokens. Bonding is facilitated through sharing stories and building connections based on similarities, not differences.

Design Through Metaphor

The choice of space mission as a game theme is a metaphor for the players’ journey abroad, who go to live on a different ‘planet’, effectuate a cultural exchange there and then return back to their home country with alot of gained knowledge.

Game tokens stand for different life skills gained during players’ stay abroad such as ability to create harmonious relationships between people of different cultures and the perseverance of learning a language.

Context of Use

Choose a figurine, throw the dice and count your move to the coloured spot on the board

Pick up an action card of the same colour as your spot and read it out loud

Answer the card question, collect XP points for challenge cards and win tokens

Instructions & Set-up booklet

Contents (1), Plot narration and explanation (2) and Game rules (3)

Design values & interests

  • Design which sustains in time
  • Design with a cause
  • Sustainable & Repairable design
  • Design for behavioural change


Diploma of International Studies

Work Experience

  • Entreprise Europe network trainee (4 months – 2021) – As a trainee with the EEN, I analysed the innovation culture of Bulgarian entreprises and helped with B2B events organisation
  • NGO & Education work – Working as a European projects coordinator in the NGO ‘The Social Teahouse’ in Varna, Bulgaria which provides employment for unpriviledged younsters sparked my interest in education. Currently, I am working as a Facilitator in Lumi Network.

Visionary Thinkers

Visionary Creators

Visionary Makers