Research Team

Adam Drake


I learned so many things on this trip that I can't even attempt to list them all here. I learned about myself, my friends, the world around me. I learned that living in Italy is expensive but also quite priceless. I learned that there are about 50 different locations for the flushing mechanism for the toilet, and Europeans like to use them all. I learned about the changes that are going on in Italian design. I learned that tourism can really be ugly (and usually is through over-crowding, waste, and noise). I learned about art, history, culture, and how all of those are a key part in Europe. In fact, they are often recognized and celebrated in society, as well as incorporated into modern design. I learned to slow down.


Heck yes. I would recommend this program to those that are really serious about it. While it was a blast, and a really awesome way to experience Europe, it's not for everyone. All of us that went on the trip had different experiences, but we were all there for the same end goal. I recommend this trip for those students who crave new knowledge, who can apply themselves fully to a project, live for design, and know how to keep it fun! The trip can be taxing (spending months together) but it was all worth it. So, in short, I recommend this program with a few ... “conditions”.


  • Entering the Popolo square (Piazza del Popolo in Roma) for the first time was one of my greatest moments of the trip. It was one of those transcendent moments, to some degree. We walked through massive doors leading into the city, and the square just opened up in front of us with each new step. Another of my favorite moments was coming face-to-face with the people, places, and artwork with which I myself had studied prior to departure. It's one thing to research St. Peters Basilica and teach the class about it, and its another thing to actually walk in the square leading up to the basilica. One cannot come to terms with the scale of anything over in Italy until you see it for yourself.


  • This is a tough category for a variety of reasons. Some of the quotes from the interviews we cannot talk about, it's difficult to remember everything we talked about over the summer, and some of my favorite quotes are ones made by other students and aren't exactly ... academic. Although, I will say this: I have a number of favorite words from the trip. These words are “slowness”, “legacy”, and “transcendence”. In fact, these were some key themes of the trip. It was awesome to hear Cino Zucchi use the term “slowness” which was essentially a term coined in one of the previous Italy papers. He mentioned it without any prior knowledge to the term, as far as I know.


Rome and Florence stick out for me, for different reasons. I loved a lot of places in Rome, and the atmosphere of Florence. Rome has a spectacular magnitude. It is just oozing with history, culture, and character. The Pantheon ranks among one of my favorite places to visit in Rome. Getting in early is definitely recommended so that you can enjoy the space for what it is. It's huge.


After high school, I went directly to SFU Surrey. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to study until I took one of Russell's courses. The challenge of his class, IAT 230, pushed me to work harder, and want to do the best I can. Grades became a reward, not the sole reason to hand in an assignment. I heard about the Italy program shortly after, and immediately wanted to attend. Years later, after learning more, and earning more money, I felt I was ready to apply. I'm now in my fourth year, working and taking classes. I'm working towards a degree in Interaction Design, and hope to graduate in December 2007.


Experience design. I've thought about working for Apple, car manufacturers, furniture design firms, architecture firms, etc. Whatever I get into, I want it to involve creating better user experiences, and I would prefer it that did NOT involve placing clocks, LEDs, or LCD monitors on things (well, where they don't belong).


I'm 21 years old. I was born in Canada. My parents are English (my dad was born there) and Dutch (my mom was not). I like photography, graphic arts, my Mac, long walks on the beach ... you know, the usual. If there's one thing I would like people to know about me, it's that I'm funny (or at least I think so) and intelligent ... and modest.