Teacher’s notes Teachers need to be aware that students of refugee backgrounds in their classes are likely to have had traumatic experiences including loss of family members and violence. This simulation activity may not be suitable in all circumstances as it may cause some students to relive their experiences. In some situations teachers may wish to discuss the activity with refugee students and their parents or caregivers before proceeding. Even though it is a simulation, some people get upset when asked to choose between family members, and even between favourite possessions or pets. Be prepared to respond to this and to stop the activity if necessary. If this happens, discuss what has occurred with the participants. Teachers may like to include at least one other teacher or counsellor in this activity to observe and possibly offer support. Refugee Simulation Activity Adapted from Roads to Refuge: Refugees in Australia [kit] Session 1 The Centre for Refugee Research University of NSW, the NSW Department of Education and Training & the Migration Heritage Centre NSW, 2003 Time needed: Minimum of one hour including de-briefing. Materials needed: Two sets of six small different coloured cards for each participant. Two envelopes per participant, one marked ‘tickets’ and one marked ‘suitcase’. Stage 1 Ask students to write two lists, one of all the most important people in their lives, who they love and like most and the second of their very favourite things, either objects, like a pet or a teddy bear or something they do, like walking on the beach. Stage 2 Tell students that they all belong to a minority group which the government does not like. They are in danger and have to flee the country. On one set of cards, they can write the names of six people for airline tickets to escape with them. They put these in the envelope marked ‘tickets’. Ask students to be very realistic. Who can really leave with them? What might stop some of the people on the list leaving with them? On the second set of cards the students write six things that they can carry with them in their suitcases on the plane. This is ALL they can take with them. When they have chosen, pack their ‘suitcases’. Stage 3 (optional) Tell the students they are at the airport. There are not enough seats on the plane. Students must each give two tickets back. Tell students to spread out their possession cards. Walk around and take whatever you fancy from each person. Stage 4 End of simulation. Ask the class to stand up and shake their bodies and say out loud, ‘That was just a game. We do not have to leave Australia.’ Discuss each stage and ask for feelings. Ask students who and what they chose to take. Why did they make these decisions? How did they feel about the people and things they left behind? If Stage 3 was used discuss how students felt at the airport. Ask students to consider what they would do if they suddenly learned that they had to leave Australia with four days notice. List these on the board. Conclude by asking students if this has helped them to understand how refugees might feel. Discuss their responses. Final Debrief Ask students to imagine that they are film stars. Ask them to shut their eyes and not open them until they see their own name up in lights. When they all know they are stars introduce another preferably physical activity such as jogging or walking around the school. Make sure no-one leaves feeling upset.