In the beginning of this project we read about the Syrian and refugee crisis, watched videos on the problem, and discussed whose responsibility it was to solve it. We wanted to make an impact on the world and we were trying to figure out how we can share our knowledge in order to achieve that. After discussing we decided to make a Survival simulation where people can experience what refugees go through.
Why A Simulation?
From the beginning of the semester we were considering to do a museum exhibit or a play. The exhibit would have been the closest to an exhibition, but the class decided that doing a play would be more memorable. The play would have been about the different things that refugees go through, but we would be the one reenacting it. These two ideas contributed to making the refugee simulation. Instead of us showing them what is happening we thought it would impact them to go through something that they are lucky not to experience.
Syrian Refugee Event Sequence
My partner and I do not have an event sequence because of a miscommunication. Instead of doing my own I organized some of other students event sequences, so that if there was a station that missed out on any information they have it in a document.
Syrian Refugee Character Sheet
The article my partner and I were given didn't have much information because of the confidentiality of the refugee. We didn't know that we were able to make up the facts. I supposed at the time that the character sheets were just for our source of information, but the character sheets were for the people at our simulation. The character sheet provided information that stations would ask while passing through the simulation.
This particular worksheet was one of the worksheets that I thought was the most interesting. I read about why these three woman that were in ISIS and they liked being a part of ISIS because of power, but also didn't like some of the harsh things they had to do to people. This worksheet help me visualize why the people are so desperately wanting to leave their countries and for the readers who look at this handout should pay attention to what ISIS is capable of doing to the people of Syria causing them to feel like they have to flee the country.
Station Research Doc
In this research doc I wrote about Germany's Government and the recent Cologne attacks. I remember looking deep into the Cologne attacks was the most entertaining part of the research process because knowing that there are many Germans that don't like refugees inspired me to be a protester in the simulation. During the research some techniques I used were taking key/difficult parts of the text and writing them in a way that everyone would be able to understand.
Vision To Our Station Doc
In the vision doc I contributed to writing about the amount of refugees that Germany can hold/afford. Our vision for our station was all based on rolling a dice. We ended up changing it to picking up rocks making the process seem more realistic. Most of our ideas were changed, but something that stayed the same were the costs.
Station Design Doc
In the station design doc I wrote a background on my character(protester). I based my character on most of the protesters that are angry about the cologne attacks. I looked up some of the comments that these people say and used it to develop my character and act as that character. It was really hard to stay in character because I wasn't sure if what I said was too harsh or shouldn't be said. I realized that I can stay in character, but I had to make sure that the things I said were smart around certain focus groups such as children. Germany has a lot of protesters, but I think that Merkel's opinion to the refugee crisis is the only opinion that matters. In our station we tried to contribute both Merkel and the protesters opinion. The majority of German citizens don't want refugees because of safety issues and Merkel opens Germany's doors because she thinks that they deserve a good life too. Overall, I am proud that our group worked really hard on making our station realistic and that I was able to stay in my character and make people who passed through uncomfortable.
In my honest opinion, this was the worst playtest out of all playtest we did. This was our first, so we didn't practice where our positions were going to be or what we were going to say. All I could remember was that we were frustrated because none of the simulation made any sense. Based on this playtest my group realized that studying our station docs was essential.
In this playtest it still didn't feel realistic. I felt like I was chanting, "Rapefugees not welcome" for no reason because no one really payed attention. Dr.C and Miss Ally came through and asked what my sign meant and I explained the Cologne attacks, but after that they weren't sure what to do, so we just smuggled them for no reason which was not supposed to happen. In this playtest we changed the protester sign because I felt like saying it was for more of a Germany only quote.
Single Station Playtest
Germany never did a single station playtest, but I really liked experiencing Denmark's because Dr.P played a role. He was this really scary border patrol and he made you feel so uncomfortable while in the line to get processed. He asked what our name was and why we want to get into Denmark. If you laughed or didn't look at him while he was talking to you then he would scream in your face and send you to the back of the line or to get killed. Experiencing this made me think about crossing the border to Mexico. It is fairly easy to get into Mexico because all you need is a passport. With refugees they need paperwork, background checks, and after that it still takes 1 to 2 years(sometimes more) to become a citizen. They are treated so badly just because they want to ensure safety for them and their family? It didn't seem right to me.
When we did the playtest with the 9th graders it was better because we actually knew what we were doing. I liked that when they came through our station they thought I was weird because I kept screaming in their face to get out. Most of them had know idea that I was a protester they just thought that I was a random woman yelling. Based on this playtest, we realized that it would be better if we had a table for the chancellor to sit at and the employer to ask her questions while the refugees get in a line behind the table.
I feel like doing the playtest with the 11th graders wasn't a good choice because the majority of them didn't care about the simulation. For the people that did care they seemed interested in how we had them go though something that a refugee would go through. I know that they told me that getting smuggled through the rocks made the simulation even more realistic and they wished that they would have done something more interacting.
Your Essay Quiz
Everyone in San Diego should know that the refugee crisis started with serious human rights violations on all sides and people are desperate to get out. Since the start of the war there has been thousands of deaths and about 9 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes or have left the country. The majority of these people will go to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, or Egypt, but to seek asylum they will go to Europe. Between overcrowded nations, strict policies, and desperation to find safety - refugees have few options. A lot of them risk their lives to get smuggled across the Mediterranean and smugglers don't really care about their safety they are just there for the profit. A lot refugees just want the smuggling to stop and to find a solution for those who just desperately want to leave.
The Real Simulation
The turnout for our simulation was great. Something that was memorable for me was when Merkel kept on telling me to keep it down because she couldn't hear the refugees speak. The whole point of being a protester was so that she didn't accept them, so if she couldn't hear them I was doing my job. There were a lot of things that different stations were coming up with that added depth to the simulation. Germany wasn't accepting a lot of people, but once Merkel came across children, she automatically accepted them. Whereas other stations didn't care who they were. If you were a refugee they most likely would have smuggled you to another country. If I were to do this simulation again I would want to learn phrases in German, so that I could yell in German. This could have not only made our station more realistic, but if I wanted to say something harsh I don't think they could understand me(unless you speak German of course). Our simulation inspired teachers to do a simulation of their own. My advice to the teachers is make sure that there is a great amount of research for whatever the simulation will be about and research about students characters. You can't put up a simulation without knowing what you are talking about and you can't be a character without knowing how to act as that character. For the students my advice is think of ideas that can make the simulation more real like music, props, flags. The ideas depend on the simulation, but overall have fun.
Being a team is summed up in 4 words: