A group of about 20 Deer Park High School Students took a field trip to the World Relief in Spokane to go through the Refugee Simulation. During the simulation, the students are split into four different groups. Then they are given a binder. In that binder, there is information about a family that has been through the Spokane World Relief office, and they become that family. The kids put on the families' clothing, take their name, and feel what it's like to be a family trying to find refuge in the United States.
The Iraqi family went to the Feeding Station first. They saw how small their living quarters would be, how much food they have, and how hard life was at the refugee camps. From there, the group went on to the interview. It was here that the kids were drilled about their lives in their roles. They had to remember everything about their family, and the interview was not very kind during the process. But, that was the point. The director of Spokane World Relief acted as the interviewer. He explained why he was so harsh. "The purpose of the simulation is to get our participants to actually feel what a real refugee feels like. Just a small little portion of what they feel like over hours." Refugees that have come through Spokane have said that the interview process is the most terrifying 3 hours of their lives.
After the interview, our Iraqi group went for a medical check up, and a language class. The only problem about the language? The teacher never spoke English. She taught the kids Arabic, but they didn't know what language they were learning, or what part of the language they were learning. But, that was all by design.
The students learned a lot though. "It was more intense, and it just made me see how much people actually go through," senior Emily Timme said. It's not only the Deer Park students that go through this simulation. Students from all over the Mead and Spokane School Districts go through the program, as well as the teachers. It's all in an effort to become more aware of what the refugees go through before they ever touch down on US soil. If you would like to go through the Refugee Simulation, contact Angie Funnell at 509-321-1879. It costs $30 a person."