My Journey



-to sensitize participants to the situation of immigrants;

- to know the path and the history of immigrants travelling to Europe;

- an increase the knowledge about the causes and consequences of forced migration, both for migrants and the host society;

- to understand the links between migration and the decisions taken in the countries of the Global North and their consequences for the inhabitants of the countries of the Global South.


Expected Outcomes

After the workshop participants should:

- have the knowledge about causes and effects of migration,

- understand the feelings and decisions of immigrants and refugees,

-be more sensitive on the situation of immigrants and refugees.


Target group

10-30 people

Nationals, Immigrants

Youth, Adults



(1 - very easy, 5 - very difficult)

The degree of expertise needed - 3

The amount of work to prepare and implement the scenario - 4

 The relative overall cost predicted - 4



3 hours


The border crossing should lead to a different room, e.g. out into the corridor. It would be convenient if it was located somewhere where it wasn’t visible at the beginning of the game.



Weapons for members of the uniformed services

Fingerprint ink (optional: soft pencils and tape)


Cards with belongings (attachment to be printed)

A table/bench to act as the border crossing



Before the simulation game you should prepare the space. Prepare the posters with some announcement to  the bus, railway station and stick it on the wall. Prepare the separate place, which will be used as a prison during the travel, as well as the border crossing. It's necessary to have at least 2 facilitators, one is the Game Master – the person in charge of narrating the game, the second is the Border Security Official – does not appear until the moment of crossing the border.

Make a copy of Annexes 1-4 (if possible in colour)

Cut the items from Annex 2 into small pieces (you can make more than one copy of it)



Explaining the game to the players:

- the game is fictional, but is not intended to be a fun activity;

- you should not identify with the characters;

- the game goes on non-stop until the goal is reached;

- you need to decide on a “safe word” – e.g. Stop the game, which means the game is ended by a player;

- take care of your own safety as well as your fellow players’,

- playing the game is voluntary, done on your own responsibility.


The aim of the game is to ensure your character’s safety by attempting to leave the country.

The players pick a personal profile card (Annex 1) at random, that can be found in sealed envelopes. They familiarise themselves with the content of the card, they try to remember as much information as possible. Next, you inform the players that their country is struck by war. The players will be asked to put the name of the person they’re playing as on a piece of masking tape and to stick it in a visible place on their clothes. Next, you move to the room where the game is going to take place: a country stricken by war and riots.



Part I Life in the reality of an armed conflict


The players take on the personal information enclosed in their character profile card. They try to imagine that they live in a country with an unstable situation, where an armed conflict may break out at any moment. All the players answer the questions:

- What does your normal day look like? What could you be doing in your free time?

- How is the situation in your house/city/country changing?

- Do you have access to food and water?

- Where are the members of your family? What is happening to them? They try to find them.

Then, the players exchange remarks and some of them will find other members of their family. They talk to each other.


After a few minutes, there is an announcement (the Game Master):

Dear citizens. Our country has been taken over by chaos for quite some time. We were very close to resolving our internal conflicts. Unfortunately, our enemies decided to use the temporary vulnerability of our country and made an attack. The situation might get worse. Our intelligence informs us that the city is going to be under attack tomorrow. Civilians are asked to pack up their personal belongings, passports and other documents and to leave the city immediately.


The players pick the things they want to take with them from the scattered cards (Annex 2).


Part II The situation at the train station/airport


The Game Master describes the situation at the train station/airport:

It’s very chaotic here. You can hear fast and incomprehensible announcements coming from the speakers, regarding cancelled and delayed trains/planes. The tills are closed. There might be some minor robberies happening at the train station (the role of the thieves). Armed men can also be seen, making sure things stay in order. There are leaflets scattered around the place containing the information about the possibility of illegal transport abroad. There are posters on the walls informing about the consequences of migrating from the country.

The players are informed about the possibility of travelling with a smuggler. The cost of travelling to a neighbouring country – 2-3,000 EUROS; a country in the European Union – 7,000 EUROS.


Part III Making the decision about the way of migration


The players make the decision as to where and how they are going to migrate. The decision will be made based on the information enclosed in the characters’ personal profiles (their wealth, family situation, the readiness to take risks) and the assets they possess, e.g. the documents.


In this moment, the players are divided into three groups:


GROUP A – people heading to a country within the European Union;

GROUP B – people heading to a neighbouring country;

GROUP C – people who do not have enough money and are going to try to get to the border of the country on foot.


Part IV Beginning the way to the border


The person leading the game comes up to each group and explains the way their journey is going to look.

The journey takes a couple of days, they have less and less water and food. During the journey, each group experiences an element of surprise.


They are led by a smuggler. Their aim is the beach, where they will find a boat waiting for them.


They set off with smugglers towards the border.


They walk alone and are at risk of many dangers.


The person leading the game directs it in such a way that will make the scenarios below happen. Each specific part of the story is put into action one after the other. We should not be afraid of the parts where nothing happens. Waiting is an everyday activity in the reality of migrating people, so it is an important element of the role play. However, you should ensure the breaks in between the subsequent stages are not too long.



They arrive at the beach very quickly, where they spend the night and get robbed. They lose some of their money (the Game Master takes it away). The smuggler informs them about the two options of travelling by boat: with a captain (the more expensive option) and without a captain (the less expensive option). Based on the amount of money, they decide on which option they choose. Travelling by boat is quite uncomfortable and long, filled with uncertainty. Smugglers talk about taking finger prints and the bad situation in the coastal countries.


The boat with no captain is stopped by the coast guards of the country they are setting off from. The players spend time in jail. They will arrive in the European Union a moment after the group travelling by boat with a captain.



They walk on foot with smugglers. Their journey passes relatively calmly. On the way, they get robbed and some of their assets are stolen.



They are constantly assaulted and stopped by the army, rebels or other groups of people. The person leading the game takes away the majority of the assets they have collected.


Part V The situation at the port of entry


All the groups arrive at the border. In this version, there is only one port of entry for all the groups. Border patrol/coast guards speak an incomprehensible language, reluctantly issue them a Refugee Asylum Application Form (Attachment 3). Then, the official rejects some of the documents. Women and children are let through first, then the men. After they enter the country, they are given tents which they pitch – they make camp.


Part VI The end of the game


The game finishes once all players taking part in the game cross the border.


Part VII Stepping out of the role


Once the game is finished, you move to a different room, where you’ll be able to begin the process of evaluation and stepping out of the role. It is also the moment when you should take a break. Everybody sits in a circle and takes off the name tags while saying: In the game, I played a character named……, now I am (your name).



The evaluation will consist of three stages (questions):

- What happened during the game? (everybody answers, you ask the players to give information on the course of the game)

- How did you feel in this role/situation? (everybody answers, you ask the players about the emotions they felt throughout the game)

- Have you heard of situations like these before? Do you think it’s possible that these situations may have happened in real life?  (answered by volunteers)


Inform the players that the stories told in the game are true, inspired by real-life situations. In this moment, the complete character background profiles (Annex 4) are distributed. The players familiarise themselves with the stories. Volunteers share the stories and may also talk about the emotions they’re feeling now, knowing the full story.


At the end, you quote legal documents regarding the responsibility of refugee protection.

Ask the question:

- Why do you think people leave their country?

And together with the players, discuss the possible reasons for migration.


Support tools


Movie from the simulation game from Poland:



True stories of refugees

CésarMillán: La historia w

Entrevista a Juan Diego Botto. Exilio e Inmigración (historia de Samba Martine) w https://



Waris Dirie Biography w oraz

Bauer W., “Przez morze. Z Syryjczykami do Europy”, Wołowiec 2016


Thinktrip for US-boundCubansis hard? Do itpregnantw


The death boats: A survivor’s tale w


Venezuela y Colombia: Historias de la fronteraw

Fronteras - Migrantes en México: Entre bestias y muros w


El Salvador país de migrantes (2010) w

One Migrant’s Harrowing Journey From Senegal to Italy w



Ideas for action

You can invite immigrants, which can play the role of smugglers, police officers and border guardians and also take part in debriefing sharing their own stories.

If you have possibility you can make the game in the old building (make sure it's safe for participants) and prepare the decoration like the fence, checking point, life jackets etc.



Annex 1 Character Profiles

Annex 2 Items for the journey

Annex 3 Application for Recognition of Refugee Status

Annex 4 True stories of 'characters'


Created by Foundation IRSE





Social-educational initiative centre PLUS

Make it Better

Ecos do Sur




The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi¬ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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