The Journey and Adjusting to New Life

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords & Concepts: 

Through a video and simulation activity, young people build an understanding of life as a refugee.

Photo Credit: Refugees by Global Panorama is licensed under CC by 4.0 

PrintOne 50-Minute Session

The learners will...

  • identify the needs of a refugee who is forced to flee suddenly.
  • practice reading, speaking, and writing in an unfamiliar language.
  • reflect on and build empathy for the life of a refugee.
  • give examples of how individuals have helped others.


  1. Anticipatory Set 

    Watch The Most Shocking Second a Day, parts 1&2 on YouTube  This video shows how a young person's life changed as she became a refugee. Ask viewers to watch for and be prepared to share some of the changes in this young girl's situation. (The video moves quickly, so it may be good to show it twice.) 

    Talk about the changes and comparisons in her life to raise awareness and empathy.

  2. Following the video, discuss what kinds of needs she might have once she arrived in a new place (i.e., health, clothing, friendship, emotional support). Discuss who might help her with each one. 

    Make a side-by-side table of needs and people or organizations who might help with these needs. As you make the list discuss whether these helpers are from government, nonprofits, businesses, or family. Discuss how different sectors play a role. 

  3. In small groups, participants complete the three activities (see handouts below) related to adjustment to life in a new country. These may be completed in stations (5-7 minutes each):

    • Reading in a New Language
    • Writing in a New Langauge
    • Understanding in a New Language 
  4. Reflect on the three activities as a whole group discussion:

    • How did you feel when you were learning to read in the new language?
    • How did you feel when you were learning to write in the new language?
    • How did you feel when you were trying to understand directions in the new language?

    (Note: some refugees come with a lot of education but have to start all over with work because of language challenges. People who are learning a new language often feel or are treated like they are less intelligent.) 

  5. Watch the video Kids Meet a Refugee and discuss:

    • What surprised you?
    • How can you relate to the student in the video?
    • Thinking about the child refugees in the two videos: If they, or another child refugee, arrived in your neighborhood or school, how would you respond? What could you do to support a refugee with your words, time, or activities?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss examples of civil society organizations from a list of categories of organizations.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
      3. Benchmark HS.2 Provide an example of an organization (or a service that it contributes) from a list of categories of civil society organizations.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.7 Describe the concept of the individual's "reserved power" to act and how this idea relates to the growth of the civil-society sector.
      2. Benchmark E.7 Give classroom examples of when a student does not need the teacher's permission to act philanthropically.
      3. Benchmark MS.7 Identify and give examples of an individual's reserved power to act.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      3. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.