Migration Simulation: Fostering Empathy for Local Refugee and Immigrant Populations

Credit: iStock.com/Naeblys

As the United States is becoming more diverse, higher education institutions must create experiences to prepare our students to work in diverse workplaces and communities. We must start by engaging our students’ sense of place, culture, and native language. Being in southern Indiana, our university student population hails from the heart of rural Indiana as well as Louisville, Kentucky, a city receiving new refugees and immigrants every day. The average population of immigrant and refugee students for our regional school districts has increased to 12 percent. As higher education professionals, we need to create opportunities for our students to experience diversity, especially when their backgrounds have not provided that opportunity. One way to address this need is to use real-world, campus-wide simulations. This article focuses on simulations as an experiential learning opportunity, which can change and expand mindsets around diverse populations.

Experiential education is learning by doing: first immersing learners in a simulation or experience, then facilitating reflection to develop new skills, attitudes, or ways of thinking. According to Chernikova et al. (2020), “Simulation-based learning allows reality to be brought closer into schools and universities. Learners can take over certain roles and act in a hands-on (and heads on) way in a simulated professional context” (p. 504). For these authors, simulations are one of the most effective ways to prepare college students for their future professions.

To continue reading, you must be a Academic Leader Subscriber. Please log in or sign up for full access.

Related Articles

Are you signed up for free bi-weekly Academic Leader updates?

You'll get notified of the newest articles.