What is CultureBridge Tulsa
Founded by local high school students of diverse backgrounds, CultureBridge offers a brand-new perspective on immigrant life in the United States of America. As our team of 28 students came together, we recognized a lack of empathy for the immigrant experience amongst non-immigrant communities. How could we bridge this gap of understanding? After collaborating with the New Tulsans Initiative, communicating with community organizations, and researching best practices, we created the CultureBridge Immigrant Simulation. By taking on the role of an immigrant in contemporary America, participants have the opportunity to experience both the joys and the hardships of immigrating to and living in our country
Taking on the role of a real-life immigrant, participants walk through the story of one of the simulation characters. Along the way, they are tasked with making the tough, self-sacrificing decisions their characters were faced with. To get the most out of this experience, CultureBridge participants are encouraged to actively engage and embrace the reality of each story.
The Introduction Presentation
The introduction presentation, given by a CultureBridge facilitator, informs the audience of the impact immigrants have locally and nationally. By providing a factual foundation, we hope to better prepare participants to empathize
Each participant is randomly assigned a character and follows their story through the simulation. The initial card participants receive includes a brief background of the character they will be taking on. Because each character’s story is based in reality, we challenge each participant to read the background thoroughly and base their simulation decisions off of the character’s specific circumstances. Countries represented include India, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Lebanon, Thailand, Kuwait, Sweden, and Israel.
As participants follow their character’s story, they forge a unique path as they encounter different events and decisions. Each event leads to a simulated station (e.g. a courthouse or language learning center), where participants might be asked to perform certain tasks. In order to fully grasp an immigrant’s experience, CultureBridge works to mimic different barriers and obstacles of daily life by simulating the unequal treatment and discrimination immigrants face. In addition to displaying the challenges of the immigrant experience, stations are designed to educate viewers about the political and social state of the United States.
Following the simulation, participants come together to discuss the events, trials, failures, and successes they experienced. The debrief seeds deeper conversation and connection and encourages every participant to turn new found empathy into action.
Immediately after the simulation, participants are asked to complete a survey to reflect on their experience. In addition, we provide an Action Packet with local information to better facilitate future involvement in the immigrant community of Tulsa.
30 days after the simulation, a second check-in survey is distributed to better measure the effectiveness of the CultureBridge simulation.