I Heart Travel Week Event “Acirema” Simulates International Students’ Struggles


Jef Davis, the event coordinator, looks at a participants “Kent State application” role playing as a worker at the international admissions office at the Acerima event during I Heart Travel week on Thursday, February 18. Photo by Sophia Lucente

Sophia Lucente

During I Heart Travel week, the Acirema event simulated the setbacks international students face while trying to come to America for school, which was harder than expected for participants.  


When participants walked into the room, they were handed a sheet of paper that instructed them to go to the first table to receive 3000 “do”, the Acirema currency. The following tables included a passport office, international admissions, US customs and border protection, a test of English as a foreign language office, Acirema airlines, a 1-20 specialist and a Visa office. 


Each table had its own complications, from offices simply rejecting a form to other people making mistakes that set the participants back. The first participant finished the eight tables in just under an hour. 

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  • Toward the end of the simulation, the participants had to choose a card with a random scenario on it, which may set them back further at the Acerima event. Photo by Sophia Lucente

  • One of the obstacles for the participants was a saleswoman trying to sell them “discounted plane tickets.” Photo by Sophia Lucente

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One of the participants described the event as stressful, even with it being a simulation. “The visa process was especially frustrating,” she said. 


At the Visa office table, she told the “worker” she was coming to America to build a better life for herself, and he rejected that answer. She had to get a new passport, which costs 500 dollars in this simulation, and try again to get a visa. 


Jef Davis, the event coordinator and associate director for International Student and Scholar Services, explained the goal of the event is to bring awareness to the difficult process international students need to go through to come to America. 


“It sensitizes people who are not international students themselves to how much extra effort and frustration international students go through in order to come study,” he said.