Activities with young migrants

Types of activities

Energizers: are used to raise energy among the participants, to set the mood or create an atmosphere, and wake people up before an activity. It can also be used to introduce a topic in an easy and informal way.

Individual exercises: An individual exercise is exercised individually, and is meant to make the individual participant to take on a self-critical, questioning and curious attitude to learn by discovering ourselves.

Group discussion: can be good to let the participants speak their mind, but also to make the participants think about the “issue” in a different way and from another point of view.

Simulation games: are a very powerful means of working with young people especially in an intercultural perspective to confront and address prejudices and stereotypes of other cultures.

Role plays: are powerful means for examining conflict situations because it makes the participants the agents of the given circumstance and gives them the chance to realize how they would act had they been given the right to intervene.

Evaluation: the action in which one collects information about the results of an action and set this against predetermined criteria in order to judge the value of the results. The evaluation allows the facilitator to maintain, change or discard points and/or activities from the plan.

60 seconds

Type: Energiser

Purpose: We all know time is relative – but what does it really mean? Participants live through their own minute of time and compare the results.



Group sizeAny
TimeAnything up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds
Resources neededWatch for the facilitator

If there is a clock in the room should be covered or removed

Activity descriptionThe participants have to hide any visible watches they have.

Then everybody has to sit down on their chairs and with their eyes closed

Then the facilitator asks everyone to stand up and close their eyes. On the command “GO!”, each person is to count up to 60 seconds and sit down when they have finished. It is important to stress that this exercise can only work if everyone is quiet during the whole of it. Once people have sat down they can open their eyes, but not before.

Reflection TimeThe exercise allows for opening up the discussion about time perception in different cultures and even among homogeneous groups.
Comments & helpful tipsEven within culturally homogenous groups, this energizer can produce fairly spectacular results. Be careful not to laugh at people who are last, they might just be having a very “slow” day. This activity can be very effective if the participants know each other.

Passport of the soul

Type: Energiser

Purpose: To get to know each other and to create a good atmosphere within the group


Group sizeAny
Time20 minutes
Resources neededPaper, Pen, Colour
Activity descriptionIn couples, the participants have to make interviews about some specific topics: for example,  name, age, country, hobby, and they have to draw the face of the other person. After that, alternately, each person has to introduce the other participant
Comments & helpful tipsThis activity was tested during different non formal activities and this is very useful for knowing each other especially for the first time in which the group of people don’t know each other

Facing Identity

Type: Individual exercise

Purpose: To get to understand that how we see ourselves is not necessarily the way others perceive us: an exercise about the (changing) faces of our identity


Group sizeAny
TimeAround 30 minutes personal, 30 minutes exchange
Resources neededSheet of paper and a pen for each person

Different coloured pens and/or pencils

Activity description
  • Every participant receives paper and pen and draws the profile of his/her face on the paper.
  • Participants reflect personally about various aspects of their identity/elements to be put outside of the drawn The participants should be given sufficient time for this, trying to think through different elements constituting identity (family, nationality, culture, education, gender, religion, relationship roles, group belongings etc.). They should be encouraged to think about both personal aspects and attitudes they both like and dislike.
  • In a second step, participants reflect on the relation between what they see and others might see and the relation between different
  • Participants are asked to join together in small groups (maximum 5) and exchange their reflections: How do we see ourselves? How do we think others see us? What influences me? What were my reference points? How do perceptions and attitudes change over time and why? Which dynamics can I perceive in terms of changes and how are they linked? How do I deal with the elements I dislike with myself and where do they come from? Which linkages can I perceive between different aspects?
Reflection TimeThe sharing should probably remain in the small groups, but some general remarks can be brought back to plenary, or participants can give feedback on what they learn from the exercise to the wider group.

Here are some more questions you could ask: How do we work with our own and others’ perception of ourselves? How far is an identity a “dynamic concept” and what are relevant factors influencing changes? What impacts in this group on my identity and how are they linked?

Comments & helpful tips“Identity” is a vital aspect of intercultural learning, but not easy to deal with. Respect for personal differences and limits is essential, feedback given has to be extremely careful. It

is better to share one’s own histories if possible instead of interpreting the ones of others. If you want you can finish this activity with showing a short movie on youtube ( and had a brainstorm about identity.

Describe the animal

Type: Energiser

Purpose: To get to know each other. Its purpose is to learn about and see the impact of non-verbal communication


Group size5-50 people
Time10 minutes
Resources neededNothing in particular
Activity description
  1. Ask all participants in the group to think in silence about their favourite animal
  2. Then asks participants to, without talking, form a line from the biggest to the smallest animal.
  3. The participants are only allowed to explain their animal with gestures and sounds
  4. When they have finished, ask everyone to say what animal they had in mind and see if the position they are in, is correct.
Comments & helpful tipsAfter this activity youth workers could introduce the “non-verbal communication” topic. Non-verbal communication is different from person to person and especially from one culture to another. As there are differences in meanings of non-verbal communication, miscommunication can occur when inter-cultural people communicate. People can offend others without meaning to due to their cultural differences in non-verbal communication.

Where do I stand?

Type: Group discussion

Purpose: Reflecting and understanding one’s own position on ambiguous issues and comparing them with those of other participants.

Brainstorming: Before this activity is performed it may be useful to ask participants to answer in 3 words the question “WHO IS THE OTHER?”


Group sizeAt least 5, and at the maximum 10 participants to work together
Time30 minutes
Resources neededEnough room

Flipchart papers with the 10-15 statements, each on different sheet (or power- point presentation with the different statements)

Two signs “Yes” and “No” in the opposite corners of the room

Activity description
  • Prepare 10-15 statements that touch the various aspects of culture and dilemmas related to the topic. The statements should be clear, and not raise discussions on how to perceive them.
  • Introduce the exercise to the A statement is going to be presented to them. They are asked to decide whether they agree or disagree with the statement and go to the appropriate side of the room (if you agree you go to the side of the “Yes” sign, if you disagree, you go to the side with the “No” sign). Everybody has to take a stand, you cannot remain in the middle. Once everybody has taken a side, participants are asked to explain to each other why they disagree/agree. Everybody is free to change sides during the discussion, if you have been convinced by an argument you heard.
  • Start the exercise by showing the first statement. Give people time to read and understand the Ask people to take their side, and, once everybody has decided, invite them to explain their decision.
  • Move through all the statements following this routine. When you have finished, you might want to ask participants about how they felt and give room to resolve any outstanding issues.
Reflection TimeIt might be good to follow up with questions like: why was it so difficult to find common ground on some questions? Which questions were more ambiguous and which ones were

relatively easy to decide on? What are the topics you would like to go more deep into?

Comments & helpful tipsStatement Examples:

We are all determined by our culture

  • Culture is determined by your economic and social position
  • It is easy to change your culture
  • You can only have one culture
  • Culture should be shared by at least 50 persons
  • We should accept all expressions of people’s culture
  • Human rights stand above culture
  • Women’s rights stand above culture
  • Everyone should adapt their culture to the “National culture” in their country of residence

Stuck in the back

Type: Energiser

Purpose: To demonstrate the different prejudices and stereotypes existing towards various cultures and identify the main reasons for the latter.


Group sizeAny
Time20 minutes
Resources neededPaper, tape, pens
Activity description
  • The participants write on a piece of paper their cultural identity/nationality. This paper is stuck on the back of the person and all the other participants write stereotypes they have about this culture.
  • Every participant writes on the backs of all the other participants. The facilitator can give examples to streamline the ideas – could focus on food, drinks, music,
  • Then, every participant comments the things written about his/her
Reflection TimeThis activity not only aims for the participants to share the information about their culture but it also aims to see that the participants do not represent 100% the existing stereotypes of their own culture.

Three cultures

Type: Simulation game

Purpose: To explore cultural differences and emotions/behaviours when meeting differences; to find constructive ways of dealing with/preventing conflicts aroused from differences.

Group size20-30 people
Time1 hour and 30 minutes
Resources needed
  • Materials for the costumes, scissors, rulers, glue, pencils
  • Role cards
  • Annex 1 – Questionnaire ► Download
Activity description
  • Situation/Story line: On the occasion of new courses in youth policies in the world, delegations from all countries came to participate in the World Student Conference with the name: “Student’s Movement and Building Democracy”. After you come from the airport, organizers of the conference are waiting for you and direct you to the Main Hall to meet the other two delegations with whom you are supposed to cooperate closely during the conference. During that meeting, your task will be to choose 5 persons in total who will represent your 3 delegations in the Main board of the So out of the three groups, only 5 people can be chosen to represent you.
  • Then, the groups go to the separate rooms and wait for the instructions from the facilitator. Before that, they are to read carefully those characteristics and to get into the roles. They should represent all characteristics of their culture not by talking about them but through behaviour, way of touching/or not touching people, way of talking etc. They should try to make costumes, give themselves names and practice being in your
  • Simulation 1: All three delegations are gathered in the big rom. Welcome… etc. Please, start the meeting. You should choose 5 representatives for the main board. Simulation can last about 15 min (depends on the process, can be a little shorter or longer). It should be stopped before they agree. Stop the
  • Now they will discuss the questions in their small Then, discuss a new strategy in your small groups, concerning agreement and behaviour. Could you change something to meet the other cultures in a more open and easy way? 5 min. 15-20 min.
  • Back in the big room. Second meeting – simulation. 10
Reflection TimeSharing and discussion (whole group): 30 min. Everybody should participate: how did you feel during the exercise? Your main impressions, main insights? What do you think are the characteristics of the other cultures? Can you see the links between this simulation and reality? What can we learn from this simulation? Discussion, comments.

The Communication Tree

Type: Evaluation Purpose: To show quickly and clearly where consensus exists and where the opinions are diverse in the group, to help overcome language barriers between participant’s.

Group sizeMinimum 4, maximum 20 people
Time20 minutes
Resources needed
  • One large sheet of paper with a drawing of a tree on it (only with branches without any leaves, according to the number of activities – for example branches for 5 activities
  • Minimum of five pens in a different colours
  • One sheet of paper with a scale of leaves between 1 (not satisfied) – 5 (very satisfied) of different colours. The colours represent the level of satisfaction – for example, yellow for “not satisfied” and red for “very satisfied”
  • Pins or sticky tape
Activity descriptionThe facilitator puts the two large sheets of paper (one with the drawing of the tree and the other with the scale) and the pens in a place that permits participants to complete the tree relatively anonymously. Then the participants leave their feedback by means of drawing one leaf on each branch of the tree, according to the scale, which illustrates their degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with all the activities. Check that all participants complete the task.
Reflection TimeBring the two large sheets of paper and place them where all can see them. The tree is now complete and all the participants can see easily where they agree or disagree. Invite all participants to observe and to analyse “The Communication Tree” in silence. Give them a few minutes to do that. Follow on with a stimulating discussion about their evaluations.