APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) — Fox Valley Technical College is giving students a taste of what it’s like to live the Latino experience.
Students were given a profile.
“I’m a 27 year old male who speaks no English,” one student told us.
Some played dairy workers, others were unemployed. The class was learning what life is like as an immigrant.
“Donde estan los papeles,” a volunteer posing as a health clinic worker asked a student.
“I worked all week and I received $200 so I’m going to put my family first and send them my paychecks which leaves me $5 for food and rent,” said student Carly McGuinnis.
When she and her classmates needed help, many couldn’t overcome the language barrier.
“I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m learning along the way,” said Bryn Pilgrim.
“Every new community who has moved here has gone through the same struggles,” says Mayra Pasayes, who works for the college and helped put the event together.
“I can see their frustration and they get upset,” said Nora Lazcano, volunteering during the simulation.
Pasayes says the simulations isn’t so students learn what it’s like to live as an illegal immigrant, but as any immigrant coming to the U.S. whether they’re here legally or not.
She says many immigrants who are U.S. citizens still struggle with language and it makes daily life difficult.
Pasayes says our area’s non-English speaking immigrant population is growing and if communication is bad, then all of society struggles.
“I would have never experience this if I didn’t take these classes and it would have never opened my eyes,” said Katie Spaulding.
“You can see tell how hard it is for [immigrants] to just live in like Appleton,” Katie Lorrigan said. “It can be difficult, very difficult.”
Eyes opened, awareness spread – students hope that’s enough to make things better.