Journey With Me


Journey with Syrian refugees who have left their hometowns to start their life anew in Vancouver. Imagine having to leave everything you have ever known behind in pursuit of safety and stability. The five storytellers featured in this immersive experience named Ali, Basheer, Ebtisam, Hassan and Jana, were forced to escape the harsh realities of the Syrian war, leaving behind their families, friends, jobs, studies, and homes. By using this app, you will travel on an AR journey from Syria to Vancouver while listening to their real stories. Experience some of the choices and lack of choices that define their ongoing journey. By gamifying this experience, users can participate in understanding the emotional journey Syrian refugees have endured.


In UBC’s GEOG 498: Geographies in the Middle East, students learn about the history of the Syrian Civil War and its ongoing developments. However, the current state of Syria and its citizens are much more than its political and economic context; it is the relationships and connections of the people in the country as well. The purpose of this project is to evoke empathy and help students understand the emotional consequences of the Syrian Civil War. Syrian refugees have been forced out of their homes and into long hard journeys around the world, often waiting years just to continue living their lives. By using this app, students will hear snippets of our storytellers’ journeys. Joining content and form, students will be forced to make choices (or given a lack of choice), wait, and run/walk with the app to be able to progress the narrative of the experience. By the end of the experience, students should have a better understanding of both the physical and emotional journeys of Syrian refugees.

How it works

Throughout the experience, you will be prompted to move, wait, listen to audio, watch videos, among other instructions in order to progress the project. To use this app, you must have: a mobile device, earbuds, Wifi to preload data, full batteries. Optional: an external battery, a mobile data plan.

The Team


  • Dr. Siobhán McPhee, EML Faculty in Residence, Department of Geography

Student Team

  • Samantha Peng (May 2018 – Dec 2018), EML Project Lead & Research Assistant
  • Sabrina Ge (May 2018 – Sept 2018), EML Project Lead
  • Farhan Hussain (May 2018 – Dec 2018), Research Assistant
  • Rose Cameron (May 2018 – August 2018), Research Assistant