Journey with Nicole from Sydney’s suburbs to Syria to gain a greater understanding of; current world conflicts, identity & belonging and human rights & vulnerabilities.
SBS Learn
17 Jul 2015 - 4:07 PM  UPDATED 3 May 2016 - 11:52 AM

To take your class on Nicole's Journey download the Teacher Pack here.  

Meet Nicole

Hi, I’m Nicole, I’m 25 years old. I was working at JB HI-FI when I saw a job ad on Facebook to work with the Salvation Army at Nauru Detention Centre; it changed my life. With free accommodation and meals I thought it sounded like a tropical holiday, but I was in for a shock. Within 24 hours of arriving in Nauru I asked to be taken off the Island, but the next flight wasn’t for a week. After seven days I had decided that I wanted to help the detainees, I ended up staying for over a year! I now campaign for the dismantling of the offshore-processing system.

I’m taking this journey with fellow Australians, Andrew and Kim. It’s fair to say we all have very different stances on immigration. Come along with us and challenge your own views on refugees and asylum seekers.

Clip 1. Meet the Mersheds

In this clip Nicole meets the Mershed family in Bankstown, Sydney. Ammar, Sanaa and their children are stateless Palestinian refugees who were forced to flee their home in Iraq when their lives were threatened. Watch this clip to hear their story.

View the transcript

“My opinion is that you are most welcome here; you are free to practice your religion”  


Clip 2. Living in Limbo

Malaysia and Indonesia are common transit countries for refugees and asylum seekers fleeing the Middle East to Australia. In the last clip Andrew questioned why Ammar boarded a boat to Australia instead of staying in Malaysia where he had ‘escaped that threat that made him a refugee’. To find the answer, Nicole travels to meet another Iraqi family, the Abdulnoors, who have just arrived in Indonesia. Watch this clip to find out what their life in South East Asia is like.

View the transcript

Clip 3: Escaping Syria

The Syrian conflict and fight against ISIS (aka Islamic State or DAISH) has resulted in one of the largest refuge crises since WWII with millions displaced. In this clip Nicole visits the border crossing to meet those who have just escaped from Syria into Jordan.

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Clip 4: The Asylum Seeker Debate

In 2012 the town of Serê Kanîyê in Northern Syria was attacked by helicopter gunships killing dozens of local residents. Here, the participants meet a family who, despite the ongoing conflict, have returned to try to rebuild their lives.

The journey has confronted and informed all the participants and at this final stage Nicole seeks the opportunity to challenge Kim’s opinions on asylum seekers and refugees.

View the transcript

Map Nicole's Journey

Click on the red circles for more information. 


  • In March 2011 anti-government protests erupted in Syria. The unrest spread and escalated into a full-scale civil war.
  • Amidst the chaos, extremist group ISIS seized large areas of northern and eastern Syria.
  • In the four years of armed conflict it is thought that more than 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives.
  • More than four million people have fled Syria since the start of the conflict, most of them women and children.

Useful links

SBS - Exit Syria Interactive

UNHCR - Syrian Refugees

The Refugee Project

ICRC - Where We Work, Syria

For more information about the work of Red Cross and asylum seekers visit: