By Kristen Johanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dozens of people spent Friday morning at the National Constitution Center, understanding the struggles of refugees in a unique simulation. For Suzanne Zakariah, it’s all a little too real.

“I still have some family members in Syria right now,” she said. “It is hard to relate to what they are going through and it’s even to talk to them.”

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She was one of the many given a refugee character to understand the fears and uncertainty of those trying to flee for safety in America. Suzanne played the role of a 6-year-old boy who’s father and sister died in an explosion – her mother is played by real-life friend, Katie Mauro.

“As far as the process goes, it’s crazy. I have my immunizations done and my child is going to school, and that is all I have been able to do so far and I have been here three months so I still need a job,” Mauro said.

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Temple law students served as agency workers who helped refugees start their lives.

Law student Lilah Thompson created the interactive experience. “I wanted to sort of capture, these are people. They are people just like us and they have been through the horrors of war and persecution and it’s important for them to understand they are human beings just like us,” she said.

For Zakariah, it’s insight into what her family is going through. “Primarily, I’ve just felt that sense of despair, it’s very hard to conjure. I mean, it’s just unimaginable,” she said.

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At the end of the simulation, less than half of the people participating were actually accepted into the United States and live so many others around the world, so many more are still waiting.