Page 24 - The Hoot April, 2013

| The Hoot
April 2013
ASL students sign their way through Europe
ASL students sign their way through Europe
By Rebekah Savage
Editor in Chief
Imagine immersing yourself in the culture of three different countries—all
without speaking.
Using only sign language for communication, four William Woods University
students traveled to Europe during spring break in March.
The students were following in the steps of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a
pioneer in Deaf education in America. Before co-founding a school for the
Deaf in the United States, he toured Europe to study methods for teaching
Deaf students.
Dr. Barbara Garrett, professor and director of the American Sign Language
and interpreting program at William Woods, organized the trip for
WWU students.
The tour was called ‘In the Footsteps of T.H. Gallaudet,’ and they traveled
the same route as he did in the early 1800s—going to London, then Paris, and
then we added on Rome because, well, you just have to go to Rome!”
According to Garrett, the students “visited Deaf people in each country so,
in all, they managed seven languages—English, ASL, British Sign Language
nothing like ASL), French, French Sign Language, Italian and Italian
Sign Language.”
She added, “They even met French college students preparing to become
French/French Sign Language interpreters. Our students know English and
ASL, and these students knew French and French Sign Language so they
communicated in signs with a lot of gestures working to communicate.”
WWU students Colleen Hofer, Alison Heifner, Chelsee Watson and Samantha
Huesemann toured with a group of Deaf community members and students
from other interpreting programs. The entire group traveled through Europe
together, with the aid of a signing tour guide.
I had never been out of the country before the trip,” said Huesemann, a
senior with majors in American Sign Language interpreting and ASL studies.
I thought it would be awesome to go with a Deaf tour company and learn
about the different countries, all in ASL.”
Although Garrett planned the trip, she was unable to attend. Shauna Ward,
American Sign Language instructor at William Woods, accompanied
the students.
I was asked if I was interested in going. I never was to Europe before. I went
there and loved it! I got the chance to experience the adventure of a lifetime,”
Ward, who is Deaf, explained in an email.
Their adventure began March 8, when the group departed for England. After
a 10-plus-hour flight, the group arrived in London.
While there, they toured the London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the Royal
Armory, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. They also had tickets
to Piccadilly Circus.
From the first day on, it was go, go, go,” said Hofer, a senior triple major at
William Woods. “We slept hard every night.”
Originally, the travel itinerary included three days in each location. Due to a
train delay, they spent an extra day exploring and learning in London.
Then the group traveled to Paris to enjoy the many historic sights. There they
journeyed to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Catacombs and
Loch Bridge.
They also visited the Deaf School in Paris where Laurent Clerc was teaching
when Gallaudet made his trip to Europe. Clerc and Gallaudet later started the
first School for the Deaf in the United States in 1817 in Hartford, Conn.
After three days in Paris, the group traveled to their final European
destination, Rome.
The group toured the Vatican Cathedral in Vatican City, Italy, where the pope lives. (
courtesy of WWU