In this post, we hear from Annie, who took IWLP British Sign Language (BSL) for two years.
I took BSL in the second and third year of my course. At the time, I was doing a three-year course of BA Archaeology.
Prior to my enrolment to the University of Reading, one of my friends was a Deaf colleague who was also volunteering in a café. Our communication was a bit haphazard to say the least, and for the good of all Deaf people I was to meet in the future he suggested that I go and learn sign language. I can only assume he got tired of me trying to mimic his hand gestures! As soon as I saw that British Sign Language was an option at UoR, I jumped at the chance to take part and learn the language.
I loved the interactive classes, as well as having the opportunity to learn more about Deaf culture. The lessons didn’t just teach me a language, but a new outlook on the community. I also thoroughly enjoyed learning how to sign. It was nice to have such a hands-on class (no pun intended) which was so friendly and accepting.
If you’re nervous about learning a language because you don’t have enough time alongside your main degree, I would strongly argue that you should go for it anyway. Aside from the numerous benefits of knowing another language, it’s also a welcome reprieve from your usual lectures. You may regret passing up the opportunity after you graduate!
All in all, learning BSL with the IWLP was one of the best decisions I made. It elevated my university experience and led to me meeting incredible people from all over the university. My lecturer, Ilan Dwek, was fantastic in engaging the class and all of us improved quickly as a result. I look forward to continuing my BSL language learning journey.