Written By: A-In Choi (Class of 2024)
On the 15th of February, Wells’ American Sign Language (ASL) Club paid a visit to two noteworthy locations for the deaf community in Bangkok. The first being the Setsatian School for the Deaf, and the latter being the YimSoo Cafe, a cafe that promotes the use of sign language in order to accommodate their employees with hearing disabilities. This trip was particularly useful for the members of the ASL club since we were able to apply our knowledge of sign language in the real world, whilst learning the fundamentals of Thai sign language from patient and enthusiastic experts, namely the students and staff at Setsatian who welcomed us with warmth and excitement.
Comments from our leaders:
“This trip to Setsatian School for the Deaf was a life changing experience for me. Through this trip not only did I learn Thai sign language but got to experience how deaf people communicate and get through daily life. The kids at the school were very friendly and I felt really welcomed in the school. I would definitely go on this trip again next year!”
– Franny, Club Leader (Class of 2024)
“As deaf students cannot speak to express their feelings, they were all rich in facial expressions. I realized that deaf people appear more friendly and welcoming from these dramatic facial expressions, and I felt very comfortable interacting with them. I cannot wait to see them again.
– Risa, Club Leader (Class of 2024)
Initially, we were all quite nervous of how our presence would be received upon entering Setsatian, and how smoothly the activities we had planned would go, but by the time we introduced ourselves and the workshops began, we were slowly able to ease into the task at hand, especially due to the organization of our club leaders.
We began by teaching the students how to make origami cranes and hearts, then moved onto matching games and Uno shortly after. Although there were minor setbacks in the beginning, we were able to adjust to our atmosphere as best we could. Much of our reassurance can be attributed to the Setsatian students, who were nothing but patient with us throughout this process, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the activities we had planned, allowing us to form connections beyond the need for words.
By the time we had to depart, one could easily classify our visit as a success as new friendships had been formed, and the continuation of our partnership with the school, renewed and ready for the new members of ASL to continue the legacy.
Our final stop before heading back to Wells was the YimSoo cafe, where we were able to learn the basics of ordering food and drink in sign language, and were presented with the opportunity to try the beverages the cafe had to offer.
All in all, the trip left all of us in high spirits as we made our way back, and overall quite satisfied with the turnout, since we were presented with a hands-on learning experience, and a memorable trip we spent, united as a club.
Comments from club members about the trip:
“I enjoyed watching my students step out of their comfort zone and quickly adjust to make the most out of their time with the kids. They made connections and impressed the staff as well. I could not be more proud!”
– Ms. Jessica, ASL Club Advisor
“I was very nervous about any difficulty in communication among deaf students at the beginning. However, through different activities, we instantly got close and became friends! We shared each other’s Instagram accounts and I am still in contact with my friends at the Setsatian school. I even did a video call and they taught me many TSL words! I am already looking forward to seeing them on the next trip.”
– Seoyeon (Class of 2025)
“I was really amused with this trip to the deaf school as I thought it would be really challenging to communicate with the little children, but to our surprise they were much older and very fun to communicate with. I enjoyed playing UNO with them and they did not fail to entertain all of us. I would most definitely love to go again.”
– Zara (Class of 2024)
“The trip to the deaf school was very enriching as it was fun to be able to interact with them and see their facial expressions. Although it was nerve-wracking at first, we eventually felt very welcomed by them. It was also amusing to play UNO with them in unconventional ways.”
– Li Han (Class of 2024)
“I enjoyed interacting and playing with the deaf students. It gave me more confidence and comfort at the place and I’m impressed by their skills in making Origami.”
– Kim (Class of 2024)
“I found it very fascinating that there are people who could live without one of the five senses and still enjoy life. As I interacted with the students, I noticed that they liked to joke around and play certain games just like normal people would like to. Overall, everyone was very friendly and welcoming, making it a fun and unique experience.”
– Cowboy (Class of 2024)
“The trip to the Deaf school was a very amusing experience as I have never been to a place like it before. I learned a lot of things as well as had fun trying to communicate with the kids using sign language. I remember making origami and playing UNO to entertain the kids. Overall, it was a very fun experience.”
– Farzam (Class of 2024)
“The trip to Setsatian School was my first ever interaction with a deaf person. Growing up, it never really struck me that there are people who have it harder than us. The experience was a sensational one to be exact. Starting from strangers to friends, it really went fast like an arrow. Even though we have zero experience talking to deaf people, they made us feel welcome and treated us like we were normal people. I believe that there is a lesson behind everything. And the lesson I learnt from this experience is that there are many different types of people everywhere and not all of them may be good. But one thing is for sure. It is to never judge a person before you get to know them.”
– Binay (Class of 2026)