10 Reasons Why Semester at Sea is Worth the Cost

I remember the first time I saw Semester at Sea online. I was absolutely giddy at the thought of living on a ship for months, traveling to 15+ countries, and making global-minded friends.

Then I saw the cost, had a heart-attack, and died – right there in front of my computer.

Okay, so I didn’t die, but the closest thing to it. The average student probably pays somewhere between $25,000 to $30,000 because of the insane tuition costs from the sponsoring university and the individual trips we take in each country.

So, yeah, I closed the website and tried for forget over the next few years that I had ever seen Semester at Sea. When that didn’t work, (surprise, surprise) I looked online again at the program and found the massive amounts of loans, grants and scholarships available to SAS students. I had reached heaven. With divine help, financial aid, and penny pinching, I was able to go on Semester at Sea and meet Deaf worldwide.

Destiny Yarbro meeting an Elderly Woman With Christian Jewelry; Semester at Sea is Worth the Cost

Meeting an Elderly Woman in India

Even with the help, though, I’m still paying off student loans acquired from Semester at Sea. So, the question that comes up time and time again though from friends wanting to do SAS is the following: Is Semester at Sea worth the insane cost?

The answer is absolutely-positively-smackeroni-blowyourmind-ee YES!!!

 

Here are my 10 reasons why Semester at Sea is worth the cost:

1. You can see every mile of your journey.

Most travelers sit on a plane, watching a tiny screen with an airplane flying over a map. With SAS, you get to see EVERY. SINGLE. MILE. (Well, okay, so if you didn’t have to sleep, you could see every single mile.) The point is, anytime, day or night, you can walk out onto a deck and just watch the sea pass. This was a selling point for me – traveling on a plane is too convenient, too time efficient, and too anti-climatic. Nothing beats sailing at sea for days at a time before finally pulling into a port at sunrise, knowing that the next few days will be the best in your life. Nothing.

Semester at Sea's ship, the MV Explorer, docked in Dominia

Docked in Dominica

2. SAS is not just about touring world wonders.

If you only want to see the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China, you’d be better off going with a cheap tourist agency. Semester at Sea is not about touring, it’s about traveling. Each country has trips to see world wonders, but they also offer humanitarian trips with a variety of organizations, hikes to natural sites, visits to music and art venues, and the opportunity to meet with each country’s political leaders.

Destiny Yarbro painting at a Ghanaian SOS Children's Village for former child slaves.

Painting at a Ghanaian SOS Children’s Village for former child slaves.

3. You are find yourself in a new location every day.

It’s the craziest feeling to wake up each morning in a completely different part of the world than when you went to sleep. Change is constant. When I got back, it took everything in me to not get bored of being in the same place everyday. I missed seeing the longitude and latitude coordinates change on my cabin TV each minute and seeing what country we were currently passing by.

Pulling out of Mauritius dock; it's rainy and cloudy. The Mauritius flag hanging on a pole from the ship with mountains in the distance.

Leaving the dock at Mauritius

4. “Anything goes” is a prevailing theme.

Where else will you not get a second glance when you 1) shave your head on Neptune day, 2) wake up 60 seconds before class and attend lecture in your pajamas, 3) pay back a debt with rupees, dong, and yen, 4) use the phrase “when we were in Tibet” during a dinner discussion, and 5) wear pants from India, a shirt from Vietnam, bracelets from Ghana, and shoes from Brazil…all at once.

Wearing pants, shirt, bracelet, hat from Vietnam, Cambodia, India, and other places

Exibit A of “Anything Goes”

5. You get to disconnect from technology.

I mean really disconnect – not just freeze your Facebook account for a couple of weeks. Yes, you have computers and such for homework, but what would possess you to spend hours at a computer when you have the sea outside your window, amazingly diverse friends around you, and professors who know tons about everything? It’s worth the cost to find out what it was like to live before the internet age and truly get to know people. When was the last time you had a five hour dinner with friends where not one person had a phone with them?

Many students sitting at a dinner table, signing and chatting with each other. The sea is visible through the ship's windows behind them.

Long, uninterrupted conversations on the ship.

6. Everything seems possible when you live on a ship.

Some of the best memories I have of Semester at Sea are of us sharing with each other our dreams to make a difference in the world. This was a common topic on board. There is something about living on a ship, traveling the circumference of the world, that opens our minds to the possibility of global change. Nothing is shot down, every idea is applauded, because every person on board that ship has already reached an “impossible” dream by being on that ship. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime environment.

Destiny Yarbro sitting in front of the Taj Mahal at dusk wearing an Indian shawl.

Dream Come True: At the Taj at Sunset

7. Semester at Sea is how I saw Tibet.

SAS gives you the opportunity to see and experience things that are hard (or impossible) with other travel options. Tibet is nearly impossible to go to right now with the political turmoil and human rights violations by China, but I was able to go and learn what “Freedom of Speech” really means…or rather, what it means when a people does NOT have it. SAS also gives students the opportunity to go up the Amazon River and through the Panama Canal. They have amazing connections with humanitarian organizations to help students “give back” and they also provide unique trip opportunities like my South Africa elephant-back safaris and rafting a river on the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica.

Destiny Yarbro in front of Patola Palace in Tibet.

Patola Palace, Tibet

7. Everyone needs a safe place when traveling the world.

I’ve said it before, but most people say “How fun!” when I tell them I travel the world. Visiting so many countries at once is not fun sometimes. There is so much pain and suffering in the world that you have to process. There were hard days when returning to the ship was the happiest part of the day. There I was able to cry with my SAS family and process through all that you’ve seen throughout your trip. I can’t imagine traveling from country to country and not having time inbetween to settle my soul before taking on the next set of challenges to my once overly-protected American perspective. Semester at Sea is worth the cost because it gives you time needed to change from the inside out.

Picture of a street in India swarming with people on bikes, rickshaws, and on foot.

A picture I took from the bus as we passed through a poor section of New Delhi: A Sea of Heads

8. You never, ever stop traveling afterwards.

Semester at Sea makes you undeniably addicted to travel. So, if you think about all the money you’ll spend on traveling over a life time, $30,000 doesn’t sound like a lot of money…at least, that’s how I like to look at it. Though, since my Semester at Sea experience, I’ve found dirt cheap ways to travel. But here’s the deal: SAS was the foundation to my traveling career. It gave me a global perspective that is simply not achieved by living in one country or backpacking westernized Europe.

Destiny Yarbro standing on a street in Azores

Standing on a street in Azores. One of the 13 countries I have seen since Semester at Sea.

9. Semester at Sea doesn’t end when you reach your last destination.

Ask the thousands of alumni who have done SAS, the experience changes the course of your entire life. SAS alumni have become world leaders in every area of study. Why? Because SAS is the beginning of a life outside of yourself. There is something about going out and seeing the world as a single entity that makes world change seem feasible. So funding SAS is not just a single semester abroad, but funding your life’s dreams to make a difference.

Discussing Deaf rights with Deaf South Africans.

Discussing Deaf rights with Deaf South Africans.

10. You will gain a new family.

Some of the closest friends…or should I say family…you’ll ever have in your life were on that 590-foot long floating home. Something happens when a group of people are put together in close quarters without viable internet or phones for several months. You see each other in the best of times and the worst of times. You cry together, laugh together, discuss hard topics together, and share in each others’ learning experiences. There is nothing better – this amazing family alone makes Semester at Sea worth the cost.

Group of friends standing in formal clothes on the ship all signing "I Love You"

Some of my SAS Family at the end of the semester.

 

Feel free to check out my posts from each country:

Bahamas                                                   Mauritius                                          Hong Kong

Dominica                                                   India                                                  China

Brazil                                                         Singapore                                          Tibet

Ghana                                                       Vietnam                                             Japan

South Africa                                             Cambodia

 

You might also appreciate my other post: 8 Recommendations for Semester at Sea

Or Buzzfeed’s post: 47 Telltale Signs You Went on Semester at Sea

Support Deaf Around the World

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How to Make a Switched at Birth Episode

Whelp, Switched at Birth is back as of last night.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great having a TV show with Deaf people, culture, and language, but sometimes I feel like I’m wading through swamp of drama…drama…………..DRAMA.

For those of you new (or old) to Switched at Birth, here are all episodes in a nutshell.

Start off with an suspenseful intro hinting that things could go cataclysmically wrong…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Go directly to the opener.

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode Opener

Start at one of the myriad of Daphne male interests…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Add a dreamy shot of Emmett just to make the audience sigh happily…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Stick in something ‘Deafy’…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Make sure Bay or Daphne get in a fight with someone…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Don’t forget some oozing drama between the adults…

Switched at Birth Regina Angelo Baby Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

(Between Regina and Angelo, of course.)

Include a moment with Bay and the boy she can’t forget…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Throw in some Bay/Emmett scenes for a “twist”…..that everyone knows is coming.

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Stick in the hint of a fling between married people…

Switched at Birth Kathryn and Lawyer Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Obviously you need a sibling tiff between Daphne and Bay…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode

Add some more Bay/Emmett drama, just in case your audience has forgotten in the last ten seconds that they are “madly in love”.

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode Drama

Include Daphne or Bay flipping out about something…

Switched at Birth Daphne Jace Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode Drama

Teach the audience a cool sign or two…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode Drama

“Magic”

Stick in a slightly controversial Deaf topic…

Switched at Birth Daphne and Emmett Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode Drama

Oh, and don’t forget some random dramatic twist that has NOTHING to do with the storyline… (really, guys?)

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode Drama

Crack a Deaf/hearing joke…

Switched at Birth Deaf vs. Hearing Joke Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode Drama

[Clinks the glass.] “Someone told me this works on you hearies.”

Close with another “Awwwww” moment between Bay and Emmett…

Switched at Birth GIFS Deaf Drama June 2014 Katie Leclerc Vanessa Marano Sean Berdy Lucas Grabeel Marlee Matlin Ryan Lane Constance Marie Lea Thompson How to Make a SAB Episode Drama

And VOILA, you have a Switched at Birth episode!

ASL Online Internships 

The Life of ASL Student                                                       8 Best Deaf Movies

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8 Best Movies about Deaf World

Although not at all a comprehensive list, here are some of the classics that you have to start with when you delve into the Deaf World! For ASL students, this is a good Deaf movie list to start with. They are linked to Amazon so that you can buy or watch online!

10 Best Deaf Movies, 10 Best Movies about Deaf World, Deaf Films, ASL Films 10 Best Deaf Movies, 10 Best Movies about Deaf World, Deaf Films, ASL Films 10 Best Deaf Movies, 10 Best Movies about Deaf World, Deaf Films, ASL Films

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through Deaf Eyes                          In the Land of the Deaf       Children of a Lesser God (Highly Recommend!)                     (French Documentary)         (I’ve only seen edited.)

 

10 Best Deaf Movies, 10 Best Movies about Deaf World, Deaf Films, ASL Films 10 Best Deaf Movies, 10 Best Movies about Deaf World, Deaf Films, ASL Films 10 Best Deaf Movies, 10 Best Movies about Deaf World, Deaf Films, ASL Films

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Nothing in my Ear                              The Hammer                   Sound and Fury

One of my fav. chickflicks :)                                                            Intense – don’t watch first! ;)

 

See What I'm Saying, 10 Best Deaf Movies, 10 Best Movies about Deaf World, Deaf Films, ASL Films Heart of Deaf Culture, 10 Best Deaf Movies, 10 Best Movies about Deaf World, Deaf Films, ASL Films

 

 

 

 

 

 

See What I’m Saying:        The HeART of Deaf Culture

Deaf Entertainers              [Links to Dawn Sign Press.]

 

Then if you have enough money to afford Gallaudet Press videos (good luck!), here is a list of more Deaf movies. (Most you can’t buy on Amazon.)

HOW TO MAKE A SWITCHED AT BIRTH EPISODE

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VIDEO: Shawn from the Netherlands. “I’m Deaf. I Dream.”

My friends, Sanne and Shawn, from the Netherlands just put out their own “I’m Deaf. I Dream.” videos!!! I love it and wanted to share it with you guys. Enjoy! :)

Shawn from the Netherlands. I'm Deaf. I Dream.

Please make your own “I’m Deaf. I Dream.” video and send it to me through The Deaf Dream website here. The videos will 1) provide good Deaf role models to Deaf children worldwide and 2) help hearing understand that Deaf have dreams just like them. We’re trying to “normalize” Deaf culture to improve education and employment opportunities.

-Destiny

*Shawn is originally from the States but moved to the Netherlands and married Sanne. That is why he is signing in ASL. :) *

My Big List of Books on Deaf Culture                                  What’s Wrong with Deaf Day?!?

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VIDEO: My Friend’s Fight for Deaf Muslim Women Rights

***It’s funny, we had been signing in a mix of Turkish Sign Language, American Sign Language, and VGC (Visual Gestural Communication) before filming this, so you can probably see a few ASL signs pop up throughout the video. :) ***

Deaf Video, The Deaf Dream, Istanbul Turkey, Deaf World Travel, Burcu, Video of Deaf Worldwide, YouTube

(Watch with English CC to understand the Turkish Sign Language.)

This is my friend, Burcu. Let me just say, Burcu and her husband, Cem, are awesome. Turks are really welcoming and hospitable – I was so lucky to meet them! We met up a couple of times while I was in Istanbul and I loved seeing their efforts to make a difference. I love Burcu’s passion and enthusiasm for Deaf Muslim women rights in this video!

The Deaf Dream

I watch this and think about all the good that will happen in the world when we start appreciating the value of Deaf contribution worldwide.

I also watch this and think “When will I get back to Turkey?” I love it and I miss it. I want to hop a plane abroad this minute – and just soak it all in: the mosques, the sea, the towers, the donner, the bread, the people. :)

My brother is going this summer and I’m SO beyond excited for him!!!

Destiny

My Favorite Books About Deaf Culture

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My All-in-One, Ever-Growing, All-Encompassing List of Books on Deaf Culture and Community (33 and Counting!)

I’m no expert – just pulling together the books I’ve come across and loved. No particular order, just a small summary on each (and about a million hours worth of copy-and-pasting links to Amazon for you so you can buy them – you’re welcome). ;) Just bookmark it so you know what to read the next time you get the itch to read.

What books should you buy about Deaf culture and community?

Deaf President Now!: The 1988 Revolution at Gallaudet University John B. Christiansen and Sharon N. Barnartt, Deaf World, Deaf Protest, Deaf Rights, Books on Deaf Culture Community Rights, March on Washington, Gallaudet University politics 33. Deaf President Now!: The 1988 Revolution at Gallaudet University 

For any ASL student out there who realized that Switched at Birth’s version of the Deaf President Now! movement wasn’t the whole story. (Shocking, I know…) Full of pictures and easy to read – get “the rest of the story”.

Authors: John B. Christiansen and Sharon N. Barnartt

 

Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals about the Mind, Margalit Fox, Book on Deaf Culture and Community, International Deaf Communities, Deaf World, Sign Language Cities 32. Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals about the Mind

You know me and international Deaf…well, anything, really. This is THE book for my ‘read next list’! A modern day Martha’s Vineyard, this book is on a Bedouin village in Israel with a high rate of deafness. Both hearing and Deaf villagers knew their unique sign language. Margalit Fox relates the significance of this village: mankind have an inborn capacity to create language, something she labels the “language instinct.”

Author: Margalit Fox

 [LINK: The Life Cycle of an ASL Student]

Deaf Adult Speaks Out, Leo M Jacobs, Book on Deaf Culture and Community 31. A Deaf Adult Speaks Out

An easy read to understand Deaf perspective in a hearing world and the values of the Deaf world. Make sense of Deaf issues, especially in regards to oralism vs. total communication ideologies.

Author: Leo M. Jacobs

 

 Through Deaf Eyes: A Photographic History of an American Community, Douglas Baynton, Jack R. Gannon, Jean Lindquist Bergey, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Pictures of Deaf Community, Historical Photographs, American Deaf History 30. Through Deaf Eyes: A Photographic History of an American Community

If you ended up on this website by mistake and don’t like reading, this is the book for you. ;) Full of photographs of Deaf in history.

Curators at the Smithsonian put together a display on Deaf history in 2001 that drew in over 400,000 viewers. This is the capsule of information and photographs from this presentation.

Authors: Douglas Baynton, Jack R. Gannon, and Jean Lindquist Bergey 

 

Outcasts and Angels: A New Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature, Edna Edith Sayers Author, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, How the World Perceives Deaf and deafness, Deaf World 29. Outcasts and Angels: A New Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature

Trent Batson and Eugene Bergman wrote the original Angels and Outcasts: An Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature where they showed how Deaf were perceived in 19th and 20th century literature. Edna Edith Sayers has built on that providing a more recent study on how society tends to place Deaf in an “Angel” role or an “Outcast” role.

Author: Edna Edith Sayers

 

Mother Father Deaf: Living Between Sound and Silence, Paul Preston, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Books on CODAs,  28. Mother Father Deaf: Living Between Sound and Silence

What’s it like to be culturally Deaf but functionally hearing? 150 CODAs were interviewed in the process of writing this book. If you want to see the world from a CODA (Deaf and hearing readers alike) and be able to take part in any kind of CODA discussion, this is a good start. Also read Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love to have a rounded perspective on this issue.

Author: Paul Preston

 

Orchid of the Bayou: A Deaf Woman Faces Blindness, Cathryn Carrol and Catherine Hoffpauir Fischer, Usher Syndrome, Deaf World, DeafBlind, Book on Deaf Culture and Community, Book on DeafBlind Identity 27. Orchid of the Bayou: A Deaf Woman Faces Blindness

A strong proponent of picking up sign “naturally” in residential schools, Cathryn tells of her adoption of a variety of cultures: Deaf, Cajun, DeafBlind, and Jewish. As an adult she began losing her sight due to Usher’s Syndrome and had to wrestle with thoughts of identity as she made the transition.

Author: Cathryn Carroll

 [LINK: 10 Reasons Deaf Cherish ASL]

Lessons in Laughter: An Autobiography of a Deaf Actor, Bernard Bragg, Book on Deaf Culture and Community, Deaf World, Deaf Theatre, Deaf Actor 26. Lessons in Laughter: An Autobiography of a Deaf Actor

I absolutely hate (repeat for emphasis) HATE, the review by Amazon on this book. “To succeed as an actor is a rare feat. To succeed as a deaf actor is nothing short of amazing.” Like it’s some crazy thing for a Deaf person to be good at visual communication and performance…uh, yeah. Anyways, off topic a bit, but this is about the man who grew up in the Deaf world and founded The National Theatre of the Deaf.

Author: Bernard Bragg

 

Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, Paddy Ladd, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Destiny Yarbro

25. Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood

Definitely a must read if you are 1) new to the Deaf world and 2) an academic. A heavy read but well worth the effort as it delves into the limitations placed on Deaf individuals when the medical standpoint trumps the “Deafhood” perspective.

Author: Paddy Ladd

 

For Hearing People Only, Matthew Moore, Best Books on Deaf Culture and Community24. For Hearing People Only

If you want a compact, knock-you-over, cram course, and easy read book on anything (and nearly everything) Deaf, take a look at For Hearing People Only by Deaf Matthew Moore. The entire thing is made up of questions and answers, nice and simple for those among us who do NOT enjoy reading books. (And for the Gastons out there, there are pictures galore, no worries!)

This book will answer 150+ questions like “How do Deaf people feel when a hearing person approaches them in public using sign language?” or “Do all deaf people benefit from hearing aids?” or “Why do Deaf people always hang around after a play (or any other event) and stand together and talk?” I find the book to be pretty accurate and a good intro read for those of you curious about the Deaf world.

Authors: Matthew Moore and Linda Levitan

 

5 Best Books About Deaf Culture23. A Man Without Words

Let me make myself perfectly clear.  A Man Without Words is not about Deaf culture whatsoever. However, it will help readers understand what will happen when a person is kept from language as a child. This book was vital in my decision to support the Bilingual/Bicultural education method. The primary goal of a Deaf child’s education is to be communication, not spending vital language years learning how to shape their mouth just right. (Take a look at #8 of this article to read more about this topic.)

Authors: Susan Schaller and Oliver Sacks

 

5 Best Books About Deaf Culture22. Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture

In my opinion Carol Padden is one of the greatest writers on Deaf culture.  Book number 2 on my list, Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture, is a relatively small book that contains historical and current issues in regards to our culture, ASL, and community.

Author: Carol Padden

 

Teach Me to Love Myself: Memoir of a Pioneering Deaf Therapist, Holly Elliott, Deaf Therapist, Books on Deaf Culture and Community 21. Teach Me to Love Myself

While this isn’t a book on Deaf culture (at all), Holly Elliott was the first Deaf therapist and her perspective on being a pioneer in her profession is worth reading. She is a total communication proponent.

Author: Holly Elliott

 

20. When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf

As a history buff, I am convinced that a person cannot truly understand another culture and people without learning of their history. The Deaf community is no exception. Most of Deaf culture traits, tendencies, sensitivities, and growth stems directly from its history. While this book may be quite large and a heavy read, it is a “have to” for those truly wanting to understand.  Written by Harlan Lane, arguably the greatest Deaf historian the world has ever known, When the Mind Hears is an excellent read.

Author: Harlan Lane

[LINK: My Visit to South African Deaf School]

 Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking, Author H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Book about Deaf Culture and Community 19. Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking

Open Your Eyes addresses all that students discuss in Deaf Studies – the intricacies of Deaf perspective on identity, gender, disability, family, race and place in society.

Author: H-Dirksen L. Bauman

Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love, Myron Uhlberg, Book of Deaf Culture and Community 18. Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love

One of the best books written from the perspective of a CODA (in my not-so-expert opinion). As a hearing kid with Deaf parents, he grew up with sign language as his primary language with English as his second language. He finds himself bridging the gaps between the Deaf and hearing world.

Author: Myron Uhlberg

Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign Against Sign Language. Douglas C. Baynton. Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Deaf World, Oralism vs. Sign Language, American Sign Language 17. Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign Against Sign Language

Baynton delves into the eugenicist movement in mid- and late-1800s and early 1900s that led to the attempted expulsion of sign language from the American Deaf population. He speaks again the oralist efforts of eugenists, such as Alexander Graham Bell, to separate “normal” from “abnormal” (according to his definition of the terms).

Author: Douglas C. Baynton

 

The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa, Josh Swiller, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, International Deaf, Peace Corps 16. The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa

This is the next book on my reading list so I thought I’d include it. :) Amazon says it’s about a kid that is a marked “failure” in the oral system in America who goes to Zambia to be a Peace Corp volunteer. Yep, totally on my reading list. :)

Author: Josh Swiller

Children of a Lesser God, Mark Medoff, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Deaf Play 15. Children of a Lesser God

Not a book on Deaf culture, but definitely a classic. Gotta be part of the list.

Author: Mark Medoff

5 Best Books About Deaf Culture14. Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World

This is a classic; a book that seems to always be in Deaf culture book lists. So we pay tribute to Leah Hager Cohen and her ability to write a famous book where most hearing do not understand the cover until they reach the end. Curious? Take a look here for Train Go Sorry.

Author: Leah Hager Cohen

 

I'll Scream Later, Marlee Matlin, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Deaf Actors and Actresses 13. I’ll Scream Later

Marlee Matlin, the youngest woman to win an Oscar, writes her story in the limelight. She tells of her successes in Children of the Lesser God, Seinfield and Dancing with the Stars and her struggle in Hollywood.

Author: Marlee Matlin

 

Looking Back (Signum Verlag): A Reader on the History of Deaf Communities and their Sign Languages (International Studies on Sign Language and Communication), Deaf World, International Deaf Communities and Sign Languages, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Books on International Deaf,  12.  Looking Back: A Reader on the History of Deaf Communities and their Sign Languages

Yep, introducing another international study. Woot woot! Anything that involves a bigger perspective than Gallaudet (as wonderful as it is) gets me excited. I haven’t read this yet, so no promises, but it’s definitely a read for those of you like me interested in international Deaf communities and languages! [Oh and check out the authors - yep, definitely going to be a good one!]

Authors: Renate Fischer and Harlan Lane

 [LINK: 10 Deaf-Friendly Ways to Travel the World]

Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature, with DVD, Author: H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Heidi M. Rose, Jennifer L. Nelson, W.J.T. Mitchell, William C. Stokoe 11. Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature

I read this book while taking Deaf Poetry at Brigham Young University. It comes with a DVD of famous Deaf poets.

Author: H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Heidi M. Rose, Jennifer L. Nelson, W.J.T. Mitchell, William C. Stokoe

 

American Deaf Culture: An Anthology, Sherman Wilcox, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Deaf Recommended Books, Deaf Study, Study of Deaf Culture 10. American Deaf Culture: An Anthology

A collection of not just research, but entertaining stories from the Deaf perspective. Highly recommended by Deaf readers – not just another ASL 101 study on Deaf culture. If you want to be a fully-integrated, bicultural interpreter, make sure you read this first.

Author: Sherman Wilcox

 

The Mask of Benevolence, Disabling the Deaf Community, Harlan Lane, The Deaf Dream, Best Books on the Deaf Community and Culture9. The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community

Written by arguably the key writer on Deaf issues in the 20th century, Harlan Lane clarifies that what truly disables the Deaf community has nothing to do with ears, but all to do with society’s expectations and rejections. He also breaks the Cochlear Implant discussion.

Author: Harlan Lane

 

Seeing Voices, Oliver Sacks, Books on Deaf Culture and Community, Sign Language Study, Deaf Identity in Language 8. Seeing Voices

I’ll admit, I haven’t read this one yet. It looks fascinating though – definitely for the academics among us. It delves into the identity of Deaf culture founded on a common language.

Author: Oliver Sacks

 

 

At Home Among Strangers: Exploring the Deaf Community in the United States. Jerome D. Shein. Books on Deaf Culture and Community. Deaf Identity. Deaf Repore 7. At Home Among Strangers: Exploring the Deaf Community in the United States

Written by a hearing author, Jerome D. Schein delves into the kinship found in the Deaf Community. As per the title, many Deaf explain their first entrance into the hearing world as “coming home”. A home with communications, friendship, and mutual understanding.

Author: Jerome D. Schein

 

Invisible Magic: Biographies of 112 Deaf Magicians from 28 Countries. Books on Deaf Magicians, Books on Deaf Individuals 6. Invisible Magic: Biographies of 112 Deaf Magicians from 28 Countries

Okay, definitely a gem of a find while writing up this list. Not a fan of the whole “overcoming disability” perspective of this book BUT it’s certainly a unique topic that shows an art that has allowed Deaf to express their skills without being measured for vocal speech ability.

Author: Dr. Simon J. Carmel

 

DeafLikeMe 5 Best Books About Deaf Culture

5. Deaf Like Me

A classic story of a Deaf girl raised in the 60s when deafness was something to be hidden and feared. After many, many years of frustration for Lynn and her parents as she “failed” in the oral system, they met a Deaf child who could fully communicate with her parents in sign. (She can even crack a joke; unheard of for Lynn’s parents up to that point.)

Author: Thomas S. Spradley and James P. Spradley

 

Deaf World Travel, The Deaf Dream, 5 More Best Books on Deaf Culture, Deaf Community, American Sign Language4. A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America

If Harlan Lane’s “When the Mind Hears” is too big for your breeches, A Place of Their Own could be your solution to learning about Deaf History.

Authors: John Vickrey Van Cleve and Barry A. Crouch

 

Khiem: A Deaf Dreamer

deaf again 5 Best Books About Deaf Culture3. Deaf Again

A kid, born Deaf, raised hearing, returns to being Deaf as he gets older. Excellent for ASL students to understand the all-too-often harsh reality of Deaf children raised in mainstream schools.

Author: Mark Drolsbaugh 

 

5 Best Books on Deaf Culture Books2. The Other Side of Silence: Sign Language and the Deaf Community in America

Have you ever wondered why heat arises every time a discussion starts about oralism vs. sign language? The Other Side of Silence gives a non-biased approach to the issue and can help ASL students understand the depth of feeling behind this issue.

Author: by Arden Neisser 

 

Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language Martha's Vineyard1. Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language

Everyone needs to have this book…I mean everyone. This is the one true example of Deaf heaven – where Deaf and hearing alike knew sign language, where Deaf held positions of power in the community, and where Deaf were often times more educated than their hearing neighbors.

Authors: Nora Ellen Groce and John W. M. Whiting

 

This has been more work than I thought it would be, sheesh – I’ll get back to my normal posts now. :)

Make sure to check out: The Deaf Dream Organization!

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What’s Wrong with Deaf Day?!?

What if you walked onto campus today and saw this sign:

Act Deaf for a Day, Deaf Oppression, No More Pity

What would you think? How would people react? I can tell you one thing: firing the university president wouldn’t be out of the question and students would start well-deserved protests. The sign would be tweeted around the globe.

I know this is an extremely touchy comparison but let’s look at another American cultural minority: Deaf. What if you saw this in your university?

Act Deaf for a Day, Deaf Awareness Days, What's Wrong with Deaf Day?, Deaf World, Deaf Oppression, Understanding vs. Pity

Here’s the thing: many don’t see a problem with this poster. Yet, Deaf have been oppressed for centuries, killed in World War II, punished, sterilized, and had their basic human rights ignored. Their background isn’t all too different from other cultural minorities, Black Americans included.

BOOKBlack and Deaf in America: Are We That Different?

Universities will sometimes have “deaf awareness days” where hearing put plugs in their ears and walk around unable to communicate. They walk away that day, ready to swear that they know how isolating deafness can be.

First of all, ummmmmm what!?! Deafness is not isolating – anyone who has been crammed into a Deaf club with hands flying knows that. Sign language does wonders, people. Take an ASL class, learn to throw some fingers, and you’ll agree: communication is not an issue in the Deaf world.

POST: 10 Reasons Why Deaf Cherish ASL

Second, what on earth makes you think that a few hours as a deaf person (AKA “ears-stuffed-with-cotton-person”) would help you understand anything? All this does is encourage unwarranted pity.

Third, a university “deaf awareness day” doesn’t focus on ability, it doesn’t focus on the four other senses that work, it just focuses on the ear.

Let me say one thing before I move on. I truly do feel that these awareness days are not done maliciously and that many people think it’s beneficial for “normal” kids. However, it’s time to get it out there that these awareness days do only one thing: exacerbate the division between Deaf and hearing worlds. They encourage people to see what they want to see: that deafness is a “handicap” that limits their ability.

Now, I do want to put in a plug for certain kinds of Deaf Days. I’m not entirely opposed to hearing ASL students, fluent enough in sign to not isolate themselves, taking a day to sharpen their ASL skills. You may ask: “How is this different from Black day?” It’s vastly different because these students use a Deaf Day to appreciate sign, to see how un-extraordinary it is to be Deaf, and to lose any pity they may still feel towards Deaf. It’s like a German student taking a day to only speak German in order to prepare for a study abroad.

My friend and I put on a Deaf Day on Semester at Sea after four months of teaching sign every other day to quite a few students. We had taught them about Deaf culture, sign language communities around the world, and the impact of a Bilingual/Bicultural classroom. Several of the students became pretty dang close to fluent (four months of in-and-out language study can do that). Yeah, Deaf Day was still a bit tough for them: they were a bunch of sign newbies trying to understand each other’s strong English sign “accents”. But the point was, the majority used Deaf Day to see the beauty of sign and view Deaf as just another cultural minority, not a group to be pitied.

What is Semester at Sea?

You can call me a hypogriff – wait hypocrite? – but I see a Deaf Day for students seeking to learn about a different culture different than “deaf awareness day” where everyone sees how “impossible” it is to function without hearing for a day.

Deaf Awareness Day = Encourages Pity

Deaf Day = Encourages Understanding

Destiny

P.S. While you’re in the neighborhood, go ahead and cut out “disability awareness days” too – for the same reasons – and any “wheelchair awareness days” or “blind awareness days”. Sometimes it can do more harm than good…

P.S.S. Oh and if you’re (hopefully) agreeing with me – promise me you’ll read No Pity which talks about the unintentional perpetuation of pity in “awareness days”. It’s what got me started on this rant. :)

POST: 5 Best Books on Deaf Culture

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5 MORE Best Books on Deaf Culture

My last post, 5 Best Books on Deaf Culture, has had consistent views for the last couple of years. It’s about time I updated with 5 MORE best books on Deaf culture! Let me know if I’m missing one that I can add to the list. :)

Oh and check out my post, The Life Cycle of an ASL Student, if you have a second!

DeafLikeMe 5 Best Books About Deaf Culture

6. Deaf Like Me

A classic story of a Deaf girl raised in the 60s when deafness was something to be hidden and feared. After many, many years of frustration for Lynn and her parents as she “failed” in the oral system, they met a Deaf child who could fully communicate with her parents in sign. (She can even crack a joke; unheard of for Lynn’s parents up to that point.)

Author: Thomas S. Spradley and James P. Spradley

deaf again 5 Best Books About Deaf Culture7. Deaf Again

A kid, born Deaf, raised hearing, returns to being Deaf as he gets older. Excellent for ASL students to understand the all-too-often harsh reality of Deaf children raised in mainstream schools.

Author: Mark Drolsbaugh 

 

Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language Martha's Vineyard8. Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language

Everyone needs to have this book…I mean everyone. This is the one true example of Deaf heaven – where Deaf and hearing alike knew sign language, where Deaf held positions of power in the community, and where Deaf were often times more educated than their hearing neighbors.

Authors: Nora Ellen Groce and John W. M. Whiting

 

5 Best Books on Deaf Culture Books9. The Other Side of Silence: Sign Language and the Deaf Community in America

Have you ever wondered why heat arises every time a discussion starts about oralism vs. sign language? The Other Side of Silence gives a non-biased approach to the issue and can help ASL students understand the depth of feeling behind this issue.

Author: by Arden Neisser 

 

Deaf World Travel, The Deaf Dream, 5 More Best Books on Deaf Culture, Deaf Community, American Sign Language10. A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America

If Harlan Lane’s “When the Mind Hears” is too big for your breeches, A Place of Their Own could be your solution to learning about Deaf History.

Authors: John Vickrey Van Cleve and Barry A. Crouch

 

 

I have a few more books to add so keep an eye out for the third list. Let me know if I forgot your favorite book on Deaf Culture and I’ll add it to the list! :)

The Deaf Dream Organization

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DEAF and ASL Online Internships

The day our interns started their internships for The Deaf Dream last year, I cried…a lot.

Since May 2012, I had been running as hard as possible to start a small non-profit organization. Amazing people have helped along the way–Elizabeth, Carol, John, Matt, Tory, Austin and my incredible family . But I never seemed to be able to do enough; never seemed to have enough energy to support the dreams of the amazing Deaf Dreamers I’ve met worldwide.

So when I sat down to my computer on the first day, opened up the TeamWorkPM program, and saw all the work that had been completed by the interns while I had been out, I cried and said gratitude prayers to my Heavenly Father. What an overwhelming feeling to realize we had finally reached the point where I could pass the baton to other dreamers like me!

The Deaf Dream is growing like crazy, built by the volunteer efforts of so many!

The Deaf Dream has online volunteer ASL internships for Deaf and hearing. As of January 2014, there are approximately 45 interns raising awareness and funds for Deaf Dreamers around the globe.

And we get more applications nearly everyday.                                APPLY HERE

The Deaf Dream Internships Deaf and Hearing ASL Student Interns Volunteer Online Internships

What many don’t realize is that these internships can be done by anyone! We have many high school students who have committed to just 1 hour/week. We have older interns who have extra time at home now that their kids are grown. Some are fluent in ASL, some are ASL students. We have interns from the Netherlands, Australia and Canada. They write blog posts, create YouTube videos, find Deaf Dreamers worldwide and raise funds. The most incredible part is that these interns are volunteers–taking time out of their busy schedules to go outside their own little worlds and make a difference. I am stunned by the goodness of people in this world! [Learn more about Deaf Dream Internships HERE.]

The Deaf Dream

LIFE CYCLE OF                DEAF-FRIENDLY TRAVEL       MEET DEAF TURKS    AN ASL STUDENT

Trouble With ASL, Student, Class, Deaf Culture Problems, Spying on People GIFFrench architecture in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

Sibel, Hanife, Me, and Iskender together on a street at Taksim.

 



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How do European Locals Travel Cheaply?

YOUR DREAM: Travel Europe with Nothing but a Backpack

However, like most travelers, your pocket book is tight. How can the locals afford to travel Europe?

At the start of my summer in Europe, I planned on using planes and trains, just like every other backpacker. However, I asked locals how they travel without paying a fortune and this is what I learned:

Trains are over-rated.

Sure, it sounds nice to get a Eurail pass and hop around from country to country but it costs a fortune, especially if you’re in Europe in the summer time. If you plan ahead a bit…

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