We have the pleasure of introducing a friend of Deaf Unity – Zayed Hamad Altamimi – who wanted to share his experience of being a Deaf Learner in the USA. Originally from the UAE, Zayed is pursuing his education and studying aspects relating to Sign Language.
Please tell us your name and what are you currently studying.
- My name is Zayed Hamad Altamimi and I am studying for a BA in Sign Language Advocacy – under the department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. I have been studying at Gallaudet and will be moving to the Lamar University in Texas to further my studies.
Why did you choose to move to the USA and study?
- I chose to come to the USA because of the high quality education and the unique curriculum not offered back home. Gallaudet is incredibly diverse, with many international students which adds to the rich cultural tapestry. This university in particular has an excellent reputation in innovation and research, which I thought was exciting. I am now excited to move to a more mainstream university for that experience.
Would you recommend studying overseas?
- Yes, I would – especially at a leading university such as here in the USA.
What are the differences in support when studying between the UAE and the US?
- Whilst the UAE does cater to the specific needs of the Deaf, this is only until a certain age. The Abu Dhabi School for the Deaf provides education from 1st grade to 12th grade but there are very few mainstream institutions that would accept Deaf students and the offering of courses is very limited for Deaf students. In the USA, deafness is not a barrier and there is a large choice of colleges and universities that have specialist Deaf programmes and courses focused on Deaf-specialisms. I was very easily able to find a course an campus that interested me.
What advice would you give to someone in the UAE who is thinking of going to study in the US or UK?
- I would tell them to jump at the opportunity. The USA has some excellent programmes and well respected courses relating to the Deaf World. I know the UK also has some incredible places to study and a rich history that would be fascinating for someone from another country.
What do you hope to do with your experience and qualifications when you return to the UAE?
- When I graduate, my plan is to return to the UAE and share my knowledge and experience of what the USA has to offer to really make an impact on the type of support that is available. A real focus is the interpreting profession, where I hope tome able to contribute to establishing a sign language interpreter programme of study and ratified qualifications. I have learnt a lot about equality in education and inclusive education and I hope to be able to bring that experience to share with our teachers and professionals.