ASL students get ‘real world’ experience

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For 10 weeks the senior American Sign Language (ASL) students will be leaving Bethel to go to various locations around the States for practicum. “Each student is paired with a mentor and the goal is to interpret in a variety of settings, observe professional working interpreters, and foster cultural awareness between the Deaf and hearing communities,” said Victoria Black, ASL senior.
From left to right: Stacie Swearingen, Casie Byard, and Victoria Black (Photo provided by Facebook)
According to Black the practicum is worth eight credit hours and each student is required to complete 250 hours which are broken like so: 100 interpreting, 20 observations, 20 social events, 20 professional workshops, 25 mentor meetings, 30 preparation/recording hours and 30 miscellaneous hours. Black will be going to Phoenix, Arizona, for the allotted time and will be interning at the Valley Center for the Deaf. “I am both nervous and excited,” Black said. “I'm excited to actually get out and start interpreting and nervous, because I have never been to Arizona and hope I can find my way around.” Casie Byard will be heading to Knoxville, Tenn.,  in which she will be staying with a woman who works at the agency Byard will be interning with, the Knoxville Center for the Deaf. “Overall, I am excited with a few hints of nervousness,” said Byard. “I know that it will be a great experience and something that I can grow through. I know I am going to have to learn so much about myself and get a glimpse at the real world before I have to enter it” Stacie Swearingen will be going to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and will be interning at an interpreting agency called the Community Outreach Program for the Deaf (COPD). This location is special for her because she will be living with her sister and her family for the duration of her time there. Swearing mentioned she feels the ASL department has prepared their students well for the practicum. “I have mixed feelings about this next step, but I am confident in my department and professors that they will not allow me to go out unprepared and not ready,” said Swearingen. “Of course I am nervous because I will be representing the college and the ASL program. I want to do my best.” Byard agrees in saying, "We have learned all that we can learn in the classroom, so this is our chance to get some 'real world' experience before we graduate." All three interpreters are looking forward to this experience and trust it will help them in the future. “With interpreting, the more experience the better,” said Black. “Every job you will ever have will always be different; it's a human service profession and no two people are alike. This practicum will help me to improve my skills, my confidence and will allow me to get some more experience under my belt.”
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