DSDE students and faculty immerse themselves in the deaf culture of Thailand

To kick off the new year, 20 members of the Lamar University Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education took off from the runway and traveled 9,000 miles to study, explore and adventure in the hills and coast of Thailand.

Dr. Beverly Buchanan, program director for the DSDE master’s program, journeyed with 13 undergraduate and three doctoral students, an ASL interpreter, an LU alumnus and the chair of the department to experience the rich culture of Thailand with the goal of experiencing a different deaf community and education.  

“I was a volunteer teacher of the deaf in Thailand for three years,” said Buchanan. “The tour itself was designed based on my experience living in Thailand as it had a balance between Thai culture and Thai deaf education and community.”

dsde-thailand-2023-2.jpgIt was Buchanan’s prior experience in the country that allowed the opportunity for LU students to experience it as well. Despite the potential stress of organizing activities and tours in a different country, it was never a problem for Buchanan as she and the students were able to tour and interact with no issues.

 “I was able to meet my former colleagues and introduce them to the LU group,” she said. “Networking and arranging an educational tour were easy since I used to live in the country. I knew Thai Sign Language and I am very familiar with their education system and community.”

While it was a return to a country that allowed Buchanan to reconnect to a place she spent years of her life in, it also was an opportunity for her to witness her students embrace Thai.

“The best part of the trip was watching students experience a new culture and language,” she said. “They enjoyed the different types of Thai food and different activities that allowed them to immerse in Thai culture.

The best part, she said, was witnessing them interact with the deaf community.

“Most of all, they enjoyed interacting with deaf children at two different deaf schools,” she said. “The students enjoyed learning how to communicate in Thai Sign Language with deaf Thai people.”

The group spent 10 days in Thailand and achieved a lot in that time. From meeting deaf Thai students and spending time on the beach to learning how to negotiate and bargain at the night markets, Dr. Buchanan and the group found joy in every moment during this study abroad trip to Thailand.

To learn more about the Department of Deaf Studies Deaf Education, visit lamar.edu/deafstudies