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Why I am learning BSL


Jack G
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Hello everyone, this is my first post on the forum and thought I'd share my own reasoning for beginning to learn BSL. My interest in learning sign language was initially peaked by seeing others using it as a form of communication whilst out in public, and figuring that although I do not have any friends or family who are hard of hearing or deaf, it would be a valuable life skill to acquire. I first picked up BSL last summer but didn't persist with it for long and have only recently recommitted to learning BSL within the last few days. 

I am a 20 year old student and recently started working at a Starbucks in the same city that I attend university. Yesterday was the first time I encountered a deaf customer whilst working. I was not the staff member who served her, however when I handed her her drink she tried to communicate to me that she wanted sugar for it (purely non-verbal, motioning as though tipping sugar into the mug). I was initially caught off-guard as my current knowledge of BSL is extremely basic to the point where I would not be confident to hold a conversation, and I (stupidly) replied to her verbally before realising that we were both wearing masks so she had no hope of lip reading my attempt of asking if she wanted brown or white sugar. Realising this, I instead just asked her how many she wanted by holding up fingers sequentially, then grabbed the one sugar she wanted, handed it to her, and nervously contemplated signing "thank you" (one of the few signs I do have down to memory), though by the time I had even thought about it she had taken her drink and walked away. The entire situation has breathed into me a new sense of enthusiasm for learning BSL, knowing that with my new job there may be opportunities to apply my learning in a practical setting, as well as potentially make new friends and having a valuable pastime to commit myself to. 

Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this and feel free to leave general advice in regards to learning, I am currently following the British-Sign BSL course. 

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