Student Interview with Sarah Geloni

In August 2017 we had one of our Remarkable students, Sarah Geloni undertake work experience with us for the summer. Sarah got to enjoy the full Remark! experience working in the Remark! office and also out and about with he projects our charity arm Remark! Community delivers including playschemes and lunch clubs.

We grabbed 5 minutes with Sarah to tell us about her BSL Journey to date…

What is your favourite thing about studying BSL?
My favourite thing about studying BSL is the signing itself. I love learning to communicate using another channel I had not explored before. Signing is a skill that far too many hearing people do not even consider acquiring. It is a big mistake. Signing develops a part of the brain we keep dormant.

What is the most recent Deaf event you have been to?
The most recent deaf event I attended was Lunch Club in Beckenham on August 17th

What is your favourite thing about the Deaf world?
My favourite thing about the deaf world is people’s warmth and spontaneity. Also it is very uplifting to see how they support each other. I saw Aya, a very mature deaf teenager I met at Playscheme in London, explaining her mates to be supportive of each other, on the ground that they are all deaf and need each other. I feel in the hearing community we tend to be more individualistic, which does not help to go through life.

Describe Remark! in three words…
Remark! in 3 words: Taking Amazing Initiatives

Tell us about the BSL tutors at Remark!?
I had 3 tutors so far, 1 per Level. They are all extremely engaging, well prepared and enthusiastic. I remember my first day at Level 1. I stepped into the then unknown Remark! classroom and before I knew it I was completely engaged in the lesson, thanks to the tutor’s charismatic approach to teaching.

What are the classes like and what is your favourite thing in class?
When it comes to classes I have had quite a varied experience. I took my Level 1 in a group, in the summer intensive course 4 years ago. Every day we learnt something new in a fun environment. The course had a laid back, yet professional feeling to it.
As for Level 2, I studied by myself at home and had some help from a external tutor. Then I practiced for my assessments with Deborah, who polished my signing and gave me the confidence I needed to sit the exams.
As for Level 3, I took the 1to1 online course with Alison. It was amazing. I would get to class time quite tired, after interpreting for 6 hours back home in Barcelona. But Alison managed to get my full attention in a jiffy and make me even more determined to become a fluent signer.

Why did you decide to learn BSL?
I decided to learn BSL after meeting a hearing little girl in Barcelona, a CODA. I was fascinated by how the communication was flowing in her family. Her parents signing to each other, signing/speaking to her. She half gestured, half spoke very slowly and clearly to them. I found their dialogues were soothing.
A few months later I met a group of Irish deaf women in Barcelona. They came to a party with their interpreter, whose skills I found fascinating.
After these 2 encounters I felt the urge to learn to sign too.

What is your favourite sign?
My favourite sign is the first sign I learnt, i.e. Primary School Teacher (there were 3 teachers in my Level 1 class). It is a hyper visual sign. When someone signs it I can picture a group of kids looking at the teacher and waiting impatiently for instructions/permission to do something.

How does learning sign language benefit you?
I did not expect sign language would help me with my job, simultaneous interpretation. It is making my spoken communication more structured and with less redundancies.
Nor did I expect it to open up a new world to me, the deaf community, both in London and in Barcelona, where I am based.
It is a continuous discovery.

What are your aims for the future with your BSL qualifications?
I hope to be able to work with BSL. The ultimate goal would be to qualify as an interpreter. In my very optimistic mind I can see myself working both in Barcelona and in London, as an interpreter, in both spoken and signed languages.
Should I not reach this aim… no worries. I have an insatiable curiosity and learning sign language serves it well.