At 9 PM on December 2, fifty CFLC students in the “Sign Language Interpretation”course assembled at the University’s west gate to welcome a group of special guests - more than 50 deaf people from throughout the city. The students guided the visitors on a tour of the beautiful campus of Xiamen University, using sign language for communication.
This event took place a day ahead of theInternational Day of Disabled Persons. Initiated by the course instructor Prof. Xiao Xiaoyan, the event was co-organized by the Xiamen Association of Deaf People. It was intended to provide an opportunity for students who have learned sign language for more than two months to hone their skills in real-life situations. The event also enabled students to forge friendships with deaf people.
After taking a group photo at Xiamen University’s Science and Art Center, the iconic building on campus, the students and the visitors trekked to the Lover’s Valley, communicating with one another using sign language all along.
The visitors marveled at the enchanting scenery around the lake in the Lover’s Valley. Most of them had never been there before and could barely contain their excitement at the beautiful sights under the brilliant autumn sun.
The youngest visitor in the group was 7-year-old Zhou Zihan, a first-year student at Xiamen Special Education School. As Prof. Xiao had demonstrated the use of sign language in a video of this girl in her class, she became an instant celebrity among the CFLC students the moment she arrived on campus. She praised the students for their ability to use sign language, a skill that they had just begun to develop three months before.
An elderly female visitor emphasized to the students that it’s important to use natural sign language. Using a notepad, she taught the students many new words in sign language. Two other visitors who were fluent in sign language came to the aid of a couple of students when they were struggling to communicate with the visitors using sign language.
At the end of the campus tour, the visitors thanked the students for their hospitality and praised them for their rapid progress in learning sign language.
The event also inspired students’ enthusiasm for the learning of this special language. They said that they would study harder to acquire sign language skills so that they could better communicate with deaf people and provide them with assistance as a way to give back to the community.