Teacher Aide / Secretary, Otago Deaf Society, Dunedin
Bachelor of Arts in New Zealand Sign Language and Deaf Studies
She fell in love with Sign Language, says Jaime Dowdle who completed a Bachelor of Arts in New Zealand Sign Language and Deaf Studies.
“I fell in love with New Zealand Sign Language and picked it up very quickly. That was definitely one of the highlights of my studies at AUT.”
She chose the Bachelor of Arts in New Zealand Sign Language and Deaf Studies to find out more about herself and Deaf culture, says Jaime who is Deaf herself.
“I didn’t grow up knowing New Zealand Sign Language, and I always felt something was missing. Studying this degree was a great way to learn more about my own culture and community.”
Connecting two cultures
She loves being able to help others with her knowledge of both the hearing world and Deaf culture, Jaime says.
“Because I understand both worlds, I can help the Deaf but can also help the hearing better understand Deaf people and their community and culture. It’s great that when people need to ask me Deaf-related subjects, I can help and support both. AUT has opened that door for me, and has given me everything and more to conquer the world.
One of the highpoints for Jaime was doing workplace experience with the Auckland Deaf Society, working in their administration team.
“I loved doing my workplace experience there, and I still have a great relationship with the Auckland Deaf Society and its members. It helped me realise that I wanted to make a difference within the office and through education.”
Ready to take on the world
She feels proud of completing her Bachelor of Arts, Jaime says.
“I consider gaining my degree and mastering New Zealand Sign Language a personal achievement.”
Her advice for other students is not to be afraid to fail.
“Listen to your gut. Show what you’ve got. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; that’s what AUT is for. It’s hard going but you can do it because I did it! It’s a place where anything is possible – it makes students into superheroes of our community.”