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Bethany Packwood talks about her University experience

With a desire to communicate with her Deaf parents, Bethany Packwood chose to study BA (Hons) British Sign Language and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.

Bethany who was born profoundly Deaf in one ear, can now confidently communicate with mum Patricia and dad Simon having studied on the BA (Hons) British Sign Language and Deaf Studies degree.

Talking about her degree experience, Bethany said: “I’m delighted that now I can confidently use sign language at home and communicate with my mum and dad in a way that comes naturally to them. Before that we communicated via lip reading.”

Before coming to UCLan, Bethany struggled with her confidence and knew little sign language. Bethany said: “When I first came to UCLan I was quite shy and found it difficult to express myself. I didn’t know where I fit in and worried how people would react when they found out that I am Deaf.

Bethany Packwood, BA (Hons) British Sign Language and Deaf Studies graduate
Bethany Packwood, BA (Hons) British Sign Language and Deaf Studies graduate

"Everyone on my course was so supportive, in particular my lecturer Dr Junhui Yang, who helped me overcome a lot of personal difficulties and helped me to find my identity."

Bethany Packwood, BA (Hons) British Sign Language and Deaf Studies graduate

She continued: “Luckily, everyone on my course was so supportive, in particular my lecturer Dr Junhui Yang, who helped me overcome a lot of personal difficulties and helped me to find my identity.”

During her time at University, Bethany became Vice-Chair and then Chair of the UCLan Deaf and BSL Society in her second year. One of the pieces of work Bethany is most proud of is her undergraduate dissertation which explored aspects of welfare and support to deaf people after World War Two. It revealed facts about the effects of social services provisions, medical technologies, and political activism of the Deaf community.

After graduating with a first-class degree, Bethany pursued further study by enrolling on a PGCE teaching training qualification. Currently, Bethany is working as a support worker at Bolton College. Talking about her role, Bethany said: “I use my British Sign Language skills to enable Deaf students to access their curriculums and get the most out of their college experience.”