My name is Serm Thanarakchoke, and I am a Chinese-Thai from Bangkok, Thailand. I am the only Deaf child in my family. I have been in Thailand for almost one and half years after returning from the USA.
In Thailand, I grew up in a mainstream school, where I had a very limited access to the resources available. My life was influenced by being heavily involved in an oral environment at the school. During that time, I was very frustrated and struggled to understand my classes due to the communication barrier between hearing students and teachers. Also, I lacked knowledge about Deaf culture and my identity as a Deaf person in Thailand.
My studies in the USA were supported by my parents in the year of 1994 because there were many opportunities for me to learn many new things there, such as American Deaf Culture and American Sign Language. When I was enrolled in the Deaf school, I met new friends and learned more about Deaf culture. It was a culture shock for me.
After graduating high school in 1997, I enrolled into Gallaudet University where I studied English for one year. I gained much more understanding about cultural differences among different countries. A year later, I transferred to National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at the Rochester Institution of Technology (RIT) for my Bachelor’s degree. The NTID offered excellent courses in Education which helped me to be successful in my field and enabled me to find a job in the real world.