Clint Brockway is currently a first year graduate student in UALR’s Master’s of Liberal Studies Program. Before he began his graduate school coursework, he had the unique opportunity to intern and research abroad in Austria. He hopes that he will have another opportunity to conduct research in Austria during his graduate studies.
Last summer I was fortunate enough to travel over 15,000 miles during my 11 weeks abroad, and I landed myself in 8 different countries! I completed a research-based internship at UALR’s Exchange Partner Karl FranzensUniversität in Graz, Austria. As and undergraduate student of Interpretation American Sign Language and English, I began research on perceptions of ethical conduct for sign language interpreters in Austria and the U.S.
Austria | Summer 2011
Being the first student in the ASL department to do an internship abroad, some of the pre-departure logistics were difficult; however my studies abroad have shaped and strengthened my professional and academic goals. As an interpreter there are many things to learn about being abroad and being on the receiving side of interpretation. I am grateful to Dr. Linda Stauffer of the Interpreter Education Program at UALR, and Nadja Grbic of the Institut fϋr Theoretische und Angewandte Translationswissenschaft, who were helpful in arranging much of the logistics, and encouraging to intern abroad. I quickly learned that Europe has had a long history with intercultural communication and professional use of several languages; this is a great learning environment for students who are studying interpreting or a foreign language. ASL students are taught to communicate visually and think in images, being abroad and being forced to learn new signs, giving me a new perspective on sign language. There are several interpreting behaviors that I have adopted in my professional interpreting that I learned while being abroad.
Before leaving my home in Arkansas, I had only taken one German language course. With the help of UALR Professor, Dr. Jeanette Clausen, I was able to learn useful vocabulary and phrases before my trip to Austria. When I finally arrived in Austria, I found that my biggest challenge was the abundance of languages in Europe. As an interpreter and language major this was absolutely amazing, but on the other hand it made collecting valuable and reliable data for the research difficult. In order to overcome this challenge I was forced to seek out and use the available resources. Knowing, understanding, and using available resources became key to conducting research, and has been translated to a useful lifelong habit. My time in Austria was accompanied by a new and good friend Karin, she helped with arranging meetings with the Interpreting Association, learning the city, and translating documents.
My time abroad was not only limited to academics and research, but I was also able to travel, explore and enjoy various European cultures. I went to historical sites, music festivals, national parks, and several countries all over Europe. During my stay, a flat-mate invited me to visit her family in a small Austrian town, where we climbed the second largest mountain in the Northern Limestone Alps, and explored the caves of Dachstein. This sense of community has been a unique and exciting experience; throughout my stay I felt like an important part of a community among great friends that continues even though we are living different lives.
Northern Limestone Alps | Summer 2011
There is still much to be learned about interpreting and the Austrian culture. I am hoping and planning to return in the next few years. During my next trip abroad, I will again conduct research and hopefully attend the upcoming International Interpreting Conference in Austria. If any students are interested in learning more about interpreting research and internships opportunities in Austria, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Austria | Summer 2011