Bomm and Loam Shin: Strengthening a Bond through Sign Language

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Loam and Bomm Shin

Bomm Shin, right, has long provided sign language interpreting for her sister and fellow GPC student, Loam, who is deaf.

 

by Kysa Anderson Daniels

 

For years, Bomm Shin dreamed of going to college and eventually becoming an architect. These days, though, her professional passion has shifted to sign language interpreting—a skill she is developing as a Georgia Perimeter College student and as a sibling whose sister is deaf.

 

“She is my personal interpreter,” says Loam Shin who has been deaf since birth. “She interprets for me everywhere, from church to home.”

 

Bomm Shin initially learned sign language from Loam and mostly interpreted sermons for her younger sister at the Korean First Presbyterian Church in Tucker, where their family worships weekly. “I just wanted her to be more involved at church and to know God,” says Bomm, who—at age 24—is five years older than Loam.

 

The interpreter relationship has strengthened the bond between these native South Koreans so much that they define their connection through the well-known lyrics: “I am you, you are me.”

 

The Shin sisters also have Georgia Perimeter and scholarship in common. While Bomm is majoring in American Sign Language Interpreting, Loam is studying to become a researcher and a psychologist for deaf persons. Last semester, each of the sisters received a scholarship from the GPC Foundation. The award helped curb the burden of paying international student tuition and also provided a boost to the students.

 

“I always felt like I was rejected whether I worked hard or not, because I was not born in the United States and I don’t have a green card,” Bomm wrote in an acceptance letter for the scholarship she received. “I want to give back in multiples for what I have received from this scholarship.”

 

In addition to interpreting for her sister, Bomm aspires to assist deaf children in the United States and in developing countries, where she says they often are treated like second class citizens.

 

After GPC, Loam plans to head to Washington, D.C. and attend Gallaudet University, a premiere school for deaf and hearing-impaired students. She calls Georgia Perimeter an important “step” in that direction.

 

“Going to GPC is the best decision I’ve ever made,” Loam says. “After receiving this scholarship, I began to find hope in my future.”

 

Dr. Tina Stern taught Loam in one of her general psychology classes. “She’s the kind of student faculty members love to have in class; she is engaged, fully present, interested, motivated, curious, and open,” Stern says, noting that Loam has been tapped to receive this year’s Celebration of Excellence Award for Behavioral Studies.

 

Working hard is a trait Loam says she picked up from her mom, who always has pushed her beyond her disability. Along the way, the 19-year-old also has developed a sense of humor.

“I like being deaf,” she says “because I can sleep without hearing annoying noises.”

 

The Shin sisters have an older sister, Hessal, who enrolled at Georgia Perimeter just this spring. Bomm and Loam expect to graduate next spring. Meantime, they anticipate their sisterly bond will grow even stronger.

 

“She is my best friend,” Loam says of Bomm. “She is a person who understands me.”

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