ISSP Spotlight: Witawat Surittikul
Name: Witawat “Paggy” Surittikul
Country of origin: Thailand
Program: M.S. in Administration and Supervision
After Witawat finished his B.A. in Special Education for the Deaf in Thailand, he arrived at Gallaudet University in the spring of 2008 as part of the International Special Student Program (ISSP). He developed his English and ASL skills for two years at Gallaudet and eventually became a graduate student studying Administration and Supervision.
Joining the ISSP program was a “great opportunity to experience an American education system for the Deaf,” says Witawat, “and Gallaudet was the best match for my background. It helped me to dramatically improve my skills while living in an accessible Deaf world and community, and Gallaudet has strong support available for international students.”
Once Witawat graduates, he plans to return to Thailand and join the Ministry of Education under the office of the basic education commission in order to promote Deaf education and culture. “I know Deaf people are more likely to succeed in life, school and in work if they are able to read and write well,” explains Witawat, “and language skills for the Deaf in Thailand are sometimes weak. I want to encourage them to grow and develop their knowledge of languages, especially in reading and writing, so that they may improve their quality of life and have the opportunity to study at universities in Thailand.”