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Lifelong Learning and Scotland’s Gaelic College

Scotland’s Gaelic college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, was first established in 1973 in an old barn in Sleat in the Isle of Skye. Over the years it has grown fast, with new buildings first added at the original site, and then at the neighbouring Àrainn Chaluim Chille campus, with its spectacular views over the Sound of Sleat.

The new facilities include increased student accommodation and an academic hub building. The latest addition is the centre for creative and cultural industries, named Fàs – Gaelic for growth. Here there are professional broadcast studios and facilities for film-makers.

The college’s Lifelong Learning Department is also situated in this building. This is the administrative centre for the college’s distance learning programmes and summer-time short courses.

Mìcheal Speirs, from Perthshire, is an administrator for online courses. He helps keep track of Gaelic learners all over the world who are following the college’s access course, An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, which takes learners up to a level where they can apply to join a full-time degree course.

Alex Gruba, from Poland, is an administrator for short holiday courses in Gaelic language or cultural topics. Both Mìcheal and Alex were at the college as students before starting their current jobs.

The academic hub is the central gathering point for the college. This is where students and staff take their midday meal. It’s an opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues, and perhaps exchange new ideas.

The college also has a well-known library in the same building. There is an extensive collection of books, some of them old and extremely valuable. It’s also a quiet and peaceful space which staff and students find useful for study.

Staff also have their own rooms, which they can use to hold business meetings, for example.

There is also a shop for students, staff, and the general public. As well as books, music, stationery, and clothes are available here.

At the end of the day students can retire to their own rooms in the accommodation block. Here they have the option of preparing food for themselves if they prefer, with an inspiring outlook from their kitchen window.

The college exists to serve its students’ needs. Each morning as they start the day they can look forward to new ideas and experiences in a truly unique learning environment.

Clilstore Island VoicesJohn Norman MacleodAlex, Kathleen & Mìcheal

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