Name: Inge Birnie
Where are you from?
I am originally from Holland, but I have been living in Scotland since 1998.
When did you start at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig?
I started on An Cùrsa Inntrigidh in 2005, and I have been attending many Summer schools and weekends at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. I also came over for the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Fete – that was lots of fun.
What course are you studying?
I did An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, An Cùrsa Adhartas, and now I am studying a degree at distance in Gaelic and development. I hope to continue with fourth year modules of the course next year.
Why did you come to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig?
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a completely Gaelic environment, and because all the classes are delivered through the medium of Gaelic, we get a great opportunity to develop and strengthen language skills, both in a formal and informal situation. As well as that, everyone is so encouraging and supportive to students in using the Gaelic language as an every day language.
What was it like at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and on the Island?
I study all my classes through distance learning, but have been to stay at the College for weekend school, and even at times of exams. It always surprises me how helpful, encouraging and kind the tutors and students are. I definitely feel like I am part of a Gaelic community at the College. I have many friends who live on the island (and throughout Scotland), and it is through learning Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig that I met them!
In your opinion, what is the best thing about Sabhal Mòr Ostaig?
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a completely Gaelic environment where you are supported in using the Gaelic language every day. There is a great variety of people at the College; young students, students with children, oidean, who all have the opportunity to mix with one another at social events such as cèilidhs, and also during social times such as lunch or dinner.
What three words remind you of SMO?
Friendly, fun and excellent teaching.
What do you hope to do next?
I would like to be involved in teaching Gaelic, especially in high school. I am a qualified physics and science teacher, and so it would be good to use my skills and teach science through the medium of Gaelic. I have a big interest in Gaelic community development and helping to revive the language, and so if the opportunity came, I would like to be involved in community research – the day will come!