Photo of Joy Dunlop and Hana MilneFor two students of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, studying on the Gaelic and Related Studies Degree Scheme has been a truly international experience. Hana Milne from Tiree and Joy Dunlop from Oban recently returned from a 3 month exchange visit to the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB) in Canada.

As they explained it was clearly an opportunity not to be missed, "As part of our Honours year at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, we got the chance to spend a semester at either the National University of Ireland, Maynooth or at UCCB in Canada. This was a brilliant opportunity to go and study in Cape Breton, a place that we'd heard so much about", said Hana.

As part of the exchange programme, students elect modules related to their degree and the dissertation they must complete in their Honours year. Studying on the BA (Hons) Gaelic and North Atlantic Studies, Hana enjoyed the different subjects on offer at UCCB, "It was good to have such a wide choice of subjects, some of which we wouldn't be able to study at SMO. The only thing that was strange was that most of the classes were in English!"

The girls also benefited from the overall cultural experience, "We made the most of our trip and did a lot of travelling. We toured Cape Breton and spent some time in Mabou, we visited Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and even managed a trip to New York, which was brilliant. We also volunteered for the Celtic Colours Festival and had a great time working at the events and meeting new people", said Joy.

Now back in Scotland and nearing the end of their final year, it is an experience they won't forget: "We had a fantastic time in Canada and gained a lot of confidence from the whole experience", said Joy, "Everyone was so welcoming and friendly that it didn't take us long to settle in. We learnt a lot about the people and the place and we were really lucky to have the opportunity to spend some time in a different country. I'd recommend it to any student and I'd definitely go back if the chance arose again."