A Ukrainian who left her homeland has this week embarked on a new journey to master the Gaelic language at Skye’s Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.
Nika Naliota, who came to Scotland from Odesa in May this year, brought with her a keen interest in Gaelic. Having gained an appreciation and a basic grasp of the language and Celtic culture through film and literature, she was eager to use her time in Scotland to expand her knowledge and ability in the language.
Since coming to Scotland, Nika has been living in Lochaber in a Gaelic-speaking household where she has been able to practise the language and grow her vocabulary as they go about their daily activities.
This week, Nika joined Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s summer short course programme and is learning alongside other students who are also growing their confidence in Gaelic. The Skye-based National Centre for Gaelic language and culture has been able to support Nika with the costs of the course and accommodation as a show of solidarity. Throughout the week, Nika has been learning Gaelic grammar and vocabulary, as well as being taught learning techniques to support her to take her knowledge further after the course. She is living on Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s campus in Sleat, which will allow her to have a completely immersive Gaelic learning experience.
Nika said: “It is great to be here at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, living in a community which has Gaelic at its heart and at a college that lives and breathes the Gaelic language and culture. I am loving the experience and learning so much from the tutors and my fellow students, trying out new phrases and conversing as much as possible in Gaelic in class and during our free time. It’s a great experience and an excellent way of learning a language I fell in love with some time ago.
Nika added: “I am very grateful to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and my Scottish hosts who have been able to support me to participate in this week. The past few months have been particularly traumatic for me and my family which means my time in Scotland is very precious to me. This week on Skye has added to my love for Gaelic and the Celtic culture.”
Dr Gillian Munro, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Principal said: “We are delighted to offer a warm Gaelic welcome to Nika to our National Centre on Skye this week as part of our summer short course programme. It was a pleasure for us to support Nika during her stay in Scotland at what must be an incredibly worrying time for her and her family. This is the least we could do to show our support.
“It is fantastic that she is keen to expand her ability in the Gaelic language in an immersive and engaging environment here at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Our style of teaching will be of great benefit to Nika as students live and learn in the language which envelopes them during their time with us. We hope this is just one of many steps for Nika to master the Gaelic language and progress in her confidence in our beautiful and expressive language.”