Gaelic bursary recipient Joanie MacDonald, New Glasgow.

Gaelic Language learning Bursary (Scotland)

Gaelic Learning Directorate, Scottish Government & Gaelic Affairs, a Division of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage


In an effort to support Gaelic language acquisition and use, the Scottish Government established a Gaelic studies bursary program. 

This bursary program is designed to support Nova Scotia, Canada based Gaelic students with travel, meals and accommodation costs in Scotland while working on acquiring and using Gaelic language and culture. 

This bursary program supports the mandate of Bòrd na Gàidhlig (Scotland) that includes support for Gaelic language learning outside of Scotland.

This bursary is designed to support the objective of the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia, the Gaelic Community and Gaelic Affairs, a Division of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage to create more fluent Nova Scotia Gaelic speakers.

The National Center for Cultural Competence, Washington, DC, defines culture as an

“integrated pattern of human behaviour that includes thoughts, communications, languages, practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals, manners of interacting and roles, relationships and expected behaviors of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group; and the ability to transmit the above to succeeding generations” (Goode, Sockalingam, Brown, & Jones, 2000).

This means that language is both part of how we define culture and how it also reflects culture.

With this cultural perspective in mind, applicants will enrol for a minimum of two weeks in a Gaelic medium short course at a Gaelic institution such as Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO), Scotland.  With the assistance of Gaelic Affairs and Gaelic Scotland counterparts, applicants will include as part of their language acquisition and use a focus on a specific Gaelic dialect that is of interest to them and meet, visit and interview a native Gaelic speaker in Scotland that uses and shares this particular dialect and/or a similar dialect.  Through the medium of Gaelic, the interview will focus on the cultural competencies cited above.

Successful applicants will be awarded funding for travel, food and registration fee costs in Scotland and/or for distance learning costs.

Application Criteria

Applicants must be permanent residents of Nova Scotia.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Applicants must provide a detailed letter outlining their experience in and commitment to language acquisition and use in Nova Scotia. 

Applicants must provide a letter of reference from a Nova Scotia Gaelic-based organization.

Applicants must provide a letter of acceptance confirming their enrollment for a minimum two week course at a Gaelic-medium institution.

Factors that will be considered when scoring the applicants will be:

Time involved in learning Gaelic

Demonstrated level of involvement in Gaelic-based organizations in Nova Scotia

Appreciation, awareness and efforts made to use a specific dialect and how you go about supporting this

How do you plan to sustain the skills you learn and apply them in your local community?

What are your future plans specific to further developing your skills to support the Gaelic cultural community in Nova Scotia, i.e. enroll in a language immersion and/or mentorship program?

Expectations upon return:

Applicants will provide an audio and/or video recording and present on their interaction with Gaelic speaker in Scotland.  A minimum 45 minute presentation will be done in the applicant’s local community and highlight specific aspects of language and culture acquired while enrolled in the bursary program.

Application process

Please e-mail application information to Kelly Schlay at or mail to:

Gaelic Affairs
1741 Brunswick Street
3rd Floor
P. O. Box 456, STN Central
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3J 2R5

A peer assessment panel will review applications.

Deadline for applying is Friday, January 18, 2019.

For any further questions you may have on this bursary process, please contact Lewis MacKinnon at 902-424-4298 or e-mail at