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Students praise Oban as 'home from home'

The international cohort of ACES-STAR students reflected happily on their time in Oban
The international cohort of ACES-STAR students reflected happily on their time in Oban

International students on a highly-rated European aquaculture course at SAMS have praised the welcome they received in Oban, where they spent the first six months of their Masters degree.

SAMS, a partner of UHI, is a leading institute on the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society-STAR (ACES-STAR), which also involves teaching at the universities of Crete and Nantes.

Over the two-year course, students spend six months at each institute, with a final semester at a location of their choosing.

The course attracts students from all over the world and the current intake of 25 students said they found it to be a ‘home from home’.

With a limited supply of private rental accommodation in the town, some of the students took advantage of the SAMS Home Scheme, which involves local families hosting a student.

Subash Yadav Ahir said: “Oban, you have a special place in my heart. I came here from Nepal (the land of Everest) and spent six wonderful months here. It was my first time abroad, but the warm hospitality of the Scottish people made me feel at home and cured my homesickness.

“I was especially lucky to have Donald Files as my landlord. He was kind, gentle, friendly, and awesome. He treated me like his son. We had so many memorable moments together: learning bagpipes, going to church on Sundays, having dinner together, exploring Oban in his car. He is truly an amazing person. I can honestly say that this was the best time of my life. Oban gave me so much memories and life lessons.”

Chaturangi Imihami Mudiyanselage from Sri Lanka said: "It was lovely spending the days in a beautiful place like Oban with a warm-hearted family, Fiona and Gus Brydon. I can't tell how much I enjoyed living with a Scottish family – a 'home away from home' and I’ll really miss them.”

Hamid Raza from Pakistan stayed with Ken and Mary Campbell. He said: “We shared a lot of memories, from Scottish suppers to Christmas parties. I'm going to keep them with me, and I'm going to miss the wonderful pictures, the conversations, the gossip, and the laughs we've created.”