Creating new bonds through languages

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Sgoil an Taobh Siar, Comunn na Gàidhlig and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar recently welcomed 45 Occitan-speaking students and five staff from the College Francois de Belleforest in the mid-Pyrenees region of France.

This was the latest stage of a three-year project under the ERASMUS+ (European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students).

ERASMUS+ is an educational programme with diverse opportunities for educationalists and students to promote co-operation activities between local and regional authorities with a role in school education in Europe.

The project is called GO TO the FUTURE (Gaelic Occitan Together For language Users Through United Roots and Experiences) and is a minority language and cultural exchange project.

Occitan is one of 75 minority languages in France and while there are some 600,000 speakers of it in France, the language has little or no statutory, political or economic support.

It is also spoken in some parts of Italy and Spain.