Stornoway Rugby Club has been very fortunate over the years to have several international exchange students from Lews Castle College, join our teams while they also study. Here are some of their personal accounts on their time with SYRFC....
“When i left my team in France and arrived in Stornoway I looked to continue to play rugby but also to meet people on the island. I saw the pitch on my second day on the island and after asking around I went along to training. I met gentle and nice guys, they were fun and always happy to help me throughout the year. So many good memories on the pitch and also off it. The away trips, the after match drinks in the Crown. To me, a very good second family.”
“It is hard to find a club as family friendly and cheerful as Stornoway Rugby Club. I arrived as a French student on the Isle of Lewis for a year and being part of a sports association in Scotland was close to my heart.
I was welcomed in this club with open arms, by players and a coach who knew each other for a long time but integrating couldn't have been easier. From the first training session, the team was able to put me in confidence and share with
me their love for the oval ball.
Whether on or off the field, this club is attached to strong values that it passes on to all generations.
Thank you to all at Stornoway Rugby Club for making me feel like a Scotsman for a year, for the wonderful memories through our games and the post match. I hope to be able to come back very soon to play a match with you again.
If you are looking for a club, whether you’re an amateur or a beginner, do not hesitate to join Stornoway Rugby Club.”
“Before I came to Stornoway I never played rugby before, I still play now that I am back in France. I am still learning the laws but I learnt the mindset in Stornoway and it is incredible. I felt like I was with a kind of family and wanted to involve me in the club. I met so many nice people and they changed my life.”
“I first found out about Stornoway Rugby Club watching them play a game. This was one of my first days in Stornoway for me.
Through the first nights at the pubs we met some players and they invited us to come along and play. Our teachers at university also pushed us to go and play. This was a very special experience and I would do it again.”
“I have played rugby since I was a child and I have even played at a high level in France. When I came to Stornoway for my one year university exchange, I got in touch with Bubble (the club coach) via Facebook.
I had a great year, I got to know a different rugby culture but the guys also introduced me to Scotland through various trips. We even went to see Scotland vs France at Murrayfield!
I will always remember my season in Stornoway and the wonderful friends I made there.”
"I found out about the club on my second day on the island when I went to the induction at Lews Castle College. Alison and Fiona from the women's team were there and they just threw a rugby ball at me and that was that. As rugby is not a thing in Germany, I never considered it but when I gave it a go, I found that I loved it.
My time in Stornoway was brilliant, I was only meant to stay for one term but enjoyed myself so much that I applied for an extension. It was the best decision I could have made, even with Covid going on. I made a lot of friends on the island and sorely miss the mud, dirt and fun of rugby now that I'm back in Germany.
The song 'Sweet Caroline' has not been the same for me since, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Given the opportunity I'd do it all again."
"Before arriving on the island I had already heard about the rugby team but I told myself it was not a sport for me. When I finally arrived, a fellow French student motivated me to try out and I liked it. I had never played rugby before I arrived on the island. The girls are very welcoming. There is a very good atmosphere in the group. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to play matches because of the arrival of Covid-19. I was able to discover rugby thanks to this team and why continue on my return to France. I was able to discover great landscapes, the hardest part was the little sunshine per day especially in winter. The locals are very nice,. Living in the mountains in France, I was able to experience life by the sea on the island."
"I came to Stornoway through my French university and Lews Castle College and many students have done this year abroad before me and thanks to their feedback they told me to join the rugby team. They said it would be a good opportunity for me to meet people and travel around Scotland. When I arrived in Stornoway I went to see a home game and said to myself "why not try it", even if I was a bit terrified but I do not regret the decision.
Firstly, I loved the people. I never played rugby before joining the team and I love how all the team was so helpful and helped me learn just how to play. I had a very good experience playing with the team. Playing rugby is very hard, I would never imagine I was going to play that sport. I was scared having watched it on the TV. However, on the pitch, you are just someone who is there to play, even if you don't have the experience.
Being on the island is definitely different to growing up in France. However I loved living here, this is probably why I am still living here in Stornoway a year and a half after I was supposed to leave. I love the community, I love the landscape and most of all I feel safe. There are some things I miss from home but I would mind giving up my old life there to start a new one here with my current partner who is from the island. Coming to Stornoway was supposed to be a small experience at first but it turned out to be something more than that in the end and I feel so grateful for the experience everyday."
"Arriving from France to study a year in Scotland I started rugby in Stornoway with the women's team. I wanted to experience new things and a friend told me about the club so I decided to join and give it a try. While I had never played rugby before I enjoyed learning. They were such a friendly, caring and supportive team. I've experienced many beautiful sporting and personal moments with the club and on the island."
"I found out about the club through a friend who had been studying the previous year (2018-19) in Stornoway. She told be go along because she had with the club. I liked being on the team and playing with the girls. It was a great experience that I recommend. They were super welcoming, smiling and patient with me because my English wasn't very good. I will not forget them because of all the crazy laughter and fun playing rugby.
I found it wasn't easy living on the island at first as it was my first time alone in another country. But it was incredible, between the nice and patient people, the beautiful landscapes and all the things to discover."
"I heard about the rugby club thanks to a French player playing during his year at Stornoway University. At the beginning I didn't see myself playing rugby but after the trial session I continued thanks to the incredible group cohesion. I was able to discover a sport, a culture and a great team that pushes you to bring out the best in yourself . The matches across Scotland allowed me to discover some great teams as well.
I am so grateful to have been integrated into the team during my year abroad and I come away with so many memories."