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WITC kisses the Blarney Stone

Pictured (left to right) are participants in the recent Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College exchange to Ireland -- Kelly Pastika, Hayward; Judy Lee Little, Superior; Kristin Birkholz, New Richmond; Lois Peloquin, Chippewa Falls; Tony Woodcock, Waterford, Ireland; Bea Valadez, Cameron; Alex Birkholz, New Richmond; Martha Lynch, Rice Lake; Renelle Gill, Cameron; Judy Jane Little, Superior; Ray Griffin, Waterford, Ireland; Amy Stine, Amery; John Joe O'Farrell, Kilkenny, Ireland

It is said that kissing the Blarney stone at Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland, will endow the kisser with great skill at verbal flattery.

A delegation from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College hopes that's true as they recently returned from an 11-day cultural exchange experience with Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland.

WITC students toured manufacturing facilities in Ireland and participated in a variety of seminars at Waterford on the topics of international business and Irish culture. In a closing ceremony, WITC students received a certificate of achievement.

Student participant, Bea Valadez, described the experience as "a trip of a lifetime. The faculty at Waterford were engaging."

According to Dr. Alex Birkholz of WITC, "The students experienced both work and academic life in Ireland. Ireland and Wisconsin share many industry sectors and degree programs. In a global economy, it is important that WITC students see how even small western Wisconsin companies can benefit from alliances with economies like Ireland."

WITC has offered international learning opportunities to its students for the past three years, with this being the first trip to Ireland. The students paid their own way through fundraising activities. An agreement between the Wisconsin Technical College System and Irish Institutes of Technology fosters collaboration between the two educational systems.

WITC serves the educational and career needs of more than 25,000 residents of northwestern Wisconsin each year. With multiple campuses, WITC offers career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized business training, and a wide array of courses for personal or career enrichment. WITC is a member of Wisconsin Technical College System.