During the event 150 transition year students attended a workshop on opportunities for learning Spanish and a fun workshop on how to dance flamenco
His Excellency José María Rodríguez-Coso, Spanish Ambassador to Ireland, paid an official visit to WIT on 9 November.
Ambassador Rodríguez-Coso was accompanied by the Head of Studies at the Instituto Cervantes, Dublin, Carlos García de la Santa Delgado, the Director of the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin, Teresa Gancedo Nieto and by Honorary Vice-Consul, Penelope Eades. The Ambassador, who paid a return visit to WIT following a highly successful visit in March, commented that he is ‘very glad to have this opportunity to visit Waterford Institute of Technology to strengthen the crystal clear relations between Waterford and Spain and make them even better’.
Welcoming Ambassador Rodriguez-Coso to the Institute, WIT President, Professor Willie Donnelly declared that "we are delighted to welcome the Spanish Ambassador back to WIT. Our links with Spain and teaching Spanish at the Institute go back over 30 years. Furthermore, we are very proud to have partnerships with many of Spain’s leading universities through the European Union’s Erasmus exchange programme and through our many research links".
During his time on campus, the Ambassador had a chance to visit the Special Collections Room in the Institute’s Luke Wadding Library, where he had the opportunity to inspect some manuscripts of historical note relating to the South-East.
Also present on the day, some 150 transition year students from local schools attended a workshop on opportunities for learning Spanish through the Instituto Cervantes network and a fun workshop on how to dance flamenco. The secondary school students and their teachers, along with WIT students of Spanish and students from some of the Institute’s fifteen Spanish partner universities were then treated to a traditional paella lunch prepared by the students and staff of the Institutes BA Culinary Arts programme.
Emphasizing the importance of the event for the Institute, Ray Cullen, Head of Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality commented that ‘we are particularly pleased to welcome the Ambassador back to WIT for his second visit this year which will enable us to build closer links with the Embassy, the Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish National Tourist Office’. Mr Cullen added that Spanish is the most widely studied language at the Institute and is available on a variety of programmes including the BA in Arts, BA Hospitality Management and Bachelor of Business Studies, amongst others’.
The event concluded with a presentation by the Ambassador on the importance of language learning, where his message was about the need to embrace all aspects of a language and culture urging aspiring learners to ‘let the language under their skin’ and live the language.