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Lakeland University's School of Business & Entrepreneurship and Ireland's Dublin Institute of Technology are partnering to create a new study abroad experience for students preparing to enter the hospitality industry.

Lakeland students will have an opportunity to study at Ireland's leading and largest university-level provider of hospitality, tourism, leisure and event programs. DIT students will have a chance to learn as part of Lakeland's program, which has partnerships with Destination Kohler, Blue Harbor Resort and The Osthoff.

"Students from both institutions are going to gain so much knowledge and experience through this exciting partnership," said Britanni Meinnert, instructor of hospitality management. "DIT will provide Lakeland students opportunities in hospitality management that we do not offer, including event planning, and practical courses in culinary arts and running a restaurant or hotel.

"Along with the classroom work, students will have access to internships at some leading hospitality providers."

The first students will begin studying abroad in the 2017-2018 academic year. For Lakeland students, all DIT courses transfer to Lakeland and will not delay graduation. Students will pay Lakeland tuition. Financial aid is applicable and housing accommodations are available.

DIT Head of School Dominic Dillane praised the new partnership.

"We are excited to work with the students and staff at Lakeland, and are confident that this partnership will present successful opportunities for both parties," Dillane said. "Both DIT and Lakeland University already have very strong international credentials, and this exchange is part of our ongoing commitment to creating international opportunities for DIT students in the U.S., both as part of their academic courses and also for internship.

"The close ties that Lakeland University has with the hotel and event sector in the U.S. makes this partnership an excellent fit for the school's students, and we look forward to building on these ties. It will be a pleasure to welcome our first students from Lakeland University to DIT."

Beyond the academics, Lakeland students will have opportunities to explore Ireland and other parts of Europe.

"Studying abroad teaches students that we truly are part of a global community," Meinnert said. "The experiences and memories these students gain will be life changing."

Approximately 2,000 part-time and full-time students are enrolled in DIT's downtown campus in Dublin. DIT programs combine accredited academic learning with practical experience, both through internships, in-program volunteering, action learning and practical kitchen and restaurant learning. DIT graduates hold leading positions with international and Irish companies.

Recently, a group of nine Lakeland students and two faculty members visited DIT and toured Ireland during a week-long study abroad class titled Irish Business, Culture and Hospitality.

"That experience allowed our students to see the impact the hospitality industry can have on a small country's economy," Meinnert said. "Our students got a first-hand look at another country's culture, its politics, its economy and its education system."

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