Columbus Technical College student Johnny Simmons has been to Ireland before.
“It was just a quick stop then,” he said.
He was in the Army and on the way to Iraq.
The trip he began Sunday will be more enjoyable.
He is one of 11 students, 10 from Columbus Tech’s culinary program and one from Albany Technical College in Albany, Ga., who will be visiting Ireland for 10 days to explore that country’s cuisine and culture.
The group left Sunday afternoon for the airport in vans from the school campus on Manchester Expressway.
A Columbus Tech instructor Tracy Flynn is leading the expedition. There is also an instructor from Albany Tech and one from North Georgia Technical College in Clarksville, Ga.
Flynn said the Columbus Tech students raised money for the trip by preparing a benefit dinner for 56 people at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.
“The students are very excited,” she said. “The students will be experiencing something with which they are completely unfamiliar overseas. Some have not even been on an airplane before.”
Flynn said the trip is being done in connection with the Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland.
The students will get to work in the kitchens there and something even better.
“Students will get the opportunity to work in four star and five star restaurants,” Flynn said.
The students will also go on tours to different sites in the country.
Simmons said he hopes the trip will help further his career. He believes good food does more than provide nourishment. “I believe food brings people together,” he said,
Columbus Tech student Shalita Hartwell can’t wait to get to Ireland.
“I hope to gain a lot of experience,” she said. “We are going to be at a culinary university and I hope to come out of there shining and doing great things.”