Cork-based charity, EIL Intercultural Learning, a non-profit educational exchange organisation has invested over €1 Million in travel scholarships during the last 10 years. EIL Explore scholarships target people from social or economic disadvantage and awardees are sourced through partnerships with institutions and organisations such as Foroige, Third Level Access and Mature Student programmes, DEIS schools, Post Primary Languages Ireland, and local projects such as Cork Life Centre.

The EIL Explore Class of 2023 have just been announced and consists of 22 people from all across Ireland ranging in age from 15 – 43. Each participant will be fully funded to take part in a range of international learning opportunities ranging from youth leadership training in Vermont in the USA to volunteering on an Equine Therapy Project in Mexico,  to attending an alternative summer Folk School in Denmark, to living with a host family for a month in Japan, to teaching in Vietnam, to going to secondary school for 2 months in Germany.

Each placement centres on a specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and awardees take part in preparatory workshops in Ireland and are assigned mentors who support them through their journeys. On return to Ireland, the learning continues and they are supported to undertake action projects in their local communities that raise awareness of their selected Sustainable Development Goal.

EIL Intercultural Learning is the Irish affiliate of AFS Intercultural Programs with sister organisations in 54 countries around the world. With a history dating back to 1914 just over  40,000 people took part in AFS Programs across the world in 2021, making it not just the oldest but also the largest not-for-profit educational exchange organisation in the world.

According to EIL Intercultural Learning CEO, Kevin HickeyEverybody doesn’t get an equal start in life and many fall short of achieving their full potential as a result. Each year we seek out individuals with the potential to grow and develop as future leaders and changemakers. Given the opportunity and the right support, people will grow and develop and have an impact in their local communities and in the wider world.   Many past participants have gone on to become teachers, diplomats, TV presenters, entrepreneurs, and leaders in their own communities. We are excited and privileged to have been able to open doors to transformative experiences for so many people since EIL Explore was first set up in 1994”.