The aim of EIL Explore is to support people who have a history of voluntary involvement in their school, college or their community. EIL Explore Awards are for people who have demonstrated or who believe they can demonstrate leadership potential and people who would not ordinarily be able to avail of such travel opportunities e.g. due to financial restrictions.

What do we look for?

  • A person who is curious about other cultures, tolerant of differences and is flexible and open to engage with new and at times challenging situations.
  • A person who is willing to engage with EIL upon their return to Ireland and to share their experience and learning with others.
  • A person who is seeking a different and new opportunity that can provide open mindedness, global awareness, self reflection and self improvement.

General Tips for your Application

  • A well-researched application is very important. Read as much as possible before you start writing your application. What is the award about? What is involved? Are you ready for this challenge?
  • EIL are looking for open minded, energetic people who are interested in culture and who work well in a team. Any voluntary work in Ireland or elsewhere is also an advantage and you should definitely highlight it in your application.
  • EIL Explore opportunities are about intercultural learning and sharing your culture. It’s worth thinking about what skills/talents you can share while being abroad. For example some past participants used great slide shows of Ireland, demonstrated hurling or Irish dancing, played a musical instrument, could perform a song, or liked to draw or paint. Obviously you don’t need to be able to do all of these, but to be able to do one of them or something similar would be a help.
  • Are YOU available for the duration? If you are not able to commit the duration of your particular award, we recommend you apply another year when you have the required availability. (e.g 4 weeks for -18 Ecuador, 8 weeks for Mexico Project etc.)
  • Also some awards have fixed periods. Before you apply, check that you are available to travel: e.g  Vermont & Youth Activist (mid/end of June x 2 weeks).
  • Applicants can apply for more than one award. However, make sure that equal effort is put into each application if you hand them in separately.
  • An essential part of the award is the Action at Home, which spans the duration of the winners EIL Explore journey. Outlining your ideas for the Action at Home can support your application. Your final Action at Home may change from your original outline (it might be completely different!), however writing a short outline in your application demonstrates your interest and suitability for the award.

How is it Assessed?

The Assessment Process

Application → Shortlisting → Interview → Reference checking → Selection

  • After the deadline (Friday noon, December 1st 2023), all eligible applications are reviewed in January 2024 by different members of the EIL Network and by recruiting partners (e.g. Foroige, YMCA, PPLI, etc.). EIL network members include staff, board members, and past award winners.
  • Once a shortlist of candidates has been selected, all applicants will be contacted and informed of whether or not they have been successful in securing an interview.
  • All shortlisted candidates are required to attend the interview day in Dublin on Saturday, February 10th 2024, where they will be interviewed by a panel of EIL network members (staff, past winners, board members etc.) and recruiting partners.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be required to attend one of two Enrolment Days either in Cork (Thursday, 7th March) or Dublin (Saturday, 9th March).
  • When a potential winner has been identified, their references will then be checked.
  • If the selection panel is happy with the reference, the winner is notified of their success. All unsuccessful candidates are notified as soon as possible.

Check to make sure you have everything!


  1. I am currently resident on the island of Ireland.
  2. I am available to travel during the summer months and also have a valid passport.
  3. I am in the correct age for the specific award. Over 18? Under 18?
  4. I have researched the award properly and it shows in my application.
  5.  I have completed an interesting application that gives us a sense of who you are and why you deserve the award.
  6.  I have received a complete reference/nomination form – signed, with a phone number.
  7.  I am available to attend an informal interview Saturday, February 10th 2024.
  8.  I will keep a copy of my application form and get a postal receipt (if sent by post).
  9.  I will email or post all my documents together before the closing date.

Important Dates to Remember

  • Friday noon, December 1st 2023 – Closing date for all EIL Explore applications
  • Saturday, February 10th 2024 – Shortlisted Candidates Interviews in Dublin
  • Induction Day Cork: Thursday, 7th March 2024, Induction Day Dublin: Saturday, 9th March 2024 – winners will attend an Induction Day either in Cork or Dublin
  • The travel period is generally June-August 2024 (September-December for Secondary School in Europe!).
  • End of May 2024 – Pre-Departure Training weekend in Maynooth before travelling
  • Early September 2024 – Debrief Weekend in Maynooth after return

Check out the FAQ section to answer the most common questions asked about the EIL Explore Awards


Go to FAQ's