Under 18

“I gained new friends, knowledge and understanding of the worlds problems and how we as young people can stop them. I loved every second of it!” Niamh, 2018

There are lots of awards to apply for…

Under 18? Where will you go this summer?



Japan: 1 award – 4 weeks – Irish cultural ambassador & secondary school experience – Host family in the Suwa region of Japan

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Secondary School

Secondary School: 3 awards – (Aug – Dec 2022) – Study abroad in a European country – 3 months – Host family & local school

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Youth Activist

Youth Activist – Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (USA) – 2 weeks in Vermont USA – Youth Leadership & Social Justice workshop series – winner travels as the Vermont group

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International Summer School

International Summer School: 1 Award – 4 Weeks – In partnership with Cork Life Centre and their students – Attending school, cultural workshops and excursions in Denmark.

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Which One Is for me

Whether it’s eco-tourism in Mexico or a high school in Japan, EIL Explore offer a variety of diverse experiences throughout the world for participants to travel, learn, and change — both personally and within their community.

On your return, all participants are required to complete an Action Project that reflects and shares their learning with their community.  EIL Explore awards are funded travel opportunities for people who are interested in the personal challenge of becoming a global citizen, while exploring and immersing themselves world cultures. See the lists of Explore awards below to learn more about what options are available to you. With a wide range of ages and themes, there is an EIL Explore award for everybody!

Under 18?

You can Explore

Could you be an ambassador for Ireland in Japan? Or a student in a folk school in the woods of Denmark? From youth leadership & activism in the U.S. to studying abroad in Brussels, EIL Explore has a range of options for young global citizens.

Tips for Applicants

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 due to financial restrictions.

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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.
  • Your willingness to engage with EIL upon your return to Ireland and to share your experience and learning with others is also something to keep in mind when applying.
  • A person who is seeking a different and new opportunity that can provide open mindedness, global awareness, self reflection and self improvement.
  • 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 on 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.
  • If you are writing any part of your application, make sure the handwriting is clearly legible. We ask that all “Why choose me’ essays are typed.
  • 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 Ecuador, 8 weeks for Mexico etc)
  • Also some awards have fixed periods. Before you apply, check that you are available to travel: e.g Vermont & Youth Activist (start of July x 2 weeks).
  • Applicants can apply for more than one award. However, make sure that equal effort is put into each application.
  • 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 aim of the EIL Explore is to support people who have a history of voluntary involvement in their school, college or their community. We are looking 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 due for financial or social reasons.

What do we look for?

  • A person who is curious about other cultures and tolerant of differences
  • A person and is flexible to engage with new and often challenging situations.
  • A person who is interested in sharing their experience and learning with their own community on their return
  • A person who is seeking a different and new opportunity that can foster open mindedness, global awareness, critical thinking and personal development.

The assessment process

Application → Shortlisting → Interview → Reference checking → Selection

  • After the deadline, all eligible applications are reviewed in January by different members of the EIL Network and by recruiting partners (e.g. Foroige, Future Voices Ireland, NUI Galway ALIVE 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 a Saturday in February, where they will be interviewed by a panel of EIL network members (staff, past winners, board members etc.) and recruiting partners.
  • 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.


The EIL Explore application process is fairly straightforward but just in case you have any questions check out or FAQ’s here

You can apply online on our website simply visiting the page of your award of interest. It will be necessary to create an account and register with your email address. You will then be able to complete an online application form (for the following Awards: Japan, Mexico, Youth Activist-Vermont and Ecuador) or download a PDF application to complete and send by post (for all the other Awards).

Applicants for ACCESS, Mature and NUI Galway ALIVE Awards need to submit their application through their university.

If you are not able to register online, please contact to ask for a paper application form.

In any case, the deadline for applications is at the beginning of December.

Interested organisations FAQs

EIL Explore currently works closely with:

  • Irish Aid on our Global Awareness Programme awards
  • Foroige on our Hong Kong exchange awards and Youth Activist awards
  • YMCA Ireland on our Youth Activist awards
  • NUI Galway ALIVE on the NUI Galway ALIVE awards
  • MTU Cork on the MTU Cork Volunteer Abroad Programme awards
  • Cork Life Centre on our International Summer School awards
  • PPLI on our Secondary School Abroad programme awards

Nominator FAQ's

Yes, of course! Please contact [email protected] You can also reach us by phone Monday-Friday 9.00-5.30 on 021 4551535