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.
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 can 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 Eurocamp (end of July - Aug x 3 weeks), 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.
- The Awards are open to a range of different age categories starting from 15 years (e.g. Secondary School applicant must be at least 15 years on 1st of June, 2018). Please ensure that you are eligible for the Award you are applying for.
- All applicants must be long-term residents on the island of Ireland. An Irish passport is not required.
- For many of the awards, you do not have to be fluent or proficient in the language of the country you want to go to, but making an effort is essential. Many awards require participation in a basic language course while you are abroad.
- There are three EIL Explore awards that require prior language learning. They require an applicant have basic proficiency; Japan (Japanese), Eurocamp (German) and Secondary School in Europe (European language other than English).
- Applications without a completed reference form will not be accepted. Family members or friends will not be accepted as referees. Ask someone you have worked with at school (teacher, principal), in the community (e.g. community or youth leader, member of the local charity you volunteer with), in the workplace (e.g. your employer) or another person of authority. Also, make sure that the reference form is signed and includes a telephone number. No contact number makes checking the reference impossible.
- EIL Explore supports people stepping out of their comfort zone and trying something new. Each award will have different challenges and you need to be willing to accept a certain level of ‘discomfort’ while you are finding your feet, e.g:
- An eco-tourism participant in Mexico needs to be prepared for intense heat and for bugs & insects.
- Secondary School In Europe participants need to be prepared to feel the ‘isolation’ of being in a group and not understanding enough of the language to fully participate, when they first arrive.
- A participant abroad must work under the customs and laws of the country, and not expect them to always mirror the Irish perspective i.e. gender and social norms, education and health approaches.
The Action at Home is the central part of this award. If an Action at Home is not completed or is of poor quality*, the participant will not be deemed to have completed the programme. They will not receive certification for the award, and will not be invited to participate in further opportunities with EIL. They will not be able to use EIL Explore on their CV or receive a written reference from EIL Explore into the future.
*Participants will have the assistance and feedback of the EIL Explore Co-ordinator when both developing and assessing the quality of their project.
Before making your decision to volunteer abroad, we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the Volunteer Charter drawn up by Comhlámh, the Irish Association of Development Workers. This charter sets out seven principles that aim to encourage responsible and responsive international volunteering. It will help you to consider your volunteering experience within the wider context of global development. Comhlámh has also provides further information on issues to consider before volunteering abroad.
Other Tips on Volunteering Abroad: click here
- You can indicate the countries and projects you are interested in. We recommend you to have at least two preferred options. Advice and expertise from our Explore support team will need to be taken into consideration when it comes to the final decision regarding destinations and projects.
- Nomination must be posted to EIL Explore by your Access/Mature Officer. Only 5 applications per Office will be accepted in 2018.
- Make sure that all documents are submitted to your Access/Mature Office in the one envelope.
- An intensive 4 weeks, the winner needs to be an Irish ambassador for the duration. This involves regular engagements with local dignitaries, school staff and the wider community. The participant needs to be prepared for very long days.
- If you play an instrument, can sing or have Irish dancing experience make sure to include this in your application.
- Only FULL and COMPLETE applications will be accepted. No matter how good it is, if it is not all submitted by the deadline date it will not progress to shortlisting.
For hard copy applications:
- Post all documents to EIL Explore in one envelope ideally.
- Postal address: EIL Explore, EIL Ireland, 1 Empress Place, Summerhill North, Cork City
- If you are submitting your hard copy application by post very close to the deadline (the day before) we require you to: Post original in any An Post letterbox/office up until the closing date at 6pm and email a full scanned copy of the entry to firstname.lastname@example.org before 6pm on the closing date (as a proof that the entry has been completed before the deadline). The scanned copy and hard copy must be exactly the same.
- Get a postal receipt from the post office.
- Keep a copy of your application (including artwork, slideshows, videos etc).
- Double check that all flash-drives, memory sticks and DVDs etc are working before submitting. After the deadline, no further applications or part of applications will be accepted.
- Make sure you have a valid passport. One that does not expire for at least 6 months after you return.