This Years EIL Explorers


Look out Summer 2017, here they come!
This year, EIL and its partner organisations have selected 39 Explorers who will head overseas this summer on a variety of learning adventures: Youth Leadership and Activism programmes (US, Germany and Hong Kong), International Volunteering Programmes (Mexico, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa, Ecuador, Guatemala and South Africa) and Cultural immersion programmes (Japan, Ecuador, France)



Youth Leadership and Activism Explorers


Youth Activist - Vermont USA Explorers

Jodie Clarke

About me:Hi, my name is Jodie Clarke and I am from Dublin. I am 17 years old and I won the 2017 Eil Explore Youth Activist Award. The hobbies I love doing are Taekwondo which I am a national champion in. I also love drawing, exercising, volunteering, youth work and many other social and fun activities! I also have a huge interest in law!! I enjoy speaking and discussing about world problems and how our generation could change it and make it better for the future. I am very excited and honoured to be travelling to Vermont this summer to the governors institute to meet new people and learn from

Aleesha Wiegandt

About me:My name is Aleesha Wiegandt and I’m a 16 year old TY student from West Cork where I attend Schull Community College. I am interested in global justice issues, photography, youth advocacy, writing, film making and I play the guitar and sing. I am chairperson for West Cork in Cork County Comhairle na nÓg and have been involved in the likes of EYP and DCMUN as I thoroughly enjoy debating.  I am travelling to Vermont in summer to attend the Youth Activism and Leadership course to improve my leadership skills, make new friends and explore the topics I want to learn more about.  Destination:Youth Activist – Governor’s Institutes of

Jason Nolan

About me:Hi! my name is Jason. I’m 17 and from Louth. I was delighted to be chosen as one of the 2017 EIL Explore Youth Activist award winners. My interests include volunteering, running and exploring nature and the outdoors. I am a member of Foróige and I am passionate about a range of global issues including homelessness, mental health and diversity and have carried out numerous community projects on these topics. I can’t wait to travel to Governer’s institute of Vermont this Summer. I look forward to meeting new people, to gaining new skills that I can use to help others, to learning more about myself and the world around

Niamh Cannnon

About me:Hi, my name is Niamh, I’m 17 years old and I’m a secondary school student from Drogheda in Co. Louth. I am delighted to have won the 2017 Youth Activist Award and am looking forward to travelling to the Governor’s Institute of Vermont.      For years, I have been actively involved in youth development organisations and projects such as Foróige, YouthBank and local youth centres. I enjoy reading, writing, learning and pushing my boundaries and am passionate about social and political issues.      I am excited to travel abroad so that I can learn more about different cultures and meet other international students. Destination:Youth Activist – Governor’s

Ashling Dunphy

About me:Heya, my name is Ashling Dunphy. I am a TY student in comeragh college county Tipperary. I love volunteering and helping people just trying to make a difference in other people’s lives. I’ve done quite alot of volunteering and I will be attending the EIL Explore Vermont award, I can’t wait to engage with young people from all over the globe and see what their thoughts and feelings are when it comes to young people volunteering. Destination:Youth Activist – Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (USA) 1 award – 2 weeks in Vermont USA – Youth Leadership & Social Justice workshop series – winner travels as the Vermont groupYouth Activist – Governor’s

Eurocamp - Germany

Stefanie Fox

About me:Hello! I’m Stefanie and I’m 21 years old. I was born in Dublin and raised there by an Irish father and German mother so one could say that I’ve grown quite accustomed to traversing from one culture to another. I am one of the two lucky individuals chosen to represent Ireland at Eurocamp in Germany this summer. My hobbies include cooking and baking, yoga and cinema. I have also participated in some charity work over the years, including a time spent volunteering with Oxfam, carol singing to raise money for the battle against child labour and taking part in soup runs with the SVP society at my college. I

Leah Kelly

About me:My name is Leah Kelly and I am 20 years old from County Meath. Last Summer I took a year out from my Communications degree in DCU to move to London and focus on music journalism, which is where I currently live. When I am not writing I enjoy going to live gigs and experiencing new music. In my spare time I also enjoy reading and writing fiction and poetry. This August I am lucky enough to be a part of the EIL Eurocamp program in Germany where I hope to create unique friendships and learn more about different cultures from across Europe. During this experience I also want


Volunteer Abroad Explorers


Student and Partner Universities Explorers

Aislinn Nic Giolla Bhain

About me:My name is Aislinn, I am one of the recipients of the Access Award, and I will be travelling to Vietnam this summer to teach English. I’m 20 years old and from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. I’m currently approaching the end of my 2nd year studying Medicine at Trinity College Dublin.   I volunteer with Trinity’s peer mentoring system Student2Student which means I help first year medical students out with settling into college life. I’ve also volunteered with Trinity Voluntary Tuition Programme to give grinds to secondary school students who otherwise would not be able to afford them. In my spare time, I love playing board games, hiking, singing, and

Tori Carey

About me:Hi, I am Tori I’m 22 and I am a final year student at Maynooth university. I was chosen for the access award which has given me the opportunity to travel for 8 weeks in the summer to a destination that I can hopefully make a difference in! I hope to achieve a better understanding of the world around me and make even a small positive change in another persons live. I will be forever grateful to EIL for this opportunity. Destination:Thailand: Chiang Mai – 8 weeks – Volunteering & cultural immersion – variety of projects – Residential Find out more Show less   ‘Your wings already exist. All you

Gori Afolahan

About me:Age: 22 Interests: Basketball, Athletics & Hiking. Bio: Gori is a final year Accounting & Finance student at Maynooth University. Gori has won the “Access Award” and will be traveling to Mexico to work with young adults from a disadvantaged backgrounds. On this journey, he aims to increase his global awareness, seek self improvement and become a better global citizen. In his spare time Gori enjoys going to museums, working out and volunteering. Destination:Mexico: Oaxcaca, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Amecameca – 8 weeks -Volunteering & cultural immersion – variety of projects – Host family  Mexico Projects Do you want to see the worldwith an EIL Explore Mexico Award? 1 Locations: Oaxcaca, Mexico City

Dominic Robinson

About me:Hello!!! My name is Dom and I am a winner of the EIL Mature Student Award for 2017. I’m originally from Wexford but have been living in Dublin for about 12 years. My interests include music, travelling, hiking and my cameras!! I am currently in my first year studying Geography and History in Trinity College Dublin and have a passion for the environment, sustainability and the management of our natural resources. This is why I plan on travelling to Guatemala this summer to get involved in the management of sustainable farming with the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute, in order to help lessen the impact that global warming is having on

Tracey Keogh

About me:My name is Tracey Keogh and I am from Clonlara, County Clare. I am a psychology student in the University of Limerick and I am loving every minute of my time in college. I won the mature student award and will be travelling to Hanoi to teach English in a community summer school. I actively volunteer in my own community in my free time. I like to challenge myself as much as possible and cannot wait to experience the Vietnamese culture firsthand. Here is a link to some other blogs I wrote. Destination:Vietnam: Hanoi- 8 weeks – Volunteering & cultural immersion – Teaching projects – ResidentialVietnam Projects Teaching English in

Mansur Alam

About me:Hi there. My name is Mansur Alam. I am 20 years old. I was born and raised in Refugee Camp in Bangladesh. I came to Ireland in 2009 with my Family and currently living in Clondalkin, Dublin. I am a student in Trinity Access Programme, studying science. I love travelling and discovering new places and meeting new people. I enjoy doing exercises, hanging out with friends and watching movies. I am very grateful to be awarded the Access Award with EIL. I plan on going to Thailand to volunteer in Healthcare. To help those in need, because I believe helping those in need is one of the most rewarding

Adam Walsh

About me:My name is Adam Walsh, I’m from Tramore, Co. Waterford and I’m currently in 1st year in UCD studying Commerce. I love everything travel, health, nutrition, fitness, e-commerce and personal development related as well as meeting/talking to people! I’m excited to hopefully take part in the EIL community development volunteer program in Mexico for Summer 2017. I aspire to document my entire journey to share with you and the world, so be sure to join me! Destination:Mexico: Oaxcaca, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Amecameca – 8 weeks -Volunteering & cultural immersion – variety of projects – Host family  Mexico Projects Do you want to see the worldwith an EIL Explore Mexico Award? 1 Locations:

NUIG ALIVE Explorers

David O Reilly

About me:My name is David O’Reilly. I am a mature student, studying Writing with Philosophy & English at NUI Galway. I love sports and music and am a member of the NUIG Triathlon Club and Bray Rowing Club. To relax, I play the piano with my friends. All of these activities are great but if I’m being really honest, my favourite pass time is fishing!! With EIL’s support, I plan to go to Vietnam to teach and work in a school. The school works with youngsters in order to help develop independence, integration, leadership, language and increase confidence. I am honoured and very excited to have won this award, and with

Sinead Regan

About me:My name is Sinead and I’m from Galway. I am currently a second year student in NUIG. I am an alumnus of Dublin Institute of Technology where I studied Mathematics. I am passionate about the promotion of STEM subjects especially among females. This year I helped develop and implement a pilot peer led tutoring service for first year science students in NUIG. I won the NUIG Alive Award and am looking forward to being an ambassador for EIL Explore and my university while volunteering abroad. Destination:Mexico: Oaxcaca, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Amecameca – 8 weeks -Volunteering & cultural immersion – variety of projects – Host family  Mexico Projects Do you want

Danielle O Brien

About me:Hi, my name is Danielle O’brien and I am twenty years old. I am from the small town of Birr in Co. Offaly but I am living in Galway at the moment while studying in NUIG. I am in my final year studying English, Sociology and Politics. I am extremely interested in all areas of human rights, activism and volunteering and I’m very excited to be starting a masters in international human rights in September. I enjoy travelling immensely and getting to experience and be a part of different cultures. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and listening to music. I am so grateful to have been

Aaron Kilboy

About me:Hey, I’m Aaron Kilboy from Loughrea, Co. Galway. I’m currently studying Financial Maths and Economics at NUIG and have been lucky to earn the NUI Galway Alive Award! I’m hoping to participate in an educational volunteering program in Central America. I’ve taught maths for a long time and always seek to impart an intellectual appreciation for the subject and its uses on my students. I’m interested in the subject of income inequality and economic empowerment and look forward to living in and experiencing emerging economies on ground level. I love playing and listening to music, playing handball and enjoy beer, wine and good food! Destination:Mexico: Oaxcaca, Mexico City, Oaxaca,

Orla Tubridy

About me:My name is Orla Tubridy and I am twenty-one years old. Originally from Mullingar, I have been living in the wonderful Galway city for four years now. I am a final year student of French and English at NUIG. I love travelling and languages and learning about new cultures. I am also very interested in drama and theatre, yoga, music, reading, volunteering and adventure sports. I was so grateful to be awarded the NUIG Alive award with EIL and cannot wait to get working on their projects this summer. Destination:Ecuador: Quito & rural communities – 8 weeks -Volunteering & cultural immersion – variety of projects – Host familyEcuador Projects

Global Awareness Programme Explorers

Jorge Ruiz Villasante

About me:Hello, my name is Jorge and I come from Spain, although I’ve been living in Cork for almost 11 years now. I work as a community educator teaching digital photography and new devices and technologies to older adults. I love my job and really enjoy working with people and showing them how to become more independent and self-sufficient. I strongly believe that everyone has the potential to do what they want, but sometimes they just need some support and encouragement to achieve their full potential. I have received the Gold Global Citizen Award, from my previous volunteering in India, which was a great way to help me focus on

Amanda Keane

About me:My name is Amanda, I’m 24 and from Tipperary. I studied languages, and I love to travel. One of my favourite things to do is meet new people and learn from their stories. I’m currently doing an MA in Women, Gender and Society in UCD and loving it. I’m very excited about taking part in The Global Awareness Programme- I’ve done a lot of volunteering in Ireland but this is the first time I’ll be doing it abroad, so I’m very grateful to EIL for the opportunity. I’ll be travelling to Thailand and my experience will be based on the SDG of Gender Equality which I am extremely passionate

Chinedum Muotto

About me:Hi I’m Chinedum from Nigeria and I’ve been living in Ireland now for over 10 years. While at Dublin City University, I received a BA in Business Studies and a Uaneen Degree for my contribution to student life through extra-curricular activities. I am a change maker and seek to inspire other through my actions. My exceptional leadership skills were recognized and developed further through my participation in The Washington Ireland Programme Class of 2016. This year I will be participating in the EIL Explore Global Awareness Programme, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of “Good Health”. After my mother died from Cancer, I have been very

Catherine Blake

About me:First off my name is Catherine, 20 years old and from the great county of Cork! My interests include drama, art, sports like rugby and a bit of G.A.A, and lately working a lot with the Vincent de Paul society in college. All things to do with the natural world fascinate me, I adore learning about how the world works and have become passionate about trying to find innovative ways to simultaneously develop and conserve it. I’m a second year science student in TCD and I hope to get my degree in Environmental Sciences, basically I want to turn my passion into my profession. I’ve always had a thirst

Thailand Arts Programme Explorer

Queenie O’Sullivan

About me:Hello, my name is Queenie O’Sullivan. I’m eighteen years old and I come from co.meath in Ireland. Since I was young I’ve always loved and valued art and exploring creativity. I grew up in an incredibly creative household, things were always being made from clay pieces to finger painting, so it is no wonder that art is such an essential part of who I am today. I have now been accepted to study animation in college and I’m ecstatic to see where this path takes me. I’m also an avid reader, I hope to one day to practically have a library in my house. My mum has always encouraged

Mexico Environmental Programme Explorer

Sorcha Corcoran

About me:Hello My name is Sorcha Corcoran .I was born in Cork city, Ireland and studied English and Archaeology at University College Cork. I enjoy photography and outdoor activities. I have been involved in voluntary English language teaching for adults and teenagers in my home town and abroad. I am this year’s winner the 2017 EIL Explore Mexico Award where I will be working closely with the Zapotec community living in La Ventanilla, Oaxaca Mexico. This opportunity will broaden my knowledge of sustainable development and experience living in a diverse culture. Destination:Mexico: 1 award – 8 weeks – Social Inclusion & Community Project -Volunteering & cultural immersion – Host familyMexico Ecotourism


Cultural Immersion Explorers


Japan Explorer

Tim Hannon

About me:My name is Tim Hannon.I’m 16 and from Ballynacally ,Ennis,Co.Clare,the home of Irish music song and dance.I am a 5th year student at St.Flannans College in Ennis.I love music, singing,current affairs and rowing(curragh racing) .I am fortunate to  come from a very musical family.Ive been told that I could sing before I could speak so Im looking forward to singing during my trip abroad and introducing Irish culture and song to the people I encounter.I was chosen as the recipient of the EIL Eplore Japan award 2017.I am very excited and look forward to developing my Japanese and learning about their fascinating culture. I will stay in a place

Ecuador Explorer

Eilis Corless

About me:My name is Eilis Corless, I’m 17 and I’m in fifth year. I’m from the small rural town of Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo. This Summer I will be going to Ecuador.  I enjoy listening and playing music and hanging out with my friends. I’m incredibly excited to go to Ecuador and experience a whole new culture and live in a completely different country for a month. I hope to show them some of my culture and bring home some of theirs.  Destination:Ecuador: 1 award – 4 weeks – Cultural immersion in local culture, language and community – Host family Ecuador Ready for a South American Adventure? Applications Now CLOSED Ecuador 1 Explore Ecuador 2018 Age profile: 16  – 17 years of


Secondary School Abroad


Lorcan Craven-Grace

About me:Hi my name is Lorcan Craven-Grace, I live in Celbridge Co. Kildare and I have been awarded the secondary school abroad award. I am really looking forward to spending three months abroad and improving my French language skills. I hope my trip will be filled with new experiences and wonderful people. I currently volunteer as a venture rep in my scout county and I have a huge interest in sports. I am so excited for my trip abroad and I really look forward to it. Destination:Secondary School: 2 awards – (Aug – Dec 2017) – Study abroad in a European country – 3 months – Host family & local school Secondary School

Laura Dwyer

About me:Hi my name is Laura Dwyer and I am fifteen years old. I am from Waterville, County Kerry and the award I have won is “Secondary Schools in Europe”.The type of action project I will be doing is “Explore” and I hope to show how a different culture can influence people’s pastimes and hobbies. My hobbies are football, basketball and running.As an outgoing and active person I am really looking forward to this opportunity to explore and learn new things and I am really enthusiastic about meeting new people. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am truly excited for. Destination:Secondary School: 2 awards – (Aug – Dec 2017) – Study