Dylan Clarke from Carrickmacross, Monaghan has won a prestigious six week EIL Travel Award to Japan. The fully funded award was given by Cork-based EIL Intercultural Learning, which organises cultural and educational travel programmes worldwide.
Dylan (17) is a fifth year boarding student at Dundalk Grammar School. He is an avid member of Scouts is also involved in his school’s debating society and plays the violin and flute in the school orchestra. Dylan was selected as the winner amid very stiff competition for EIL’s most popular Travel Award. Dylan demonstrated his enthusiasm to teach Japanese students about Irish culture and showed the judges that he would make an excellent ambassador for Ireland in Japan. Dylan applied for the EIL Travel Award in January and submitted a video, which included clips of his hometown, Carrickmacross. In Japanese, Dylan described the place where he comes from in rural Monaghan and the contrast between this and Japan. Dylan has self-studied Japanese for the past 2 years and the judges noted his passion for the Japanese culture.
Dylan said: “I am absolutely over the moon! I have always wanted to go to Japan, everything about the country intrigues me and I can’t wait to practice my Japanese and learn loads more.”
Established in 1994, the EIL Travel Awards give people the chance to apply for fully or partially funded learning trips abroad. Winners spend time living with host families, they immerse themselves in the country and they become members of that community. Dylan will spend 6 weeks in the Suwa prefecture of Japan where he will live with a Japanese family and attend Japanese High School. He will also engage in local Japanese customs while also teaching his new friends about Ireland.
"It's great to see the change in people from when they go away to when they come back. Meeting them again, hearing their stories, feeling their excitement, and listening to how they're going to apply what they've learned in their future endeavours is very satisfying for everyone at EIL." said Kevin Hickey, Director of EIL Ireland.
EIL is a not-for-profit organisation that is recognised as a "Peace Messenger" by the United Nations. The Cork-based organisation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and is marking this with a number of celebratory programmes and activities. The mission of the organisation is to provide intercultural learning experiences which enrich lives, promote understanding of other cultures and challenge individuals to be more globally aware and responsible. Further information on EIL is available through www.eilireland.org.