In October, EFIL’s Secretary-General was involved with the facilitation of a study visit to Ireland, organised by EIL Ireland and the office of AFS International. The purpose of the study tour was to introduce European AFS Partner Organisations to EIL (Experiment in International Living) and to the secondary school programme in Ireland.

AFS has stopped its activities in Ireland and the United Kingdom a while ago, but is currently investigating ways to re-enter the Irish and British market. This year has seen the start of a partnership between AFS International and EIL Ireland with a number of pilot exchanges.

Paul Claes (EFIL), Genevieve O’Connor (EIL), Kevin Hickey (EIL), Eduardo Assed (AFS INT)

Next to EFIL and AFS International, representatives of EFIL Member Organisations from Finland and Italy, as well as both the Belgian AFS organisations, took part in the study visit. They met with the Director of EIL Ireland, Kevin Hickey, and his key-staff, in the EIL office in Cork, Ireland’s second biggest city.  The programme further included a well appreciated trip to a host community in the Clonmel region (Co. Tipperary), a community which hosts over 25 international students each year. Two schools were visited, giving the guests the opportunity to see the school facilities, meet the school staff, meet AFS participants currently hosted by the community, and speak with the local coordinator.

EIL’s key areas “Intercultural Learning”, “Experiential Learning”, “Global Consciousness”, “Personal Development and Transferable Skills”,  show that there’s a close connection with AFS.  EIL’s mission is to involve people in intercultural learning in order to develop understanding of and respect for people of the world and to advance world peace.  EIL is a worldwide organisation founded in the USA in 1932 as The Experiment in International Living. It is the oldest educational exchange organisation in the world, involving almost 25.000 people each year on a variety of educational and cultural travel programmes. It is a not for profit, non-religious and non-political association.