Ireland: Irish Culture and Youth Empowerment

Experience Ireland's culture, major cities, and daily life while acquiring skills in leadership during a summer abroad program for high school students.

Begin the program in the historic city of Cork, where you will have orientation and skills-building workshops focused on leadership and youth empowerment. Explore Ireland’s countryside, visit the Blarney Stone and the historic town of Cobh, and meet with Irish young people who have brought about positive change in their communities. Then, depart Cork for your homestay in County Tipperary, where you will share in the daily activities of your host family to better acclimate to Irish life and culture.

A highlight of the program is attending The Foróige Youth Leadership Conference on the National University of Ireland campus in Maynooth. The conference brings together more than 300 youth from Ireland and around the world for a week of intensive learning, development, and skills-building around leadership. During the conference, you will complete modules of the Youth Leadership program, learning how to help enact societal and personal change through core social skills including self-awareness, collaboration, problem solving, empathy, and relationship building. During the conference, you will also work on a team project investigating local, community, and global issues. You will be awarded a certificate upon completion of the modules.

Conclude your program with time in Dublin. Visit cathedrals, Georgian squares and townhouses, and places of historical and political significance as your group reflects on your extraordinary summer in Ireland.

Orientation: Cork, 4 days
Homestay: Clonmel,* 5–6 days. Students are paired (i.e., two students per host family).
Other Accommodations: Hotels, university dormitory

* Homestay locations can vary.

Days 1–3

Orientation in Cork
  • Learn about the history, culture, and environment of Ireland from experts
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities
  • Visit important sites throughout the city
  • Attend a celebration of Irish music, dance, and song
  • Visit Blarney Castle and the seaside town of Cobh
Thematic Focus
  • Meet with Irish young people who share the goal of becoming young leaders

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay at a centrally located hotel.

Days 4–5

Excursion to Killarney Accompanied by Irish Students
  • Visit the Killarney Natural Park Education Centre and participate in activities such as observing local wildlife, pond dipping, and moth trapping
  • Hike through the spectacular scenery of Killarney and see the Torc Waterfall

During this period, you and your group will stay at a youth hostel.

Days 6–7

Thematic Focus in Cork – Youth Leadership Workshop
  • Take part in workshops that will enable you to devise a personal leadership goal and begin planning and working towards achieving this
  • Participate in workshops focusing on communication skills, self-awareness, values, and team problem solving
  • Meet with Irish young people who are also learning leadership skills

During this period, you and your group will stay at a centrally located hotel.

Days 8–13

Homestay in Clonmel
  • Become immersed in the daily lives of an Irish family and community
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Spend a day at Tramore Beach
Thematic Focus
  • Engage in a local community service project, putting into practice the skills you have learned during the workshops in Cork

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family.

Days 14–17

Thematic Focus in Maynooth
  • Attend The Foróige Youth Leadership Conference
  • Work on a team project investigating local, community, and global issues

During this period, you and your group will stay on a university campus.

Days 18–20

Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Dublin
  • Visit important sites throughout the city
  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay at a nearby hotel.

Day 21


Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.

These are leader bios from summer 2015.

Caitlin Morris

Caitlin first fell in love with travel when studying abroad in Spain during an undergraduate semester at the University of Illinois–Champaign. After college, Caitlin spent a year as a WorldTeach volunteer, teaching primary school on an outer island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She then returned to the US to obtain her master's degree from The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, with a program focus on education and international social welfare. Caitlin has served as a university experiential education programs assistant, a youth and family program coordinator at a Chicago community center, and a researcher on various education-related research projects.

Caitlin’s passion for experiential learning took her to Kenya in the summer of 2012 where she worked as an advisor with the Innovation Institute, leading students through a program promoting entrepreneurship to build sustainable social businesses in rural Africa. In the summer of 2014, Caitlin served as a group leader on The Experiment’s Wildlife, Ecology, and Culture program in Botswana. Always dedicated to supporting the learning and growth of young people, during the school year Caitlin can be found serving as a certified school social worker in Chicago. She enjoys dance, photography, spending time with family and friends, and pursuing new learning experiences—including the opportunity to co-lead The Experiment’s new Irish Culture and Global Activism program in 2015!

Vosa Cavu-Litman

A native of Redwood City, California, William Vosa Cavu-Litman graduated with a BA in behavioral sciences and sociology from San José State University in 2009. While in college, Vosa served for two years as the president and CEO of Associated Students, Inc., overseeing a $7.2 million program budget and managing over 180 students and professional staff across multiple departments. He also worked as an academic counselor, supporting at-risk high school students as they prepared for university. Vosa then taught in Los Angeles for two years with Teach for America and obtained a master’s degree in early childhood education from Loyola Marymount University. 

For the past few years, Vosa has been living in Seoul, South Korea, where he works in international education as an instructor, teacher trainer, and curriculum specialist. With family from the Fiji Islands, Vosa has traveled extensively in Fiji; he has also continued his international adventures throughout Latin America, Europe, and Asia. 2015 marked Vosa’s fourth summer serving as an Experiment group leader; he has led programs in Spain, Chile, Peru, and Ireland. Vosa enjoys rivers, lakes, and oceans; loves riding bicycles; and he thoroughly enjoys learning about new cultures.