i-to-i profile

Jo Little

i-to-I press officer

Organisation profile

1. What does i-to-i do?
i-to-i is the world leader in ethical volunteer travel and TEFL
(teaching English as a foreign language) training. We send 5,000 people
a year to work with 500 community, teaching, sports, media and
conservation projects in 32 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America
and Australasia. We offer the most widely recognised TEFL courses
available and arrange paid teaching placements in ten countries
including China, Hungary and Greece. We also support projects across the
world through our charity – the i-to-i Foundation.

2. Why has meaningful travel become so popular?
People are looking for ways to give back, have unique experiences and to
grow as individuals. Simply travelling to destinations isn’t always
enough – it’s becoming almost too easy. As travel is so accessible now I
think people are starting to look for something different from their
time overseas. People want a new challenge and a ‘real’ travel
experience. Rather than just passing through a country and visiting the
top sites, travellers want to get to the heart of it, learn about its
culture and people and really give something back to the communities
they are visiting. Meaningful travel gives them the opportunity to get
so much more out of their time overseas by benefiting from a complete
cultural exchange – working and living alongside the locals and getting
a true feel for the country.

3. Why was i-to-i set up?
The i-to-i concept was born when its founder Deirdre Bounds embarked on
her own career break, quitting her job as a shoe machinery marketeer to
explore the world – teaching English in Japan, China and Greece and
driving a backpackers’ bus in Sydney. She was fascinated with travel,
going eye to eye with unique cultures and people. When she finally
returned home she was itching to help others have the same kind of
experiences that she’d had. So, she set up i-to-i from a bed-sit in
Leeds with no business experience but heaps of passion. She started with
her own weekend TEFL course which was a monster hit and the volunteer
projects soon followed.

4. How many volunteers does it help a year?
We send approximately 5,000 volunteers a year overseas.

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