These days there are so many volunteer and year abroad companies out there that it can be quite daunting and confusing to know which one to choose, after all a gap year is usually a once in a life time experience so you want to get it right. Each week at mapthegap.co.uk we’ll be looking at a different gap year company, doing all the research for you, to make your decision easier. This week we’ll be looking at the popular gap year company, i-to-i.
Who are they?
i-to-i are one of the leading volunteer placement programs in the UK and each year they send around 5,000 people on projects across the world. They have been going since 1994 and they believe in respectful and informed cultural exchange between countries.
Types of gap years they offer...
i-to-i can arrange a variety of gap years for you, including, volunteering, work experience, travel and TEFL courses and teaching. Their volunteer programs can last anywhere between one and 12 weeks depending on what you want and they have placements available in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Volunteer placements range from volunteering in schools and orphanages, to wildlife conservation, community development and building.
Or if you would prefer to actually work and get paid during your gap year, you can opt for i-to-i‘s TEFL courses. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a good way to immerse yourself into a community, interact with the locals and learn a new skill. i-to-i provide TEFL training and certificates and will also help you find a job in your desired country.
And what if you don’t want to teach, but want some type of other work experience or internship? i-to-i do offer a few, although limited options for work and internship opportunities abroad, to help you on your career path during your gap year. This could be anything from working in a museum, to working with archaeologists, journalism or radio broadcasting experience.
i-to-i also offer ‘Meaningful tours’, if you want to travel around and see the highlights, while still including some type of conservation or volunteer work alongside.
i-to-i offer 166 projects in 21 countries on four different continents. Countries range from South Africa, Kenya, Botswana and Zambia in Africa; to Thailand, Cambodia, China, Nepal, India and Vietnam in Asia; and Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina in Latin America. They also have programs in Australia.
Although there is a wide choice of countries they mainly offer programs in countries which are firmly on the tourist trail and you will not find too many off the beaten track destinations. Many of these countries are still desperately in need of help and volunteers though.
Finance and price ...
Prices start at around £450 for one week and up to £1,300 for four weeks depending on which program you choose. Some programs can cost almost £2,000 for two weeks.
However, i-to- are a reputable company and will make sure you are placed in good and worthwhile volunteer placements that are sustainable. You will also have an in-country coordinator for support in case anything goes wrong.
Your fee goes to cover all necessary things like your accommodation, food, transfers, orientation and company business, admin and staff costs. The fee also covers TEFL training, where it’s offered. Your fee does not include flights, insurance and visas. Sometimes food is not included so you will need money to buy your own.
Why should I choose i-to-i?
Choose i-to-i if you want to work with a wide range of projects in many different countries and want to know that you have 24/7 support if you need it.