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Why did you choose this program?

JOINKI’s purpose statement interested me right away. They are motivated to connect foreign people with the Italian culture through language. Isn’t it so simple, yet brilliant?

Moreover, JOINKI has a great team that is interested in providing the best experience for a participant. I realized this after an interview with their manager, who kindly led me through the process and the next steps to take. I was assured that this program and all the people involved really would take care of me and let me have that connection with the Italian culture JOINKI is striving for.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

JOINKI organized a few excursions with the rest of the participants, so we were able to meet and get to know each other. Also, weekly Italian language lessons with the nicest teacher I have ever had.

On the first day of my program, the manager met me and explained about region’s transportation, maps, must-visit places. Plus, she was always available if I had any questions regarding anything at all.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone going on your program?

I would advise everyone who chooses JOINKI to be open-minded and ready to be mind-blown. The people and natural wonders of the region will give you the best experience of your life. Get up early every morning to watch sunrise (you are not going to regret it); you will also get done more this way.

Also, try to step out of your comfort zone in that way you will actually be able to learn some new aspects of life in a different country. Additionally, try to bring your own materials (children books, dictionaries, textbooks) to teach a language that you will. It saves up so much time and makes the process easier since you will come prepared.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You would spend 3-4 hours a day on teaching English to family members. If you choose to do it in the morning, you would have more time to go around and explore the region during the rest of the day. To be completely honest, your schedule in this program depends on your agreement with a family you are staying with.

There will be a few meetings with JOINKI participants that you will schedule beforehand and, of course, weekly Italian language lesson that you schedule with your own teacher. Weekends are free for you to wander further away from the region.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I didn’t really know what to expect because it was my first experience abroad all by myself. I was afraid that of a thought that I won’t like it and that I would feel too homesick that I would quit.

I overcame my fears when I met a wonderful family I was staying with. They really made me feel safe and like home. Also, the JOINKI team who constantly checked up on me and encouraged me to explore Italy with them. I forgot about all those fears within a first few days in the country. It was amazing how fast I felt good being in a foreign country.

What did you like most in the program?

JOINKI became like a family to me. I still keep in touch with the manager and the family I taught English to. We joke around, we share news. Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t have spent my summer anywhere else. If I could, I would have stayed for longer even.

This program made me feel welcome. I can truly say that I got that unique taste of culture and I lived like a true Italian, which was one of the best experiences of my life

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It has been 3 months since I left Italy and I can’t believe time has passed so fast. There is no day or night that I don’t think about the amazing experience I lived there, because it definitely changed my life, made me a better person, and gave me so many memories that will always be in my heart! There is no day that I don’t think about going back to Trentino, there is a famous quote that states “People always go back to those places where they loved life”. I loved my life during my time in Italy; every single day was full of happiness, new knowledge and laughs; and that is why I am sure I will go back there soon or later. I am always in touch with my Italian family, and you cannot imagine how much I miss them, I can’t wait to see them and hug them again! Being a JOINKI TUTOR, has been by far the most incredible experience I’ve had in my life! Thank you JOINKI, Thank you Italy, Thank you Sabrina, Paola, Andrea, and Mafalda!

 

(Catalina – Colombia)

For many years now I’ve been fond of diving, an activity that unfortunately doesn’t exist in Trentino. Nevertheless, from my very first week in Italy, I realized that I was going to experience a different kind of submersion, having Joinki by my side as a diving school. Carrying out this volunteering project, I saw myself diving into Italian culture, traditions, social life, history and last but not least – its moreish cuisine! Joinki project turned out to be exactly what I was looking for – a meaningful, inspiring, self-developing and fun volunteering experience. My main responsibility was to teach English to my host family and different students from schools in Val di Non. I will never forget the innocent smiles of my primary school students and their never-ceasing questions. Questions about my favorite sport, ice cream, family and hobbies. Their curiosity and persistence have taught me a lot. It would be totally wrong to say that this project is purely focused on language. Yes, language teaching remains a priority, while all the rest is still important and supported by Joinki. By saying all the rest, I mean traveling, getting to know Italian culture and language, making new friends, experiencing new things and much more – but you’ll have to join Joinki to understand what! I guess after this experience I’ll never stop praising Italy. A county so rich with culture when it comes to traditions, so tasty when it comes to cuisine, so unpredictable when in comes to appointments and so loud, so warm when it comes to people. During my time there, I had a few difficult moments, but they remain to be completely meaningless when compared to all those beautiful, amazing moments of doing, trying and feeling new things! This volunteering taught me much more that I ever expected and it has definitely enriched me as a person. I’m very glad that thanks to this opportunity I overcame some of my fears and valued some of my capacities. I made new friendships, friendships that are going to last. I made a new family, an Italian family that keeps their door wide open for me. I must thank Joinki for this incredible match. Now when its all done, I look back with gratitude and realize that it was a lifetime experience, one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had.

(Daria-Cyprus)

It provided an opportunity for me to have an experience teaching in Liceo in Cles, Trentino, Itlay. Liceo is an excellent and reputable local high school. The headmaster is so nice and kind, appreciating different culture. I cooperated with and was supported by some English teachers. In the beginning, everything was not easy for me, cause my major is not in education. From preparation of every week’s topics (deciding different themes, searching appropriating pictures, making powerpoints), to control of atmosphere and rhythm of every class, I needed to pay lots of efforts on it. It gave me a lot of challenges and teaches me how to be a good teacher.
The Italian family was so nice, friendly and thoughtful. They had given me many supports and always shown respect to me. It’s really thankful to have such a good family. I really like the atmosphere there, I felt  like at home, they treat me exactly like a family member.  I made a study plan for them and organized some courses every day. Some time we shared a video, some times we did some oral practicing. And most importantly, when you see their improvements, you will feel so happy about that.
Sabrina and Sara were so nice and thoughtful! They helped you a lot during this project. For the future tutors…you don’t need to worry too much, just to enjoy the project and meet the challenges!

(Julie- Australia)

Before discovering Joinki, I was at a turning point in my life. With a university degree in my hand and two years of work experience, I was looking for a change, for a chance to experience another way of life, and to find something more fulfilling. I had spent a summer travelling and knew that Italy held a culture that was utterly fascinating, and perhaps time spent immersed in Italian life was exactly what I was looking for. After spending some time researching I decided to try Au Pairing, but after 6 weeks living with a family, I discovered the work I was doing wasn’t the right fit for me.

Fortunately for me, I soon learned about Joinki and all the amazing things it had to offer. Working first hand with students at the local elementary and secondary schools, who were enthusiastic about the English language and what I had to offer, my world soon opened up to an avenue of work that I had never considered before. Working with and teaching young students was an amazing and fulfilling experience and Joinki supported me every step of the way.

As a mother tongue English speaker, I was able to guide conversation and topics in English and aid students with pronunciation and grammar points. Excited to hear about North American culture first hand, the students were always eager to participate and ask plenty of questions. Of course, there were some days and some classes that were either too nervous or shy to speak, or found the English language too difficult. It was important for me to find ways to engage these students and encourage them the best I could. I kept an open dialogue with the teachers and always looked to them for advice and guidance when I felt unsure of my work, to which they were always extremely supportive and positive.

The Joinki program also allowed me to explore the region and interact with the community I was now staying with. Excursions to the Canyons, Castle Thun, and Tovel lake exposed me to the natural beauty of the region and the history of the people. Trento is like no other place in Italy, a true hidden treasure in the Dolomites. Val di Non is completely surrounded by apple orchards and from each slope and peak of the hills you’ll find a castle secretly nestled amongst the trees. In fact, all of Trento is a magical castle region, with many still standing and maintained in their original condition, while others hold the true history and ages of time upon their walls, laying in ruins as rough foliage entwines the towers and trundles.

My time with Joinki has provided me with an incomparable experience and memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

(Rachel from Canada)