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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