Alumni Spotlight: Elmira Ayvazyan


Elmira is a big fan of exploring cultures, learning new languages, meeting new people and going on adventures. She likes working hard throughout the year so that she can enjoy the summers to the fullest and dedicate her whole time to her hobbies.

Why did you choose this program?

After a long and thorough research of possible summer opportunities, finding Joinki was a real success. I chose Joinki because it was a great chance to live a true Italian life in the beautiful region of Trentino and at the same time give something back to the community. All the help that the Joinki team provides to its applicants even before being chosen showed how reliable and great this program was.

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

First things first: the Joinki has stated very clearly what is it going to assist me with and what am I supposed to organize. This was something that I appreciated a lot because being clear on such topics makes everyone's lives easier.

Joinki has organized most of the things within the frames of the program and has left me with minor things to worry about. Another thing that I have appreciated a lot about Joinki was the pieces of advice that I could get from the team anytime about questions of all kinds.

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

  1. Learn life lessons from Italians - especially when it comes to enjoying life to its fullest.
  2. Make sure you get the best out of your time in Italy as it is all in your hands.
  3. Bear in mind that time is not infinite and you will not even realize how fast time is flying.
  4. Eat as much gelato (aka ice cream) as you can - it is heavenly!

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

The average day/week of a participant of Joinki program may vary from tutor to tutor due to the placing situation. In my case, I lived with a beautiful host family of four (mother, father, son and daughter), where I was supposed to tutor kids who were five and seven years old at the time. During the weekdays, my host family was gone for work, and I used this time to study Italian, travel around and hang out with other tutors who lived near me. In the evenings, I joined the host mother and we went for a walk with the kids and practiced speaking in English. Some other times we would arrange actual classes when I was teaching English.

The evenings were one of my favorite times of the day, as the whole family was getting together, we were having delicious Italian food (prepared by the super talented cook - host mother) and talking about different topics.

I was very lucky with my host family as they were very active and positive people. They were very open and always happy to share their beautiful culture and country with me. During the weekends, they arranged road trips around the region and showed me the breathtaking Italian sites. We have gone on hikes, visited beautiful lakes, went to the nearby cities and did all kinds of different activities.

In other words, my days/weeks were very diverse and active during all six weeks, which made my experience even more unforgettable.

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

My biggest fear at the beginning was that I would not be able to absorb the culture well enough as I did not know Italian. However, I was fortunate that Joinki program provided me with free Italian tutoring lessons, which helped me a lot throughout the experience and made me fall in love with that beautiful language.

Should the Reader apply for Joinki?

If you are a person who is interested in the Italian culture and wants to have the time of his/her life, you should apply for the Joinki program without any doubts. It is a beautiful opportunity for you to get out of your comfort zone, learn, explore and have a wonderful time.