Joinki the Culture Connector

Joinki the Culture Connector

About

Our new program in Trentino, starting from 2016, offers young people the opportunity to experience a new way of cultural exchange. At the very beginning selected tutors (English and German mother tongue) will be hosted in families in the Autonomous Province of Trento in order to give them the opportunity to teach their mother tongue language. The Autonomous Province of Trento has developed a new and innovative project in order to strongly promote foreign language awareness and capabilities in the young generation.

Website
www.joinki.it

Reviews

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Maria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with the Joinki Language Tutor Program was amazing, during the six weeks of my stay in Italy I didn't only teach English to some of the greatest people I've ever met but had the opportunity to take part in fun activities such as visiting some local castles, wineries and beautiful Italian cities. My host family was clearly selected with care and they were some of the warmest and most welcoming people I've ever met. Also, during my stay I really felt like I was cared for and looked after and everyone I met wanted to make sure I had the best time of my life. This program enabled me to have a summer of my life and I feel very grateful. If you've a passion for languages and love Italy this program is definitely worth getting into!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open-minded and get into as many things as possible, you won't regret! Also, knowing Italian or studying it beforehand might be helpful since many older people don't know English.
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melissa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an amazing time with Joinki. From the thorough host family selection to the great efforts made by Joinki to get volunteers free transportation and guest passes to see local attractions, the Joinki experience went above and beyond what I expected from a volunteer program. During the initial interview, Joinki assesses your personality to determine which of their many eager families is right for you. Joinki also organizes events with other volunteers that are integrative and give you a taste of the authentic North Italian lifestyle! These things show just how committed Joinki is to giving volunteers the best experience possible. The program also takes place in Trentino: a beautiful mountainous region in Northern Italy. There is so much to see and do. I would definitely recommend the program!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have travelled to more cities. The nearest popular destinations are Verona and Venice, which make for great day-trips. If I could do it all again, I would have gone to see more of Italy on the weekends.
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Lars
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I already made three projects in Italy and this one was the best!
Directly after my first Skype interview with Joinki I got a good feeling because I noticed that Joinki is really caring about me. After approx 2 weeks they already found the fitting family for me. And they were right because I felt very comfortable in my host family.
In my six weeks in Terres which is a very small village in Valle di Non I was never bored. The nature around there is very beautiful so that you can travel around with your family or Sabrina from Joinki.
During the afternoon I did some grammar lessons with my younger host sister. Seeing my host sister improving her german skills I was really confident and happy.
Another great point about Joinki is the cultural exchange because I could show many things from Germany that are different in Italy. But of course I also learned a lot about the Italian all day life.
Special experiences were a tour in a canyon that I enjoyed very much and making Pasta by hand.

All in all I can really recommend this project cause of all these unique experiences you are able to explore.

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Phoebe
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Joinki offers a taste of Italian life in the North of Italy, a beautiful region rich with culture and housing a lot to offer to any of its visitors. Not only is the program based in such an amazing area, but Joinki also provides a good foundation to any of its volunteers by making them feel comfortable with adapting to life and any responsibilities they have as they participate in Joinki. In addition to providing a really good tutoring and interning experience with the most welcoming of families and schools in the area, the program also provides its volunteers with extra perks that allow them to have full access to what the Trentino region has to offer. The program directors provide a substantial amount of support to all of their participants on both sides to make sure everyone is satisfied throughout the entire process, from the placement process, to the tutor’s time in Trento, to after the tutor has left Italy. I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying volunteer experience abroad, and I have Joinki to thank for providing that to me.

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Emmily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Yes, this amazing organization really deserves every full score I can give them on this website.
I came here for two months in Oktober 2018 in pretty short notice and with basically no Italian vocabulary other than “Ciao” and “Bello”. To be fair, those have defintely been the two words I have used the most (the country with its mountains, cities, villages, restaurants - its everything basically - is beyond beautiful) but after spending two months with great and thorough support from the organization I can now proudly say that I know way more than those two words!
I have seen so much of the north of Italy in this short time, trying to squeeze as much sight seeing and hiking and enjoyment as possible into every week.
My host family was also great, we lived in Mechel (Trentino) and did a lot of the activities together.
The rest of my time was spent at a middle school in Fondo, being a language tutor for German and English.
Seriously everything about this experience was amazing, except for the part where I had to say good bye.
Thank you Joinki for your wonderful initiative and support!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Alina Pavlyshche

Alina is a student from New York City who likes to discover hidden gems this grand city has to offer. She tries to travel as much as possible to learn more about countries and global relations.

Alina Pavlyshche

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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Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was living in Belgium at the age of 17 for one year as an exchange student. The program I applied for gave me an opportunity to get in touch with a lot of different cultures and a lot of different life styles. I had a chance to study and live with Belgian people and most of all to be fluent in French . I understood the importance of communication and acceptance and especially the importance of not judging straightaway what looks different but trying to understand it with an open mind.

Why should an applicant choose Joinki?

Joinki’s main motto is “Languages are the connector between cultures and people”. Language is not just a part of a country or culture, it is a way of thinking, the way of living. To understand this concept is nowadays extremely prominent. That’s what Joinki offers and that’s why I believe an applicant should choose our program. Joinki gives the opportunity to connect the Italian culture and language to other realities where both language tutors and host families gain advantages.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One of our tutors wrote: “I’m so happy that I was able to live with a real Italian family and travel through Italy not like a tourist, but like I were one of the citizens”. That’s what Joinki also wants to show: that there is a possibility to live a real experience with a real Italian family in a true Italian environment.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

The program Joinki offers is in my opinion a great opportunity to take. If I were an applicant I would definitely choose it! Joinki’s program is a true cocktail of culture, language, people, nature, wonderful experiences and great achievements. Joinki tutors have the possibility to put themselves on the line, to let Italian people discover their language and culture, and in return tutors are able to explore Italian natural and cultural heritage and to learn a different from their own life style.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

What differentiates Joinki’s program from other cultural programs is its continuous search for the best quality and best experiences to offer to its participants. Every tutor is unique and Joinki offers him/her its customized and exclusive experience. I’m proud of Joinki’s team every time we receive positive feedback from our participants. They encourage us to go on and improve. It’s important to us to understand that we are on a right track.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

People are, of course, a biggest factor in being a successful company. Working in a team gives the company way more ideas and inspirations than one of the members just working alone. Moreover, it is not just who works for Joinki who makes it successful, but also the tutors and host families who are continuously giving the company a big urge and motivation.

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