Joinki the Culture Connector

Joinki

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.

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Website
www.joinki.it

Reviews

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Aquila
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Looking back at 2019, the five weeks I spent in Trentino, in the summer were certainly unforgettable. This program is based in one of the most beautiful places in Italy, the mountains are simply breathtaking. In addition to the amazing landscape this program allows you to fully immerse yourself in the Italian culture. In the short time I spent there, I truly learned so much I couldn’t have discovered if I had just visited as a tourist. My job was to teach English to the children in my host family, but I was also able to learn some Italian myself. Another thing that makes this program special is the thorough process of matching tutors with families. I was fully embraced by my host family who were the most welcoming and warmest people I have ever met. If you are looking to experience the Italian culture, to be surrounded by an amazing group of people and to enjoy the beauty of nature, I definitely recommend this program with Joinki.

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Marisa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Some time ago, after I finished my Abitur in the summer, I decided to take a year off and go abroad to various countries, to volunteer and make experiences. During my time in Kenya I already planned my next trip and stumbled upon the website of Joinki. As I didn't plan much time ahead, I had the expectation of my plan being too short ahead of time. But I contacted the agency and got an immediate response, with all the informations and dates needed. After writing and sending my application forms, I got in contact with the agency partner in Trentino, a very friendly and open minded woman, called Sabrina, who will require you to have several Skype meetings, in order to realise if you are fitted for the program and if there is a host family that could fit your personality and habits. As soon as she matches you, you get the information about the family, and get in contact with them. All over, the bureaucracy is very easy and comfortable, without any complications, long waiting times or anything else. Arriving there I met the Sabrina who, according to my wishes to work in a school, already made an appointment at the nearest school, enabling me to get to know the teachers and to decide on the lessons I want to help in.
She also gave me a lot of information about the Val di Non and Trentino in general, where to go and what to see. She also gives you the Trentino Guest Card, which allows you to travel for free in whole Trentino and visit Museums, Castles and tourist attractions for free.
She herself also took me on trips to spend time together and talk about problems or difficulties. The work in the school was very fulfilling but of course also quit exhausting as I took a lot of hours which also require preparation. In my free time I worked with a girl from the University Trient on the Tandem Program, on which you can sign up through Sabrina. It is a great opportunity to meet someone your age to go out with and to form a new friendship. Also I visited towns, like Bozen and Meran. You also have the opportunity to go see Milano and Verona and of course the mountains are an attraction for themselves :)

What would you improve about this program?
I would wish so much for the program to grow and to be able to have this experience not just in Trentino but in so much more regions of Italy, as the languages are so important and Italy is a stunning country.
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Zara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It's now come to the end of 2019 and I have to say the best part of the year was my 6 weeks in Trentino with Joinki. For me, going abroad on my own was completely new and scary but with Joinki I felt incredibly supported and welcomed. What makes them special is that they take EXTRA care in matching you with a family so both of you have a wonderful experience.
For me, it was exactly that. The family I spent my summer were the warmest, kindest people you could meet and treated me like I was another member of the family. I love them so so dearly and can't wait to see them again hopefully next year.
If you are looking for a way to enhance your Italian skills/teaching/culture knowledge whilst having an incredible experience in the most beautiful part of Italy then I can't recommend it enough. Grazie Mille Joinki <3

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Judy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you are wondering wether or not to do this program, I would tell you : DO IT! I came from Canada to leave the city life for a little bit and to learn more about the Italian lifestyle, and I was not disappointed. During my 4 weeks stay in the region of Trento, I taught English to a very welcoming Italian family, but I also had the chance to learn some Italian myself! I felt like I was a member of the family from the moment I met my host family and I got to visit so many places all around Italy with them! This program is truly genuine and I created life-long friendships that I will never forget! Another point that really made this program unforgettable is the care and the support that Sabrina gave me right from the start! If you love nature, family values, learning new things and adventures, this is for you!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The mountains, again and again! It is a peaceful environment to tutor and to make a difference!
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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.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

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.

Staff Interviews

These 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.