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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Spanish High School Group26-Jun-2015

A group of Spanish high school students from Madrid arrived to Boston and homestay on Friday evening..

Happy Father's Day 21-Jun-2015

Happy Father's Day to all of our host dads! Thank you for all that you do for our visitors. En..


Best in Hospitality

Ice Cream!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer is all about having fun in the sun, and what better treat to have on a hot day than ice cream? Luckily, Boston has many creameries to choose from! Ice cream is a universal treat, and what better way to get to know your international visitor than over a cold ice cream cone? In this blog, you'll find a list of places around the Boston area to choose from. 

First on the list is Newbury's Amorino. The major appeal of this place is of course the beautiful flowers which are sculpted out of Italian gelato to make a photo-worthy treat. Once you get past the "too-pretty-to-eat" phase, you are able to experience a delicious summer treat that will leave you wanting more! This shop has unique flavors that are sure to suit everyone's taste, like pistachio, amarena (cherry), hazelnut, and specaloos cookies. 

If you prefer your treats hot, head over to one of the Thinking Cup's many locations around Boston. They serve a variety of delicious coffee's, including the affogato, which is espresso poured over gelato! Perfect for a hot summer night. This is also the place to go if you prefer breakfast to any other meal of the day. They have a wide variety of delicious breakfast sandwiches that are sure to satisfy everyone's cravings. 

Looking for more unique ways to enjoy your gelato? Head over to the North End's Caffe Paradiso where you can get delicious cannolo's fresh filled with ice cream or traditional ricotta. Even better, all of their gelato is produced on site with all natural flavors and no natural flavors or preservatives.  

Where's your favorite place to get a cold summer treat? Let us know!

Diversity in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, June 04, 2015

Here at Global Immersions, we frequently discuss with incoming students what it means to stay with an American Homestay family in Boston. What a lot of people might not realize is that over 46 million people who live in the United States were actually born in other countries! In large cities like Boston, the population tends to be even more diverse, therefore Global Immersions hosts are made up of a wide variety of nationalities. We feel that visitors who participate in our programs are fortunate to have hosts that not only allow them to experience US culture, but the culture of their home countries as well! It truly is an experience that allows you to travel the world without ever leaving home. Below, you can find suggestion on how to incorporate your visitor in your daily life, ensuring that both the host and visitor can have an unforgettable learning experience! 

Something we like to reiterate to our hosts is that involving your students doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming! Inviting them to a family barbecue, a local pool, or even the grocery store is a great way to introduce your visitors to US culture. Holidays, birthdays, and other family gatherings are also wonderful cultural experiences. Always keep in mind that while something may seem uninteresting and normal for you could be completely different for them! 

Since so many of our hosts are from a wide variety of different countries, they speak many different languages! As you may know, Global Immersions has a strict policy when it comes to placing students in a home where their native language is spoken. At the same time, it is important to remember not to speak your native language with your family and friends around your visitor, as this can make them extremely uncomfortable. You could instead teach them a few words of your native language as a way to introduce them to another culture. Also, don't forget to help them with their English, the main reason for their stay in Boston! 

At the end of the day, being a good host has nothing to do with where you're from or the money you spend, it's all about the experience you provide and the connections you make. We certainly appreciate all of the hard work our hosts put in to making the home stay experience meaningful and comfortable for all of our visitors. What is the most valuable thing you have learned from hosting an international visitor? Let us know! 

Explore Boston: Summer Fun!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

After a long, cold winter, everyone in Boston is excited about the beautiful weather that has graced the city in recent weeks. With this new weather, you can see a lot more people getting out and about to enjoy all that this city has to offer. In this blog, you can find ideas on what you and your homestay students can do this summer -- for FREE! 

First on our list in the Lawn on D, which is located on 420 D Street at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. There are all kinds of activities you can enjoy at this park, either complimentary or with a low admissions fee. There are light up swings, games, and even concerts which you can enjoy on the beautiful lawn. An upcoming exhibit which will be on display from May 28 - 31 is Pentalum, which is a massive inflatable which is described as "one-part science-fiction space station, one-part colorful dream, one-part futuristic playground." The best part--tickets are only $5! For more information, click here

Summer isn't complete without a trip to the Boston Common. Cool off at the Frog Pond starting on July 1, or enjoy the Carousel which is only $3 a ride! There are also FREE yoga classes offered June-August, 6-7 p.m. at the Carousel on the Boston Common. For more info regarding all activities, click here. The Common also offers FREE performances of Shakespeare's King Lear from July 22 - August 9. More here

Another great way to cool down on those hot summer days is to head to the beach! Boston is surrounded by water, so there's a ton of options for those who are so inclined. A popular choice is Castle Island, which is just 10 minutes south of Boston! The island anchors Pleasure Bay Beach at the northern tip of a 3 mile stretch of South Boston beaches looking out onto Dorchester Bay. While on the island, you can enjoy the 22 acres of beach, which look out onto some of the best views of Boston. And don't forget to head over to Sullivan's to get a basket of fried clams and some ice cream! This is also a great place to go for the 4th of July holiday. 

Biking is a really great activity, particularly in Boston where you can rent bikes at any hubway station nearest to you! Unfortunately, riding your bike around the streets of Boston can be a bit intimidating at times. Luckily, Memorial Drive in Cambridge is closed on Sundays so anyone can enjoy recreational activities on this long stretch of road from 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.! So get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather! 

Believe it or not, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to summer activities in Boston! There is so much to do and so many fun things to experience, all at extremely low costs! So get out there and enjoy this beautiful weather with your homestay visitor. What are your favorite things to do in the summer months? Let us know! 

Cinco de Mayo

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, May 04, 2015

Many people understand that Cinco de Mayo is an Americanized Mexican holiday which is celebrated with delicious food and drinks. Some people may not realize, however, that the holiday is hardly celebrated at all in Mexico, and the meaning behind this holiday has nothing to do with fiestas. Despite this, Cinco de Mayo is a great opportunity to learn about a new culture! 

Cinco de Mayo, which means "Fifth of May" in Spanish, is a day which commemorates the victory over French forces at the battle of Puebla. Don't mistake this day for Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually celebrated on September 16! 

Having lived in Mexico for three years, I can honestly say that Mexican cuisine has some of the most diverse and rich foods in the world. It is also nothing at all like the Mexican food you may find in Boston. However, don't let this deter you from trying out some of the delicious restaurants Boston has to offer. Here you can find a list of Boston's best Mexican restaurants. 

If you want to try making some really authentic Mexican food in your own kitchen, try out some of the recipes below. These were some of my favorite dishes while living in Mexico!

  

Let's begin with breakfast. My all-time favorite breakfast food in Mexico is chilaquiles. They are fried tortillas topped with salsa verde, queso fresco, and crema de queso. If you're feeling extra hungry, top it with some shredded chicken! Enchiladas are also a breakfast food, contrary to popular belief. They're also incredible simple to make! simply roll up a tortilla with your favorite meat, top with salsa verde and cheese and you're on your way to a delicious breakfast! 

For Lunch, the most popular dish is, of course, the taco. However these aren't the cruchy shells filled to the brim with meats and vegetables that you're probably familiar with. Tacos are simply one or two corn tortillas topped with your favorite meat, some onions, cilantro and, you guessed it, salsa verde. My absolute favorite taco is the taco al pastor. Unfortunately, these fiery orange pork tacos are difficult to recreate. Instead, try out a taco de bistec, or a gringa which is similar to the quesadillas we are familiar with here! 

By dinner time, you'll probably be so full of delicious meats and cheeses and tortillas, that all you'll want is a light snack. Try cutting up some vegetables like jicama, cucumber, carrots and even mango and squeezing some lime on them. For an extra kick, add chili powder! It is absolutely delicious and will forever change the way you enjoy your fruits and veggies.

So, on this Cinco de Mayo, do your best to try out some of these authentic Mexican dishes, rather than your usual quesadilla. Let us know how you like to celebrate this fun day! 

Explore Boston: Authentic Asian Cuisine!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A lot of our students come from Aisa, and at times it can be difficult for them to find authentic cuisine that they enjoy! Our Asian Cultural Consultant, Nick Tsang, put together a special list of authentic Asian restuarants in the Boston area that you can try out with your visitor! Here are Nick's top 5 picks: 


Shredded Chicken at Asian Garden Restaurant

Asian Garden Restaurant

28 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111

Nick says: "this is a very authentic Chinese restaurant located in Chinatown. They have a wide variety of selections."

Suggestions: baked rice, salt and chili pepper wings, and the shredded chicken in sesame sauce.

lobster with ginger and scallions from Jade Garden

Jade Garden

18-20 Tyler Street, Boston, MA 02111

Nick says: "another great Chinese restaurant located in Chinatown. Their seafood is really fresh and tasty. During the week their lunch is only $4.30!"

Suggestions: lobster with ginger and scallions, fried beef flat noodles


beef pho noodles at Pho Basil

Pho Basil

117 Massachussets Ave. Ste A, Boston, MA 02115

Nick says: "Pho Basil is a mix of Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. They have really good pho noodles and rice plates."

Suggestions: beef pho noodles, grilled pork chops on rice, tom yum fried rice, panang curry


kimchi tofu soup at Kaju

Kaju Tofu House

57 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Nick says: "Kaju is one of my favorite Korean restaurants in Boston. They are best known for their spicy kimchi tofu soup. Kaju is a must-go if you love spicy foods."

Suggestions: kimchi tofu soup, Korean barbecued beef short-ribs (Kalbi), grilled marinated beef (bulgogi)


Shio Ramen at Santouka

Santouka 

1 Bow Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Nick says: "Santouka is a new Japanese ramen restaurant located in Harvard Square. Their broth isn't too salty or fatty, and the pork cheek is very tender and tasty."

Suggestions: shio ramen, miso ramen

According to Nick, you can also find a ton of great restaurants in Porter Square, the Super 88 food court at Allston, different Korean restaurants at Harvard Ave., and Vietnamese and Thai food near the Boston Symphony. e encourage you to try out some of these delicious restaurants and let us know what you think! What's your favorite Asian restaurant in the Boston area? 


Red Sox Opening Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, April 06, 2015

The Red Sox opening day is this April 13, and officially marks the beginning of Spring in Boston! Due to the special occasion, we're sharing some fun facts about the historic Fenway Park, as well as the Boston Red Sox. Don't forget to pick up your game tickets here, or learn more by taking a tour

Because of the park's age and constrained loaction, Fenway parks has been renovated many times, resulting in quirky features like "The Triangle," "Pesky's Pole," and the Green Monster. It is the fourth smallest MLB ballpark, but of course one of the most iconic!

 

You can also notice the retired numbers at the top of the stadium which signify numbers of particularly influential Red Sox players. You can find the list of players here:

1. Bobby Doerr

4. Joe Cronin

6. Johnny Pesky

8. Carl Yastrzemski

9. Ted Williams

14. Jim Rice

27. Carlton Fisk

42. Jackie Robinson (retired for all MLB)

The Red Sox are most well known for their almost 100 year dry spell between 1912 and 2004. Since then, Boston has won the Championship in 2007 and 2013. The 2013 win was particularly special because they were crowned champions in Fenway Park. 

We highly suggest you head outside with your visitor on these beautiful spring days and venture out to the beautiful and historic Fenway Park. What is your favorite way to celebrate spring? Let us know! 

Passover Traditions

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 02, 2015

This year, Passover begins April 3 and ends on April 11. Passover is a celebration that commemorates the Jewish peoples' liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. According to standard biblical chronology, this event would have taken place at about 130 BCE. The holiday lasts for about 7 or 8 days.

Passover celebrations commence with the Passover Seder which is a big feast. Seder customs include telling the  story, discussing the story, drinking four cups of wine, and eating matzo. Some of the traditional foods you will find on the Passover Seder Plate are charoset, karpas, z'roa, and beitzah

Passover is an excellent time to show your visitor some new traditions! There are many elements to the Seder, including the breaking of the matzo, the telling of the story, the multiple washings, and blessings over particular elements of the Passover Seder Plate. Learn more about these steps here

If you would like to participate in a public Passover Seder in the Boston area, you can find a list here. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about this ancient Jewish holiday, or celebrate your heritage with a new friend! Let us know how you like to celebrate Passover! 

Easter Activities!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter is on April 5th this year, and spring is just around the corner! There are so many fun Easter activities you can do with your visitor to get into the spirit of spring. Don’t forget to send us your photos if you decide to try any of these fun activities!

First up: decorations! The classic Easter and spring themed decoration is of course the Easter egg. Traditionally, the Easter egg is decorated with colored dyes. Now, there are so many ways you can decorate this symbolic food. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out natural egg dyes from foods you can find in your local grocery store. Beets, purple cabbage, and turmeric combined with white vinegar make for some rich colors which look absolutely beautiful! To get fun designs, try wrapping a rubber band around the egg before dipping it to get some fun stripes, or use water color paints to design your own. For more ideas, click here.

If you're looking to get out this Easter, there are a lot of Easter egg hunts around Boston ! The North End has a five day Easter egg hunt around the whole area. There are 10 eggs, each of which contains fun prizes and gift cards! This is a wonderful way to get involved with your visitor and teach them about this fun spring holiday. So keep your eyes peeled and good luck!

For some non-traditional ways to celebrate Easter, you can find all kinds of events this spring. Beginning this week is the Revere Spring Carnival. On Good Friday, tickets are sold at a discount, and you can ride unlimited rides for 4 hours! There are all kinds of vendors and rides you can enjoy. It’s a classic U.S. carnival setting and a great way to have fun with your visitor. Another non-traditional activity is the Great Banana Hunt! Head over to Harvard Square and hunt for bananas in the Curious George store!

Lastly, you can always pick up some of the fun candy that is offered in stores during this time of year to share with your visitor! Jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and cream eggs are just a few of the classic candies that are special for Easter. And don't be afraid to really stock up! It's reported that Americans will spend about $2.2 billion on candy this Easter! Wow! 

Global Immersions hopes you have a fun Easter weekend spent with loved ones and your visitor! How do you like to celebrate this Spring holiday? Let us know! 

Donuts!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Donuts are the ultimate breakfast treat. Sweet and soft dough with hundreds of topping varieties, you really can’t go wrong! Luckily for the people of Boston, there is a wide variety bakery to suit your every doughnut need. But how did this sweet treat find its way to our breakfast tables?

Well, it turns out donuts have Dutch origins, and made their way to America under the name olykoeks or “oily cakes.” The holes were added in the donuts so they could bake thoroughly and not have an under cooked center. However, they became particularly popular during and after WWI. The women volunteers would bring donuts to men in the front line trenches to give them a taste of home. Naturally, when they returned to America, they had a craving for these delicious treats. And thus the doughnut machine was born. These machines work are used by some classic doughnut chains like Krispy Kreme or the Boston favorite: Dunkin’ Donuts.

So, where can you go to sample this American delicacy? One of the more popular choices is Union Square Donuts. This particular bakery offers a wide variety of donuts with very unique flavors. They also offer vegan donuts for anyone with dietary restrictions. Some of the flavors they offer include Sea Salted Caramel, Pink Lemonade, and Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch. If you’re feeling really brave, try the Maple Bacon!

For a more classic variety of donuts, head out to Saugus to enjoy Kane’s Donuts. You can enjoy Honey Dip, Boston Cream, or Maine Blueberry. Or if you want a selection of gourmet flavors, Blackbird Donuts on Tremont is the place to go. There, you can enjoy a variety of flavors, but go fast because their menu changes! But these aren't the only places you can go to enjoy this special treat! There are even more doughnut bakeries in the Boston area that you can try out. For more information click here.

No matter where you decide to get your fix, enjoying a doughnut with your visitor is sure to be an experience they won’t forget! It’s always fun to have classic American treats  with your visitor, because there’s a possibility they've never eaten something quite like it. We suggest taking them to a bakery near you an allowing them to choose their own flavor!

Where’s your favorite doughnut shop? Are there any other treats you like to enjoy with your visitor? Let us know! 

An American's Experiences in Japan

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, March 09, 2015

Our Homestay Coordinator, Cassidy McAllister, had the opportunity to live in Japan for seven years. In this blog, she elaborates on some of the experiences and observations she made while living abroad. 

When I first returned to the United States after living in Japan for four years, to say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Although I had lived in America for about half of my life at this point, I had forgotten a lot about the country including the basic everyday culture and what living here was like. I expect that Japanese visitors in America will feel similarly about the differences between the two countries as I did. Many things about America that we consider to be normal and everyday things are a novelty to the Japanese, just as their everyday culture is to us. The Japanese are often fascinated with American culture which can be represented through its presence in their modern culture; the presence of Disney Land, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, and other popular American food chains which can be found throughout Tokyo.  I speak from personal experience, but these are some of the things that I found exciting upon returning to America and things your visitor might also enjoy:

1)      Pizza: In Japan a large pizza from Pizza Hut ranges from $30 to $40 versus the regular $10 to $20 price range here in America. From my experience, pizza was a special food that was eaten on occasion and as a result it was considered to be very exciting. Your Japanese visitors will most likely be enthused at the idea of eating pizza and will be amazed at all of the options offered. In Japan, the toppings are very different and it is not uncommon to have corn or mayonnaise on a pizza as a regular topping.

Suggested Activity: Take your visitor out to pizza and allow them to choose which type of pizza they would like. As I said, the toppings are very different in America and they will most likely be excited to try a new type. Better yet, make a pizza with your student and allow them to top it however they would like.

2)      Shopping Malls: Shopping malls do not exist in Japan and your visitor will most likely find it exciting to have so many shops in a large building complete with plenty of American food for them to try. In Japan, shops are as you would see frequently in Boston, on the street lined up.

Suggested Activity: Take your visitor to a shopping mall and visit the food court! Again, these do not exist in Japan so they will be excited and unfamiliar with the concept.

3)      Grocery Stores and Food Choices: Based on my experience with grocery stores in Japan, they are significantly larger here in America. Not only are they larger, they have greater varieties of each type of food. I can recall the biggest shocker for me was spending hours in a grocery store marveling at the fact that there were over 10 different flavors of Oreos. IN the eyes of many Japanese, America is a country of overabundance, which is reflected simply in our grocery stores.

Suggested Activity: Take your visitor to the grocery store and let them pick out the type of cookies or ice cream they’d like. They will likely be overwhelmed with the number of choices and be excited to try some of the crazy flavors.

In addition to these, here are some other things your visitor might be surprised or fascinated by:

1)      House Size Difference: In Japan, homes are often smaller and more modest. America tends to have larger homes and the concept of having a pool in one’s backyard is unheard of in Japan.

2)      Portion Sizes: When I returned back from Japan, I was appalled at the gigantic sizes of portions here in America. I remember ordering a large and receiving a huge bucket of a cup which I was not expecting. I can safely say that a large in Japan is equivalent to a size small or sometimes medium here in America. Japan is all about moderation, America is all about overabundance.

3)      Dinner Plates: In Japan, one often orders many smaller plates at a restaurant for dinner. The concept of a dinner plate does not exist as we know it here in America, where an entrée and several sides are all piled onto one single large plate. This goes in hand with our increased portion sizes here, but this concept might overwhelm the Japanese and seem excessive.

4)      Tipping in Restaurants: In Japan, despite their exceptional service, there is no tipping.

5)      Vending Machines: In Japan, vending machines are a lot more advanced than here in America. My experience with vending machines here is having a few options for cold beverages that sometimes don’t even come out of the machine because it is defective. This is not the case in Japan. There are hot beverages, beer, and even hot ready-made food. They have it down to a science. Even funnier, vending machines can be found absolutely anywhere and everywhere, including near the top of Japan’s highest mountain Mount Fuji as shown in the image below.

We hope that by reading about Cassidy's experiences, you as a host can understand Japanese culture, and your Japanese visitor! 

What experiences have you had with Japanese homestay students? What are your favorite activities to do with your visitor? Let us know!