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Patriots Day and Marathon Monday!15-Apr-2015

On Monday, April 20th, Boston will be celebrating Patriots Day and Marathon Monday. Due to this ..

Happy Passover, Happy Easter and Happy Spring!03-Apr-2015

Happy spring holidays to all celebrating Passover and Easter this weekend! If you want to learn..


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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! 

Saint Patrick's Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, March 09, 2015

In Boston, Saint Patrick’s Day is a very popular holiday. Since Massachusetts is the nation’s most Irish state, it would make sense that Boston had one of the top celebrations. This year, on Sunday, March 15 all of the people of Boston will crowd into South Boston to watch the big parade in their emerald green outfits! The parade is an excellent opportunity for hosts to show their students what Boston life is all about! But before you go, here's a little bit of background on this green holiday. 

Saint Patrick's day occurs every 17th of March, which is the death date of the most recognized patron saint in Ireland, Saint Patrick. This holiday began hundreds of years ago in the 17th century, and is a feast day that commemorates Christianity in Ireland. For those of you who participate in lent, the Lenten restrictions are lifted on this day! But why is he celebrated? Well, from what we know, Patrick converted the pagan Irish to Christianity. Tradition holds that he died on March 17, and centuries later he is still Ireland's foremost saint.

As we all know, Saint Patrick's day is customary to wearing emerald green and shamrocks. The reason for this being, when Saint Patrick described the holy trinity to the pagan Irish, he used a shamrock. The color green is not a new association with Ireland, as it's been a symbolic color since the 16th century. 

 

Saint Patrick's day, though not a national holiday, is celebrated widely throughout the United States. In fact, the only county that recognizes Saint Patrick's day as a legal holiday is Boston's own Suffolk County! Boston, however, celebrates Saint Patrick's day not only for the traditional meaning behind the holiday, but another reason as well. During the Revolutionary War, on March 17, 1776, the British soldiers saw a line of 55 American cannons at Dorchester Heights, and left Boston. The password for safe passage through the lines at that time was "Saint Patrick." 

There are so many ways and reasons to celebrate Saint Patrick's day this season, and what better way to do so than enjoying it with your visitor?! Make sure they're wearing green, and head out the weekend of March 14 to enjoy all kinds of Irish festivities.

What is your favorite way to celebrate this lucky holiday? 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!

Preparations for Chinese New Year!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

新年快乐! 恭喜发财!

Chinese New Year is on February 19 and we are all excited to celebrate! At our host event in January, Nick, our Asian Cultural Consultant, discussed with us some facts about this unique holiday and taught the hosts how to even write Happy New Year in Chinese! 

Before the big celebration, you need to prepare! Traditional preparations for the holiday include cleaning the house from top to bottom to get rid of all the bad luck that has gathered in your home during the previous year. However, after the New Year comes, you cannot sweep for the first few days or else you will sweep the new luck away!

After you have cleaned your house, it is time to decorate! If you walk into Chinatown during the week of Chinese New Year, you will see hundreds of red banners hanging around the buildings. These banners symbolize good luck and fortune in the New Year. These banners are red and gold, which are lucky colors for the Chinese. Red symbolizes vitality of life and happiness, and gold symbolizes wealth and prosperity.



You can not have a proper celebration without food. On New Year’s Day, the families come together to celebrate and everything must be ready for this important feast! Food must be prepared ahead of time, as one of the popular Chinese superstition dictates that all knives must be put away. Using a knife during the first days of the New Year “cuts off” all of the good luck for the coming year. The New Year’s feast takes many days to prepare, and food for the next couple of weeks has to be plentiful as there will be hoards of visiting relatives and friends.



The last preparation you need to make before the celebration is paying respects to ancestors. The Chinese people bring offerings of food and incense to please the spirits of the deceased so that they might bring good luck.


Now that the preparations are done, the New Year’s festivities can begin! Talk to your visitor about how they celebrate their new year and what traditions they uphold. We’re sure they could teach you a thing or two! Check out Boston’s Chinatown to join in on all of the festivities that will be taking place here in Boston.

 

                                        大吉大利! 喜气洋洋!

Global Immersions has host events quarterly so they can learn about new cultures and traditions to better understand their visitors. Want more information about our programs, or have any cultural traditions you want to learn about? Contact us to share your ideas! 

Boston Sports

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, February 12, 2015

If you love sports, then Boston is the city to be in. With professional teams in Hockey, Basketball, Baseball and Football, there's something for everyone to enjoy. And don't forget about the universities in the area, all with their own sports teams! You don't even have to go to the games to enjoy all of the sporting events Boston has to offer, just step outside and you could run into a champion parade or a sports museum

One of the most exciting things to happen to Boston recently is winning the Superbowl against the Seattle Seahawks 28-24! One of the best parts of having a winning sports team is the parade that follows. On February 5, people gathered around the streets of Boston to celebrate the victory and watch the Patriots players travel by duck boat around the town. We certainly hope you and your visitor enjoyed all of the Superbowl festivities. 


It's not too late to enjoy the Boston Beanpot coming up on February 23 at the TD Garden! Boston University and Northeastern will be playing each other in the final that Friday night. Hockey is a popular sport here in the northeast and the upcoming Beanpot is a great opportunity to teach your visitor about a sport they might no know much about! Who will you be rooting for? 


Most Boston sports are played in the TD Garden, but not only sports are played at this great arena. You can go to concerts, ice skating performances, and of course hockey and basketball games. Check out the TD Garden for events next time you're in the area.

Fenway Park is one of the most iconic destinations in Boston. The home of the Red Sox and the Green Giant, it's a great place to go for a baseball game in the spring and summer, or tour year-round! 

Boston has so much to offer to any sports fan. Be sure to check out some of these fun places and games with your visitor!

Valentines Day Fun!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentines Day is a holiday that truly allows you to express your appreciation for another person, how sweet! One of the most popular holidays in the United States, over 141 million valentines cards and candy are exchanged on the 14th of February. That's a lot of conversation hearts (8 billion, to be exact). But why do we celebrate this romantic holiday? 


Well, Valentines Day originates during the Roman Empire during a time when the Emperor, Claudius, did not allow men to marry because he believed it made them weak. Because of this, Saint Valentine performed secret wedding ceremonies so men could marry their sweethearts. He got in a lot of trouble for this, and was put to death on February 14th. Before he died, he wrote a letter to his sweetheart and signed it "your Valentine."

While Valentine's Day is originally associated with romantic couples, it has grown so that people now express appreciation for anyone that is special to them. One of the most commonly observed customs is exchanging "Valentines." Initially, people exchanged hand-written notes, however in the 19th century, mass produced greeting cards became readily available, just like the one's students hand out in classrooms.

It's fun and easy to make Valentines on your own, and a great way to teach your visitor about one of the traditions this unique holiday has! Here you can find a list of homemade valentines that don't involve any candy, and are super fun to make at home. It's a great way to show your visitor how much you appreciate them!  

If can't bear the thought of foregoing your Valentines chocolate, then try out this delicious homemade truffle, and teach your visitor a thing or two in the kitchen. With only three ingredients, you really can't go wrong. They're fun to make and yummy, too! It's fun and easy to involve your visitor during the holiday, and they'll be interested to know all about it.

Here at Global Immersions, we're excited to celebrate Valentines Day with family, friends, and loads of chocolate. How do you like to celebrate this special holiday? 

 

Food Delivery Service Apps

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, January 29, 2015


Being in a city has many perks; sights to see, many restaurants, and public transportation to get you almost anywhere you need to go. But when that big snowstorm hits or temperatures drop below freezing, going outside becomes increasingly unappealing.  That’s why new food delivery services are becoming increasingly popular; whether used as an application on your phone or online, food delivered to your doorstep is just a click away.


If you've been on the T recently, you've probably seen ads for one of these services called “Foodler”. Foodler and its competitors such as GrubHub and Seamless provide a database of restaurants based on your location and include information such as the distance from your home, delivery fees and minimums, as well as a full menu for you to order from. Each app offers different options, some with more than others. Once the food is selected, users have the option of paying with cash or card and choosing delivery or pickup. 

This is extremely convenient for our visitors since lunch is their responsibility. On these cold winter days, it's hard to go outside in the snow to get your food, so these apps are a perfect alternative. Be sure to let them know about the conveniences of this app, they'll be sure to find something they enjoy. 


For Chinese visitors, there is an app called "FoodEasyGo" that provides a variety of authentic Asian food and snacks. From Korean spicy tofu soup to Taiwanese bubble tea, you can find all kinds of delicious dishes with this website: http://www.foodeasygo.com/. These services take convenience to a new level, and when you don’t feel like cooking or are stuck at home on a cold winter’s day they are the perfect solution to your hunger pangs. The best part is that it is in Chinese and English, so language barriers are never an issue. 

Do you know of any other cool food apps? Share them with your student and let us know!