English Chinese Spanish Japanese Korean Turkish

News and Announcements

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Japanese University Group23-Aug-2015

A group of Japanese university students from Hitotsubashi University (http://www.hit-u.ac.jp/eng/) a..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Chinese Scholars Group06-Aug-2015

A group of Gateway Scholars from China arrived to Boston on Thursday, August 6th. The visitors will ..


Best in Hospitality

Celebrate Labor Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, August 27, 2015

                                                                         

Labor Day is a popular holiday in the United States that signifies the end of summer and the start of the new school year. Historically, the holiday was created to celebrate the Labor Movement, to celebrate American workers and their achievements. However, it has a lot of cultural significance as well and is widely celebrated with parties, athletic events, sales, and parades.

For many Americans, Labor Day marks the end of summer. Many pools close at this time and summer venues will shut down to prepare for fall. With the end of summer, school begins, and many classes begin the day or week after Labor Day as well. It is very common for Americans to take part in various activities to celebrate Labor Day, such as the following:

                                                                         

Parties: Many people will have barbecues at their homes and throw a party to invite friends. Popular foods to eat include hot dogs, hamburgers, and various side dishes such as potato salad. This is a very common and fun way to celebrate the holiday, as well as with fireworks! Fireworks in Boston will be happening on September 5th at 9pm over the Boston Harbor!

Athletic Events: Labor Day marks the opening weekend for College Football  and the NFL, when their games officially start. Local sporting events often occur as well. Watch the New England Patriots play against the New York Giants on September 3rd to kick off the weekend!

Traveling: As the summer ends, many families will take a vacation before they go back to work and their kids go back to school. Many people see it as their "one last getaway" before things pick up once again. Popular destinations include the beach and other warm destinations.

Retail Sales: Countless stores offer promotions and sales for Labor Day weekend, thus making it a large shopping holiday. Check out local stores for great deals!

Labor day is a great chance to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the final days of summer, have fun!

Dine Out Boston: Restaurant Week

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, August 13, 2015

Restaurant Week, also known as Dine Out Boston, occurs twice a year in Boston. Not only does it allow locals and visitors to try new foods, it also allows them to do so at a reasonably discounted price. This year, over 100 restaurants are participating in the week long event! A wide range of cuisines are represented in the participating restaurants, to include everything from Asian food to Italian, as well as local hotspots throughout the city. Each restaurant has the option of choosing a price tier for lunch or dinner. For lunch, there is the $15. $20, or $25 option, and for dinner, $28, $33, and $38. These options often include several course meals preselected by the restaurant, all for a set price.

This summer, Restaurant week takes place throughout two different weeks; Sunday August 16th to Friday August 21st,  and Sunday August 23rd to Friday August 28th. It is recommended that you make reservations in advance due to the popularity and high demand during this period, but no coupons are needed, just show up! Reservations can be made at Open Table.

This is a great way to explore new cuisines, try new foods, and venture out to restaurants that perhaps you wouldn't normally try. For ideas on where to go, check out a list of participating restaurants. 

Happy eating!

 

Mid-Autumn Festival!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, August 07, 2015
To all our Chinese visitors and hosts, we hope you have a wonderful time celebrating the Mid-Autumn festival! We at Global Immersions love to join in on the celebrations and festivities of different cultures, and we find that this is one of the most important ways to enrich an individual's cultural understanding. In this blog, you will learn about the history and the meanings behind the Mid-Autumn festival, as well as ideas on how to join in on the celebrations in Boston!


Firstly, the Mid-Autumn festival occurs on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, and it is considered to be one of the most important festivals along with the Spring Festival. Furthermore, it is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season, hence the origin of the name, but it can also be known as the Moon Festival, as the moon is the roundest and brightest at this time of year. The origins of the festival can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC), where the majority of the ancient Chinese people noticed that the differences in seasons and agricultural production was correlated to the movement of the moon. Due to this, the ancient Chinese thought that the moon was responsible for their increased harvest, and started offering sacrifices to the moon on autumn days as a means of expressing their gratitude. 


Although at first the sacrifice was limited to the royal families and emperors, as time went on the aristocrats and literary scholars helped to spread the word to the common people. Whilst the rich merchants and high ranked officials celebrated the moon by hosting large parties and drinking, the common citizens also began to pray for a good harvest and worship the moon. Throughout the Tang, Song, Ming, and Qing dynasty, the mid-autumn Festival became a fixed date and started to grow into one of the grandest festivals it is today.

Since the mid-autumn festival revolves around offering sacrifices to the moon, there are certain customs that must be followed during the festival. Firstly, appreciating the moon during the festival is one of the major customs. The full moon in Chinese culture symbolizes completeness, and hence the festival is a time for family members to all reunite and spend time together. This includes them  sitting around a table and talking to each other, having a large feast and eating the offerings from the ceremony, spending time outside and admiring the full moon together, as well as wishing each other well for the future ahead. Another hallmark tradition of the mid-autumn festival is the making and sharing of mooncakes. This is because mooncakes are round shaped, and thus the sharing of mooncakes amongst family members once again symbolizes their unity and completeness. 

In modern times, the custom of giving away mooncakes to family members, friends, and loved ones has become more popular than the making of mooncakes, yet the meaning behind them remain the same.  Although there have been many legends behind the origin of mooncakes, one popular legend is that at the end of the Yuan dynasty, the Han Chinese used mooncakes to hide secret messages and notes about an uprising on Mid-Autumn day. Furthermore, apart from these two major customs, there are many other traditions such as the lighting and carrying of brightly colored lit lanterns as a gesture to pray for pregnancy, dragon dances to commemorate the beginning of festivities, as well as the burning of incense buckets to further show appreciation to the moon.

After learning the background and traditions, why not join in and celebrate the festival in Boston! Head down to Chinatown on Sunday, August 9th from 10:00 am to 6:00 am along Harrison and Beach Street, as there will not be a shortage of delicious Chinese food, dragon dances, abundance of mooncakes, musicians, martial artists and more! 

When:  Sunday, August 9, 10am - 5pm
Where:  The Chinatown Gate area on Harrison Ave, Chinatown in Downtown Boston
Closest T station:   Orange Line / Chinatown




Explore Boston: Water Fountains and Staying Cool!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

You know summertime is in full swing when there's an abundance of children excitedly running through water fountains! Although us New Englanders are dealing with less than ideal weather throughout the year, we also know how to party when the suns out in the summer, and what better way to cool down from the heat than spending a couple hours running around water parks or relaxing at the beaches? Luckily for us, Boston and Massachusetts have a wide range of places to choose from, so in this blog, we have compiled a list of places where you, your family, and your visitors can all go to soak in this beautiful Boston weather! (Bonus: They're all FREE!)

First on the list is the Splash Fountain at the Christian Science Plaza. One of the major reasons why this place is so popular is the close proximity of the Prudential Center (one of Boston's main malls), as well as the easy accessibility. Furthermore, it was renovated in 2005 specifically to include a new splash pool area and a evening lighting system, meaning that the fountain stays open from 9 a.m. all the way up until 9 p.m. every day! This place is guaranteed to have a good amount of people everyday during the summer, and another major bonus is that you can always go for the free movie event at the Prudential Center after some water fun! 

Next up on our list is the hugely popular Beaver Brook Spray Deck and Playground, located in Belmont! This place is suitable for all ages as there are swings, slides, and climbing structures for toddlers, the 'Spray Pool' where water sprays out of boulders and vents for older kids, lots of green space with picnic tables and softball/baseball areas for the older folk! It is open daily until September 1st from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tip: Have little one wear comfortable water shoes as it gets slippery, try and get there early to guarantee parking, and always practice sun safety by applying sunscreen regularly!

Another prime location for the younger ones is the Artesani Playground Spray Deck and Wading Pool, located in Brighton near the Charles River. Although this park is smaller in comparison to the others, it is well maintained and has a nice spray deck and wading pool for people to cool off and enjoy the sunshine! The spray deck and wading pool is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Check the link for more information! 

Looking for more places to take your family and visitors to play in the water fountains and parks? Check out Rose Kennedy Greenway, where there are new fewer than 7 water park areas in places such as the North End, Chinatown, and the Wharf District! These places are more suitable for all ages, and is sure to be a blast for the whole family! 

We hope this list helps you to give an idea of the different places you can take your family to have a cool, chill day! We would love to hear what you think! 


Explore Boston: Revere Beach

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, July 16, 2015

  

As the summer days roll on and the sun beats down, maybe you are in need of a new place to explore and visit! Look no further, and read on to find out more about this blog's spotlight place, Revere Beach! Located 6 miles north of downtown Boston, Revere Beach was founded in 1896 and it was America's first beach opened to the public. Being 3 miles long, the hard sand shore forms a crescent along the ocean, making it the perfect scenic place  for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, boating, and other activities throughout the summer. In this blog, you can find ideas on what you and your homestay visitors can do around Revere Beach!

First on our list is the National Sand Sculpting Festival, which will be held between July 24th and July 26th. This event is FREE for all members of the public, and what it consists of is three days of live music, interactive kids zone, fireworks, amusement rides, food trucks, and last but not least, a sand sculpting competition where the world's best sculptors are invited to compete for the top prize! In 2014, the event attracted around 600,000 people, so it is guaranteed to be an event jam-packed with fun! You can find more information here.

2014-sandsculpt16

Next up, Revere is known for being an area with a lot of cultural diversity, and this is reflected by the multitude of restaurants available, whether it is casual or high end dining. There are dining options available for everyone, and these include but are not limited to Italian, Mexican, Chinese, French, Thai, and  more! Some of my favorite restaurants include:

 Antonia's at The Beach Restaurant, 

492 Revere Beach Blvd, Revere, MA 02151

where you can try awesome home-made Italian cuisine whilst chilling with the beautiful ocean view,

 Billy Tse's Restaurant,

441 Revere St, Revere, MA 02151

where you can get large portions of Chinese, Japanese, and  Thai dishes for very affordable prices,



 Kelly's Roast Beef,

410 Revere Beach Blvd, Revere, MA 02151

 which serve delicious sandwiches that you can enjoy whilst sitting by the beach relaxing!

Another fun way to celebrate the summer in Revere is to attend their Farmer's Market, which just had its Grand Opening on July 10th and will be running every Friday through October. It will open at 2 PM and last until 6:30 PM, leaving you with more than enough time to not only enjoy your day at the beach but to hopefully go home with some fresh produce! Not only is the Farmer's Market a great way to get your groceries, it is also an important summer staple as it encourages more people to buy healthier foods, whilst at the same time supporting the local farmers that work hard to provide fresh, sustainable grown foods. You can find more information here.

So, hopefully these ideas will encourage you to go explore Revere and Revere Beach, and hopefully if you do go let us know how your experience was! 

Happy 4th of July!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, July 02, 2015

Happy 4th of July everyone! Otherwise known as Independence Day, this day focuses on commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Luckily for us, Boston is a great place to celebrate the 4th of July, as there are no shortages of events going on around the city! In this blog, you will find some events that you can attend with friends and family to celebrate this wonderful occasion!

Firstly, a must for anyone in Boston for the weekend is to check out the historic Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular show, which takes place on the 3rd and 4th of July on Esplanade next to the Charles River. Beginning at 8 p.m., there will be lots of special guests and fabulous music, eventually ending with dramatic drumrolls and church bells ringing throughout the city. A fabulous event for anyone trying to experience 4th of July in Boston! Furthermore, both of these concerts are FREE, meaning that space in the “Oval” (grassy area where you can watch the musicians play) might be limited so we suggest you get there early!


After the concert concludes at 10:30 pm on the 4th, the magnificent fireworks will be launched into the night sky from 7 barges in the middle of the Charles River. The show is guaranteed to be spectacular, and we suggest everyone find a comfortable spot to rest, relax, and most of all admire the night skies of Boston being lit up!

As a general recommendation, we suggest finding spots along the Boston Esplanade as well as on the Cambridge side of the Charles River, as these will likely be the best spots to watch the fireworks. Moreover, some other spots that are also great are the Boston University Bridge, the lawn in front of MIT, and the top of Bunker Hill in Charlestown. However, be warned that you will have to go to these spots several hours early to secure a good spot!

Stay safe and enjoy the 4th of July everybody!

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!