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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Wuhan University Chinese Group!15-Jul-2017

Welcome Wuhan University students from China! They will be touring around Boston for two weeks w..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Academy at Harvard Square Chinese University Group!11-Jul-2017

Welcome Academy at Harvard Square university students from China! They will be attending a custo..


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New Year’s Eve in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, December 16, 2011

When it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve, there is nowhere in the US more original and community-oriented than the First Night festival in Boston. For the past 35 years, Boston’s vibrant art scene has provided over a million people annually with all day and night entertainment throughout the city. Showcasing 1,000 artists with 200 performances and exhibits, the festival offers a broad range of lively music, dance, theater, visual art, and film programs. First Night also emphasizes community-building and celebrating diversity by delivering “high-quality arts programs to large diverse audiences, offering vital arts education opportunities to underserved children and teenagers”.

Encompassing more than 30 venues throughout the city, the signature Boston event is the oldest and largest of its kind in North America. The traditional festivities feature events such as a Family Festival at the Hynes Convention Center, a Grand Procession down Boylston Street, ice sculptures, fireworks, and more.

For more information and details about First Night, visit their website at http://www.firstnight.org/ 

December Festivities

Global Immersions - Monday, November 21, 2011

December is the time to celebrate the holiday season and in Boston there are many ways to enjoy and celebrate while learning about U.S. culture! From the Christmas tree lighting and the lighting of the Menorah on Boston Common to the Nutcracker ballet, take a look at a few happenings our city has to offer for the holiday-filled month – then get out and enjoy!

Christmas Tree Lighting

This year marks the 70th annual lighting of Boston’s official Christmas tree in Boston Common, a gift from Nova Scotia, Canada. On Thursday, December 1st, join the festivities from 6:00-8:00pm.  The evening includes various performances by the Radio City Rockettes to the Boston Children’s choir as well as a performance by local skaters on the Boston Common Frog Pond.   

 

Ice Skating on the Frog Pond

The Boston Common Frog Pond is located in the heart of Boston Common. For a small entrance fee, ice skaters 14-years and older can skate for as long as they like and for everyone else in the heart of downtown Boston.  Keep checking the website for an update on opening day (delayed due to warm weather)! http://www.bostonfrogpond.com/winter-programs

 

Menorah Lighting

A giant menorah is lit for a sequence of eight days to celebrate the Jewish holiday Hanukkah in the Boston Common at the Brewer Fountain.  This year, Hanukkah begins at sunset on December 20th and ends at sunset on December 28th. The lighting of the Menorah will begin at 4:30pm and will occur each night at that time. There will also be special presentations and entertainment during Hanukkah. 

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker is the perfect holiday event. With beautiful music written by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, it is undeniably a performance that the whole family will love. Performances until December 31st, 2011. Click the link below to book your tickets! http://boxoffice.bostonballet.org/storefront/c2012NUTCRACKER-p0.html

 

For other holiday events happening in Boston, discounted tickets and more - check out The Mayor’s Holiday Special: http://www.mayorsholidayspecial.com/ 

Enjoy and happy holidays!

 

Sources:

http://www.bostoncentral.com/events/boston-official-tree-lighting/p888.php

http://www.artsboston.org/event/detail/441458672

Explore Boston - Downtown Crossing and Theatre District

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, November 21, 2011

For an exciting night out, Boston’s Downtown Crossing and Theatre District comprise two of the best locations for shopping, nightlife, and entertainment throughout the city. Centrally located, visitors to Downtown Crossing can easily blend in with the locals who traverse area, producing the densest pedestrian traffic in all of New England.  Nearby, the Theatre District is home to more than a dozen performance venues, where Boston Discovery Guide states that, “you can enjoy top productions ranging from popular Broadway-type musical shows to avant-garde experimental productions, along with opera, dance, comedy shows, and everything in between”.

Boston's Theatre District


In the Theatre District, patrons of the arts can marvel at the “largest group of architecturally outstanding early theatres in North America”; with many of the theatre houses over 100 years old, large-scale restorations have only added to the beauty of the locale. Favorites such as the Opera House, the Wang Center, the Shubert Theatre, and the Colonial Theatre continue to host sell-out performances, while the Wilbur Theatre and Charles Playhouse are home to fan favorites like Boston’s Comedy Connection and Blue Man Group.

In Downtown Crossing, Bostonians are provided with an “eclectic mix” of large department stores, historic sites, street vendors, restaurants, and more, without the hassle of cars and traffic in the pedestrian-only streets. For a leisurely afternoon, Boston.com recommends, “sift through the bargain shelves of the Brattle Book Shop, watch musical street performers, visit the Old South Meeting House, or enjoy a fine meal at one of the numerous award-winning restaurants in the neighborhood.” If you’re looking to stroll through the city and shop like a Bostonian, look no further than Downtown Crossing!

Have you seen the Nutcracker at the Opera House, or been shopping at Macys? Tell us about it! From holiday street markets to festive performances and shows, there is so much to do during the holiday season. For more information about things to do in Boston this winter, check out our “December Festivities” blog post!

Sources:

Boston Discovery Guide

Boston.com

Holidays Around The World in November

Global Immersions - Monday, November 07, 2011

Americans associate the month of November with Thanksgiving as it celebrated by all Americans regardless of religion.  What other global holidays are there during November? Let’s take a look!

Thanksgiving Day – United States of America

The modern Thanksgiving holiday traces its roots back to 1621 at Plymouth. In 1621 the Thanksgiving feast was prompted by the colonists’ successful harvest. The Plymouth colony did not have enough food to support half of the colony and so the Wampanoag Native Americans provided seeds and taught the pilgrims to fish. The feast did not become an annual festivity until the late 1660s. The feast was to give thanks for a good harvest and for the hard work done in communities. In the beginning of the 20th century Thanksgiving fell on the final Thursday of November. President Abraham Lincoln, in order to create a sense of unity between the Northern and Southern states, declared that the final Thursday would be reserved for Thanksgiving. However, on December 26th 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date to the fourth Thursday of November through federal legislation. His reason for doing so was to give the country an economic boost because the last Thursday of November fell too closely to Christmas.

Kinrō Kansha no Hi (Labor Thanksgiving Day) - Japan

On the 23rd of November, Japan celebrates labor and production and giving one another thanks. Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinrō Kansha no Hi) is the modern day name for Niiname-sai (Harvest Festival) and was held in the imperial court. In the ritual, the Emperor makes the season’s first offering of harvested rice to the gods and then eats the rice himself. The oldest written account of the holiday dates back to 720, which says that a Harvest Festival took place in November 678. The actual origin, however, is said to date back even longer, possibly 2,000 years back when rice was first cultivated. After World War II, Labor Thanksgiving Day was marked as a national holiday to mark the fact that fundamental human and expansion of workers rights were guaranteed.

Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) – Observed by Muslims around the world

Eid al-Adha is a religious holiday that lasts for three days and is celebrated all across the world by Muslims commemorating Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael, for God as an act of obedience. God spared Ishmael and provided a ram to sacrifice instead. Muslims commemorate this holiday by slaughtering a sheep, camel, or cow. One third of the meat is distributed to the poor, another third is to neighbors and relatives, and the last third to be kept within the family who offered the sacrifice. Eid al-Adha takes place on the 10th and last day of the Hajj (the celebration of holy pilgrimage to Mecca) in the 12 month of the Islamic lunar calendar. In the year 2011, the celebration was on November 6th on Western calendars.

Independencia de Cartagena (Independence of Cartagena) – Colombia

On November 11, 1811, Cartagena became the first province to declare independence from the Spanish Crown. The holiday is officially celebrated on the Monday closest to November 11th, though festivals and street fairs take place for days around the actual holiday. The “November Feasts” consist of parade floats and dancers inspired by African and Caribbean rhythms. Foam, paint, water, and flour are typically thrown during the street festivals at anyone who may look remotely clean. Concurso Nacional de Belleza (National Beauty Contest) is held at the same time as the Independence holiday. This event is more of a commercial event where the coronation of the next Miss Colombia takes place. With these two major events occurring at the same time, one can only imagine how crazy Cartagena can get before and on November 11th!

Do you know of any other holidays that occur in November?  Tell us how you celebrate any of these holidays in your country!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Adha

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Thanksgiving_Day

http://www.colombia.travel/en/international-tourist/sightseeing-what-to-do/history-and-tradition/fairs-and-festivals/november/independence-of-cartagena-and-national-beauty-pageant

Brazilian Exposure

Global Immersions - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Brazilian Cultural Center of New England located in Cambridge is dedicated to the promotion, preservation and advancement of Brazilian culture, especially Afro-Brazilian culture and the performing arts.   At the center, you can take part in Capoeira Angola (Capoeira is a Brazilian art form that combines martial arts, sports, and music. Capoeira Angola refers to all styles of Capoeira that is kept close to tradition), Roda or Maculelê, which are both Afro-Brazilian dances, or even Samba nights!   These workshops are a great way to add a little Latin flavor in your life!   For upcoming events and classes, check out their website here.

If you are a “foodie” and want a taste of Brazilian cuisine head to Inman Square in Cambridge.   Local favorites include Muqueca Restaurant, located at 1008 Cambridge Street, known for their authentic Brazilian dishes and Bom Café, a quaint little spot, located at 1093 Cambridge Street.

Tell us about your favorite Brazilian restaurant in the metro area!

Sources:

http://www.muquecarestaurant.com/

http://www.capoeira-angola.com/

Explore Boston - Inman Square

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

For an eclectic and culturally diverse neighborhood that is off the beaten track, look no further than Inman Square in Cambridge. Inman Square is an excellent representation of Boston as a whole due to its local feel, diverse population, independently-owned stores, and large variety of food options. As one yelp.com reviewer stated, “Sandwiched in between Harvard and MIT, this little neighborhood shares a unique blend of local and international flavor.” Artsy, eclectic, and ethnic, Inman Square is a great neighborhood all by itself!

Inman Square by Claire M. McLaughlin

Inman Square is the perfect location to find local businesses, restaurants, and nightlife without the crowds of Harvard Square or downtown. Local favorites such as S&S Restaurant, Christina’s Ice Cream, Dali, and City Girl Café compromise some of the area’s best eats, while hang out spots such as Bukowski Tavern, The Druid, and Thirsty Scholar provide all-night entertainment. For music and nightlife, Inman Square’s Ryles Jazz Club and LilyPad provide some of the most intimate and interesting live music in the city.   Check out http://www.inmansquare.com/ for additional resources.

Inman Square is also home to a large Portuguese and Brazilian population, adding an extra degree of energy and diversity to the area. From restaurants to local travel agencies and credit unions, the Portuguese and Brazilian influence is hard to miss in the square.

Have you danced the night away at Ryles, or savored the tapas at Dali? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Sources:

 http://www.inmansquare.com/

http://www.yelp.com/biz/inman-square-cambridge

The Many Challenges of Speaking English

Global Immersions - Friday, September 30, 2011

Have you ever traveled abroad and noticed a sign in English that makes no sense or has been literally translated into English?  They are often very funny and for an English speaker it is cause for a good laugh!  Let’s relate this same translation concept to our homestay visitors and how easy miscommunication can happen between the host and visitor due to misuse of a word. 

Our homestay visitors are all learning English and come to our program with varied degrees of understanding and comprehension.   Adjusting to a new country on your own and translating everything you want to say can be tiresome and challenging especially for those with lower level English skills.   

When a visitor is trying to express themselves in English, some words may get lost in translation and come across as sounding odd or nonsensical just like the translated signs. Many words used may not have a direct translation or might only be used in specific sentences, thus creating confusion for the host.  When you are communicating with your visitor, remember the visitor might not know the correct word to use or how to use it to convey their question or idea so patience is important.

Here are a few examples of signs found in other countries that have been translated into English, word for word, to start a conversation with your visitor about the many challenges of speaking English!

French:

Chinese:

Arabic:

http://skylersdad.blogspot.com/2010/10/welcome-once-again-to-poorly-translated.html

 

Cultural Events - DÜNYA Concert

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In order to provide both our hosts and visitors with additional information about the many cultural events and locations in Boston, the Local Ethnic Resources and Cultural Events guides will highlight some of the more unique and diverse spots around town. From little-known ethnic grocery stores to big-name musical shows, Bostonians and visitors alike can use the guides to enjoy more of what Boston has to offer.

Next weekend, be sure to check out the special CD release concert of DÜNYA's A Story of the City: Constantinople, Istanbul, which is currently on the Grammy ballot. DÜNYA Organization's goal is to present a contemporary view of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in interaction with other world traditions, through performance, publication and other educational activities. The concert will bring together several DÜNYA ensembles to perform upbeat selections from the CD program including Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Sephardic Jewish and Ottoman music.

To find out more about DÜNYA visit their website at: http://www.dunyainc.org/

DÜNYA Special CD Release Concert

Location: First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden St. Cambridge, MA
Date/Time: Saturday, October 1, 8pm
Price of Admission: General $15, Students/Seniors $10

Explore Boston - Back Bay

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The next stop on the Explore Boston series is the affluent neighborhood of Back Bay. Known for its’ historic architectural landmarks, shopping, and trademark brick row houses, Boston’s Back Bay is a major center for both locals and tourists alike.

Located in the heart of Back Bay, the celebrated Copley Square invites visitors to marvel at architectural masterpieces of world stature from the medieval, classical, and modern traditions, all within the same view. Notable structures on the square include the Old South Church and Trinity Church, both completed in the 1870s, as well as the Boston Public Library, boasting the first public library in the United States. Nearby, Copley Place provides a vast assortment of shopping, restaurants, offices, and hotels to the area. In addition to the buildings, Copley Square’s sculptures, fountains, and park grounds provide visitors with ample opportunity to relax and hang out while enjoying the beautiful backdrop.  

Boston's Copley Square

Another institution in the Back Bay neighborhood is Boston’s premier shopping destination, Newbury Street. With an enormous selection of shops, restaurants, and galleries, The Back Bay sums up the area perfectly: “from internationally renowned designers and luxury brands to the more bohemian establishments, there is hardly a better way to experience the cosmopolitan flavor of Boston than on the sidewalks of Newbury Street.”

Back Bay’s charming boulevards and café’s offer some of the best places in the city to walk around, or enjoy Boston’s four distinct seasons. From strolling down the tree-lined Commonwealth Avenue, to window shopping and people watching on Newbury Street, Back Bay is one of the most beautiful and exciting places in all of Boston.

Farther away, Back Bay’s Hatch Shell and Charles River Esplanade compromise some of the most picturesque river views throughout all of Boston. With 6 miles of walkways and bike paths, boathouses, play grounds, soccer fields, and more, the esplanade is one of the most frequently populated locations in all of Boston.

Have you visited Boston’s Back Bay? If not, now is your chance! If you are are Global Immersions host or visitor, join us at the Hatch Shell on Saturday, September 17th for our Explore Boston event at the 2011 MixFest! Meet us outside of the Charles/MGH “T” station at 4pm. We hope to see you there!

Sources:

The Back Bay

boston.com

Different Cultures - Different Chips

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, August 26, 2011

Though different cultures and people worldwide eat a variety of different foods, there’s at least one thing we all have in common – potato chips. As Vicki Santillano of Divine Caroline states, “we think of potato chips as being quintessentially American, [but] they’re a popular snack in countries all over the world.” The different flavors, however, may not be quite what you expect. Here are a few of the unique favors from around the world:


1. Fries 'n Gravy, Canada




2. Wasabi Beef, Japan

 

3. Mango Flavor, China

Photo source: zieak (cc)

 


4. New Yorker's Street Cheese Dog, Japan

 

5. Spanish Chicken Paella, UK


6. Lime 'n' Masala Masti, India 




Slowly but surely, the U.S. is catching up with our foreign snack-food counterparts and creating fun, unique flavors to excite our taste buds! What is your favorite chip flavor from your country? Let us know!


Sources:  Divine Caroline