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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Danish Saxogade Group at BHCC15-Sep-2017

A group of Danish visitors arrived to Boston and homestay on September 15th. The group will be atte..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Iwate University08-Sep-2017

Global Immersions Homestay is happy to welcome our Japanese tour group from Iwate University to ..


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The Science of Hygge

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Imagine a cold winter's night and you're curled up on the couch under a mound of blankets watching your favorite show or reading a thrilling book with a cup of tea steaming next to you. If you have children, they are finally asleep -  and you have this particular moment all to yourself. It's nice, is it not? In the U.S., we might call the fuzzy, warm feeling created in that moment a sense of "coziness". In the Danish culture, however, there is a specific word to describe that feeling: hygge.

Pronounced "hoo-guh", hygge is defined by Oxford Dictionary as "a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being". Some refer to it as an "art of creating intimacy" - either with yourself, with others, or with your home. Hygge generally requires a person to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere that can be shared with friends, family, and even strangers.

Hygge has become one of the defining aspects of Danish culture. In the last few years, the philosophy has gained an international audience; at least six books on hygge were published in the U.S. in 2016 alone. The concept is more than just a room full of candles and familiar faces though - it is a way of life that has helped Danes appreciate the importance of simplicity and practice a slower pace of life.

CEOs of companies, such as Meik Wiking of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, have written books on hygge and how others around the world can start to incorporate it in their lives. Here is a list that Wiking includes in his  "The Little Book of Hygge":

  • Get comfy. Take a break.
  • Be here now. Turn off the phones.
  • Turn down the lights. Bring out the candles.
  • Build relationships. Spend time with your tribe.
  • Give yourself a break from the demands of healthy living. Cake is most definitely hygge.
  • Live life today, like there is no coffee tomorrow.

Though there is not a direct translation of the word hygge in English, the tangible feeling of comfort, coziness, and contentedness is one we are all familiar with. Remember to pause what you are doing today, take a deep breath, and slow down.

A Favorite Fall Activity: Apple Picking!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

As the beginning of September brought some chilly weather and the start of a new school year, we are reminded that autumn is right around the corner. Fall is one of the most beautiful times to be in the Northeast of the United States, and the tell-tale scenic changing colors reminds us, once more, that apple picking season is upon us.

Fresh hot cider, juicy apples, and delicious freshly baked cider doughnuts are some of the best things New England orchards have to offer. Beyond that, the fun activity is known for its bonding and relaxing nature! Here is a list of apple orchards within an hour's drive from Boston:

Belkin Family Lookout Farm

One of the longest running farms in the country, the Belkin Family Lookout Farm boats apples, pumpkins, Asian pears, train rides, and farm animal fun! The closest working farm to the city, this gem will surely brighten up your fall.

Price: $12 weekday admission per person (kids under 2 are FREE); $16 weekend admission

10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 89 Pleasant St., South Natick, Massachusetts, 508-653-0653

Brooksby Farm

Located a little further outside of Boston, Brooksby Farm has all of the Fall holiday essentials. This Pick-Your-Own apple orchard also has doughnuts, cider, pumpkin patches, and more!

Price: $9 for 1/2-peck bag; $17 for 1-peck bag


9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, 54 Felton St., Peabody, Massachusetts, 978-531-7456

Dowse Orchards

For over 200 years, Dowse Orchards has been a functioning farm that produces apples, veggies, flowers, pumpkins, and Christmas trees.  This Fall come out to pick your favorite sweet Golden and Red apples for the best pies around!

Price: $16 for 1/2-peck bag


9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays & Sundays, 98 North Main St., Sherborn, Massachusetts, 508-653-2639, dowseorchards.com.

Honey Pot Hill

Nominated for Best Apple Orchard of 2017 by USA Today, Honey Pot Hill Orchards is a must-see this Fall! From hedge mazes, to hay rides, to farm animals, to hot cider and cider doughnuts, to jams, veggies, and pies, and, of course, to pick-your-own apples (and blueberries!), Honey Pot Hill has so much to offer for the best Fall day! Be sure to come out and enjoy the festivities this year.

Price: $18 for 10lb bag; $28 for 20lb bag


9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 138 Sudbury Road, Stow,  Massachusetts, 978-562-5666

For a more comprehensive list of apple-picking Orchards in and around Boston, follow this link!

Keeping Pets Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

If you own a pet, you have probably experienced the predicament of being uncomfortably squashed into a corner of your bed, and not wanting to disturb your cute sleeping furry friend. Have you ever wondered if someone across the globe is experiencing the same exact dilemma at the same time as you? Is 'Shelly' over in Australia admiring her sleeping pup while her left foot goes numb stuck between the bed and the wall? Perhaps! Interestingly though, keeping pets (both in the home and generally) can greatly vary from country to country.

Dogs, cats, birds, fish, and the like have lived peacefully with humans for thousands of years. Pet preferences and their purpose in the home, however, can differ by culture.

In Russia, cats are the go-to pet of choice with 57% of homes having this adorable, yet sometimes evil, four-legged creature. Perhaps people prefer cats because they do not need to take them outside during bitterly cold winter days. Similarly, cats are idealized in Japanese culture. Though cats do not dominate as many households in Japan, they are seen as incredibly protective and lucky animals.

When it comes to avian pets, Turkey has the highest concentration of homes with birds at 20%. Traditionally, birds have been compared to the human soul, therefore, Turkish people, as well as Persians, have deeply valued having birds within their homes.

China takes the cake when it comes to aquatic pets, as fish can be found in 17% of households. In areas with such density, it is understandable that people might prefer smaller sized animals.

Now, the United States certainly has the biggest pet population all together, including 70 million dogs and 73 million cats. The U.S. is not the breadwinner when it comes to dogs as pets, however. In fact, Argentina boasts the most dog-dense population with 66% of homes having at least one dog - 16% of which were adopted off of the streets. Furthermore, 80% of Argentine homes have at least one pet in general, making it the most pet-friendly country in the world. In some cultures, however, dogs serve a purpose in the home. In rural China, for example, a dog's purpose is to protect the home and/or livestock. They generally do not sleep inside with the family, and can even be eaten once they are too old to continue working. In many Islamic countries, dogs are seen as impure and unhygienic, and it is rare for dogs to be household pets. On the flip side, areas like the United States and the U.K. greatly value the companionship that dogs offer, calling them "man's best friend".

All in all, depending on where you are, you might find drastic differences in the types of pets people keep!

The Solar Eclipse: Legends & Myths

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What two things cannot be hidden for long?

If you guessed the sun and the moon, you are 100% correct.

Perhaps the two most dependable natural fixtures in the world, we always expect to see the moon when we lay our head down at night, and see the sun upon waking up in the morning. For many people around the world, time, as a concept, becomes twisted and distorted when an occurrence disrupts the function of either. Say, for example, a solar eclipse - where the moon shifts in between the earth and the sun, blocking the sun's light from earth for a short amount of time. For the first time in nearly a hundred years, next Monday, August 21st, North America will experience a total solar eclipse.

With the nearing of this remarkable event, we did some research on solar eclipses and the legends that surround them. E.C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, once said "'If you do a worldwide survey of eclipse lore, the theme that constantly appears is it's always a disruption of the established order'". Perceptions of what that disruption signifies varies from culture to culture. Some see the solar eclipse as an event to be feared, while others view it as a time for reflection.

Many cultures see the eclipse as a moment when a demon or an animal consumes the sun. The indigenous Pomo of Northern California imagined a great bear, ambling through the skies and eating the sun when it refused to leave his path. Bolivian and Korean legends say an evil king sent "fire dogs" to steal the sun but they could not hold it in their mouths for long. Similarly, the Vikings saw sky wolves chasing the sun. Once they caught it, an eclipse would happen. By Vietnam tradition, the sun is eaten by a frog during an eclipse.

Other myths describe the solar eclipse as a part of natural law. The Navajo's regard the eclipse as balancing out cosmic orders. Many Navajos still observe ancient traditions by singing special songs, spending time with their family, and refraining from food, drink or sleep.

If you're travelling in the United States and want to see whether or not you will be in a prime viewing spot for next Monday's eclipse, check out this site! Boston will only experience about a 63% eclipse, but it will still be quite the sight. Experts believe that the moon will cover most of the sun at approximately 2:45pm. If you're looking for more information on Monday's solar eclipse in Massachusetts, follow this link!

The Meaning of Personal Space Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 09, 2017

We are all thoroughly aware of that uncomfortable sensation - a tickling up and down our spines - when someone hovers in or around our 'personal space' bubbles for longer than expected. Have you ever wondered what might cause that creepy-crawly feeling? Or if the other person feels it too? Our judgment on this phenomenon naturally varies from person to person, and by nature of the relationship we have with the other person. Interestingly enough, however, we must also consider culture as a large contributor to our preferred personal space distances.

A study published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology examines the differences of preferred interpersonal distances across the world to measure just how close people are willing to get. The researchers handed out the image below to about 9,000 participants, and asked them to mark where Person B should stand, in relation to Person A, if they were a stranger, an acquaintance, or a close friend.

In the USA, the average person preferred strangers to remain 95cm away, whereas if they were an acquaintance or close friend, they preferred 65cm and 45cm, respectfully. Countries that value large personal space distances include Romania, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Uganda. And on the flip side of that coin, Argentina, Peru, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Austria do not mind if you get up close and personal. An interesting note is the difference in preferences in Norway, where they fall about in the middle when it comes to strangers (100cm), but enjoy the most proximity when it comes to close friends (35cm).

Needless to say, the 'personal space bubble' means something different to people across the globe.

The American Barbecue

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Cooking outside over an open flame has a rich history expanding past our pioneering ancestors. Now, barbecuing is a summertime staple. A barbecue can take many forms ranging from the most extravagant to the simplistic hot dog on a stick. Each region of America has its own style when it comes to barbecue due to cooking styles, meats, sauces, and rubs. The states stretching from the Carolinas to Texas mark the Barbecue Belt. In these states, barbecuing is a serious matter. Various customs are influenced by the community who  originally settled there.

Traditionally in North Carolina, whole pigs are smoked over an open fire. Tennessee barbeques are also heavily pork based, but are in the form of ribs or pulled pork. Due to the size of the state and the diverse communities within it, Texas barbecues differ. Texas barbecues are traditionally beef based and brisket is the most popular cut. Although, in East Texas pork can be found as often as beef. Preparation and presentation of the meat is altered based on where it is cooked. West Texas “cowboy-style” barbecue avoids sauce and Mexican influences arise in South Texas barbecue. Learn more about the regional differences here.

While barbecue restaurants may be more popular in the South, there are local joints to fulfill the craving. Boston’s Sweet Cheeks on Boylston Street brings southern charm and barbecue to the city. Before heading to a Red Sox game, be sure to stop by for a bite and a tall glass of their delightful sweet tea. Their menu is full of favorites, including ribs, brisket and wings. The fluffy biscuits are a must! Classics like corn on the cob, fried green tomatoes and coleslaw are in abundance. Find their menu here.

The reasonable prices, large portions and fast service make Redbones BBQ in Davis Square a local favorite. The extensive menu is comprised of perfect cuts of beef and pork, in addition to catfish, fried chicken, and baked beans. Exciting appetizers of corn fritters and buffalo shrimp are the perfect starters for a meal at this eatery. If the trip to Somerville seems far, their food truck brings their delectable creations to the streets on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Find their menu here



Boston/Greater Boston Farmers Markets

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Did you know that there is at least one farmers market operating every day of the week in the Boston/Greater Boston area? These markets provide fresh, locally grown products to their communities. Here's a weekly rundown of where you can find a farmers market:

Sunday

If you're in the Cambridge area, be sure to check out the Charles Square Farmers Market in the Charles Hotel Courtyard (1 Bennett Street) from 10am - 3pm. A bit further southwest, you can find yourself at the Needham Farmers Market in front of the Needham Town Hall (Garrity Way) from 12pm - 4pm.

Monday

The Central Square Farmers Market in the Bishop Allen Drive at Norfolk Street (parking lot) in Cambridge is a popular option on Monday's from 12pm - 6pm. The South Boston Farmers Market, located in the W. Broadway Municipal Parking Lot (446 West Broadway, South Boston), is another great market that accepts WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons. It is open from 12pm - 6pm.

Tuesday

The Harvard University Farmers Market in Cambridge, Harvard Science Center Plaza (Oxford and Kirkland streets), is a well located market near the fun and excitement of Harvard Square. It is open from 12pm - 6pm. The JP Farmers Market is another cute niche tucked away in the Bank of America parking lot on Center Street in JP. Stop by from 12pm - 3pm to check out the locally grown produce and vegetables! If you are out west in Newton, be sure to plan a stop at the Newton Farmers Market at Cold Spring Park (1200 Beacon Street) from 1:30pm - 6pm. The Copley Square Farmers Market is one you cannot miss! From 11am - 6pm, in the shopping heart of Boston, come down to check out the beautiful fruits and veggies local vendors bring to Copley Square.

Wednesday

Cambridge Center Farmers Market near the Kendall/MIT MBTA station (on Main Street) is a popular choice from 11am - 6pm. The Charlestown Farmers Market at the intersection of Austin and Main streets is open from 2pm - 7pm. If you are a bit north of the city, you can check out the East Boston Farmers Market behind the Maverick MBTA station (209 Sumner Street) from 3pm - 6:30pm. Located west of Boston? No problem! Check out the Dedham Farmers Market in front of First Church of Dedham (670 High Street) from 3pm - 7pm. Lastly, the Oak Square Farmers Market in Brighton (Presentation School Foundation parking lot) is open from 4pm - 7pm.

Thursday

Come out to the Kendall Square Farmers Market every Thursday from 11am - 2pm, located at 500 Kendall Street. The Brookline Farmers Market is a long-standing market that's been running for over thirty years! Check it out from 1:30pm - 6:30pm in the Center Street West Parking Lot in Coolidge Corner. Mission Hill Farmers Market is another fun experience, located in Brigham Circle on Huntington Ave and Francis Street, from 11am - 6pm!

Friday

Friday's in Cambridge return to the same place as Sunday's market, just from 12pm - 6pm instead! And if you missed out on Tuesday, the Copley Square Farmers Market returns on Friday's from 11am - 6pm.

Saturday

Saturday is a big day for farmers markets in and around the city! Cambridgeport Farmers Market can be found in the Morse School Parking Lot from 10am - 2pm. The Braintree Farmers Market, a local favorite featuring meats, fruits, veggies, and Vermont maple syrup, is held in the Town Hall Mall (1 JFK Memorial Drive) from 9am - 1pm. The family friendly Roslindale Farmers Market meets every Saturday from 9:00am - 1:30pm in Adams Park (Roslindale Village). Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville is a local hotspot for good eats from 9:00am - 1pm! There are TWO farmers markets in JP on Saturday: Egleston Farmers Market from 10am - 2pm located across from the Sam Adams Brewery (29-31 Germania Street) and JP Farmers Market returns at the same place as Tuesday from 12pm -3pm! And finally, if you have a chance, be sure to check out the Waltham Farmers Market from 9:30am - 2pm at the Arthur J. Clark Government Building (119 School Street)

Every day of the week:

Boston Public Market, located at 100 Hanover Street (Downtown, Haymarket), is a farmers market that sells meat, fruits, vegetables, and many other local products from 8am - 8pm every single day!!! Be sure to check it out while you are in Boston!

Breakfast Around the World!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, July 21, 2017

Breakfast, as we all know, is the most important meal of the day. But it's not always enjoyed with eggs, bacon and stack of pancakes. What may seem like a strange breakfast to Americans could be someone else's favorite weekend treat. Below, we've investigated breakfasts from a few countries that our visitors often come from! 

First up, Japan. Believe it or not, miso soup and rice are commonly found on a Japanese breakfast plate. Add a side of grilled fish or some pickled vegetables and you've got yourself a breakfast feast. Unlike the United States, a Japanese breakfast is not intended to be filling or heavy, so dishes are not often rich, deep fried or greasy. 

Similar to the Japanese, a Chinese breakfast might also consist of a broth, but this time soy bean. With the broth, there might be a side of sweet, fried bread for dipping. If you're not interested in broth, there are always sweet buns or sweet tofu pudding. On the savory side, wheat and rice noodles are popular breakfast options, paired with meat and vegetables. Unlike the Japanese breakfast, the Chinese breakfast is not necessarily light. It can often be full of sugar and salt, which makes for a delicious way to start the day.

   

European breakfasts are often light, something like coffee and bread will be enough to tie someone over until a mid-morning snack or lunch. The Dutch are no exception to this rule. However, if you're feeling a bit hungrier, you could top your bread with meats, cheeses, spreads, and fruits to bulk up your meal. 

In Spain, breakfast is still the smallest meal of the day. But if you're lucky, you might get a sugary churro con chocolate as your Sunday morning breakfast treat. A sugary pastry dipped in hot, rich chocolate. Yum! If you're feeling adventurous, learn how to make your own churros here for your next big breakfast.

And of course, there is the traditional American breakfast. Eggs, bacon, toast, and if you're lucky, a short stack of pancakes! A great way to get your visitor involved is to introduce them to new foods and traditions. Next time you have a visitor staying with you on a lazy Sunday, teach them how to make your favorite pancake recipe! 



Best Locations to Enjoy Boston's Waterfront

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

If you're visiting Boston during July, you know that the weather will not only be unpredictable, but also hot and humid. As a life-long Boston resident, I can tell you with certainty that the best way to cool down and relax on a hot city day is to spend some time near a body of water.

Contrary to popular belief, there are fabulous beaches right in the center of the city. You can easily find yourself soaking up the sun and playing in the sand just by hopping on the MBTA. South Boston ("Southie") is home to four beaches, making those three miles the longest stretch of uninterrupted beach in the Boston area. If you want to relax in the sand, dip your toes in the ice cold water, and look out on the Harbor Islands, Southie beaches are a gem waiting to be discovered.

Another perk to visiting these beaches is Castle Island. At one point a real island, it can now be found adjacent to Pleasure Bay beach and is home to Fort Independence. Be sure to stop by Sully's for some delicious local snacks!

How to get there by T: To get to Carson Beach, the first of the four beaches, take the Red Line to JFK/UMass and walk along the waterfront for about 10-15 minutes. To get to the other beaches, such as L Street beach, M Street beach, and Pleasure Bay beach, take the Red Line to Broadway Station and either walk east along Broadway Street, or hop on the #9 bus to City Point. If you're not looking to bake on the sands of Southie, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the waters in and around Boston.

Revere Beach, founded in 1896, is the oldest public beach in the United States. Located just north of the city, it is also easily accessible by the MBTA. Restaurants and food vendors, especially Kelly's Roast Beef, make a trip to Revere well worth it. On July 21-23, 2017, the annual International Sand Sculpting Festival will return to Revere beach. This is a weekend of food, fun, and sand sculptures - be sure to grab your sunscreen and come out to enjoy.

    

How to get there by T: Hop on the Blue Line to Revere Station, and walk across the street to the beach. Simple as that! 
Additionally, the Esplanade is a long, thin strip of park that runs along the bank of Boston's side of the Charles River. It is most famous for hosting the Boston Pops and Fireworks celebration on the Fourth of July, however, during the months of July and August, you can also catch a free movie at the Hatch Shell. This month's film lineup includes:

  • July 14 - Sing

  • July 21 - The Jungle Book

  • July 28 - Finding Dory

Be sure to grab a blanket and a snack and come down to the Hatch Shell for a night of fun film entertainment! Movies start at sundown.


How to get there by T: Take the Red Line to Charles/MGH Station, cross over Cambridge and Charles Street, and then take the footbridge over Storrow Drive.

Lastly, enjoy free concerts every Thursday night at 6pm at the ICA Boston on the waterfront (25 Harbor Shore Drive, South Boston Waterfront). Berklee College of Music students will perform jazz, reggae, and music from around the world - paired with food, drinks, and free admission to the museum, it is sure to be a blast!

How to get there by T: Take the Red Line to South Station and pick up the Silver Line. Hop on the Silver Line to the Courthouse stop and then walk 7 minutes.

Check out other activities during the month of July here!

Happy Independence Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, June 29, 2017


Also known as Independence Day, the Fourth of July is a widely celebrated holiday in the United States.  The holiday began on July 4th 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, thus making the American colonies the United States of America. The federal holiday has been observed since.

Not only does this patriotic holiday mark America's independence from Great Britain, the
Fourth of July serves as a summer-time holiday where families come together and celebrate. Families have cookouts, partake in outdoor activities, and enjoy fireworks together around the city. This holiday is the perfect time to expose your visitor to American culture, and participate in fun activities throughout Boston! Below are some local happenings around the city that you and your visitors can take part in to celebrate the day.


This year, celebrations begin June 30th with the Annual Boston Harborfest Celebration. The festival will start off at the West End of Faneuil Hall with Mayor Marty Walsh and music performed by the 215th Army Band. From Friday June 30th through July 4th, countless outdoor family-friendly activities will be taking place as part of this festival. Check out the schedule for details on these activities, which include a scavenger hunt, a showing of the movie "Yankee Doodle Dandy", and a reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Old North Church.   Another highlight of the festival includes a Boston POPS Orchestra Concert at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade, taking place on July 3rd. On July 4th, the same concert will take place with fireworks at the end. Here are some other activities you can take part in:


Visit the Boston Harbor Islands

Enjoy a nice picnic and a scenic view of Boston from any of the Boston Harbor Islands! The islands can be accessed through the Boston Harbor Cruises. and are great for relaxing or spending an active day walking around!


Go Kayaking, Paddleboarding or Canoeing (and get a prime view of the fireworks!)

Paddle Boston offers kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing starting at just $15 an hour. This is a great way to cool off and get a scenic view of the city in the summer! In addition to this, they are offering rentals the night of July 4th, allowing kayakers to catch a beautiful view of the fireworks and the city right from the Charles River! 


Host a family barbecue!

It's always nice to spend some time with family and friends and enjoy some hot dogs and hamburgers. (On that note, check out our crazy burgers around Boston blog). Visitors visiting the U.S. may not have had the experience of a barbecue before, and the Fourth of July is the perfect time to host such an event! So kick back, relax, and grill some food to enjoy quality time with family and friends from the comfort of your own backyard.


Visit a Beach 

Although Boston is on the cooler side this year, typically temperatures are pretty high in July. Whether its on the cooler side or sweltering, hit up a local beach to relax and catch some sun. Revere Beach  is T-accessible and is a great spot just outside of Boston to relax. If you're feeling adventurous, there are plenty of beaches outside of Boston such as Plum Island Beach in Newburyport, Singing Beach  in Manchester By The Sea, or various beaches throughout Gloucester. However, these are only suggestions as there are countless beaches just outside of Boston and in the Cape Cod area! (Check out our blog on beaches here!)

Check out other ongoing activities and fireworks viewing spots around Boston hereFor more viewing spots for fireworks around Massachusetts, check out this list of viewing spots around the state! Hopefully these activities will keep you busy, have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!