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Welcome to Boston Homestay Japanese Chiba Group!16-Mar-2018

Global Immersions welcomed a group of High School students from Japan. These students will be en..

March 14 - Program Updates13-Mar-2018

Here are the program updates and closures for Wednesday, March 14: Mito First Group -- meet ..

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St. Patrick's Day in the City

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 13, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday that originated in Ireland is celebrated widely, and perhaps more enthusiastically in the United States. The United States, due to its large Irish population, adopted the holiday and now cities and towns around the country have St. Patrick’s Day parades and traditions. Here are some cities known for their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the U.S.


The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States was held in Boston in 1737. While St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is primarily a religious holiday, in the United States it is secular and is observed by Irish and non-Irish residents alike. Each year, Boston celebrates St. Patty’s Day with a parade in South Boston- a famously Irish-American area of the city. Irish rock band, The Dropkick Murphy’s, most known for their song “Shipping Up to Boston”, traditionally plays a St. Patrick’s Day concert in the city.

According to a 2015 U.S. census, 32.7 million Americans claimed Irish ancestry. This number is 7 times the population of Ireland.

New York City:

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in NYC in 1762. In 2002, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade honored victims an heroes of 9/11 and featured over 300,000 participants and 3 million spectators, making it the largest parade to date. In 2014, the NYC St. Patty’s Day Parade made news again after parade organizers announced the first ever LGBT group march- effectively ending the ban on these groups participating. The NYC parade as a notably long parade route- extending from 5th Avenue to 44th and 79th streets. It has become known as the world’s largest ST. Patrick’s Day parade.


Chicago’s tradition of St. Patrick’s Day parades began in 1955. This city is perhaps most known for dying the Chicago River green during St. Patrick’s Day. The river is dyed on the morning of the parade. The dying process takes about 45 minutes, and, depending on weather, the river can stay green for several days. The river was turned green for the first time in 1962. Flour sifters filled with 40 pounds of environmentally friendly orange powder are used to turn the river a bright green. Two boats are used to spread out the color. 

Interested in learning more about St. Patick's Day. Check out The History Channel's graphic of St. Patty's Day facts.

Source: CNN, The Chicago Tribune

Winter Olympic Wrap-up

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, February 23, 2018

The past two weeks seem to have really flown by, as the 2018 Winter Olympics are coming to an end. Sunday night, the Games will conclude with the Olympics closing ceremony. PyeongChang will thank the athletes for their participation, just as it welcomed them during the Opening Ceremony. This year's Winter Olympics have been an exciting display of athleticism and talent. As of today, the total medal count for the top 10 scoring countries is as follows:


Team USA had its fare share of memorable moments at the Games. Here are some of the top highlights from the Olympics thus far.


The U.S. Women's Hockey Team beat rivals Canada in a 3-2 shootout. This was the first time the U.S. Women's team has one gold since 1998. The team has lost to Canada in 3 of the past 4 Olympic finals.


Another victory for the U.S. over Canada- the third-seeded Men's curling team, beat second-seeded Canada yesterday  in the Semi-finals. This was the first time the U.S. had advanced to the curling semi-finals since 2006, after defeating Switzerland and Great Britain. The Men's Curling finals will air on Saturday with the U.S. facing off against Sweden for the gold.

Figure Skating

U.S. figure skating saw some historic moments at the games this year, as multiple athletes set Olympic records. Competitor Mirai Nagasu became the first woman to land a triple axle in an Olympic competition, though in the end she finished tenth. Nathan Chen, the 17-year old Men's figure skating star, came back from a disappointing short program to ultimately land 5 quadruple flips - the most ever landed in one Olympic routine.


The U.S. Team shined in Olympic snowboarding  events, gathering gold medals from stars like Chloe Kim, and Jamie Anderson. 17-year old Red Gerard won the first gold medal for the U.S. of the Olympics in the Men's slope style competition. Shaun White claimed his 3rd gold medal in the men's half pipe competition, after failing to place in the previous Winter Games.  

How to Watch

The Olympic closing ceremonies will air Sunday (2/25) at 8 pm on NBC. You can find a schedule of the remaining events here.

The Year of the Dog

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Lunar New Year began last week, and this year is the Year of the Dog. But what does that mean? Here is a little background on the Lunar New Year tradition.  

The Chinese calendar revolves around 12 animal zodiac signs. In order these animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

These animals are not as random as they may seem, the ox, horse, goat, rooster, pig, and dog are some of the main animals domesticated by Chinese people and the rat, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake and monkey are all loved by the Chinese.

The animals rotate based on the idea of Yin and Yang, each animal is determined to be a yin or yang based upon the even or odd number of toes/hooves/paws they have. The yang attribute comes first followed by yin. This cycle repeats every 12 years.

This is the year of the dog, which means any person born in this year will have the dog as their Chinese zodiac symbol. Previous years of the dog include 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, and 1934.

Each zodiac animal is paired with a Celestial Stem (the elements of earth, wind, fire, and wood). These Celestial Stems rotate on a 60-year cycle. Your zodiac year and Celestial Stem pairing are believed to influence your personality traits and relationships with others. This year's Celestial Stem is Earth which means dogs born in this year " are stubborn and never give up. They aren’t very connected with the world and society. Though stubborn, they respect other perspectives. They believe that as long as they work hard, they’ll make it." There has not been a Year of the Dog with the Celestial Stem Earth since 1958.

The Year of the Dog will influence the year for other signs. Depending on how compatible certain signs are with the dog, they will have a successful or challenging year. The zodiac year will dictate how other signs should dress, decorate their homes, or act, if they want good fortune.

For those born in previous Years of the Dog, this year will be difficult. Your zodiac year is seen as a "hurdle you have to jump over" or hardship you must overcome. Traditionally, the way to protect oneself from evil spirits and bad luck during one's zodiac year was to wear red underwear everyday for the entire year. While this practice may not be widely observed by many Chinese today, bad fortune in one's zodiac year is still treated as a concern.

If you're interested in your Chinese zodiac, you can find out what the Year of the Dog will bring you here

2018 Olympics Opening Ceremony

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, February 09, 2018

The Winter Olympics began yesterday with opening ceremonies in PyeongChang, South Korea. Last night several events were broadcasted including mixed doubles curling, Men's figure skating short program, and downhill skiing trials.

Last night U.S. figure skater, 18-year old Nathan Chen competed in the Men's short, finishing fourth overall. Nathan was extremely hyped-up going into the winter games, as the only undefeated men's champion in the world. His performance last night was surprising, as he fell on his triple axle, turned one of his quadruple jumps into only a double jump, and then did not put a triple toe loop onto the end of his second quad. Nathan Chen was favored to win this event for the US and also was supposed to be the first person to land a quadruple flip, triple toe loop. Before the Olympics he achieved the record for being the first athlete in the world to land five quadruple jumps in his free skate program.

At the opening ceremonies last night, South Korea and North Korea walked under a unified flag. The two countries also have a combined Women's Hockey team. Two members of this team, Chung Su-hyon from North Korea and Park Jong-ah from South Korea, carried the Olympic torch during the ceremony. The torch was lit by South Korean figure skater and former 2010 Olympic gold medalist, Yu Na Kim.

Russian athletes marched under the neutral Olympic flag; they will be competing for the "Olympic Athletes of Russia." Russian athletes were not allowed to compete under their own flag this year as part of the country's punishment for a state sponsored doping scandal a the 2014 Sochi Olympics and at earlier competitions.

PyeongChang, South Korea is an very poor area in Gangwon, South Korea, the nation's most isolated and least developed province. PyeongChang has a population of only 43,000 and is located 80 miles from the capital of Seoul. It also shares a large boarder with North Korea. PyeongChang's first bid to host the Olympics was in 2010. The city re-applied in 2014, and finally was accepted to host the 2018. In preparation for the Olympics the government has  invested $13 billion in the region, creating new infrastructure such as a new bullet train and highway to expedite access to Seoul, as well as sporting facilities like ice rinks and ski slopes. It has been reported that after the Olympics, these facilities will be demolished.

The Winter Olympics includes events such as different skiing events, bobsled, curling, figure skating, biathlon, ice hockey, luge, speed skating, skeleton and snowboarding. The map above shows the most popular Winter Olympic events in every country. Hockey seems to dominate in countries with medal-winning hockey teams. The map shows that curling is also popular (probably more popular than one would expect) in many countries around the globe. 

If you're interested in watching this year's Olympic action, you can find a schedule of events  here.

Curious about more Olympics facts? Thrillist put together this handy graphic that tells you everything you would ever want to know...

Super Bowl $tats: The Cost of Super Bowl LII

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

This Sunday, The New England Patriots will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. The Patriots have won 5 out of the 9 total Super bowls they have played in. Sunday will determine if Patriots' quarterback, Tom Brady, will receive his 6th Super Bowl win in his 8th Super Bowl appearance.

The Eagles have appeared in 2 previous Super Bowls, though have never emerged victorious. The team took on the Patriots once before in 2004, losing 21-24 in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Sunday's game is sure to be exciting as the Patriots fight to hang onto their title as reigning Super Bowl Champions.

Super Bowl Sunday is definitely a heavily advertised event, but just how popular is it? You may be surprised to learn exactly how much money is spent by Americans on game day every year.

Super Bowl Stats

Over 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year. This means that over 100 million people see Super Bowl Ads. 

Over the last 50 years corporations have spent a total of $4.9 billion dollars on advertising during the Super Bowl. The current average cost of airspace for a 30- second commercial is $5 million dollars. 

Americans spend $1.2 billion dollars on beer for the Super Bowl and $1.1 billion on other alcohol.

$82 million dollars is spent on chicken wings alone - the most popular game day snack. 

Americans spend $1.4 billion dollars on Super Bowl parties, most of which is spent on food and drink. 

Snacks by State

According to Thrillist the most popular Super Bowl snacks in the states of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania (where the Patriots and Eagles have their home fields) are buffalo chicken dip and Potato Soup, respectively. In Minnesota (where they will play on Sunday) the most popular snack is Tater Tot Casserole.

Here is the most popular game day snacks by state: 

Alabama -- Mississippi Roast
Alaska -- Potato Salad
Arizona -- Chili
Arkansas -- Queso Cheese Dip
California -- Chicken Wings
Colorado -- Taco Pie
Connecticut -- Slow Cooker Chicken Wings
Delaware -- Butter Cake Bars
Florida -- Sausage Cheese Balls
Georgia -- Sliders
Hawaii -- Crescent Sloppy Joes
Idaho -- Little Smokies
Illinois -- Chex Mix
Indiana -- Root Beer Chicken
Iowa -- Pigs In A Blanket
Kansas -- Dill Pickle Soup
Kentucky -- Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Lousiana -- Crab au Gratin
Maine -- Clam Dip
Maryland -- Pizza Sticks
Massachusetts -- Buffalo Chicken Dip
Michigan -- Potato Soup
Minnesota -- Tater Tot Casserole/Hot Dish
Mississippi -- Beef Stew
Missouri -- Hamburgers
Montana -- Buffalo Chicken Dip
Nebraska -- Hot Wings
Nevada -- Sausage Cheese Balls
New Hampshire -- Chili
New Jersey -- Chili
New Mexico -- Seven Layer Taco Dip
New York -- Buffalo Chicken Wings
North Carolina -- Sausage Cheese Balls
North Dakota -- Bacon-Wrapped Smokies
Ohio -- White Chicken Chili
Oklahoma -- Stuffed Mushrooms 
Oregon -- Taco Soup
Pennsylvania -- Potato Soup
Rhode Island -- Chili
South Carolina -- Cowboy Caviar
South Dakota -- Hummus
Tennessee -- Skillet Dips
Texas -- Sausage Cheese Balls
Utah -- Pulled Pork
Vermont -- Bruschetta
Virginia -- Deviled Eggs
Washington -- Jalapeno Popper Dip
West Virginia -- Sliders
Wisconsin -- Pinwheels
Wyoming -- Sliders

Super Bowl LII airs this Sunday, February 4th, at 6:30 pm on NBC

Don't have cable? Don't worry. Learn about other viewing options here.

Source: Parade

Top 5 Sledding Hills in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, January 19, 2018

Take advantage of the inevitable snowfall this season by planning a sledding outing for your family and international visitor. There are many hills in the Boston area that are perfect for sledding and easily accessible from your own home. Read about some of the best sledding hills below, and remember to bundle up! 

Flagstaff Hill on Boston Commons

Flagstaff Hill is one of the more populated sledding hills due to its convenient location in The Commons. The hill, located near the baseball diamond and next to Charles Street, is only a short distance from either Park Street or Boylston T stops. While your there you can also try public skating at Frog Pond and warm up with a hot chocolate from the snack bar.                              

Larz Anderson Park in Brookline

The Larz Anderson park is home to a public ice skating rink as well as rolling hills of all sizes, making it a really fun spot for winter activities. The park is a popular sledding area for families near Brookline and Boston, so on particularly snowy days it may be crowded. Nevertheless, it is still exciting. The park is also located near the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and The Putterham School, a one roomed school house from colonial times. 

Arnold Arboretum in Roslindale

The Arnold Arboretum is open year round and is easily accessible from the MBTA Orange Line station at Forrest Hills. The Arboretum, endowed as a department of Harvard University, covers 250 acres around Roslindale and Jamaica Plane neighborhoods.  The best place for sledding at the Arboretum is down Peter's Hill, one of the steepest ad longest sledding runs near Boston.

Danehy Park in Cambridge

Danehy Park was once a landfill that was then repurposed into public recreation area. As a popular destination for area residents from Spring to early Fall, Danhey Park hosts public events, sports games, and even includes a dog park. The 50-acre spot of land is also the highest point in Cambridge. Its tall hills make the park enjoyable in winter months as well.  After a heavy snowfall, the park has excellent terrain for sledding. 

Need to find other hills near you? You can find more info on sledding hills in the Great Boston Area, as well as on the North and South shores here. 

Need a sled? Sleds are generally inexpensive at most department stores, or you learn can DIY here. 

Bombo-What?? and Other Strange Weather Words You Might Hear This Winter

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, January 05, 2018

Thursday's Storm Grayson near Boston's Faneuil Hall 

Thursday, storm Grayson hit the United States, blanketing Massachusetts in over 12 inches of snow, and raising high tides by almost 5 inches -  levels comparable to those during the infamous blizzard of ’78. If you are currently in the Boston area, you most likely had your commute or school schedule interrupted by Grayson. If you live near the Seaport area, perhaps you noticed flooding. If you listened to news coverage of the storm you may have heard meteorologists use terms like “bomb cyclone” or “bombogenesis” to describe the weather activity we are experiencing.

But what exactly is a “bombogenesis”? No, this ominous-sounding word is not something out of a science fiction novel, but is actually a real weather term first coined by a professor at MIT. A bombogenesis aka a bomb cyclone or weather bomb refers to the weather that occurs when atmospheric pressure drops at least 24 millibars over 2 hours. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it can happen when warm air and cold air meet. Massachusetts experienced a bomb cyclone because the cold air of the past few weeks combined with a relatively warmer and low- pressure air that had been moving up the coast.

Strom Grayson floods beach towns on the South Shore 

Storm Grayson acted “bomb-like” in the sense that the storm occurred almost instantly, rather than gradually. During storm Grayson, the “bomb” went off over the ocean, which then caused storms on the mainland.

Bombogenesis isn’t the only strange word we’ve heard recently to describe crazy New England weather. If you’ll recall, meteorologists deemed the snowstorm we had in early December as “thundersnow” – a winter thunderstorm where snow falls instead of rain. You might have also seen "Arctic Blast" being used in headlines to describe the extreme cold front we have been enduring. Today's 14-degree weather is a result of cold air moving from the Arctic. Stepped outside this morning? You probably noticed "Hoarfrost" - the icy frost lining trees, your car windshield, and other things when the temperature is cold and the air is moist. 

No matter what type of strange, destructive, or never-before-heard-of weather we encounter this winter, it is important to stay safe and be prepared. You don't want to be stuck outside if another bomb cyclone hits! 

When the Clock Strikes 12

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, December 28, 2017

Whether viewed as an anthem, lifestyle, or fact, it’s 5 o'clock Somewhere. On December 31, a different hour is anticipated. The New Year is rung in all over the globe, in each time zone with fireworks and festivities.

First Night Boston, the oldest and largest event of its kind in the country, derived from a woman’s dream for a nontraditional night out. In 1975, Clara and Bill Wainwright attended a New Year's Eve party and found it predictable. They envisioned an Inclusive family-friendly celebration. The couple began organizing their project of a creative night by meeting with local artists. With partners and sponsors, they were able to plan more more than a hundred individual events across the city, including concerts, displays, and fireworks. New England weather is unpredictable, and the temperature reached a windchill of ten degrees below zero. About 25,000 people bundled up to experience First Night. It has since become a tradition and inspired similar events throughout the country and the world. 

The first major city to experience the New Year is Sydney. The largest fireworks display of the world is presented on the harbor, with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House making the show only more alluring. A ceremony presented by the Aboriginal peoples, showcases eucalyptus smoke billowing over the water, cleansing the Harbour of bad spirits. Family Fireworks go off at 9 pm for young Aussies to view, with the larger presentation following at the stroke of midnight. The parade of boats illuminated with strings of lights, glide through the harbor.

Perhaps the most thought celebration spot for New Year’s Eve is New York City. With millions gathering to watch the ball drop in Times Square and hours of notable musical guests, it is no wonder it is the most famous. The pricey alternative to partying outside is to have reservations or attend parties at the restaurants or bars overlooking the festivities. Crowds aren’t for everyone, which makes the televised broadcast, “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest” such a success. 

“Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest” now features segments from the Las Vegas party with additional guest appearances from celebrities. The Las Vegas Strip is known for entertainment, making it one of the great party destinations. On New Year’s Eve the road is shut down and transformed into a street party with live bands and pyrotechnics from various locations.

Another city known for partying, Rio de Janeiro is a top New Year’s Eve Destination. Known for its Carnival blowout, the New Year’s Eve bash maintains the same level of excitement, making it the largest New Year’s Eve party in the world. Over two million flock to the two and a half mile stretch of sand, known as Copacabana Beach. While Copacabana Beach is the most popular, smaller events will take place on other beaches and locations. Locals will traditionally wear white and will toss flowers and offerings into the ocean. Oceanfront stages host live musical and dance performances.

Needless to say, cities around the world are well-versed in celebrating the New Year. What are YOUR plans to welcome in 2018? 

Everyone here at Global Immersions hopes you have a fabulous New Year!!

Christmas: Then and Now

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, December 21, 2017

The winter solstice marked the short, harsh and dark winter days were coming to an end. Longer days and extended hours of sunlight are highly anticipated and brought hope to those seeking comfort in the sun. This Pagan celebration was soon absorbed by others and transitioned into a Christian holiday. The winter holiday became an anniversary celebration of the birth of Jesus. From one religion to another and constantly evolving, Christmas of today has religious implications but the commercialized aspects have far outgrown the religious ones. Narratives once revolved around Jesus, but Santa Claus has since become the integral character for Christmas stories.

Not always the popular holiday it is today, Christmas was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681. Puritan beliefs countered the celebration and those participating in Christmas festivities were fined five shillings. While other settlements did not have these strict regulations and Christmas slowly gained popularity. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States in on June 26, 1870. Globalization and developing technologies have changed and spread traditions. Each family has different traditions, as does each country. Other traditions and celebrations are unique to a country or town.

Christmas trees have become a symbol of Christmas. Christmas trees were first seen in Germany and immigrants brought the concept to the United States. Thought of as a Pagan tradition, it was not widely embraced initially. The first record of a Christmas tree being publicly displayed was in the 1830s. This display in Pennsylvania was created by German immigrants who had been decorating such trees in their communities for years. Popularity of Christmas trees grew after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who was German, were photographed with their children around one.

St. Lucia (Lucy) Day is celebrated widely, but most common in Scandinavia on December 13. The name Lucy refers to “light” and the celebration initially coincide with the winter solstice. To commemorate her death, a girl will dress in a white gown with a red sash around the waist. A crown of twigs and nine lit candles adorn her head. Processions are common in towns and one girl is selected for the honor of leading it. She will dress with the sash and crown of candles, but the other participants will carry a candle

Gävlebocken, the Gävle Goat, is a holiday display in Gävle, Sweden. Comprised of straw, the goat has cost upwards of a quarter of a million dollars to create and maintain. Since the tradition was introduced in 1966, the Gävle Goat has been destroyed by vandals 35 times in the past 50 years. Increased resources have been allocated to the protection of the display.  

While everyone might be dreaming of a white Christmas, some have white sandy beaches. In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is in the middle of summer. Australians  tend to go to the beach and have a picnic as their Christmas meal. The weather permits plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy.

All in all, Christmas around the world is celebrated in various styles and fashions, but most people would agree that the most important part of Christmas is the time we spend with family!

Merry Christmas to all!

The Story of Hanukkah

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a centuries-old Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. As legend goes, in 166 BC, the Jewish people rose against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. First led by father and priest, Mattathias Maccabee, and then by his son, Judah, the rebellion lasted for well over two years, and ended in what is considered the 'miracle' of light.

The Greek-Syrian oppressors had desecrated the holy Temple in Jerusalem by erecting a statue of Zeus and sacrificing pigs upon its altar. Their leader, Antiochus, gave the Jewish people an ultimatum: conversion or death. Though outnumbered, Judah Maccabee and his followers won two important battles, virtually ridding the city of the Greek-Syrian oppressors.

At the end of the Maccabean Revolt, Judah called upon his followers to cleanse the Temple, rebuild its original altar, and light its menorah. To everyone's dismay, there was only enough untainted oil to keep the menorah lit for a single day. The flames, however, continued to flicker for eight nights, allowing the Jewish people enough time to find a fresh supply of oil. This miracle inspired the annual eight-day festival of lights, Hanukkah, which means 'dedication' in Hebrew, and reminds Jews today to rededicate themselves to the Jewish religion, culture, and people.

Today, the celebration of Hanukkah revolves around lighting the menorah, eating foods cooked in oil (such as latkes and jam-filled donuts), playing with toy dreidels, and spending time with family. Though it is not considered a Jewish "high holiday", in which restrictions are placed on school, work, or other activities,  Hanukkah has seen an explosion of commercial attention, as it usually lands near Christmas. This year, Hanukkah began on Tuesday, December 12, and will go through Wednesday, December 20.

Happy Hanukkah to all!

Sources: History and RJ