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Halloween Happenings!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Halloween is one of the best celebrated holidays in the Boston area due, naturally, to the amount of ghosts that roam our streets. From witch trials, to hangings, to some of the oldest graveyards in the country, Boston's history ensures that old lonely spirits are due to walk the streets on October 31st.

Just kidding. Maybe.

If you're a lover of all things spooky, get ready for some good Halloween fun in and around the Boston area!

Hop on the Boston Ghosts and Gravestones Tour for a jaunt around town in an old trolley with a host that looks remarkably like a 17th century gravedigger... This tour takes you through the most historic parts of Boston, where you will make stops at two of the oldest graveyards in the country, and learn about some of the most gruesome murders in Boston's history.

Remember that the tour is half walking, so grab some comfortable shoes!

Price: $39.00

If you really want a fright, check out the Factory of Terror in Fall River, MA. With three locations - Bloodworth Dungeon, 4-D Blackout, and Phobia Mayhem - this will sure be one horrifying night. You'll come face to face with moaning spirits, tormented corpses, and gothic nightmares in this haunted Factory.

Price: $15

Want to learn more about Boston's spooky history? Take a walking tour with Boston By Foot for their Beacon Hill with a BOO! event. On October 31 at 6pm, the tour will set out to walk amongst the dark alleys of Beacon Hill, where you will learn of the Hill's dark and murderous legacy.

Price: $20

Lastly, and certainly not least, take a day trip out to Salem, MA - better known as the "Witch City" -  to check out all of the Halloween happenings! You can take a scheduled 7 hour tour from Boston via the Salem Witch City Day Trip, which will take you up to Marblehead, then to the House of the Seven Gables, and then into downtown Salem for a bus and walking tour of the historic city. The Salem Witch Museum ramp up their decorations and activities this month as well, so be sure to take a visit to the country's oldest witch museum! The Haunted Witch Village and the Salem Wax Museum put on a great display over the weekends gearing up to Halloween. A trip to the Wax Museum might also lead you to Frankenstein's Laboratory!

If you're looking for all things Halloween in Salem, follow this link to check out the extensive list of events, tours, and activities in the Witch City all month long!

Here is a list of Halloween happenings in the Boston area too!

Día de los Muertos

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an ancient Mexican holiday whose celebration has now spread across Latin America and to parts of the United States. It is also one of the most misunderstood holidays to date. Since it takes place near Halloween, many people assume that Day of the Dead is a Mexican/Latin version of Halloween.


Dia de los Muertos was originally celebrated by the Aztecs at the end of August to signify the end of their harvest season. When the Spanish conquistadors brought Catholicism to Latin America, una mezcla (a combination) happened. With the Catholic tradition, came All Saints' and All Souls' Day in early November. Over time, Dia de los Muertos coincided with these Catholic holidays and is now celebrated on a similar two-day structure on November 1 and 2.

It is thought that at midnight on October 31, the gates to heaven open to allow the spirits of the dead to reunite with their loved ones for 24 hours. On the first day of Dia de los Muertos, November 1, families remember children who have passed away. On the second day, November 2, loved ones remember adults who have died. The central belief on Day of the Dead is not to mourn those who have passed, but to celebrate their lives. Families leave little toys and candy shaped as skulls for the children, and food, favorite possessions, and alcohol for the adults. Celebrations usually include live music and dancing from homes to graveyards, where families will gather around the graves of those who have passed.

Day of the Dead is an incredibly important holiday for Mexican and Latin people, as many believe that happy spirits will provide protection and good luck to their families. Sometimes people spend up to two months building ofrendas (homemade altars to leave offerings on) for their loved ones. This tradition keeps families and villages close - both with each other and with their deceased relatives.

The History of Halloween

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Straddling the line between fall and winter, the month of October boasts beautiful scenic views, an abundance of seasonal activities, and, most importantly, Halloween. Halloween is the holiday in which consumers purchase a quarter of all the candy sold in the U.S. annually. It is a time when neighborhoods come together for trick-or-treating, costume parties, and story-telling. But where did we come up with the idea to ask our neighbors for candy, and why do we dress up in scary outfits? To understand much of what the modern Halloween celebration entails, we must also understand where it has its roots.

Halloween is thought to have originated from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain ("sow-in"). November 1st marked the start of a new year for the Celts - the end of summer and harvest, and the beginning of a dark, cold winter. It was thought that on the night before the new year, October 31st, the boundary between the dead and the living blurred, and souls were able to wander the earth. Druids, ancient Celtic priests, would light massive bonfires, where people gathered to offer crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities for a safe and protected winter.

The Roman Empire conquered Celtic territory around 43 AD, and for several hundred years dominated those lands. Over the course of their rule, two Roman celebrations were combined with Samhain: Feralia, a day to commemorate the dead, and a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit - typically symbolized through an apple. This was incorporated into Samhain through the tradition of bobbing for apples - an activity still practiced today. By 1000 AD, the Church had dedicated November 1st as All Saints' Day to honor the dead, which was celebrated in much of the same way as Samhain - big bonfires, parades, and dressing up. The night before this grand celebration was called "All-Hallows Eve", and, eventually, "Halloween".

During Samhain and All Saints' Day, people would dress in costume and ask fellow townspeople for food. When the holiday came to America during Colonial times, a particularly American version began to emerge. It began as a public event that celebrated the harvest, where villagers would share ghost stories, tell each other's fortunes, and get into all sorts of mischief-making. By the late 1800's, Halloween became more about the community than about ghosts and pranks, as parents were encouraged to remove the "fright" out of Halloween celebrations. It was not until the mid-1900's that the holiday again took a spooky turn. It was also around this time that Halloween became geared to younger crowds.

Today, Halloween is celebrated by all age and sizes, and with spooky stories, scary costumes, and yummy treats to boot.

New England Fall Foliage

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It is officially Fall, and we are all set and ready for a season of pumpkin spice, apple cider, crisp weather, and colorful trees! In my humble opinion as a born-and-raised-Bostonian, the Northeast is the best place in the U.S. to catch the Fall foliage. Whether or not you want to hike the White Mountains or hop on a foliage train tour, you will certainly find some incredibly beautiful views in and around the region this season. Here's a breakdown of the best ways to view the Fall foliage:

If you want to see colorful trees without the hassle of traveling far, you can enjoy wonderful views by touring around Boston on your own! The Boston Common/Public Garden and the Esplanade all put on a spectacular display of colors during the Fall. The Common and the Garden, located next to each other, tend to change color a bit earlier than the Esplanade. Take a stroll across the foot bridge in the Public Garden to see Mallard Island (of Make Way for Ducklings) or search for the brass labels underneath trees in the Common to discover what leafy species you can admire. In October, the Esplanade, the long linear park along the Charles River, will be aflame with reds, oranges, and yellows. Take a jog along the river or grab a buddy and a lunch and enjoy the colors in a piece of peaceful park!

If you want an easy escape from the bustling city, hop on the Orange MBTA Line to Forest Hills and walk through the Arnold Arboretum. The 265-acre Arboretum hosts almost 5,000 different species of trees that turn into a fiery composition in October. Boston's Fall Foliage Festival will be hosted in Arnold Arboretum on the last Sunday of October, so be sure to come out and enjoy apples, cider, storytelling, and the brilliant colors of the Arboretum.

Another option for foliage sight-seeing is taking a walk, jog, or bike down the Southwest Corridor through Jamaica Plain to Back Bay and Beacon Hill. These elegant neighborhoods boast a variety of colorful leaves and textures. The picturesque neighborhoods will not disappoint with lovely little eateries, shops, and brilliant leafy colors.

If you want a more extensive Fall foliage experience, there are tours to different New England areas that will NOT disappoint. The Fall Foliage Sightseeing Tour from Boston includes a lunch, a visit to an apple orchard, and views of old Colonial churches, farms, and villages. This is a great option to immerse yourself in the New England seasonal colors and tranquil landscapes. Another option is the Autumn on Old Cape Cod Tour. This coach tour stops at the Sandwich Glass museum and the JFK memorial in Hyannis Port before turning into a sightseeing cruise along Lewis Bay, where you will see entrancing views of quaint Cape Cod villages. Lastly, the New England Coastal Tour will take you from Boston to Maine along the beautiful New England coast. You will see the wonderful fall foliage along the Massachusetts and New Hampshire coasts, and get a chance to lunch and shop in Kennebunkport, Maine.

There are many ways to admire the colorful foliage in and around Boston, so be sure to check out as much of the region as you can this Fall!

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