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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 Cost of Halloween

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, October 31, 2016

How much do Americans spend on Halloween each year? The exact numbers may surprise you. If you are celebrating Halloween in the Boston area, it's safe to assume that you have made a Halloween related purchase within the past few weeks, whether it be candy, a costume, or festive decorations. The stats for this year's Halloween spending are in and one thing is for sure.. Americans love Halloween.



Candy

Approximately 600 million pounds of candy are sold in the U.S. each year for Halloween, with 90 million pounds of that being chocolate sold during the week immediately preceding Halloween. In total, Americans spend $1.9 billion on Halloween candy each year. Which candy is the most popular?  A recent survey for Halloween 2016 shows that Reese's and candy corn are the most popular candies in the United States, and Starburst is the most popular in Massachusetts.



Costumes and Decorations

Survey shows that more than 157 Americans planned to celebrate Halloween, with 8 in 10 millennials saying they were planning something fun with their friends. Total Halloween spending topped $6.9 billion with the average American celebrating planning to spend about $74 on decorations, candy, costumes, and more. Which costumes were the most popular this year? According to Google, superheroes / super villain costumes beat out  princesses for the number one spot. This year Harley Quinn and Joker costumes were the most popular, likely due to their new movie out last summer. This year there was also a rise in pet costumes. 2016 saw a higher popularity in people dressing their pets in costumes than ever before. The most popular pet costume? A pumpkin.



Sources: Consumer Reports



Your Hallo-weekend Schedule

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Its almost Halloween! We hope your weekend is filled with crazy costumes and as much candy as you can eat. Monday is Halloween, so this weekend is all about being festive and getting in the Halloween spirit! There are a lot of exciting (and free!) events happening in Boston to ensure that you have a happy Halloween! Here are a few events to help you start planning your weekend of Halloween fun.             


Saturday: Halloween Pet Parade


Who doesn't love dogs in costume?? The Annual Halloween Pet Parade at Faneuil Hall Marketplace is the perfect Halloween event if you're someone that loves animals and would enjoy seeing them dressed up as characters.  If you have a pet at home (with a costume) you can enter them in the parade and costume contest! If you don't have a pet (or if they refuse to wear clothes) come to Faneuil Hall anyways to watch hundreds of Boston animals and their owners show off their Halloween best. Afterwards you can walk around Faneuil hall or the Harbor Walk (maybe grab some lunch, a Pumpkin Spice Latte, or more Halloween candy?) and see Christopher Columbus Park in its peak of fall foliage. 

Halloween Festival


The annual Halloween festival at Blackstone and Franklin park is back again with a full day lineup of fun events! Stop by from noon until three to enjoy activities like pumpkin decorating, face painting, costume contests (for humans and doggies) ice cream trucks, yoga class, scary stories, a haunted burial ground tour, live music, and craft making. This festival is a kid friendly event and is totally FREE - also easily accessible by the T :)! You can even be extra festive and arrive in costume.




October 30th is the final SoWa open market of the year, and end of the season will be marked by Boston's largest Halloween party! The day will feature your typical SoWa open market, with over 150 vendors, artisans, farmers, and food trucks, and additionally have festive Halloween activities for all ages. The special event will feature things like pumpkin painting, a live street musician, face painting, live music, and a costume contest (once again - for you and your pet!) The BPD will also be there letting you see the back of their cruisers (without having to be arrested!) Winter is coming...and if you haven't been to the SoWa open market this year, Sunday is your LAST chance until the spring. 

Enjoy the holiday! Don't forget to send us pictures of you and your visitors celebrating Halloween! You can also tag us in your Instagram posts with #homestay boston or @globalimmersions !  

The Homestay Experience

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, October 24, 2016

Living in a Homestay is a truly unique experience and the only way to really  learn about another culture and develop foreign language skills. Homestay is a full immersion in a new culture and therefore has certain advantages that private accommodations, such as an apartment or home rental, cannot provide. Such benefits include an insight into the daily life of a local family, an opportunity to practice a second language, and a chance to try typical foods of another culture.

A host attending a tailgate at Gillette Stadium with her Danish students

Global Immersions stands out as Boston's leading Homestay specialist, because we pride ourselves on ensuring that our visitors experience all of these opportunities that Homestay has to offer . In comparison to larger Homestay corporations, Global Immersions  is able to deliver a more personal experience, fostering a closer relationship with our hosts and clients. We strive for quality, and take more aspects into account when matching a visitor with a host family.  We want our visitors to have a full cultural immersion, which is why we certify that no other speakers of the visitor's native language live in the Homestay and require our hosts to communicate with their visitors in English. We take into consideration our visitor's preferences regarding conditions such as allergies, dietary restrictions, pets, smoking, heath needs, and location. We aim to make successful visitor placements by pairing visitors with hosts that share similar hobbies, interests, or personality traits. Global Immersions stands out from other Homestay specialists, because we work actively to help our visitors assimilate into a new culture and have a positive Homestay experience. Upon arrival we provide our visitors with the materials they need to be prepared to live in the home of another family. We offer group orientation sessions where we talk about the cultural differences the visitors will face in an American home and discuss what they should and should not expect of their Homestay and host family.

A host playing a game at home with her family and Danish visitors 

Our main focus as a Homestay provider is on our visitors Homestay experience. This means that we want our visitors to feel completely included in their host's daily life and totally integrated into the family as a whole. This fall, we were pleased to welcome over 163 Danish visitors from five different schools. These students from, Handelsgymnasiet Aalborg SaxogadeAalborg Handelsskole Haderslev Hadelsskole Viborg Gymnasium, and Ringkøbing Handelsskole, were in Boston attending classes at Bunker Hill community College and learning about American culture through their time in Homestay. Our hosts involved the Danish students in dozens of different activities, providing them  with countless memorable experiences and learning opportunities.

 

Danish students attending a hot yoga class with their host father


 Here are some fun moments that our hosts and Danish students shared together: 

  • We enjoyed American football games on TV, and listening to music together. We went to my sister's house in Winchester for dinners and had board game nights with everyone.
  • I took them to the Watertown Yankees Candle and I treated them all to frappes at Wild Willies. I also drove them to school three days.

  • We watched The Presidential Debate together

  • We had a great times together easting out at a restaurant and we also went to a children fundraiser at the Masonic Lodge in Melrose. They had a lot of fun with my kids.

  • We have a home in Maine, so we took them for the weekend. We saw the beautiful foliage, and took them to the Fryeburg Fair. We visited my mother's home and went to dinner together when it was my daughter's birthday. We also enjoyed watching TV together and just hanging out.
  • I teach Bikram Hot Yoga and the students came to a couple classes. They mingled with some great people, Doctors, Lawyers, Brain surgeon, cyclists, and the energy level was high. After class, the students and yoga students took a 40 minute long ocean swim. Afterwards, we toured Marblehead and hit Whole Foods for lunch.
  • We had dinner together each night and enjoyed talking about life in the United States and in Denmark. I took them to church with me, and we had brunch at a local restaurant. We went shopping at the South Shore Mall and at the supermarket. They were very helpful in the kitchen and enjoyed my cooking.
  • We attended a soccer game and went grocery shopping together. I also took them to a tailgate at Gillette. We had a blast!
  • We went to Revere beach and North Gate Mall
  • On Sunday, we took the students shopping at Legacy Place in Dedham and the following Saturday, we took them for dinner at Marina Bay in Quincy. They had a good time. Each evening, we shared the day's experience over dinner.
  • I took the girls to my church last Sunday and they were able to enjoy a true Black church experience. It was "Family and Friends Day" at the church and we also honored the women of the church who were 90 years and older. My grandson was also baptized that Sunday. The girls enjoyed my family at the gathering for my grandson at my home. I took the girls to the South Shore Mall and to the supermarket. They were extremely helpful to me in the kitchen. They mingled very well with my family and met three generations of my family members.
  • Went on a walk together to familiarize them with the neighborhood, we also went to the movies with my book club and talked about families, employment & education goals. we enjoyed having discussions about activities during the day, and comparing cultures. We went to grocery store to pick out their favorite foods, and I introduced them to the other foreign student in my home and they  chatted about their school programs.
  • We visited the Museum of Science and saw a film at the Omni 3D Theater.
  • The boys wanted to go to Taco Bell, as they had never been before. We also saw a high school football game at the Everett the football stadium and went to the Assembly Square Mall.
  • I took the girls to an All White Affair Birthday Party
  • We went to Dave and Busters
  • We visited Revere Beach
 
Danish students making sushi with their host family 
                      

It is our goal to create a positive Homestay experience for our hosts as well as our visitors. In order to continuously improve our services, we ask our visitors and hosts to evaluate their experience during the group program.  The feedback we receive shows us where improvements need to be made to enhance our programs and helps us gauge the satisfaction of our visitors. Here is just some of the many positive notes we received from the Danish students of our recent group programs.

"My Homestay helped me understand the culture of the country much better and it created new connections. "

"My overall experience was really fantastic! My family was so nice and helped me with everything. I will be back at [my host] family's house soon! Our friends loved her too! Our friends joined us on trips with the family."

"It was nice to experience new cultures from the inside and my host was the greatest!"

"Homestay is a very good way to learn about another culture. It was an amazing experience and our hosts were so nice."

Danish girls attending a white party with their host mom 

We also received fantastic feedback from the hosts of our Danish groups, who clearly enjoyed the time they spent with the students.

"These kids were great!!!! I loved them!! Great personality, friendly, fun, respectful, well rounded young men. I wish they were here longer!!"

"I really appreciate hosting the Danish students. The experience was a win/win. We both learned and had great continuous conversations about everything. I was very impressed with their interest and knowledge of U.S. Culture, History and politics as well as their concern for the global environment."

"I am thankful to Global Immersions for the great experience of hosting the Danish students. Granted, the Danish students were well mannered, educated, friendly, health conscious and overall positive happy people.   Global Immersions set the tone by competently securing every step of the students stay from arrival to departure. I thank you all at Global Immersions for doing the job correctly."

"Wonderful girls! We thoroughly enjoyed their company! Only complaint is that they couldn't stay longer!"

"We enjoyed the students from Denmark, they were very happy in our home. We all had dinner together and talked and laughed. They were fun."

"We were very, very, happy with the students we had. They were perfect guests, very fun and I miss them already."

"This was my first time have female students, and the experience was quite enjoyable. It was sad to see them go."

 

Danish boys visiting Revere Beach with their host dad     

Global Immersions is the leader in group Homestay programs. If you are interested bringing a group abroad to experience American life through Homestay please contact our coordinator 

                               

Halloween Around The World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Do you know where Halloween originated? If you guessed the United States.. you're wrong! Halloween actually began in Ireland  about 2,000 years ago as the Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival, an ancient Celtic Festival held in County Meath. The birthplace of Halloween, naturally, is home to one the biggest celebrations of the holiday.  Throughout Ireland, Halloween is celebrated with bonfires, party games, traditional food  such as barmbrack - an Irish fruit cake that contains coins, button, rings, and other (non-edible) fortunetelling items- and, of course, beer (among other drinks of choice). Why bake buttons and rings into a cake? Fortunetelling is part of the old Irish Halloween tradition and if a young woman gets a ring that has been baked in a pastry, bread, or even mashed potatoes, then she'll be married by next Halloween. Tricks are also an important part of the Irish Halloween tradition  - kids knock on doors, then run away before the doors get opened by the owner  (usually after they've already gotten candy from other houses). Thus is the origins of Trick-or-Treating.

Curious about Halloween celebrations in other cultures? Take a look at some other countries that will be decked out in costume this October 31st. 

Mexico doesn't actually celebrate Halloween, but their Dia de los Muertos celebration begins on October 31st and continues through November 2nd.  During this festival, Mexicans remember the deceased, tell their stories and celebrate their lives. Celebrations include family feasts, skull-shaped sweets, tequila, dancing, mariachi music, and parades of people dressed as skeletons to honor past ancestors.


Halloween in Japan has become more popular over time, although still remains different from Halloween in the  United States. Due to the well established popularity of Cosplay (costume play: dressing up as manga / anime characters) in Japan, the costume and commercialism aspect of celebrating Halloween is appealing to Japanese people.  However, the Trick - or - Treating aspect of Halloween is not so appealing and will most likely not gain popularity in the country. Why? Because of their culture. It is important in Japanese society to avoid being a bother or pain to someone else. Having to go around collecting candy from others is viewed as too much of an inconvenience and is therefore discouraged. Halloween is mainly centered around dressing up and partying, which can be seen by the large masses of costumed people flooding the streets of Tokyo and the city's Shibuya district.
 

In France, Halloween is known as an American Holiday and is not celebrated for any other reason than to dress up and party. Halloween has been adopted by the French in recent years and is popular due to the French's love for fêtes and costumes. Notable Halloween celebrations in France occur in the town of Limoges, where there is a Parade of Ghosts and Ghouls every year, and at the Breakfast In American Diner in Paris. The French typically wear traditionally scary costumes - like witches, mummies or ghosts- rather than cute costumes - like superheroes, princesses, or celebrities. 


Germany celebrates Halloween as All Saints Day, from Octobrt 30th to November 8th. All Saints Day is spent attending church, honoring the saints who have died for the Catholic faith and visiting and remembering dead family members. It is also the tradition for Germans to hide their knives on All Saints Day, so the returning spirits won't be harmed by random knife movements during the day. Germans have also adopted American style traditions of Halloween and many people wear costumes and partake in celebrations at night. Trick- or - Treating is not very popular and it is only in the metropolitan cities of Germany that you will see groups of children actually go door - to door saying either Süßes oder Saures or Süßes, sonst gibt's Saure (Trick or Treat!) as they collect treats from their neighbors. This is partly due to the fact that just eleven days later it is the tradition of children to go door - to door on Saint Martinstag with their lanterns. They sing a song and then they are rewarded with baked goods and treats. 

Sources: The Travel Channel, GaijinPot, The German Way


Happy Boston Cream Pie Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Sunday (October 23rd) is National Boston Cream Pie Day, and what better way to celebrate than by enjoying this tasty dessert in the city where it was created. Fun fact: Boston cream pie has been distinguished as the official dessert of Massachusetts over Toll House Cookies and Fig Newton.  The first Boston Cream Pie originated at the Omni Parker House in downtown. The first Boston Cream Pie was originally called the Parker house "Chocolate Cream Pie" and was created and served at Parker's Restaurant from the opening of the hotel in October 1856. One of the reasons the dessert became so popular (so popular that it was turned into a Betty Crocker Boxed Mix in the 1990s) was the unique use of chocolate icing. When the restaurant opened chocolate was mainly consumed at home as a beverage or in puddings, so the use of chocolate on the cream pie was a big deal. The original Boston Cream Pie recipe is still served at Omni Parker House today, and you can even try your luck at recreating at home, by following the recipe here

 

Another fun fact: Boston Cream Pie isn't actually even a pie, but a two layer golden cake filled with pastry cream. For the best slice in Boston (in a way more casual setting than Parker's) you can try Mike's Pastry or Flour Bakery . Mike's serves their popular Boston Cream Pie whole or by the slice (it's also homemade - see picture above). Flour's well known take on the classic is made with coffee-soaked sponge cake instead of the traditional vanilla. There are many other ways to get your Boston Cream Pie fix this weekend..perhaps in cupcake or donut form? Here are some places you can get not-so-traditional versions of this traditional Boston treat. 

Boston Cream Pie Donut:  

Union Square Donuts has  a popular Boston Cream Pie Donut on the menu, made fresh daily in Somerville.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcake:

Try a Boston Cream Pie in cupcake form from Sweet Bakery in Back Bay. They are as delicious as they are adorable. 

Vegan Boston Cream Pie: 

If you're a vegan, don't worry there's pie for you too! Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge has a dairy-free versions of this famous dessert on their menu. You can't even taste the difference. 

Boston Cream Pie in a Jar?

The Tap Trail House on Union Street has this hipster version of  Boston Cream Pie on their dessert menu. Same flavors just way way cuter.

Boston Cream Pie a la cart (literally from a cart)


Want your Boston Cream Pie on the go? The Boston Cream Pie Company sells their dessert from a tricycle in the Seaport District. 

Enjoy:)

Fall Fun In The City

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fall is here! There are so many different festive fall activities that you can enjoy with your visitor. From pumpkin picking to hay rides to apple cider donuts and more! Fall is a really fun season and it is easy to find low cost activities that will allow you to spend time with your visitor while immersing them in American culture. Nothing comes to mind?? We got you covered. Here is a bunch of fun things to do this fall season. Happy Autumn :)

Watch a Sporting Event!

Cheer on a Boston area team at a college or university football game! Many international students come from countries where football is either unpopular or nonexistent (or  its soccer) so taking your student to a game is great way to introduce them to an important aspect of American and Bostonian culture. College football games, such as games at Harvard or Boston College are also generally inexpensive to attend. This month, many schools have their homecoming weeks, which is a uniquely American tradition and it can be very interesting for international visitors to see the large cheering crowds of students in the stands. Don't like football? It's also Hockey and Soccer season! After all, not all schools have football teams (think: Northeastern, BU). You can buy tickets to university sporting events on each school's website! Go Crimson/ Eagles/ Huskies / Terriers!

Tickets to professional sporting events tend to be more pricey, but a fun way to get the experience of a football game without the high cost is by going to a tailgate! Tailgating before a football game is another American tradition and a really fun seasonal activity. Park at Gillette Stadium before a Pats game for the tailgate  and don't forget to bring food and drink from home (or a portable grill and cooler if you have one) ! Tailgating usually starts early so you'll be able to make it home in time to catch the start of the game on TV. For a schedule of home games click here.

Bake Seasonal Treats!

Another fun (also really low cost and easy) fall activity is baking! The whole Autumn season is basically a big excuse to eat everything pumpkin flavored (if you've been to Trader Joe's recently you'll know what I mean - pumpkin everything) and baking fall desserts is a is good (and also delicious) way to bond with your visitor and get in Autumn spirit. This article has recipes of some fall treats, but other easy items include cider donuts, caramel apples, and  pumpkin spice bread or cupcakes.

Visit a Farmers Market!

Browsing Boston farmer's markets is an enjoyable outdoor activity (that is also free). Farmer's markets can be fun for international visitors because it gives them a little insight into American culture (they see we eat things other than fast food!) as well as the local culture of Boston. Many vendors at the markets will also offer tastes of their products  - and who doesn't like to try free samples?? Union Square in Somerville, Harvard Square in Cambridge, Brookline and Haymarket in Downtown have popular farmers markets that are open through the end of October. You can see a map of farmers market sin the Boston area here. 

Tour Boston's Best Fall Foliage!

New England and the Boston area has some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the United States. You don't have to drive all the way to New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine to see impressive fall foliage. In fact, you don't even need to leave the city. A relaxing fall activity is to take your visitors on a walking tour of Boston's foliage. Visit local parks, such as Boston Commons, The Public Gardens, The Esplanade, or various Boston neighborhoods. Outside of downtown the Arnold Arboretum near Forrest Hills station is a beautiful place to go walking. Exploring these areas with your visitor lets them admire the Autumn scenery while also sightseeing in and around Boston and having conversations with you! Take a look at some of the best locations to see colorful leaves around Boston here. View a live fall foliage map of the US here.


Your Columbus Day Weekend Schedule

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Happy (almost) Columbus Day weekend! As many of you have the day off from work, this long weekend will be an excellent opportunity to explore the city and participate in the many celebrations happening in Boston. Columbus Day weekend is a lively time in Boston, full of parades, festivals, and other events - and may of them are free! If you're unsure of how you'll spend this (somewhat controversial) holiday, don't worry, here is a list of all the happenings this weekend so you can celebrate the discovery of America right! 

Friday October 7th (through Sunday October 9th): HONK! Street Music Festival 

Where: Davis Square, Somerville 

Time: Varying times 

Cost: FREE


Music appreciation meets activism at the HONK! festival in Davis square. This lively three day event draws brass bands from all over the world to Somerville in celebration of not only music, but the community as a whole. This is event is special because it is organized entirely by volunteers and is already in its tenth year. The festival begins Friday and kicks off with a lantern parade through Davis square neighborhoods followed by a band showcase. On Saturday over twenty five bands will take over Davis Square bringing live music and a dance party! On Sunday, many local community groups join the band members in a large parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square via Mass Ave. These local groups include activists working for extremely important causes such as economic justice, protecting the environment, world peace and ending racism. HONK! Also features a Day of Action, on which bands convene to play on behalf of a cause. For more information including schedule and times click here. 


Sunday, October 9th: East Boston Columbus Day Parade 

Where: East Boston

Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Cost: FREE

The Boston Columbus Day Parade is an old tradition in the North End and East Boston neighborhoods. How old?? Since 1937. The parade celebrates Christopher Columbus's expeditions to the Americas as well as Boston's Italian heritage (in case you didn't know Columbus was from Italy) and the commitment if Massachusetts military units to American freedom. In even numbered years (aka 2016) the parade begins in the Suffolk Downs parking lot in East Boston, marches down Bennington Street and ends at Maverick square near the waterfront. Where to watch? The best viewing spots are along Bennington Street (Blue Line / Maverick). Get there early to claim a good spot! 


Monday, October 10th (aka Columbus Day) : Columbus Park Fall Festival 

Time: 12:00pm - 4:00pm 

Location: Christopher Columbus Park, Boston's North End (100 Atlantic Avenue - next to the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel) 

Public Transportation: Blue Line / Aquarium T stop 

Cost: FREE


I can't think of a more appropriate place to celebrate Columbus Day than at a park named after the explorer himself. This festival, which is sponsored by many local North End and Waterfront businesses, has become an annual event for the city and Columbus Day tradition for many families in the Boston area. The festival begins with a children's parade through the park, followed by a ceremony at the Christopher Columbus statue. There will also be a lot FREE entertainment and games (i.e. magicians, storytellers, musicians) My lunchtime suggestion: Bring a blanket and grab food from one of the nearby North End Italian bakeries or pizza joints, one of the many food stalls at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, or The Boston Public Market.

Opening our Doors Day

Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm 

Where: Multiple locations around the Fenway neighborhood 

Cost: FREE

More information:  Find a complete events schedule for Boston's Fenway neighborhood here 


The Fenway Alliance is inviting Boston residents to participate in the city's biggest single day of free arts, cultural, and educational events. The special festival will feature over sixty different activities, performances, tours, music shows, and games (did I mention for free??) Festivities will begin on the Mass Ave side of the Christian Science Plaza at the intersection of Huntington and Mass Ave with a kids parade (featuring a brass band), many performances, and...FREE CUPCAKES!! Also, as an added plus the event includes free admission into several Fenway museums (think: Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum and the Mary Baker Eddy Library Mapparium)


Find more fun things to do this weekend in Boston here and on our facebok page