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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