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Host Tip of the Week: Homestay Binder

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, March 29, 2019


We are excited to announce a new weekly blog called "Host Tip of  the Week" This blog will feature advice from our hosts which they have found helpful over the past years. Our hope is that these insights will be beneficial to others, especially our newer hosts! The tips may range from providing transportation schedules, to providing ways to better connect or communicate with our host students in facilitating their American transition. This week’s theme is imparting local knowledge.


Ever find that you are repeating instructions or your student has a lot of questions about your home and the area? Try making a Welcome to Homestay Binder!  The welcome binder is reusable and can be left in the bedroom for each new student to access.  The binder can be updated as needed and will save you time.  The binder will help eliminate a lot of stress for the student when arriving and settling in to your home and the area.



Sample of different pages from a Host's binder



Customize the binder to provide the materials that may be most relevant or helpful for your home. Some suggestions include: MBTA schedules and a "T" map, walking directions from your home to public transportation, WiFi information for the house, your contact information (business card), house guidelines, what is available for continental breakfast, keys to your home on key ring, monthly calendar with any activities scheduled (i.e, exercise classes, family day activities, children's sporting game, etc.), places in the neighborhood to shop, eat, etc., and activities and places to explore in Boston!  Include photos as visual aids or provide translations of the most common languages. A binder is convenient as students can reference the information readily and easily and use Google translate if needed!

Understanding American Phrases

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, March 24, 2019



Often times when learning a new language, the most difficult step entails deciphering not only the literal translations but also the figurative context clues of a new culture. Americans have many catch phrases or quirky sayings that may seem bizarre to a foreigner. We as Americans are so accustomed to the phrases, that sometimes we forget that the phrases may not make sense to new people. Today we will share some of the most common American phrases and explain what they mean in context!

Let’s start with some of the most typical American phrases. First, is the expression “Break a leg!” If one were to interpret the phrase literally, it may seem that you are wishing harm on someone. However, figuratively ‘to break a leg’ really means that you are wishing someone good luck! The phrase is often said when someone is about to perform in some fashion whether that be in a play, giving a speech, or taking an exam. So, if someone tells you to break a leg, you respond with thank you.



Another common phrase is “Knock on wood!” This is exclaimed when someone wants to prevent a previous statement from bringing bad luck. For instance, if I were to say to you, “You are going to do great in your interview!”, you may respond by saying “knock on wood” as you do not want to jinx my confident statement (because you want to do well). If you are close to a wooden object such as a table or desk, it is also normal to physically knock on the wood in an effort to ward off bad luck.

Another Americanism is “Piece of cake” which in literal terms means, ‘that was easy!’. It is most appropriate to say piece of cake after you have already completed or are planning to complete a task that was simple to accomplish.



Finally, you may hear someone use the expression “under the weather” as a way of signifying that they are not feeling very healthy or may be feeling ill. Again, the expression is figurative and should not be deciphered as being physically under weather. The expression is most commonly used like I, he, or she are feeling a bit under the weather.

In addition to wording, understanding tone is fundamental in order to grasp Americanisms. One phrase that foreigners often are confused about is “Tell me about it” especially when said in a sarcastic tone. This phrase literally means asking someone to explain or elaborate on a situation they mentioned. However, when used in a sarcastic tone, ‘Tell me about it’ is said to express agreement with a previous point that was made in the conversation. In other words, it is synonymous to saying, I know what you mean.

Interested in learning more Americanisms? Learn more here. Remember, the more you practice your English and the more Americans you speak with, the more expressions you will learn!

As always, we want to hear your stories and experiences. Share with us your favorite immersion experiences by using #HomestayBoston or sharing @globalimmersions!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, March 14, 2019


Every year those of Irish ancestry celebrate St. Patrick’s day on March 17th. St. Patrick, the Irish patron saint himself, is commemorated for bringing Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century. Traditionally, the holiday had a religious connotation. The Irish would attend church in the morning and prepare feasts for the afternoon! Although March 17th usually corresponds with the Christian fasting holiday of Lent, the rules would be waived as a tribute to St. Patrick. The holiday has evolved over time and celebrations quickly spread to countries such as the United States where many people identify with Irish descent.




America is responsible for the first St. Patrick’s day parade in New York in 1762. More than 100 St. Patrick’s day parades are held across the United States annually, including cities such as Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Savannah! Chicago is known for celebrating the holiday by temporarily coloring the Chicago River green for about five hours. In the holiday’s home city of Dublin, Ireland, more than one million people take part in the St. Patrick festivities.  



There are many symbols associated with the holiday. If this is your first time celebrating St. Patrick’s day, the most important social cue to follow is to wear all things green! The tradition of wearing green began in the 17th century as Irish immigrants to the United States believed that wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairytale creatures who would pinch you otherwise. Leprechauns themselves are symbols of the holiday. Legend says that leprechauns are notoriously mischievous and are depicted as small bearded creatures with a green coat and hat. According to myths, they are most commonly seen at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold. Further, if you are to catch a leprechaun, he will grant you three wishes! Another important symbol of the holiday is a shamrock. A shamrock is a three-leaved clover said to represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Christianity. If you find a four-leaved clover, it is said that you will be bestowed with good luck!




Some of the favorite holiday foods include corned beef, cabbage, shepherd's pie, and Irish soda bread. Bakeries will decorate their pastries green and with symbols such as the shamrock noted above. Make sure to head to Boston’s very own St. Patrick’s day parade this Sunday, March 17th starting at 1 PM. Make sure to show us how you celebrate this St. Patrick’s day by using #HomestayBoston or sharing with @globalimmersions!


Sources: History, USA, Brittanica, BHG, Express


FREE Pancakes at IHOP 3/12/19!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, March 10, 2019

Happy National Pancake Day!

Head over to IHOP on Tuesday, March 12 to celebrate and get your FREE short stack of original buttermilk pancakes and donate to help children battling critical illnesses! Find your nearest IHOP and learn more here.

Do you know the history of Pancake Day? Last Tuesday, March 5, was also Shrove Tuesday. "Shrive" means for one to confess their sins. During the olden days, on the day before Lent, people would use all of their eggs, fat and butter to make pancakes since they would not be eating these foods over the next 6 weeks. Lent is the 40 days preceding Easter in Christian traditions where fasting and food abstaining occurs. Lent began this year on March 6 and ends April 18.


Around the world, different countries celebrate Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day in many ways! In some towns in the U.K., people have pancake races while flipping them in frying pans. In Denmark, the day is called Fastelavn, in which children dress up in costumes and eat Danish style buns. In Canada, their pancakes are filled with objects to predict the future as the ring finder will be married first, the thimble finder will be a seamstress/tailor, the name finder will be a carpenter and the coin finder will become rich. In France, Shrove Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras or "Fat Tuesday", but their pancake day is on February 2nd and called Candlemas. They eat crêpes which are believed to bring a year full of happiness, wealth, health and good crops. Whoever flips their pancake without dropping it on the ground, has good luck for the year. Let us know your Pancake Day traditions in the comments below!


Hosts: Try making pancakes from scratch with your students with this recipe from Food Network! TAG us in your Instagram pictures @globalimmersions and enjoy!


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed

Sources:

https://www.whyeaster.com/customs/shrovetuesday.shtml

http://blog.english-heritage.org.uk/pancake-day-traditions/

http://projectbritain.com/pancakeday/world.htm

Favorite American Foods

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 05, 2019


The United States is known as the melting pot of the world, a unique mixture of religions, peoples, cultures...we have it all. And we have all of the food too! Often times when deciding what to eat for dinner, you will hear Americans say they want Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Tex-mex; the possibilities are endless. Although one’s first thought of American food may be McDonald’s hamburgers, the truth is there are plenty of more cultural dishes to offer! Today we want to share with you some of our favorite American meals, to try while eating out or to try while cooking at home. There’s too many to choose from, so we picked out the best for you!



Let’s start with breakfast, known as the most important meal of the day.The American culture typically encourages a larger breakfast portion size than other cultures, although a breakfast routine is different for every individual. New England especially is well-known for its American breakfast diners with plates piled high with scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, and of course, local maple syrup. At home, people commonly eat cold cereals, toasts, and eggs. Breakfast sandwiches are also commonplace, as well as oatmeal or granola dishes. For those near or visiting Boston, 11% of Northeasterners report preferring to eat bagels for breakfast, which is more than anywhere else in the United States! Another important American phenomenon normally found in cities is brunch. For those of you new to the idea of ‘brunch’, it is a combination of a breakfast and lunch time meal typically served from 10AM-2PM on the weekends. Lucky for you, Boston has some of the best brunch. Most importantly, Americans need their coffee in the morning. One study shows that more than ⅓ of the American population drinks coffee daily, and the average coffee drinker has more than 3 cups per day!



For lunch, most Americans opt for a quick and easy meal such as salads or sandwiches. One American favorite is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, most commonly loved by children. A Boston favorite is a New England lobster roll. Caught locally, these lobster rolls can be served hot and toasted with butter, or cold and tossed in mayonnaise. (Many people have their preference but both are worth a try!) Another important food group for Americans is all things barbecue. We love grilling and hosting picnic get togethers with friends and family. Every region of the United States is known for its own barbecue style or flavor. Hotdogs and hamburgers also fall within the barbecue category. The most “American” restaurant you will find in the U.S. is a burger or barbecue joint. Favorite side dishes may include homemade macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, cole slaw, or french fries. Many diners or burger places will also serve sweet milkshakes to complement the savory burgers! Boston Burger company, a local burger chain, is famous for over ten flavors of decorated milkshakes.




Finally, desserts! First and foremost, are chocolate chip cookies. Whether freshly baked at home or bought from the store, chocolate chip cookies are an American staple. Often kids will dunk their cookies in milk, or put ice cream between two cookies to form an ice cream sandwich called a chipwich. Next, are s’mores. We make s’mores mostly in the summertime by roasting marshmallows over the fire. Everyone has their preference to how gooey or cooked they like their marshmallows toasted. The final product is a marshmallow sandwiched between chocolate bars and graham crackers to form one of America’s all time favorite desserts.

What is your favorite American dish or treat? Share with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

Sources: ABC News, Time


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