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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Brazil High School Group at TALK Boston07-Jul-2019

Global Immersions is welcoming a group of Brazilian high school visitors who will be attending a..

Happy July 4th -- Office Closed04-Jul-2019

The Global Immersions, Inc. office will be closed on Thursday, July 4th and Friday, July 5th for the..


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Host Tip of the Week: Communication Part 2

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, April 29, 2019

The Host Tip theme this week is communication focusing on improving communication strategies within the home. An integral part of the homestay experience is making our visitors feel as comfortable in the home as possible. Although visitors are in a new country and are surrounded by the unfamiliar, our goal is for our hosts to create a home away from home. One of the best ways to ensure this kind of relationship is to manifest forms of effective communication with our visitors!


 


Written Instructions:
As our hosts can tell you, the visitors in our program come with a wide range of English language skills and capabilities. For those with lower levels of English comprehension, it is often easier for visitors to read written instructions versus having it verbally told to them by the host. An easy way to
accommodate all visitors is to label and/or provide written instructions and any necessary information on how to work appliances like the washer, dryer, and shower, etc. Anything in your home that you have to explain how to use and might not seem self-explanatory is worth taking the time to write down instructions.  The best part is, you only have to do it once. Try using Post-it Notes or a label maker to help you create instructions.

Use Simple Vocabulary: When providing written instructions or in everyday conversations use simple vocabulary. Slang and idioms are often not known to an English learner, especially a beginner, and can cause a lot of confusion and miscommunication. Many hosts tell us they use translation sites such as Google Translate or other translation apps to effectively communicate. These are just some of the useful tools to help both the hosts and visitors. Overall our advice is to find communication methods that work for you, your family, and your student to ensure a positive homestay experience!


As always, we want to hear what you're thinking. Share your recommendations and host tips with us by using #HomestayBoston or sharing with @globalimmersions!

 


Explore Boston: The North End

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 18, 2019


As warm spring weather approaches and you are looking for places to explore around Boston, make sure to include the North End on your list! Filled with a rich cultural history and heartwarming cuisine, the “Little Italy” of Boston has pastimes that everyone can enjoy.



The North End has a fascinating history beginning in the 1600s when British settlers came to the area. The neighborhood was originally home to Puritan craftsmen and in the 1800s later evolved into a wealthy neighborhood where those belonging to the mercantile and shipping industries resided. After the war, many of the British returned home and shortly after the North End became a beacon for immigrants coming to Boston. Many Irish came in the 1840s, followed by the Jewish, and finally the Italians in the 1860s. Soon the Italians dominated the neighborhood with their large families and cultural presence; by 1930 the North End was almost completely Italian. The same family lineages, culture, language, cuisine, and customs can be found in the neighborhood today!



When we think of the North End, we think of incredible Italian food. From mom and pop pasta recipes, to fresh handmade pizzas, to the best dining service, the Little Italy of Boston has it all.  Check out this list of the best restaurants to try during your visit! Don’t feel like a full meal? Make sure to try out the area’s local bakeries, too! The neighborhood is especially known for its cannolis; Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry are some of Bostonian locals’ favorites.



Located right near the seaport and walking distance from the financial district, the North End is a perfect neighborhood to explore while walking around downtown. If you tour the Freedom Trail, you will definitely pass through! The neighborhood is home to many historical sites as well, such as the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, St. Stephen’s church, the Holocaust memorial, and more. If you feel up for walking a bit further, add the USS Constitution museum, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, and the Harborwalk to your North End exploration. The North End is a perfect blend of Boston’s old and new!


Make sure to share with us your favorite North End moments by tagging @globalimmersions or using #HomestayBoston.

Source: NorthEndBoston, Boston Magazine, Timeout

Marathon Monday in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 11, 2019


It is almost that time of the year again for...Marathon Monday! This year the Boston Marathon will take place on Monday April 15th with the first heat of racers leaving from Hopkinton at 9am. All Maine and Boston schools have the day off for Patriot’s Day, and many adults take work off to show support for the event! In addition to the marathon, the Boston Red Sox also host their annual home opener on Patriot’s Day in the morning and live stream the race for all fans to see!



The marathon typically draws 500,000 spectators and more than 35,000 runners, making it one of the biggest Boston events of the year since its opening race in 1897. To even qualify for the marathon, racers must have finished races within a range of 3-4 hours depending on age, gender, or other classifications. The race also has a wheelchair division! Those who do not qualify but would still like to race, must raise between $5,000 and $7,500 in order to compete. Many former professional athletes and celebrities compete in the race, too! This year some big names include Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson with her husband Andrew East from the NFL, as well as Jared and Genevieve Padalecki from Supernatural.


Interested in watching the marathon and cheering on the runners? Here are some of our favorite spectating spots!



First up is the Scream Tunnel located near Wellesley College, around 13 miles into the race. Since 1897, the women of Wellesley have notoriously cheered on runners so enthusiastically that runners can hear the cheers from over a mile away! The Scream Tunnel is an infamous half-way spectating spot that you can only hear to believe. There is one tradition where fans will offer kisses to passing runners.



Our second spectating spot is located at the Newton Firehouse. Located at mile 16 of the race, hundreds of spectators gather around the firehouse to cheer on racers as they make a right hand turn to begin the climb into Newton’s hills.



A third famous cheering section is located at Heartbreak Hill between miles 20 and 21 of the marathon near Boston College. Although not particularly steep, the marathoners are beginning their final 5 mile stretch to the finish line and need the extra encouragement as they begin to tire. Spectators line the hill cheering on the runners to get them up the hill as quickly as possible!



Our fourth and final spectator spot, new this year, is Fan Fest in Copley Square. Thousands of spectators will gather in Copley to cheer on racers as they are about to cross the finish line. This year, Fan Fest will be hosting live music, promotional activities, sponsors, and more!


Click the link here for the marathon map and more details on the event. Wherever you may be watching from, we would love to see you celebrate! Share your favorite moments with us @globalimmersions or using #HomestayBoston.


Sources: BAA, Accel, RunnersWorld, Boston, Abbott, History


Host Tip of the Week: Communication

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 04, 2019


The Host Tip theme this week is communication. Just like in any relationship, communication with the student in your home is essential in order to manifest a healthy and productive homestay experience. Communication methods and skills are especially important when language and cultural barriers are in place in order to effectively convey important information. Therefore, having as many kinds of communication as possible, such as audio forms, written, and visual.

Here are a few tips from our hosts to help make communication with your student as easy as possible!



Prepaid "burner" Cell Phones: In the modern day, mobile communication methods are becoming more and more common to stay in touch with others. Some of our veteran hosts have found purchasing prepaid cell phones to be a useful homestay strategy. These phones are prepaid and can be refilled as needed when a new student arrives. The phone offers a way to communicate with hosts especially if the student is unable to use their international cell phone in Boston or only has Wifi. Most major companies such as Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint have pre-paid phone plans in Boston. Pre-paid SIM cards are also available at stores like CVS, Staples, and Walmart. Click this link for the best options in Boston. Ultimately this mobile communication strategy benefits both the host as well as the visitor and provides a safety net for the student in case of emergency!


Whiteboard: Whiteboards are a great visual communication method and can be easily customized and updated regularly to the information necessary for your house. For example, some hosts draw boxes where students can check "yes or no" to coming home for dinner each night of the week. Others have a weekly calendar for both the student and host family to list activities and/or events for planning purposes. This form of communication is straightforward and easy to interpret!


Messaging Apps: It is important to remember that our visitors come from all over the world which means that mobile apps used to communicate may be different from our own norms of iMessage and text messaging. Often it is helpful to download the app used in the country of the respective student to facilitate communication. For instance, most of Europe uses an application called WhatsApp to communicate informally between friends and family. Many of our hosts have learned that Japanese students use an app called LINE. Talk with your student about which apps they use to communicate.


Overall our advice is to find communicate methods that work for you, your family, and your student to ensure a positive homestay experience!


Boston Red Sox Opening Season

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Happy April everyone! Spring has officially arrived in Boston. The sun is shining, people want to be outside, and most importantly... The Boston Red Sox baseball team season has begun! Watching a ball game in Fenway Park, the oldest Major League Baseball stadium in use, is known as one of the greatest American traditions. Today we want to share with you some of our favorite Fenway Park and American baseball traditions. After winning the World Series last year, the Red Sox are expected to be one of the most competitive teams in the MLB this 2019 season. The Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park will take place on Monday, April 9 against the Toronto Blue Jays! Click here for more about the season schedule and ticket purchasing!



In order to fully experience a game at Fenway Park, you must be familiar with these two songs: Sweet Caroline and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Most important is Sweet Caroline, by Neil Diamond. The song is now played at every Red Sox home game in the middle of every eighth inning since 2002! The whole crowd stands and sings in unison as a way to encourage and cheer on their favorite Boston team as the game comes to a close. The next song, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, is an important song to know if you are a spectator at any ball game in America. Written in 1908, the song is commonly referred to as the National Anthem of baseball and sung during the seventh-inning stretch by fans of both teams.


Now, I am sure you are wondering, “What snacks can I get at a baseball game?” The average MLB game will last around 2-3 hours, and with up to nine innings, you have plenty of time to try some of these delicious stadium treats. First up to bat, are Cracker Jacks! An icon of American baseball, Cracker Jacks are a crunchy mixture of caramel, peanuts, and popcorn, often with a prize inside. Another classic stadium treat are hot dogs - Fenway Frank. They have lots of toppings and are easy to eat with one hand while you ‘root for the home team’ with the other! Often times you will see vendors walking through the stands who will sell a variety of snacks to you. For Fenway ball games specifically, make sure you try the clam chowder and lobster rolls as they are best known in New England.

Finally, if you have the chance to go to Fenway, make sure to be aware of the Green Monster! What? They have a monster in the park? Well, not exactly. The Green Monster is a wall, a 37 feet high green wall to be exact, that stands 309 feet away from home plate. You will see it, it is impossible to miss. The wall is nicknamed ‘Green Monster’ as it is incredibly tricky to hit a home run over the wall due to its elevated height. Many players take this as a challenge, and Red Sox fans take pride in its difficulty. If you are lucky enough to get seats near the wall, make sure to touch it for good luck!


Fenway Park is an stadium that everyone should take the opportunity to experience. The stadium even offers guided tours every day from 9AM-5PM at your convenience. Make sure to explore the Fenway neighborhood, including the infamous and photoworthy Red Sox banner on Lansdowne Street, restaurants, and more! Want to support the Red Sox and Boston? Make sure to find apparel by clicking the link here.

Share your favorite Red Sox memories with us at #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

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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