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News and Announcements

Welcome to Boston Hoemstay - JAAC Josai High School22-Oct-2017

A group of Japanese students is visiting this week to tour Boston and sight see! They will be st..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - American Councils Fellows13-Oct-2017

A group of Fellows with American Councils (https://www.americancouncils.org/programs/professiona..


Best in Hospitality

Different Cultures - Different Chips

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, August 26, 2011

Though different cultures and people worldwide eat a variety of different foods, there’s at least one thing we all have in common – potato chips. As Vicki Santillano of Divine Caroline states, “we think of potato chips as being quintessentially American, [but] they’re a popular snack in countries all over the world.” The different flavors, however, may not be quite what you expect. Here are a few of the unique favors from around the world:


1. Fries 'n Gravy, Canada




2. Wasabi Beef, Japan

 

3. Mango Flavor, China

Photo source: zieak (cc)

 


4. New Yorker's Street Cheese Dog, Japan

 

5. Spanish Chicken Paella, UK


6. Lime 'n' Masala Masti, India 




Slowly but surely, the U.S. is catching up with our foreign snack-food counterparts and creating fun, unique flavors to excite our taste buds! What is your favorite chip flavor from your country? Let us know!


Sources:  Divine Caroline

Host Event - Journey Through Japan

Patty Brownlee - Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Global Immersions Homestay values its relationship with hosts, and works hard to build meaningful and lasting experiences between hosts, visitors, and our organization. In order for our hosts to gain deeper insight into the daily lives of their visitors, Global Immersions Homestay organizes quarterly host events that focus on the different cultures of our visitors. The events often include a “hot topic” discussion related to hosting that provides an opportunity to exchange information and insights; our seasoned hosts are able to share their expertise, and new hosts are able to learn new tips and tools of the trade. The host events act as a great way to bring our Global Immersions network together, and help to create a positive homestay experience for all involved.

Our summer host event, Journey through Japan, focused on the country and culture of Japan. Throughout the years, Global Immersions has provided numerous quality homestay services to individuals of all ages from Japan, from middle school students to working professionals. This year alone, Global Immersions has placed over 300 Japanese students in homestays, and we continue to support and maintain our esteemed Japanese relations.



Host event panelists discussing differences in culture between the US and Japan.

The highlight of the event was a Japanese panel discussion. The panel included three Japanese professionals who live and work in Boston and have an in-depth understanding of both U.S. and Japanese culture. The panel answered questions regarding various aspects of culture, including differences in communication styles, food, and daily life. Hosts and panelists discussed the different nuances of Japanese culture, such as differences in bowing, non-verbal communication, and dinner-table etiquette. Hosts were able to share experiences, ask questions, and learn more about the visitors they host from Japan. The event also included a variety of delicious Japanese foods, host prizes, host appreciation awards, and a donation table for the relief efforts in Japan.

Several of the hosts expressed their appreciation for the event, noting that “the three panelists were absolutely charming,” and gave “great, helpful, practical advice.”


Japanese panelist joking with hosts.

The event also focused on the relief efforts that are currently going on in Japan
following the recent earthquake and tsunami. As many hosts throughout the years have greatly benefited from and enjoyed their time with Japanese visitors, Global Immersions Homestay felt strongly the need to give back to our many friends in Japan. Local charitable foundations such as panelist Atsushi Tanimura’s project “B2J” were highlighted; more information can be found at: http://www.supera2c.com/A2C_Productions/A2C_Productions.html



Donation table for relief efforts in Japan.

Do you live in the Boston metro area and have an extra bedroom?  Would you like to learn more about other cultures?  Do you like making friends from around the world?  If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a host with Global Immersions Homestay, contact us today or visit Boston Homestay Programs to learn more about our programs.

Boston Bikes!

Global Immersions - Tuesday, August 09, 2011

When the weather is nice in Boston, there is no better way to explore the city than by bike. With the recent introduction of the Hubway bike sharing program, getting around Boston has never been easier!


Hubway bike station in Boston

Joining Hubway is simple and affordable, allowing users to purchase a 24-hour, 3-day, or Annual membership for $5, $12, or $85, respectively. Riders can join at any bike station kiosk, and each trip under thirty minutes is free after initial payment (usage fees rise incrementally: under 1 hour is $2, under 2 hours is $14, etc.), designed to empower users to make relatively quick, short distance rides around town.

As Hubway continues to expand, the city of Boston likewise aims to become a world-class bicycling city. As Senator John Kerry notes, “Biking is becoming a bigger part of urban transportation every day, and Boston has led the way incorporating bikes into the city. Now with this new bike share program, we’re on track to remain one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation.”

For visitors who are new to the Boston area, renting a bike can be a great way to explore Boston at a low cost. With over 600 bikes at 60 locations, Hubway can be found nearby many of the universities and language centers throughout the city. Global Immersions encourages international visitors in the Boston area to try biking as a way to exercise, have fun, and learn more about our city!

 
For more information about Hubway and bike sharing in Boston visit:
http://www.thehubway.com/ or   http://www.cityofboston.gov/bikes/

Explore Boston - Government Center

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, August 05, 2011

Boston’s Government Center is one of the most visited and recognized places in all of Boston. Home to Boston City Hall and directly across from Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, Government Center is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike to shop, eat, and enjoy the outdoor entertainment.


Boston Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall

Located in the heart of downtown Boston, Government Center provides a space for many outdoor events at both City Hall Plaza and Faneuil Hall. Throughout the summer months thousands of people come together to attend festivals, plays, circuses, or other happenings that often take place on the Plaza. Street performers also add to the fun of the setting, providing free entertainment all day long throughout the warmer months.

Government Center is also a well-known location for some of the best food and shops around Boston. At Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, visitors can explore one of the oldest festival marketplaces in the United States. As
www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com states about the area, “[it is] alive today as it was in 1742 when our nation's fathers proclaimed it ‘The Cradle of Liberty,’ it combines the glories of Boston's past with the urban sophistication of the city today.”

If you are a Global Immersions Homestay visitor or host, please join Global Immersions for our Explore Boston Summer Event on August 18th, 2011 for the Boston Greenfest in Government Center! Learn the many ways we can create a better world by greening our lives and our communities, and enjoy the interactive exhibits, presentations, and continuous live entertainment all night long!


Sources:
http://www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail/faneuilhall.asp
www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com 

Explore Boston- Beacon Hill

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, July 18, 2011
Next up on the Explore Boston series is the renowned neighborhood of Beacon Hill, what boston.com calls, “the most historic neighborhood in America’s most historic city”. Located in the heart of Boston, Beacon Hill is home to not only the Massachusetts State House, but also to some of the most picturesque locations throughout the city. Known for its iconic brick row houses, historical background, and beautiful landscapes, Beacon Hill is the model for a Boston neighborhood.


Massachusetts State House

Home to Boston Common and the Public Gardens, Beacon Hill boasts the world’s first public urban park. Throughout the year, Bostonians and tourists alike flock to the Common in order to enjoy the weather and take part in events such as concerts, softball games, or splashing in the Frog Pond! At the nearby Public Gardens, you can enjoy the delightful scenery as well as take a ride on Boston’s famous attraction, the Swan Boats.

Only a short walk away from the Gardens, you can find a number of quaint little antique shops, cafes, and restaurants on Charles Street and the rest Beacon Hill. A few of our insider picks include the famous DeLuca’s Market, Upper Crust, Lala Rokh, and Cheers. Further wandering will bring you to the Charles River and esplanade, a great location to relax by the water or enjoy one of the many free summer concerts at the Hatch Shell.

Summer is the perfect season to explore Beacon Hill! Free tours and concerts happen every week, and the many parks and gardens are in full bloom. Beacon Hill is the perfect location to walk around and experience Boston’s historical past, and colorful future!

Have you gone for a ride on the Swan Boats, or “hung out” at the Boston Common? If so, send us pictures or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you!


Sources:
http://www.beaconhillonline.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi  
http://www.boston.com/travel/boston/neighborhoods/beacon_hill/

Finding the Homestay

Patty Brownlee - Thursday, July 07, 2011

Arriving to a new country, going through customs and then finding transportation can be an overwhelming first experience for any visitor to a foreign country. The next step of getting to the correct homestay can be just as troubling and confusing for a new visitor. We have found during our numerous home visits over the years finding the correct home can often be a challenge due to poor labeling or marking of the home.  Imagine the frustration and our staff members speak English and live in Boston!



Boston's labeling system is not the easiest to figure out or understand even for locals, from lack of street signs to the way homes are numbered on streets.  

Hosts - please take a minute and check the following to make sure your home is well marked and ready for a new visitor to arrive!

1. Do you have house numbers on your home?
2. Are the numbers visible from the street?
3. Do you have a doorbell?
4. Is the doorbell labeled with the family name or apartment number
(if there is more than one)?
5. Does the doorbell work?
6. Do you have a working porch light?

Put yourself in the role of the new visitor and visualize how problems can occur if the home is not easy to identify. It can be even more challenging if it is evening and dark. Complications can even arise if a visitor is arriving by taxi and the driver is not familiar with your area. Most of the visitors do not have a cell phone that will work in the U.S. upon arrival so calling you might not be an option.

To make it easier and less stressful for everyone, we ask you to take a minute and walk outside and review the list above. Please make any updates needed to your home before welcoming your next Global Immersions visitor!

Explore Boston - Kenmore Square

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, June 03, 2011

One of Boston’s most beloved squares, Kenmore Square, is home to Fenway Park and many other Bostonian institutions such as Boston University, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum and the always exciting Lansdowne Street.  The area is also known for its dense population of hospitals in the Longwood Area. 

The Citgo sign has stood high above Boston since 1940 and was replaced in 1965 with the current iconic Citgo sign which was updated in 2010. The Citgo sign is not only a landmark of Kenmore Square but of the Boston skyline.

 
Citgo sign in Kenmore Square

Kenmore Square is Boston’s area for education and enjoyment! If you are looking for a night out or a place to watch a sports game Lansdowne Street is the spot!  From the famous House of Blues, sports bars, pubs and discos and even a bar with a view into Fenway Park!  

As important as Kenmore Square is to Boston’s identity it did not become part of the city until 1900.  Previously it had been overtaken by the Charles River and marsh land.  By 1915 it was part of Boston Public Transportation as a stop on the Green “B” line.  Today it is part of the Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood with a stop on the Green line – Kenmore Square. 

Our insider tips to explore and experience Kenmore Square are to take a tour of Fenway Park and if you can get a ticket to attend a Boston Red Sox game!  If you are in Boston during baseball season and do not get to experience all the excitement of a live baseball game in Fenway Park you are missing out on a true Bostonian experience!   Another not to miss exhibit is the colorful and breathtaking Chihuly at the Museum of Fine Arts now to August 7, 2011.  

If you have a favorite restaurant or not to miss locale for our visitors to explore in Kenmore Square we'd love to hear from you!

Sources:


http://www.wikipedia.org
http://boston.about.com/od/neighborhoods/ss/KenmoreWalk.htm
http://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/chihuly

Tour Boston by Foot!

Global Immersions - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boston has recently been ranked the safest U.S. city for pedestrians by the Transportation for America organization.   Spring is finally here and summer is soon to follow so it is the perfect time to travel the city by foot! 
  

Boston Public Gardens

The advantage of Boston is that you can easily walk through the Boston Common and Public Gardens to Beacon Hill or along the Freedom Trail to stores and boutiques on Newbury and Boylston Streets.   You can take in the beautiful landscapes of historic North End, Quincy Market or Boston waterfronts without needing a car!  Boston is accessible by foot just make sure to wear comfortable shoes on the old cobblestone streets.  Get out and explore or rediscover all our city has to offer!

Source:  Boston.com

Explore Boston – Neighborhoods Around Town!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, May 06, 2011

The Explore BostonNeighborhoods Around Town series will explore different neighborhoods and areas in Boston and give you tips of places to see, eat and checkout! 

 

First up….Harvard Square in Cambridge.  Until 1638, Cambridge was known as the small village of NewTowne until Harvard College (the oldest college in America) transformed the area.  The gates of Harvard College opened into the village’s center and soon transformed the small village into Harvard Square.  Harvard Square was home to the first American printing press and the first published American author Anne Bradstreet.  Today, it is synonymous with Harvard University, shopping, good eats, museums, theatre, street entertainment and truly a must see for all visitors and residents of Boston!

 

Boston.com described Harvard Square as “the crossroads between funk and philosophy, of idealism and consumerism, of red brick and green politics.”  It is a place where people of all ages, of all backgrounds, and of all walks of life merge to create Harvard Square’s charismatic, one of a kind atmosphere!

 
Harvard Square - Red Line Entrance

Depending on your taste you can always find something! From a place to grab a cup of coffee or quick bite to a fine dining experience in Harvard Square.  Here are a few insider picks – Algiers Coffee House; Charlie’s Kitchen; Grendel’s Den and Border Café.  For a list check out this Harvard Square site - Harvard Square Restaurants.
 

Summer is a great time in Harvard Square.  There are street festivals and events, live music and more!   You can spend a day walking around the area listening to music or even take in a game of chess with the locals.  Do you have a favorite place to eat or hangout in Harvard Square?  Let us know your insider tips about Harvard Square!

 

Our Explore Boston program is designed to help our visitors learn more about U.S. culture and Boston while attending a local event or activity with our staff.   Each Explore Boston event is researched and determined based on maximized cultural learning, time of year and cost.   The goal is for our visitors to explore the great city of Boston and all that it has to offer with insiders and attend events they might not know exist!  We welcome hosts and their families to join their visitors for each Explore Boston event.  Do you have suggestions, ideas or local happenings our visitors would like?  Check out the calendar for upcoming Explore Boston events.


Sources:

http://www.boston.com/travel/
http://www.harvardsquare.com/default.aspx

www.wikipedia.com

Chiba Group Homestay Program

Patty Brownlee - Friday, April 08, 2011

Global Immersions Homestay specializes in customized group homestay programs.  We spend time discussing and determining exactly what each client wants their students to experience during their time in Boston.  There is not a minimum or a maximum on the length of stay or number of visitors in the group. Each homestay program is designed for the group! 


In late March, we had the pleasure to welcome a very large group of middle school visitors from Chiba Middle School in Japan to homestay for an intensive program.  The Chiba visitors were on a school trip to Boston to sightsee, attend special lectures and workshops at M.I.T., tour Fenway Park and spend one day at two local high schools interacting with high school students and learning about the U.S. educational system. The goal of the homestay program was to live with Americans in order to truly 
experience and learn about U.S. culture.  Our hosts exposed the visitors to a variety of activities and events and foods that allowed them to have a taste of American life. 


Here are a few of the experiences the Chiba visitors enjoyed with their hosts!

Played instruments with family members
Walking tour of Boston Common and downtown (Freedom Trail)
Walking tour the North End 
Walking tour of Faneuil Hall 
Played outside (basketball, trampoline, catch, etc.) with family
Toured Chinatown
Salem tour and museums
Toured the USS Constitution
Watched movies and played Wii and video games
Toured Rockport and the North Shore area
Attended sporting events or practices with family 
Played board games
Went bowling
Attended church 
Attended folk dancing event

Went on nature walks
Had a dinner party with extended family and friends
Went to the grocery store
Had a traditional “Thanksgiving” dinner
Attended a bridal shower and birthday party
Patriot’s Place
Went to the mall or shopping area
Toured a local fire station 
Attended a school event (carnival)

 


Chiba visitors learning how to make pizza!


Chiba visitor doing a basketball trick for host family!

Boston is a city filled with all types of activities and happenings for any interest. The highlight is not only the diversity of our great city's offerings but the fact that many events are FREE!

Our hosts received a handmade booklet from each Chiba visitor describing them and their interests, what a typical day in their life was like, details about their family and Japanese culture. The visitors also prepared a Japanese meal for their hosts. It was a win-win situation for the hosts and visitors and a successful group program!