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Independence Day around the World!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July! We’re lucky to be in one of America’s most historically significant cities, and there is so much to share on this day with your visitor! Bring them to your family barbecue, watch your town’s fireworks display, walk the Freedom Trail - nothing demonstrates American culture better than Boston on Independence Day! But the United States is not the only country to celebrate its independence. Many other countries celebrate becoming an independent nation in a variety of ways; check it out! 

Indian Independence Day 

In India, Independence Day is on August 15, 1947. Flag-hoisting and national anthem singing are key components of marking the occasion. Elementary school students tell the stories of revolutionary heroes and learn about the struggles which brought their country independence.

All the schools and colleges across nation hoist the national flag on the rooftops and the buildings to symbolize the nation's pride. Not only the educational institutions but also offices and business areas celebrate this day. Since it is declared a national holiday by the government of India, all the institutions, government or otherwise, have the day off. People only go to offices to attend the flag hoisting ceremony. The Prime Minister addresses the Nation after the flag has been unfurled and recounts the country's achievements of the year, discussing current major issues and future plans for the progress of the country. Kite-flying has also become a tradition on this day and people can be seen flying numerous kites of all colors, sizes and shapes symbolizing the freedom.

Independence Day is celebrated throughout India and every corner of the country. Independence Day is celebrated by every citizen of India irrespective of caste, creed and religion. There are costume parties and people, old or young, men or women, dress up in a nationalistic way. There are many documentaries aired and the graves of revolutionary heroes are paid respect. Every citizen does something or the other to mark this day of freedom. Most of TV channels telecast latest or classic films based on an independence theme. Also, there are patriotic programs that are organized and broadcasted. In short, every person in the country takes part in showing national pride.

Mexican Independence Day

On September 16, 1810, a progressive priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla became the father of Mexican independence with a historic proclamation urging his fellow Mexicans to take up arms against the Spanish government. Known as the “Grito de Dolores,” Hidalgo’s declaration launched a decade-long struggle that ended 300 years of colonial rule, established an independent Mexico and helped cultivate a unique Mexican identity. Its anniversary is now celebrated as the country’s birthday.

Although September 16, 1810, marked the beginning of Mexico’s struggle for independence rather than its ultimate achievement, the anniversary of the Grito de Dolores has been a day of celebration across Mexico since the late 19th century. The holiday begins on the evening of September 15 with a symbolic reenactment of Hidalgo’s historic proclamation by the president of the republic and the governor of each state. The next day, typical activities include parades, bullfights, rodeos and traditional dancing. In 2010, in honor of the country’s bicentennial, the remains of 12 men who fought for Mexican independence—including Hidalgo, Morelos, Matamoros and Guerrero—were exhumed in a military ceremony led by President Felipe Calderón.

Many non-Mexicans, particularly in the United States, often mistake the Cinco de Mayo holiday for a celebration of Mexican independence; instead, it commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican War

Indonesian Independence 

Indonesia celebrates its independence day on August 17th, celebrating its independence from the Netherlands in 1945. Although this declaration was met with vehement opposition from the Dutch rulers, in 1949 the Dutch officially recognized the independence of Indonesia. 

In preparation for the celebration, the malls and area around the presidential building is decorated with red and white streamers. Unique decorations are put up in the area between Jl. Thamrin and Jl. Sudirman and are meant to reflect the spirit of independence. Neighborhood associations arrange kerja bakti or community service which includes cleaning the residential areas. The residents are also requested to hoist flags for the duration of the holiday. Finally, on the eve of Independence Day, the President delivers addresses the nation. 

On Independence Day, celebrations begin with a flag hoisting ceremony in the presidential place. High school students are chosen from across the country to put on a show while the Indonesian flag is hoisted. This is followed by parades and activities for the public, such as Krupuk (shrimp chips) eating, bike decorating, and cooking contests. One of the popular games played on this day is Panjat Pinang in which participants climb the greased trunk of an Areca palm tree. 

United States Independence

For every American, the independence day of the United States is an eagerly awaited holiday. Commonly known as the Fourth of July, it is federal holiday that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

Here in Boston, the city celebrates with the Boston Pops Spectacular. Everyone gathers at the Charles River and listens to the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform, along with other guest artists. Once the performance reaches its peak, fireworks are set off and soldiers fire cannons (harmlessly!) over the river. During the day, the area is covered in tents and booths with various vendors and activities. There is never a lack of anything to do while in the city!

Returning Home: Re-entry Experiences

Global Immersions - Friday, June 21, 2013

Traveling and/or living abroad is an exciting experience, however, those of us who have traveled abroad or hosted an international visitor understand that adjusting to a new culture can sometimes be a difficult process.  Helping people adjust to a new culture is something we discuss daily at Global Immersions. But... what about adjusting to your own culture after being abroad? Coming home can sometimes be just as difficult and the re-entry process after returning from being abroad is something we often neglect to discuss.  Here at Global Immersions two members of our staff have recently returned from studying abroad and have fun and helpful anecdotes on their re-entry experiences.


Our Homestay Recruiter, Liza, has just recently returned from a semester abroad in Dublin, Ireland. When asked about her experiences about her time abroad and returning to Boston here is some of what she had to share, “While I did feel a little out of sorts at the beginning, for the most part I was fine,” she said. “Dublin is so much like Boston that I felt right at home. I did, however, experience some annoyance with the school system and city life. All the stores closed down at 5 PM!”

Coming home we never expect to have any trouble falling back into old routines, but sometimes it can be harder than we think. Things like tipping at a restaurant or public transportation, once familiar, become foreign after so much time away. Even crossing the street can be a strange experience! “I’m so used to looking right to left for cars,” Liza said. “Not only do I have to remember we drive on the opposite side of the road, I have to stop myself from freaking out when the driver is sitting on the wrong side of the car. It looks like no one's driving it.”

Christina, our Homestay Coordinator, has also just returned from a semester abroad. While in Spain, she picked up many habits that have affected the way she interacts with people at home. “Barcelona is the pick pocketing capital of the world,” she said. “Now whenever someone bumps into me on the train, my hands shoot to my purse.” Having been the victim of pick pocketing herself while abroad, Christina is a little more attentive with her belongings than she was before she left. While theft can happen in Boston, it is less rampant than abroad; it is taking a bit of time for her to remember that. But when it comes to general awareness, perhaps a little paranoia is not such a bad thing.

Any resident of Boston would tell you that jaywalking is a common occurrence in the city streets. People are always swerving in and out of cars to reach the other side of the road. Although Christina still does her fair share of jaywalking now that she is home, this is something that people would not do in Spain. “I’d see people waiting for the walk signal to change even when there were no cars in the road at all,” she said. “And I would just cross anyway. People always gave me weird looks.” Being back in Boston and seeing all of her fellow jaywalkers is a sense of pleasant familiarity.

For helpful information on adjusting to being home check out an article in Transitions Abroad:  Coming Home, Relationships, Roots and Unpacking.

If you have any stories about your experience adjusting after returning from time abroad.  We want to know!

These stories and your own personal experiences are helpful to share to prepare your visitors when they are getting ready to return home. 

Father's Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, June 14, 2013

Father’s Day is just around the corner and a lot of families are preparing special ways to pamper their fathers on this holiday. Some may serve him breakfast in bed; others may give him a gift and his favorite dessert at dinner. No matter how a family celebrates this day, each and every one goes above and beyond to make Dad feel great. Father’s Day is celebrated all around the world each year on different days in a variety of different customs and traditions. How do you celebrate this holiday? Do you do anything special? We want to know.

Father’s Day in Mexico 

How does Mexico celebrate Father’s Day? Mexico celebrates this holiday in much the same way that Americans do, but on a grander, more festive scale. Mexican holidays are always special events, rich with culture and tradition. Father’s Day, known in Mexico as "Día del Padre," is no exception. Mexicans express gratitude and appreciation not only for their fathers, but also for the father figures in their lives—grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, big brothers and other men who have been like a father to them. Mexicans celebrate their dads in a variety of ways, including the giving of gifts, flowers, and greeting cards. Many Mexicans also celebrate Father’s Day with "Carrera Día del Padre 21K Bosque de Tlalpan," an annual runner's race that takes place in Mexico City.

Father’s Day usually includes a huge early morning feast of traditional homemade food, including all of the father's favorite dishes. The meal is often finished with traditional Mexican chocolates or pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread iced with colorful, decorative toppings. Although Father’s Day is not a national holiday in Mexico, the public observes the special occasion with various parties and festivities that vary from region to region. "Día del Padre" honors all fathers throughout Mexico, and Mexicans commemorate the day with food, gifts, music and dancing, love and appreciation for the special men who impact their lives the most.

Father’s Day in India 

Father's Day is a rather new trend in India. Father’s day is really gaining ground in the cities of Indai, where people are more receptive towards western culture, and have been celebrating it for about ten years. The idea of honoring dads on this particular day is appreciated by millions of Indians, who observe it on the third Sunday of June every year. On this day, children celebrate their fathers and give them various gifts. They also express love to people whom they consider father figures. Though Father's Day celebrations are more pronounced in urban centers of India, many people in smaller towns and remote areas are also slowly catching up with the concept.

Children in India also make it a point to spoil their fathers with various tokens of love during the holiday. Gifts ranging from expensive accessories to flowers can be found in Indian markets. Popular gifts include cards, bouquets, watches, and bottles of wine. Indian families also give their dads neckties! Most Indian families generally prefer celebrating by dining in restaurants or going out for a family picnic or a movie. Cultural shows are also organized in various schools and clubs to honor dads on this special day.

Father’s Day in Germany

Father’s Day in Germany is celebrated on May 9th and is different from other parts of the world. It is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Originally, during the middle Ages, Father’s Day was a religious celebration to honor God the Father. While in many countries the Father’s Day ritual involves cards and small gifts like a new pair of socks — with breakfast in bed if the father is especially lucky — the Germans have turned it into a true holiday for the country’s men. 

Regionally, it is also called men’s day, Männertag, or gentlemen’s day, Herrentag. It is tradition to do a males-only hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower. In the wagons are wine, beer, or schnapps and traditional regional food, Hausmannskost. For most, the day is just a good excuse to get together with friends. These traditions are probably rooted in Christian Ascension Day’s processions to the farmlands, some of which reportedly started as early as the 17th century.

Father’s Day in the United States

 The idea of Father's Day was created by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. A day in June was chosen for the first Father's Day celebration, June 17, 1910. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Father's Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

Statistically it is shown that more calls are made during Mother’s Day than Father’s Day each year in the United States, but that does not mean we value our dads any less! Rather than the bigger gestures we make for our mothers every May in the U.S., a typical gift for fathers on this day includes things like power tools, gift cards, or small articles of clothing like ties or socks. Along with these little gifts families usually treat their fathers to dinner or spend the day doing his favorite activities. There is no limit on what you can do! Whether the gesture is big or small, Americans take time out of their day to make the holiday special. 

Sources: Wikipedia, Father's Day, Made Man, Living in Germany

Explore Boston: The North End

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, June 07, 2013

Boston’s North End

You better be ready to eat, because our next stop on our Explore Boston series is Boston’s North End! It has the distinction of being the city's oldest residential community, settled in the 1630s. Though small, the neighborhood has nearly one hundred establishments and a variety of tourist attractions. It is known as the city's Little Italy for its Italian American population. If you’re looking for the best pizza or gelato in Boston, look no further than this little slice of Italy!

Now, with over 90 restaurants crammed into such a tiny space, a visitor to Boston might be rather overwhelmed. Where do you start? Well, we here at Global Immersions are here to help! In this post you’ll find a list of the top five North End pizzerias. Try them out and tell us what you think. Do they make the cut?

Boston's Oldest Pizzeria! 

  1. Pizzeria Regina: Boston’s number one pizzeria. It was founded in 1926 and has been serving the community its delicious pies ever since. Fun fact: the building was originally a bakery before it became a pizzeria; the original oven still remains—it’s over 130 years old!
  2. Galleria Umberto
  3. Antico Forno
  4. Trattoria Il Panino
  5. Ernesto's Pizza

Pizza is fantastic if you want to grab a slice on the go, but sometimes you just need something to satisfy that sweet tooth. The North End is also home to numerous bakeries, filled to the brim with several varieties of cannoli and other desserts.

Here are the bakeries that were voted top five in Boston’s Little Italy:

Best Cannoli in Boston!

  1. Mike’s Pastryone of the biggest tourist stops in the North End. The tiny shop is always filled to the brim with visitors and locals clambering for Mike’s famous cannoli. They’re huge! Don’t be afraid to dive right in to the crowd—persistence is key!
  2. Bricco Panetteria
  3. Modern Pastry Shop
  4. Parziale’s Bakery
  5. Bova’s Bakery

The North End is not just entirely about food and restaurants—there are plenty of historical sites to visit. For those of you interested in American history, you can visit the home of the famous Paul Revere! Built around 1680, this house is the oldest building in downtown Boston. It served as the home of silversmith Paul Revere and his family from 1770 to 1800. He is famous for his "midnight ride" to Lexington, Massachusetts informing Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming to arrest them. In the 19th century, hundreds of Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants to the North End lived in the Paul Revere House and in the 20th century, the house was restored and converted to a museum.

Following Paul Revere on his midnight ride will take you to the Old North Church. It became famous on the evening of April 18, 1775, when the church sexton, Robert Newman, climbed the steeple and held high two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea and not by land. This fateful event ignited the American Revolution. The Old North Church and its significance are best remembered in the poem “Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride”:

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

So if you’re in the mood for good food and exploring a bit of American history, the North End is the perfect place to be!

Sources: wikipedia, yelp

Breakfast Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 29, 2013
A "traditional" American breakfast
Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day, and if you’re hard at work studying or experiencing American culture here in Boston, it’s good to start the day off with a full stomach! Just like any other meal, what is considered a “breakfast” food is different all over the world, and depending on your host family, they may serve a “traditional” American breakfast, or maybe a breakfast from their families home country. Even within a country, breakfast meals may be different. In the American South grits are popular, while in Boston you're much more likely to have a bagel and cream cheese. Here are some examples of the standard breakfast in a few different countries. Have you tried them all? What are your favorites? Let us know!


In Australia, the typical breakfast consists of cold cereal and vegemite. Vegemite is a dark brown Australian food paste made from yeast extract. It is a spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits as well as a filling for pastries. It is similar to British, New Zealand and South African Marmite, Australian Promite, Swiss Cenovis and German Hefeextrakt.


In Bogotá, Columbia, the traditional breakfast is changua, a milk, scallion, and egg soup. Changua is a mixture of equal amounts of water and milk is heated with a dash of salt. Once it comes to a boil, one egg per serving is cracked into the pot without breaking the yolk, and allowed to cook for about a minute while covered. 


In Italy, the traditional breakfast is pretty sparse – usually just a cappuccino and hard roll or biscotti. Cappuccino is a coffee drink which is most often prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk foam. The name comes from the Capuchin friars, referring to the color of their habits.

A traditional Turkish breakfast spread


In Turkey a traditional breakfast consists of bread, cheese, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey, and kaymak. It can also include sucuk, a spicy Turkish sausage, and Turkish tea. Kaymak is a Turkish creamy dairy product, similar to clotted cream. It is made from the milk of water buffalo or of cows.


A traditional Japanese breakfast includes miso soup, steamed white rice, and Japanese pickles. Miso is a soup consisting of a stock called "dashi" into which softened miso paste is mixed. Many ingredients are added depending on regional and seasonal recipes, and personal preference.

United States

An American breakfast varies widely from place to place, but typical options include eggs, pancakes, bacon, or cereal. Cereal can either be served hot as oatmeal or cold with milk.   

Summer Classes at Cambridge Center for Adult Education

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Are you an international visitor in Boston who is looking for some opportunities to continue practicing your English outside of your school or homestay? Are you a host with some extra time this summer looking to learn a new skill or develop an old interest? Global Immersions highly recommends the Cambridge Center for Adult Education for any extracurricular activities - on just about any topic! For as little as $80 for a few classes to around $175 for several weeks (still a good deal!) you can enroll in classes on topics ranging from the arts, business, computers, history and language, just to name a few. Here are some samples of classes that we feel could really help our visitors! 

American Idioms, Slang and Everyday English
Do you speak English well but sometimes find yourself confused by language you hear from native speakers or on TV? This class is for high-intermediate to advanced students who are interested in learning phrases and expressions that are uniquely American. Using conversational games, activities, and other experiences, you’ll learn the correct meaning and usage of idioms, slang, and common expressions. You will build your vocabulary, increase your writing and grammar skills, develop better listening and reading comprehension, improve your pronunciation, and increase your conversational skills. 
Classes meet 2 times per week for eight weeks. Cost is $112 - $180.  Limited to 16.

Read, Discuss, Debate!

This class is for advanced ESL students who want to improve their vocabulary, comprehension, cultural understanding, and speaking confidence in a fun class based on reading and discussion. We will read poems, newspaper and magazine articles, cartoons, blog entries, excerpts from stories, and more. The readings will be followed by questions, discussions, and individual or group presentations and debates. Presentations and debates will be followed by constructive critiques. 
Classes meet 2 times per week for eight weeks. Cost is $112 - $180.  Limited to 16.

Preparation for the TOEFL 
This course is designed to help students improve the four skills tested in the new TOEFL iBT: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. You‘ll have ample opportunities to practice this skills in a test-like format. This is also a good class for Intermediate Level III, IV, and Advanced students who may not be planning to take the TOEFL, but wish to further develop their general English skills.    
Classes meet 2 times per week for eight weeks. Cost is $180  - $212.  Limited to 16.

If you're interested, or want to look at the catalog of classes, go to the CCAE website. Summer Term Registration Opens Friday, May 10th!

Japan Festival, Cherry Blossoms and Boston Homestay!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Greetings to our Japanese visitors! At Global Immersions we are happy to have placed thousands of Japanese visitors in our homestay programs over the years who are in Boston to study, travel and share culture. We have had visitors from cities such as Chiba, Nagoya and Tokyo, to name a few, and look forward to more visitors from Japan! 

We are excited about participating in the annual Japan Festival in Boston on Sunday, May 19th. Global Immersions Homestay will have a table with more information about our services. The 2013 Festival will focus on the theme of “matsuri,” the time-honored traditional Japanese-style festival and the anniversary of the friendship gift of cherry trees from Kyoto to Washington D.C.   Come, visit our booth and learn more about Japan and the culture!  

Here is a message and translation from our Japanese intern about why you should choose Boston and homestay!








Why Visit Boston!

Hello, my name is Ayaka. I am a student of Suffolk University which is located in the center city of Boston. Today I would like to share the reason why I chose a school in Boston.

Did you know that Boston plays a central role in American history? Before U.S. became a nation, it was occupied by England, so we can still see the European landscape in the city today. Also, there are a lot of universities in Boston, including famous schools such as Harvard University and MIT.  Students come from all around the world. For the sightseeing purpose, you can experience the history of the America, and for the studies, you can experience various culture and spend fulfilling life here.

What I like especially about Boston is the fact the people in Boston love their city very much!  There are a lot of sport teams based in Boston like the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics.  I like how many people in the city are wearing sport team T-shirts or caps.

I have heard a lot of people are anxious about the safety of the city and homesickness. Before I came here, I had the same feeling. But after I spend time with my host family, I felt less lonely. Plus, they know about the area well.  I heavily relied on them and they are willing to help me. Through daily life in homestay, it is possible to learn practical communication skills, beside the basic English which is taught in school.

It takes thirteen hours to fly from Japan. Japan Air started a direct flight between Boston and Tokyo last year and it has built a strong connection between the two cities. The Japan Festival in Boston was held last year to celebrate 100th anniversary of the friendship gift of cherry blossom trees from Japan to Washington D.C. There were Japanese style foods for festival and as well as the performances on the stage. This year, it will be held on May, 19 at Boston City Hall Plaza.   Please join the festival.

Crazy English

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, April 29, 2013

As you're learning the English language, don't be intimidated if you are easily lost - even to native speakers it can be confusing! Below is an excerpt from the funny and informative "Crazy English" by Richard Lederer. In it, Lederer explains some of the most confusing aspects of the English language, including the claim that as much as 80% of English words are not spelled phonetically (even the word, phonetic). He also offers helpful tips, vocabulary and metaphors to have will have you speaking like a local (eventually).

"Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible."

Ready for a quick test? Can you read these words right the first time?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish  furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11)  Insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

You can buy (not by!) Richard Lederer's "Crazy English" on Amazon 

Host and Visitor Activities from a Homestay Coordinator’s Perspective

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, April 22, 2013
As the homestay coordinator at Global Immersions, my job involves making successful matches between visitors and host families.  I take into consideration the visitor’s interests and try to match them with a host family that shares similar interests.   The goal in doing that is so that the visitors and host families can spend meaningful time together doing things they both enjoy.

At the end of every group program, I always receive the feedback from both visitors and hosts on what they did.  It is always amazing to me that every family provides a unique experience by bringing the students to different places of cultural interest.  In March, we had 3 large groups of Japanese students staying in Global Immersions homestays.  Here are some of the things that hosts did with their visitors:

Going to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, and watching the street 
        performers there
Walking part of the Freedom Trail in Boston
Shopping:  local malls, Prudential Center, supermarkets, errands, 
        specialty shops, etc.
Playing cards and board games at home
Making Origami
Having an American brunch with waffles, pancakes, etc.
Having an American BBQ with the grill in the backyard
Having a pizza party
Athletic activities including rollerblading, laser tag, 
        playing basketball outside, etc.
Giving the visitors a tour around Boston 

Back in the fall, we had many European visitors from Denmark and Austria.  Here are some of the activities that hosts enjoyed with these visitors:

Celebrating Halloween (introducing Halloween candy, 
        costumes, visiting Salem, etc.)
Watching American Football
Walking through the North End
Watching presidential debates and American news channels
Going out for ice cream
Doing American activities including going bowling and to 
        the movies.
Dinner with friends and eating out at restaurants

There are many more activities than those listed above that hosts do with their visitors.  With the spring here and summer approaching, the opportunities to spend time outside only increase.  Activities as simple as going to the grocery store or a family gathering are fascinating for international visitors, as they are a valuable insight into American culture.  It is always so great to hear the stories that come across my desk, so please share your stories with Global Immersions!

Easter Sunday

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, March 27, 2013
This Sunday, March 31 is Easter – a Christian holiday that marks the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion, as described in the New Testament of the bible. There are several other Christian holidays that culminate in Easter. This includes Lent, the forty day period preceding Easter; Holy Thursday, commemorating the Last Summer; and Good Friday, the day Jesus was said to have been crucified.
The date that Easter is celebrated changes year to year and was first established by the Council of Nicaea in 325, where it was decided that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Easter is closely related to the Jewish holiday of Passover, which is celebrated around the same date.

The holiday is celebrated differently throughout the world. In Northwestern Europe large bonfires, called Easter Fires, are lit on Easter Sunday and Monday. While the tradition has many origins, a popular Saxon tale is that Easter is a time when is the spring wins the battle over winter. Today the big fires bring the community together. In some Caribbean nations homemade kites are flown to represent Jesus’ ascension to heaven.  Many Latin American countries, as well as places like Spain and Italy, hold parades made up of large processions of religious figures.  

In North America, as well as many other English speaking countries, rabbits and eggs are common Easter symbols. Saturday is often spent decorating “Easter Eggs,” which are hidden for children to find on a Easter Egg Hunt. The “Easter Bunny” – a sort of Easter Santa Claus – is known to deliver candy. Large Sunday dinners are also popular.  

Many non-Christians celebrate Easter as a time of community, food and fun, especially for children. There are also Easter-themed events held in most communities, including all the Boston neighborhoods – check out a list here and share your Easter stories with Global Immersions!   

sources: Huffington Post, Wikipedia

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