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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Danish Saxogade Group at BHCC15-Sep-2017

A group of Danish visitors arrived to Boston and homestay on September 15th. The group will be atte..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Iwate University08-Sep-2017

Global Immersions Homestay is happy to welcome our Japanese tour group from Iwate University to ..


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Labor Day and May Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Celebrations on May 1 have long had two, seemingly contradictory meanings. When you think of May Day, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is spring, flowers, maypoles, and dancing. However, this date is also associated with worker solidarity and protests on Labor Day. It seems strange that May Day and Labor Day occur at the same time, but are so different in their traditions. How did these two holidays come to share a date? It happened pretty much by accident. The origins of Labor Day date back to May Day 1886, when over 200,000 U.S. workers engineered a nationwide strike for an eight-hour work day. This strike was part of what became known as the Haymarket Affair – a strike at the McCormick Reaper plant in Chicago that turned violent, followed by an even more violent meeting at Haymarket Square the next day. In 1889 the International Socialist Conference declared that in commemoration of the Haymarket affair, May 1 would be an international holiday of Labor, now known in many places as International Workers Day. The U.S. observes its official Labor Day in September, but many countries hold Labor Day celebrations in the beginning of May. Here are snapshots of some Labor Day and May Day  activities around the world:

 


Havana, Cuba

Public Health workers march through Havana’s Revolution Square during the May Day Parade, May 1, 2014.


Malaga, Spain

Workers and union members hold banners and flags of the General Workers Union and Comisiones Obreras at Marques de Larios street during a May Day demonstration on Labor Day. The banner reads, "Without quality employment, there is no recovery. More social cohesion for more democracy".


Harz, Germany

A man wearing devil make – up looks of an HSB light railway carriage as he travels through the Harz Mountains to celebrate the Walpurgisnacht pagan festival, April 30th, 2014. Legend has it that on Walpurgisnacht or May Eve, witches fly their broomsticks to meet the devil at the summit of the Brocken Mountain in Harz. In towns and villages scattered throughout the mountain region, locals make bonfires, dress in devil or witches costumes and dance into the new month of May.


Jakarta, Indonesia

Indonesian workers face a line of police during a rally outside the presidential palace in Jakarta to mark May Day, also known as Labor Day, May 1, 2014. Unions said up to two million workers would be out in force to demand better working conditions in Southeast Asia's most populous nation, although in previous years the numbers have come in much lower than such forecasts.


Paris, France

Hundreds of supporters of France's far-right National Front political party attend the party's annual May Day rally in front of the Opera in Paris, May 1, 2014

Source: CBS

Happy Earth Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, April 21, 2017


Earth Day this year is April 22nd (this Saturday!)

Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet's environment and raise public awareness about pollution. The day is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.

History:

The first Earth Day was in 1970 , when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a national "teach-in" to educate the population about the environment after the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1968.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being the founder of Earth Day. This is the highest honor given to civilians in the United States.

Earth Day Today:

Today, more than 1 billion people across the globe participate in Earth Day activities. 

In 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries participated Earth Day, giving the event international recognition. For the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010, 225,000 people participated in a climate rally at the national Mall in Washington, D.C. The Earth Day network launched a campaign to plant 1 billion trees, which they then achieved in 2012.


Last year on Earth Day, the Secretary General of the United Nations urged world leaders to sign the Paris Climate Agreement - a treaty aimed at keeping planet warming below 2 degrees Celcius (or 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit). U.S. President Barack Obama signed the treaty that day.

The Impact of Earth Day:

Though Earth Day is widely observed, the environment is still suffering. A recent Gallup Poll shows that 42% of Americans believe that the dangers of climate change are exaggerated, and only less than 50% agree that protection of the environment should be given priority over energy production.


However, Earth Day is still significant because it reminds people to think about the importance of the environment, the threats the planet faces and ways to help combat these threats. Every year on Earth day individuals and corporations alike take proactive measures to reduce their carbon foot print- by planting trees, reaching a recycling goal, reducing their energy output,  switching to renewable products, and participating in other "green" activities! 

Source: LiveScience

The Japanese Vending Machine Experience

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Japan's vending machines are a unique aspect of Japanese culture. Japanese vending machines are unlike the vending machines that you see in schools and offices in the United States. Japanese vending machines go beyond selling your average snacks and sodas. In Japan you can find items such as hot coffee, noodle stew, or even beer and Buddhist charms. 

Vending machines inside a subway station

There is one vending machine for every 25 people in Japan. In 2015, Japanese vending machines generate more than $42 billion dollars in sales. The challenge for Japanese drinks company, Dydo Drinco, (who rivals brands like Coca Cola and generates more than 80% of its revenue from vending machine sales) is trying to stay popular in a market saturated with 24 hour convenience stores and other competition.


Vending machine selling hot meals 

In order to attract new customers Dydo Drinco has been developing ways to make vending machines "more fun". The company has previously introduced machines that can talk to customers and also offer the chance to win a bonus drink through a "roulette" game. Dydo also invented app through which users can collect points that count toward prizes. The app is linked to Line (the country's most popular messaging app) and features games like "Final Fantasy" and "Dragon's Quest". However, these apps won't help to attract foreign visitors, as Dryco was initially hoping, as they are only available in Japanese. 


A Dydo Drinco vending machine app 

Another idea of the company was to allow customers to pre-order from the machines during their morning commute or lunch rush via Smart phone. This idea is still in the works but Japan can expect to see more ideas being developed by Dydo in the future, many of them linking vending machines to smart phones to create a distinct interactive experience.  

Vending machines lining the streets of Japan

Source

The 2017 Boston Marathon

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 04, 2017



What: 121st Boston Marathon

When: Monday, April 17th

Where: Hopkinton – Boston, MA. (The finish line is at 665 Boylston Street)

Time: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm (The winners usually finish within two hours)

Schedule:

DIVISION START TIME
Mobility Impaired 8:50 a.m.
Men's Push-Rim Wheelchair 9:17 a.m.
Women's Push-Rim Wheelchair 9:19 a.m.
Handcycles & Duos 9:22 a.m.
Elite Women 9:32 a.m.
Elite Men & Wave One 10:00 a.m.
Wave Two 10:25 a.m.
Wave Three 10:50 a.m.
Wave Four 11:15 a.m.

History: 

After experiencing the spirit and majesty of the Olympic Marathon, B.A.A. member and inaugural US Olympic Team Manager John Graham was inspired to organize and conduct a marathon in the Boston area. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland to the Irvington Oval in Boston was eventually selected. On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York, emerged from a 15-member starting field and captured the first B.A.A. Marathon in 2:55:10, and, in the process, forever secured his name in sports history.

In 1924, the course was lengthened to 26 miles, 385 yards to conform to the Olympic standard, and the starting line was moved west from Ashland to Hopkinton.


Why patriots Day? From 1897-1968, the Boston Marathon was held on Patriots’ Day, April 19, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War and recognized only in Massachusetts and Maine. The lone exception was when the 19th fell on Sunday. In those years, the race was held the following day (Monday the 20th). However, in 1969, the holiday was officially moved to the third Monday in April. Since 1969 the race has been held on a Monday. The last non-Monday champion was current Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot, who posted a time of 2:22:17 on Friday, April 19, 1968.



Important Spectator Information:

Where are the best places to watch? There is ample space every mile from Hopkinton to Boston for fans to gather and cheer on your journey to Boylston Street. Some of the most famous spots are the Wellesley Scream Tunnel just before halfway; Heartbreak Hill in Newton around Boston College; and the final stretch on Boylston Street before the finish.

Be aware that if you are watching the Boston Marathon anywhere along the 26.2-mile course you should expect a significant presence of uniformed and plain clothed police officers. In some areas, you may be asked to pass through security checkpoints. The marathon website has a full list of items that are not allowed in the race are. 

Spring Festivals Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Don’t let the cold weather and remaining piles of snow on the ground fool you, today is the first day of Spring! Spring is welcomed in different ways across the globe. For many in the United States, the Spring season is marked by St. Patty’s celebrations in late March and Easter festivities in April. Other cultures have their own unique ways of celebrating Springtime, here are a few festivals that occur around the world this season!

Thailand

Beginning in mid-April, Thailand’s three-day Songkran Festival is one of the most popular celebrations in the country. The Songkran Festival corresponds with the Tai New Year, so Thai’s use this time to clean, reflect, pay respects to neighbors…and engage in a full on, intense, water war with each other in the streets. During the festival, children, as well as adults, ride around on the backs of trucks and motorcycles targeting passersby with water balloons and squirt guns. Songkran occurs during the hot season in Thailand so the festival is a great way to cool off.

Japan

Cherry Blossoms are a symbol of Spring in Japan. Every spring Japanese gather for picnics under the cherry blossom trees as one of the country’s oldest traditions. The cherry blossoms arrive suddenly and only for a limited amount of time. Cherry blossom season reaches different parts of the country at different times so predicting their arrival has become part of Japanese pop culture (there is even an app to help) When the trees are fully in bloom with little cherry blossoms the Japanese head outside for picnics and parties. These gatherings are full of Japanese food, drink, and mingling with other picnickers under the trees.

India

The Hindu festival of Holi celebrates the end of Winter and the start of Spring. You may recognize Holi from photos of participants covered in chalk surrounded by clouds of colors. The night before the festival, people light bonfires to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Ash from these bonfires is considered sacred and many people will wipe some on their forehead for extra protection against evil spirits. On the day of Holi, businesses shut down and everyone is gathered in the streets. Indians throw colored water and powder on each other until they are covered head to toe in color. After there are feasts of Indian foods and desserts.

Bulgaria

On March 1st, the Baba Marta festival in Bulgaria commemorates the arrival of Spring. On this day, people give each other woven red and white figures which they are to wear until they see the first bus or birds of spring. After, participants tie their figures to trees in recognition of the new spring season. The holiday celebrates “Baba Marta” (Granny March) a character in Bulgarian folk tales whose arrival brings about the end of winter. Legends say that the final snow of the season is Baba Marta shaking out her feather bed during Spring cleaning. 

Source

The Best Spots for Spring Flowers

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

With the weather beginning to change and Boston’s flowers starting to bloom, the city is will soon be a beautiful place to spend time outside. Experience springtime in Boston with a self-guided walking tour of the area’s best spots to see amazing spring flowers. Here are some locations where you can see gorgeous flower displays.


Back Bay

The Magnolia trees along Commonwealth Avenue, Magnolia Street, and Beacon Hill are one of the most beautiful sights to see in the Spring. Along these roads, you can see huge saucer magnolias in pinks, reds, and deep purples, mixed in with other types of magnolias as well

The Esplanade

Cherry trees planted along Boston’s Charles River Esplanade bloom in April. Unfortunately, these blossoms do not last long but are usually in full bloom in mid to late April. You'll find the highest concentration of cherry trees in the section of the Esplanade bordering Back Bay, roughly between the Fiedler Footbridge (off Arlington Street) and the Mass Ave access ramp.


Kelleher Rose Garden

The Kelleher Rose Garden is located near the Victory Garden’s in the city’s Fenway neighborhood, a short distance from Fenway Park. The roses are most amazing in June, but you can see flowers begin to bloom starting in may.


Boston Public Garden

Boston's Victorian-era Public Garden, right next to Boston Commons, features winding paths and smaller gardens spread throughout the park.  The flowers on display vary somewhat each year, but always include tulips and annuals such as pansies during April and May.  In addition to flowers, spring foliage in the Public Garden is also spectacular, especially the many weeping willows surrounding the pond.  The best way to enjoy close-up views of the willow foliage is by taking a swan boat ride when the boats return in mid-April.


Rose Kennedy Greenway

 The garden sections  of the Rose Kennedy Greenway are filled with beautiful spring flowers. Across from the North End, you'll find daffodils and lilies and as you walk south you can see tulips. Near South Station and Chinatown are the stunning Chinese Gardens. Starting in about mid-May, peonies and rhododendrons bloom, surrounded by bamboo shoots.The best place to begin your Greenway tour is not on the Greenway itself, but a few steps away at the Rose Kennedy Memorial Garden, located near the southwestern edge of Christopher Columbus Park just north of the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.  Here, roses bloom from late May through frost, with especially spectacular flowers during June.

Source

The Real History of St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This Saint Patrick’s Day will be marked with green clothes, shamrocks, lucky charms, and gold coins. Surprisingly, these classic icons were not always symbols of the holiday.

 St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17th to commemorate the death of St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland. The holiday, which began as a religious feast in the 17th century, has since evolved into an array of festivals across the globe, featuring music, dancing, and (of course) a whole lot of green!

As it turns out, St. Patrick wasn’t actually even Irish. He was born in Roman Britain and at the age of 16, was kidnapped by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland as a slave.  He later escaped, but then returned to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to its people. After his death, St. Patrick was pretty much forgotten until various myths surrounding his life were brought to the surface and became ingrained in Irish culture. It was only centuries after his death that he was honored as the country’s patron Saint.

What are some myths regarding St. Patrick? First, he never drove the snakes out of Ireland. Ireland never had any snakes and this myth is just a metaphor for how St. Patrick cleansed Ireland of Pagans. It is said that St. Patrick used a clover to explain the holy trinity to the Irish people, which is why many Irish started to wear shamrocks on their clothing to signify Irish Christian Pride. This tradition later evolved into wearing green on St. Patty’s Day.

You may also be surprised to learn that the tradition of having parades on St. Patrick’s Day originated in the U.S. and not in Ireland. Parades began in the U.S. after many Irish immigrated there during the time of the Irish potato famine. Boston is home to the nation’s longest-running St. Patrick’s Day Parade, beginning in 1737. The second oldest, and currently the largest, parade takes place in New York City, which held its first parade in 1762. It is estimated over 2 million spectators attend the NYC parade each year.

How will you spend your St. Patrick’s Day? Don’t miss the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade this Sunday, March 19th! The parade begins at 1:00 pm at the Broadway MBTA stop and continues for over 3 miles to Andrew Square. You can find various events happening this St. Patrick’s Day weekend here


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Erin Go Bragh! 

Six More Weeks of Winter

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 21, 2017


On February 2nd, once again, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means another six weeks of winter. If you and your visitor(s) are not sure what to do during these six weeks before the weather warms and flowers bloom, we have some suggestions for fun outdoor activities to take advantage of all this snow! 


Sledding or Tubing
There is a hill to go sledding in virtually every Boston neighborhood. Sledding locations in the city include places like Flagstaff Hill in Boston Common or Marine Park in Southie.
 This article lists great sledding hills all around the greater Boston area, and if you are looking to go tubing, this article provides tubing locations just a short drive from Boston. 


Skiing
You do not have to travel out of state to enjoy a ski trip with your family. Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton has 12 trails and over 60 acres of terrain for both beginnings and advanced skiers.
 This guide can help you can find other nearby mountains open for skiing this winter. Do you prefer cross country over downhill skiing? Check out The Middlesex Fells Reservation. This park has cross country trails and is located a short five miles north of Boston. 


Skating:
Boston has many opportunities for public skating. Visit
 Boston Common's Frog Pond Which hosts weekly "College Nights" featuring discounted tickets for University students. You can also take the opportunity to visit  The Boston Winter skating path at Government Center before it closes for the season on February 26th. 


Snow Shoeing
If you want an outdoor activity that requires minimal skills, you should try snow shoeing! There are many places a short distance from the greater Boston area that are great for exploring on foot.
 Gore Place in Waltham offers snow shoe rentals and features 50 acres of explore-able estate. This article has information about the top five places near Boston to take a show shoeing day trip.


After spending time in the great outdoors warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from one of these Boston Cafe's. what goes best with host chocolate? Warm cookies :) This list will show you the best best spots to get delicious homemade cookies in the city. Use this snowy weather as an excuse to treat your student (and yourself!) to some of the best desserts the area has to offer!

Valentine's Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

February 14th is Valentine's Day! Did you know other cultures celebrate this holiday too?? Check out some countries that have their own unique Valentine's Day celebrations and traditions.....



Australia

Australian's have a long history of gifting extravagant presents to their loved ones on Valentine's Day. This tradition began during the country's gold rush in the 1850's, when newly wealthy miners would buy elaborate valentines for their wives or girlfriends. These gifts included items such as, satin pillows, colored shells, decorated boxes, and even taxidermy hummingbirds. These gifts came to represent high society and style. Today, couple's still exchange large gifts, though with a more modern spin. A typical Australian Valentine's Day now involves less dead birds and more dinner cruises, waterfront picnics, or proclamations of love on the radio. 

 

South Africa

South Africans couples celebrate Valentine's Day similarly to couples in the U.S - they exchange small presents, such as flowers, chocolates or gifts Single South African women have a rather unique tradition where they pin the name of their love interest on their sleeve and reveal their crushes to others. 



Taiwan

Valentine’s Day in Taiwan is celebrated on February 14th, and at the Qixi festival on July 7th. On both days men purchase special bouquets for their sweethearts. One red rose symbolizes an "only love", eleven roses symbolizes a "special someone", ninety-nine roses symbolizes "forever", and one hundred and eight roses is a marriage proposal! 


Wales

Wales' equivalent to Valentine's Day is Saint Dwynwen Day on January 25th. The tradition of celebrating Saint Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, began in the 17th century, when Welsh men gave "love spoons" to women that they loved. These wooden spoons were intricately decorated with designs of various meaning. Wheels signify support, horseshoes symbolize luck, and keys represent the key to a man’s heart.

South Korea

Celebrations of Valentine's Day in South Korea can occur from February to April. On February 14th, women will gift candy, flowers, or small gifts to men. Then on March 14th, or White Day, men will return the action by offering chocolate, flowers, and a gift to the women. On April 14th, singles may celebrate Black Day, during which they eat black bean paste noodles called jajangmyeon and mourn their single status.

How will you celebrate your Valentine's Day? You can find a few suggestions here.  Enjoy the day with family and friends! 

Source: Huffington Post 

Everything You Need To Know About Super Bowl LI

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Its that time of year again - time for the Super Bowl!! Excitingly enough Boston's favorite football team will (again!) be playing in this year's Super Bowl, Super Bowl LI (if you're not too familiar with roman numerals LI means 50). Here is everything you need to know to prepare yourself for the big game. Go Pats!!

Who: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

What: Super Bowl LI

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

When: Saturday, February 5th @ 6:30pm

How to watch: Super Bowl LI will be televised nationally on FOX. You can also watch it online for free on FOXsports.com on your computer or tablet. Verizon users can watch it on the go with NFL Mobile

Where to Watch: With its plethora of sports bars and restaurants, Boston is an exciting place to celebrate the Super Bowl! Here you can find a list of places throughout the city hosting Super Bowl parties and offering special deals on food and drink. I personally will be watching the game from my favorite venue - my couch. If you're looking for some place less crowded or for a younger crowd, watching the game at home with family and friends may be the best option. 


Who to watch:  This will be the Patriot's ninth Super Bowl appearance and the seventh time for Belichick and Brady. Tom Brady is going for his 5th Super Bowl ring, which would make him the record holder of the most Super Bowl wings of any active quarter back in the NFL. Right now, Brady is tied for 4 wins with Joe Montana. After him, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have two rings each, and are the only other active quarter backs with more than one win. This Super Bowl will pit the No. 1 defense in the league (Pats) against the No. 1 offense in the league (Falcons) which should definitely provide for an exciting game!

What to eat: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Super Bowl is the second largest day of food consumption in America (the first is Thanksgiving). American's are estimated to buy 12.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, and set to consume 1.33 billion chicken wings. Several local pizza chains have Super Bowl specials that you can find here, just remember to put your order in early - they'll be busy! 

Halftime show: This year's Halftime show will be headlined  by Lady Gaga. This will be Lady Gaga's second time performing on the Super Bowl stage, after having sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 last February. The Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show is the most -watched musical event of the year, attracting more than 116.5 million viewers last year. 

If New England wins, stay tuned for the Patriots Parade in the weeks shortly after. It is tradition for the team to celebrate the big win by parading through the streets of Boston on floats with their families! 


Sources: NFL, Chicago Tribune