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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

Valentine's Day in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Every mid-February, people around the world gather with loved ones to celebrate. In the United States and most western cultures, we celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th! Originally named after Valentine, the Saint of courtly love, this holiday is all about showing affection and appreciation to those closest to you. There are many versions of the story as to how Valentine’s Day came about. The most common tale is that the holiday first became associated with love and romance during the Middle Ages in England as spring mating season began. Valentine’s Day also has inspiration from a Roman pagan festival called Lupercalia that celebrated fertility and matchmaking. Nowadays, we associate the holiday with pink and red hearts, roses, and candy. You will also see figures of Cupid, the God of love, as a small figure flying with a bow and arrow. Legend says those who are shot with his arrow will fall madly in love with their partner.


In the modern day, Valentine’s Day is most commonly celebrated between romantic partners as a way to commemorate the relationship and the love the two share. Every Valentine’s Day is the most popular date night in town! Some people will plan their engagement proposals or weddings on Valentine’s Day to join the romantic spirit. However, many people also celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends and family. It is tradition to give your loved ones Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, or sweets like chocolate or candy as a way to show your appreciation for them. Kids in school often make handwritten Valentine’s Day notes expressing their favorite thing about each classmate. Every student has their own decorated box, and they take turns dropping off notes for each other! Valentine’s Day can also be a day for secret admirers. Many people will finally confess their love for those they have been crushing on as a romantic gesture. Overall the holiday is meant to tell others how special they are and how much they mean to us.




Although not a national holiday, you will see recognition of Valentine’s Day all around you in Boston! Many people will dress in pink or red clothing, bakeries will make special pastries, and people will gift flowers and chocolates to their loved ones. Make sure to check out the decorated Tunnel of Love at Christopher Columbus Park this month! They will light up the decorated tunnel every night now until February 28. Wherever you may be celebrating from, we want to see how you will be spending your Valentine’s Day. Share your experiences with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


Sources: History, TimeandDate


Lunar New Year - Year of the Pig

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, February 09, 2019


Happy Lunar New Year everyone! The Lunar New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival, started on Tuesday, February 5th this calendar year and will end with the Lantern Festival on Tuesday, February 19th. As the most important festivity in countries like China, North and South Korea, and Vietnam, this holiday alone is celebrated by more than 20% of the world’s population! Not to mention that more fireworks are set off on the Lunar New Year than any other day of the year. This is is the most important time for celebrating families all over the world to gather together to welcome spring and share in one another’s company.



This Lunar New Year is the Year of the Pig, which is often seen as a symbol of wealth, diligence, kindness, and generosity. Each Lunar New Year cycle is characterized by one of the  twelve zodiac animals, as well as the five elements of earth. The year you are born and your Zodiac can help predict your fortune, marriage and career compatibility, and so much more.  This Year of the Pig overlaps with the Earth element. So according to the Zodiac, Pigs born in 2019, are predicted to be outgoing, supported by loved ones, and fortunate. Lucky colors include yellow, gray and brown. Lucky numbers are 2, 5, 8. Curious to know your Zodiac sign? Click here to find out!



As family come from all over to celebrate for two weeks, The Lunar New Year has some of the best food recipes and traditions too. Many meals are designed to provide specific blessings for the upcoming year. Certain food groups and dishes have symbolic powers to bring prosperity, fertility, and happiness. For example, eggs are known for big happy families and lobster is known for financial prosperity. Some traditional meals may include spring rolls, dumplings, noodles, steamed fish and chicken, rice cakes, vegetables, and hot pots. There is even special wine saved just for the occasion. Each family has their own favorites and traditions! You will notice that the color red dominates the Lunar New Year celebration. Red lanterns, red string, red clothing. Another famous tradition is to exchange gifts, particularly red envelopes that are filled with money! Most commonly these red envelopes are passed from the elderly to children, symbolically passing along fortune to the youngest generation. However, the envelopes can also be passed between friends, family, and even co-workers.The new year celebration will continue until the Lantern Festival when everyone socializes in the streets, plays games, and lights lantern to celebrate the new year. We want to see you celebrate! Share your Lunar New Year experiences with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


Sources: Chinese New Year


New England Patriots in the Super Bowl

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, January 30, 2019


This weekend tune in for SUPER BOWL SUNDAY on February 3 at 6:30 PM! Super Bowl Sunday has practically become a national holiday here in the United States. Whether you watch football regularly every week or don’t know the difference between a touchdown and a field goal, everyone watches this football game. Last year alone, more than 103.4 million people watched the game via NBC broadcast. It is one of the best American traditions! Once a year, people join together with friends, make delicious foods, and camp out in front of the television on Sunday afternoon to watch the game. Not a sports fan? You can look forward to the musical half-time show, this year starring Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi as well as the famous half-time commercials.There is something entertaining for everyone to watch.



What’s more, this Super Bowl LIII we are able to cheer on our very own Boston team, the New England Patriots! For the third year in a row, the Patriots will compete for the Super Bowl championship title.The Pats have just broken a record for the most Super Bowl appearances, this being their 11th! And our star quarterback, Tom Brady, currently holds the record for more appearances than any one player, with nine championship games this year. The Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI way back in 2002, with the same coach and quarterback as we have now. The Rams have completely changed their team structure since then, so this should be a competitive game. The Patriots will face off against the Rams at the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. All major news stations will be covering the event. The only commitment you have to make is which spot on the couch you want to watch the game!


To ensure that you have the most American Super Bowl experience, these are a few of our favorite recipes to try for the big day. Here’s the game plan. Think appetizers. (And make sure to bring extra napkins.)

Wings

They can be slow to make, but worth the wait! Whether BBQ, Buffalo, or Garlic Parmesan, these wings are a staple dish at any Super Bowl get together.

Barbecue Chicken Nachos

Great for the family to share or to bring for a party at your friend’s place. Everyone loves nachos.

Best Dips

Anything that goes with chips, will be a hit. From onion dip, to salsa, to guacamole, try these dip recipes for the Super Bowl!


Wherever you may be watching from, we want to see you in your New England Patriots gear! Share your Super Bowl spirit with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


Sources:

CBS Sports

Statista

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, January 17, 2019



Every third Monday in January is a national holiday to honor the life, ideals, and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr.  Assassinated in April of 1968, his legacy still lives on today through the observance of this holiday. Best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs, Martin Luther King was also a pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader in the African Civil Rights Movement.  During this period of American history the American Civil Rights Movement was at its height as minorities, mainly African-Americans, protested the many laws and racial prejudices that maintained their status as second-class citizens.  As a Christian minister, Dr. King's main influence was Jesus Christ and Christian gospels with strong emphasis on Jesus’ commandment of loving your neighbors as yourself, loving God above all, and loving your enemies by praying for them and loving them. He was also strongly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism. With such inspiration Dr. King and several other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of the black churches to conduct non-violent protests in search of civil rights reform. 

One of these protests was the March on Washington in 1963, where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, one of the most well-known speeches in American history and marking King as one of the greatest orators in American history. In 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In the final years of his life he expanded his work to include poverty and the Vietnam War. In 1968 he was planning another occupation of Washington relating to these issues when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee by a white man who opposed King’s views on racial equality. Nationwide riots ensued in response to his murder and a national day of mourning was issued by the president days after his death. Although his life was cut short at an early age, King’s legacy still lives on today. Just days after his assassination Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that prohibited discrimination in housing based on race, religion, or national origin that was later expanded. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal after his death. In 1986 Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a national holiday as he became a national icon in the history of American progressiveness. The only other two people who have national holidays honoring them are George Washington and Christopher Columbus which exemplifies the significance Dr. King has had on American history. And although inequality is a tremendous issues still facing the U.S. and the world today, commemorating an idol who fought to better the world through nonviolence helps inspire change and improvement in us all and is what makes this holiday so important.  

There are a lot of activities happening around Boston this weekend to celebrate and pay tribute to Dr. King.  Check out our Go Global Facebook page!



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