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Words Without an English Equivalent

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, March 23, 2012

Though there are currently over 1,000,000 words in the English language, Mental Floss has noted that “despite this large lexicon, many nuances of human experience still leave us tongue-tied.”

Here are some foreign words with no direct English translation:

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.

Pana Po’o (Hawaiian) 
“Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.

Mencolek (Indonesian) 
You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.

Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, it means grief bacon.

Greng-jai (Thai)
That feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them.

Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it? This word means, “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”

Zeg (Georgian)
It means “the day after tomorrow.”

Pålegg (Norweigian)
The Norwegians have a non-specific descriptor for anything – ham, cheese, jam, Nutella, mustard, herring, pickles, Doritos, you name it – you might consider putting into a sandwich.

Tartle (Scots)
The word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember.

Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego)
This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to do.


Mental Floss

Reader's Digest Magazine

Explore Boston - South Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, March 16, 2012

As one of America’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods, South Boston is a waterfront community next to Fort Point Channel and Dorchester Bay.  Though it is traditionally known as an Irish Catholic neighborhood, as the City of Boston website notes, “in recent years South Boston has become increasingly desirable among young professionals and families who are attracted to the neighborhood's strong sense of community and quick access to downtown and public transportation”. 

South Boston's Dorchester Heights National Historic Site

Commonly referred to as “Southie,” South Boston is home to a variety of popular parks, beaches, and yearly events. Offering beautiful views, space for recreation and plenty of history, South Boston’s Castle Island features a Revolution-era fort, miles of shoreline and parklands, and a walkway along the beach. Many cultural and educational centers can also be found in South Boston, including the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Boston’s Children’s Museum, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library, and the University of Massachusetts Boston. In addition, "Southie Pride" is on full display in March when city residents flock to the neighborhood to enjoy the annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade. 

Have you recently been to South Boston? Let us know! If you’re Boston this weekend, be sure to head to South Boston on Sunday to see the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade! 


St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On March 17th every year, people throughout the world honor one of the most widely celebrated saints, Saint Patrick. Known as the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day represents not only Christian values, but also a secular celebration of Irish culture. St. Patrick’s Day is usually accompanied by shamrocks, Irish flags, Irish food and drink, and a hefty dose of the color green. Though St. Patrick’s Day is an official holiday in only a few places, it is widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora - and others – worldwide.


Though St. Patrick’s Day has been a celebrated feast day since the ninth century, it became an official public holiday in 1903. The holiday remains largely religious, and is often associated with religious observance, festivals, and parades.


Boasting the fifth largest Irish community in the world outside Ireland, Argentina celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day with street parties all night long. With over 50,000 people taking part in the celebrations, Argentineans dance and drink all night in their green clothes.


Since 1824, Montreal holds one of the longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day parades in North America. Though Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday in only the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, many other groups have lobbied to make it an official national holiday in Canada.


Holding Asia’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade, the Tokyo parade, organized by the Irish Network Japan, has been going on since 1992. Today, parades are held in many locations across Japan, and go on throughout the entire month of March.

The United States   

Though Saint Patrick’s Day is not an official holiday in the US, it has been celebrated since the late eighteenth century. The day is largely a celebration of Irish and Irish-American culture, and features many parades, religious events, feasts, and displays of the color green. In Boston,  Saint Patrick's Day remains a huge day of celebration due to the large Irish population. With over 500,000 visitors each year, the Boston parade is not only the oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in the US, but also one of the largest. For more information about Saint Patrick's Day events in Boston, look here

Do you have Saint Patrick’s Day plans? Let us know! 




Daylight Saving Time

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, March 09, 2012

On Sunday, March 11, 2012, clocks in the United States (and many others throughout the world) are advanced one hour so that evenings have more sunlight in the warmer months of the year. First established in 1918, “Daylight Saving Time” allows for people to take advantage of sunlight later in the day, as well as encourage energy savings. As days become shorter again in fall and winter months, clocks are returned to “standard” time so that there is more sunlight in the mornings.

Although Daylight Saving Time has been around for nearly 100 years in the United States, there is still a good deal of controversy surrounding the practice. Many critics feel that Daylight Savings is not beneficial, or simply too complicated. Worldwide, many countries use Daylight Savings in order to conserve daylight; the days of change, however, often differ from country to country (most of Europe changes on the last Sunday in March, while much of Oceania changes on the first Sunday in April). Other countries, such as large portions of Africa and Asia have opted to stop using Daylight Savings Time, or have simply never used it at all.

In the US, Daylight Savings occurs on the second Sunday of March, and ends on first Sunday of November. Daylight Savings is easily remembered with the mnemonic device, “spring forward, fall back” to help people remember which direction to shift the clocks for each time period.


The Patch

Washington Post

Valentine’s Day Around the Globe

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Though some Americans consider Valentine’s Day to be a superficial holiday, there is long history behind the holiday of love. First established in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius I, Valentine’s Day was originally created to honor the early Christian Saint Valentine. Today, Valentine’s Day is a day for people to express their love for each other by presenting flowers, candy, or cards. Scroll down to find out more about how different cultures express their love throughout the world!


Known as El Día del Cariño, Valentine’s Day in Guatemala is a colorful, affectionate affair. Throughout Latin America, the day is as much about friendship and family as it is about love;   commonly referred to as the day of amor y amistad — love and friendship — Guatemalans exchange flowers, chocolates and cards like in the U.S., but with pals as well as with admirers. And in Guatemala City, the holiday isn’t just for youth.  In the country’s capital, it’s common for locals and tourists to dress up in feathered masks or vivid Mayan attire and partake in Old Love, a senior citizens’ parade. 


China not only has its own New Year, but also celebrates its own Valentine’s Day. Generated from an age-old love story involving a queen’s daughter and a cowboy, the Qixi Festival, Chinese Valentine’s Day, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, usually in early August. On the Chinese Valentine’s Day, men who want to impress their partners typically book luxury dinners and shower them with roses, while Chinese girls will offer fruit to deities in hopes for a good match. 


In Wales, the equivalent of St. Valentine is Saint Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers. It is said that the beautiful saint fell in love with handsome young man, and later begged God to bring him back to life in exchange for a life of service. Now a place of pilgrimage, visitors make the trek to a well where apparently sacred eels can forecast the outcome of relationships. Celebrated January 25, the holiday often involves love spoons as an old tradition of courting and marriage.  A Welsh man would carve a love spoon for his beloved one, and decorate the whittled wood with different symbols: Keys would signify a man’s heart, wheels his hard work and beads, his preferred number of offspring. 


In Japan, Valentine’s Day works a little differently; there are not one but two days of romance. On February 14, women typically give chocolate to their boyfriends, male friends and superiors. A month later, men return the favor; on March 14, known as White Day, men give their girlfriends or wives clothes, jewelry and of course, more chocolate. 

Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? Let us know how!


Super Bowl Frenzy

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, February 03, 2012

This Sunday, February 5th, marks the 42nd annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), a de facto American holiday called "Super Bowl Sunday". The Super Bowl is frequently cited as the most watched television event in the US all year, and is the second largest day for US food consumption (following Thanksgiving). As so many people tune in to watch the game every year, companies spend a small fortune making interesting and creative commercial ads for viewers. As a result, Super Bowl commercials have become as important as the game itself.

This year's Super Bowl XLVI will be particularly interesting as it features two teams from the Northeast, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. The two teams represent one of the biggest eternal rivalries in US history: New York vs. Boston. William M. Fowler Jr., a history professor at Northeastern University in Boston, said tension dates to the 1600s, pitting the Pilgrims and the Puritans of Massachusetts against the Dutch in New York. Though New York surpassed Boston in population and financial strength many years ago, Boston remains today to be a contentious rival in the sports arena. 

Sunday's game will be of additional importance because it is a rematch game between the two contenders from Super Bowl XLII  in 2008. One of the greatest upsets in US sports history, Super Bowl XLII ended with the wild-card Giants winning against the previously-undefeated Patriots. As Daniel Trotta and Daniel Lovering noted, "New England tempers run high toward the Giants, the team that ruined what was about to become a historic, undefeated season for the Patriots before they gave up a game-winning touchdown in the closing minute of the 2008 Super Bowl". Needless to say, Sunday will be an exciting day for New Yorkers and Bostonians alike. 

Insights into Visitor Interactions

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

At Global Immersions Homestay, the comfort and experience of both hosts and visitors is always our number one priority. We offer cross-cultural workshops and on-going intercultural support for both hosts and visitors, and informational host events so that the homestay experience is enjoyable and beneficial for all.  As homestay provides an insider's view into the U.S. culture, interaction is crucial piece of the experience. 

Through our December host event, Insights into Visitor Interactions, our hosts had the opportunity to share and learn from each other new ways of exposing their visitors to American culture. To find out more about the unique interactions between our hosts and visitors, we put the question to our hosts - here's what they came up with:

  • Games night (board/card)
  • Day trips
  • Restaurants (ethnic/American)
  • Cultural events
  • Cooking together
  • Grocery shopping
  • Watching/explaining sports
  • Plays/school activities
  • Research on visitors homeland before arrival
  • Maps or place mats to discuss where the visitor is from during dinner
  • Seasonal activities
  • Watching movies/TV
  • Wii (dance games)
  • Discuss about each other’s cultures/daily lives
  • Daily errands
  • Interact with pets
  • Car wash
  • Recycling
  • Shoveling/playing in the snow
  • Parties (holiday, birthday, family, other events)
  • Music – playing together and sharing artists from their country

For additional ways to interact with your visitor take a look at some of our suggestions here.

Do you have other suggestions or ways you interact with your visitors? Email us and we'll share them with the hosting network!

Chinese New Year

Global Immersions - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This past Monday, January 23rd, was the Chinese New Year, also known as “Spring Festival”. It marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of spring. The festival begins on the first day of the first month on the Chinese lunar calendar and ends on the 15th day with the Lantern Festival and is celebrated in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Chinatowns around the world.

Most people are familiar with the 12 zodiacs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. What people may not be so familiar with is that each zodiac has five different elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. This year is the Water Dragon, which is the more calming Dragon of the group. The Dragon is also considered to be the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac.

There are many customs and traditions that take place during the celebration such as thoroughly cleaning houses to sweep away bad fortune and hanging red colored paper cuts on doors and windows symbolizing good fortune, wealth, happiness, and longevity.

Chinese New Year is widely celebrated around the world and is the most important of the Chinese holidays!

Happy Chinese New Year!

For a more basic understanding of what happens on Chinese New Year, click here!




New Year’s Eve in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, December 16, 2011

When it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve, there is nowhere in the US more original and community-oriented than the First Night festival in Boston. For the past 35 years, Boston’s vibrant art scene has provided over a million people annually with all day and night entertainment throughout the city. Showcasing 1,000 artists with 200 performances and exhibits, the festival offers a broad range of lively music, dance, theater, visual art, and film programs. First Night also emphasizes community-building and celebrating diversity by delivering “high-quality arts programs to large diverse audiences, offering vital arts education opportunities to underserved children and teenagers”.

Encompassing more than 30 venues throughout the city, the signature Boston event is the oldest and largest of its kind in North America. The traditional festivities feature events such as a Family Festival at the Hynes Convention Center, a Grand Procession down Boylston Street, ice sculptures, fireworks, and more.

For more information and details about First Night, visit their website at http://www.firstnight.org/ 

December Festivities

Global Immersions - Monday, November 21, 2011

December is the time to celebrate the holiday season and in Boston there are many ways to enjoy and celebrate while learning about U.S. culture! From the Christmas tree lighting and the lighting of the Menorah on Boston Common to the Nutcracker ballet, take a look at a few happenings our city has to offer for the holiday-filled month – then get out and enjoy!

Christmas Tree Lighting

This year marks the 70th annual lighting of Boston’s official Christmas tree in Boston Common, a gift from Nova Scotia, Canada. On Thursday, December 1st, join the festivities from 6:00-8:00pm.  The evening includes various performances by the Radio City Rockettes to the Boston Children’s choir as well as a performance by local skaters on the Boston Common Frog Pond.   


Ice Skating on the Frog Pond

The Boston Common Frog Pond is located in the heart of Boston Common. For a small entrance fee, ice skaters 14-years and older can skate for as long as they like and for everyone else in the heart of downtown Boston.  Keep checking the website for an update on opening day (delayed due to warm weather)! http://www.bostonfrogpond.com/winter-programs


Menorah Lighting

A giant menorah is lit for a sequence of eight days to celebrate the Jewish holiday Hanukkah in the Boston Common at the Brewer Fountain.  This year, Hanukkah begins at sunset on December 20th and ends at sunset on December 28th. The lighting of the Menorah will begin at 4:30pm and will occur each night at that time. There will also be special presentations and entertainment during Hanukkah. 

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker is the perfect holiday event. With beautiful music written by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, it is undeniably a performance that the whole family will love. Performances until December 31st, 2011. Click the link below to book your tickets! http://boxoffice.bostonballet.org/storefront/c2012NUTCRACKER-p0.html


For other holiday events happening in Boston, discounted tickets and more - check out The Mayor’s Holiday Special: http://www.mayorsholidayspecial.com/ 

Enjoy and happy holidays!





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