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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Pan-Latin American Group at TALK05-Nov-2017

A group of adult visitors from Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama arrived to Boston on Sunday eveni..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Josai High School22-Oct-2017

A group from Josai High School in Japan is visiting this week to tour Boston and sight see! They..


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Halloween Happenings!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Halloween is one of the best celebrated holidays in the Boston area due, naturally, to the amount of ghosts that roam our streets. From witch trials, to hangings, to some of the oldest graveyards in the country, Boston's history ensures that old lonely spirits are due to walk the streets on October 31st.

Just kidding. Maybe.

If you're a lover of all things spooky, get ready for some good Halloween fun in and around the Boston area!

Hop on the Boston Ghosts and Gravestones Tour for a jaunt around town in an old trolley with a host that looks remarkably like a 17th century gravedigger... This tour takes you through the most historic parts of Boston, where you will make stops at two of the oldest graveyards in the country, and learn about some of the most gruesome murders in Boston's history.

Remember that the tour is half walking, so grab some comfortable shoes!

Price: $39.00

If you really want a fright, check out the Factory of Terror in Fall River, MA. With three locations - Bloodworth Dungeon, 4-D Blackout, and Phobia Mayhem - this will sure be one horrifying night. You'll come face to face with moaning spirits, tormented corpses, and gothic nightmares in this haunted Factory.

Price: $15

Want to learn more about Boston's spooky history? Take a walking tour with Boston By Foot for their Beacon Hill with a BOO! event. On October 31 at 6pm, the tour will set out to walk amongst the dark alleys of Beacon Hill, where you will learn of the Hill's dark and murderous legacy.

Price: $20

Lastly, and certainly not least, take a day trip out to Salem, MA - better known as the "Witch City" -  to check out all of the Halloween happenings! You can take a scheduled 7 hour tour from Boston via the Salem Witch City Day Trip, which will take you up to Marblehead, then to the House of the Seven Gables, and then into downtown Salem for a bus and walking tour of the historic city. The Salem Witch Museum ramp up their decorations and activities this month as well, so be sure to take a visit to the country's oldest witch museum! The Haunted Witch Village and the Salem Wax Museum put on a great display over the weekends gearing up to Halloween. A trip to the Wax Museum might also lead you to Frankenstein's Laboratory!

If you're looking for all things Halloween in Salem, follow this link to check out the extensive list of events, tours, and activities in the Witch City all month long!

Here is a list of Halloween happenings in the Boston area too!

Día de los Muertos

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an ancient Mexican holiday whose celebration has now spread across Latin America and to parts of the United States. It is also one of the most misunderstood holidays to date. Since it takes place near Halloween, many people assume that Day of the Dead is a Mexican/Latin version of Halloween.


Dia de los Muertos was originally celebrated by the Aztecs at the end of August to signify the end of their harvest season. When the Spanish conquistadors brought Catholicism to Latin America, una mezcla (a combination) happened. With the Catholic tradition, came All Saints' and All Souls' Day in early November. Over time, Dia de los Muertos coincided with these Catholic holidays and is now celebrated on a similar two-day structure on November 1 and 2.

It is thought that at midnight on October 31, the gates to heaven open to allow the spirits of the dead to reunite with their loved ones for 24 hours. On the first day of Dia de los Muertos, November 1, families remember children who have passed away. On the second day, November 2, loved ones remember adults who have died. The central belief on Day of the Dead is not to mourn those who have passed, but to celebrate their lives. Families leave little toys and candy shaped as skulls for the children, and food, favorite possessions, and alcohol for the adults. Celebrations usually include live music and dancing from homes to graveyards, where families will gather around the graves of those who have passed.

Day of the Dead is an incredibly important holiday for Mexican and Latin people, as many believe that happy spirits will provide protection and good luck to their families. Sometimes people spend up to two months building ofrendas (homemade altars to leave offerings on) for their loved ones. This tradition keeps families and villages close - both with each other and with their deceased relatives.

The Science of Hygge

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Imagine a cold winter's night and you're curled up on the couch under a mound of blankets watching your favorite show or reading a thrilling book with a cup of tea steaming next to you. If you have children, they are finally asleep -  and you have this particular moment all to yourself. It's nice, is it not? In the U.S., we might call the fuzzy, warm feeling created in that moment a sense of "coziness". In the Danish culture, however, there is a specific word to describe that feeling: hygge.

Pronounced "hoo-guh", hygge is defined by Oxford Dictionary as "a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being". Some refer to it as an "art of creating intimacy" - either with yourself, with others, or with your home. Hygge generally requires a person to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere that can be shared with friends, family, and even strangers.

Hygge has become one of the defining aspects of Danish culture. In the last few years, the philosophy has gained an international audience; at least six books on hygge were published in the U.S. in 2016 alone. The concept is more than just a room full of candles and familiar faces though - it is a way of life that has helped Danes appreciate the importance of simplicity and practice a slower pace of life.

CEOs of companies, such as Meik Wiking of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, have written books on hygge and how others around the world can start to incorporate it in their lives. Here is a list that Wiking includes in his  "The Little Book of Hygge":

  • Get comfy. Take a break.
  • Be here now. Turn off the phones.
  • Turn down the lights. Bring out the candles.
  • Build relationships. Spend time with your tribe.
  • Give yourself a break from the demands of healthy living. Cake is most definitely hygge.
  • Live life today, like there is no coffee tomorrow.

Though there is not a direct translation of the word hygge in English, the tangible feeling of comfort, coziness, and contentedness is one we are all familiar with. Remember to pause what you are doing today, take a deep breath, and slow down.

Keeping Pets Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

If you own a pet, you have probably experienced the predicament of being uncomfortably squashed into a corner of your bed, and not wanting to disturb your cute sleeping furry friend. Have you ever wondered if someone across the globe is experiencing the same exact dilemma at the same time as you? Is 'Shelly' over in Australia admiring her sleeping pup while her left foot goes numb stuck between the bed and the wall? Perhaps! Interestingly though, keeping pets (both in the home and generally) can greatly vary from country to country.

Dogs, cats, birds, fish, and the like have lived peacefully with humans for thousands of years. Pet preferences and their purpose in the home, however, can differ by culture.

In Russia, cats are the go-to pet of choice with 57% of homes having this adorable, yet sometimes evil, four-legged creature. Perhaps people prefer cats because they do not need to take them outside during bitterly cold winter days. Similarly, cats are idealized in Japanese culture. Though cats do not dominate as many households in Japan, they are seen as incredibly protective and lucky animals.

When it comes to avian pets, Turkey has the highest concentration of homes with birds at 20%. Traditionally, birds have been compared to the human soul, therefore, Turkish people, as well as Persians, have deeply valued having birds within their homes.

China takes the cake when it comes to aquatic pets, as fish can be found in 17% of households. In areas with such density, it is understandable that people might prefer smaller sized animals.

Now, the United States certainly has the biggest pet population all together, including 70 million dogs and 73 million cats. The U.S. is not the breadwinner when it comes to dogs as pets, however. In fact, Argentina boasts the most dog-dense population with 66% of homes having at least one dog - 16% of which were adopted off of the streets. Furthermore, 80% of Argentine homes have at least one pet in general, making it the most pet-friendly country in the world. In some cultures, however, dogs serve a purpose in the home. In rural China, for example, a dog's purpose is to protect the home and/or livestock. They generally do not sleep inside with the family, and can even be eaten once they are too old to continue working. In many Islamic countries, dogs are seen as impure and unhygienic, and it is rare for dogs to be household pets. On the flip side, areas like the United States and the U.K. greatly value the companionship that dogs offer, calling them "man's best friend".

All in all, depending on where you are, you might find drastic differences in the types of pets people keep!

The Meaning of Personal Space Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 09, 2017

We are all thoroughly aware of that uncomfortable sensation - a tickling up and down our spines - when someone hovers in or around our 'personal space' bubbles for longer than expected. Have you ever wondered what might cause that creepy-crawly feeling? Or if the other person feels it too? Our judgment on this phenomenon naturally varies from person to person, and by nature of the relationship we have with the other person. Interestingly enough, however, we must also consider culture as a large contributor to our preferred personal space distances.

A study published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology examines the differences of preferred interpersonal distances across the world to measure just how close people are willing to get. The researchers handed out the image below to about 9,000 participants, and asked them to mark where Person B should stand, in relation to Person A, if they were a stranger, an acquaintance, or a close friend.

In the USA, the average person preferred strangers to remain 95cm away, whereas if they were an acquaintance or close friend, they preferred 65cm and 45cm, respectfully. Countries that value large personal space distances include Romania, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Uganda. And on the flip side of that coin, Argentina, Peru, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Austria do not mind if you get up close and personal. An interesting note is the difference in preferences in Norway, where they fall about in the middle when it comes to strangers (100cm), but enjoy the most proximity when it comes to close friends (35cm).

Needless to say, the 'personal space bubble' means something different to people across the globe.

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

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. 

International Students LOVE the U.S.!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, November 23, 2016

      

If you had to guess, how many international students do you think attend higher education facilities in the U.S.? Would you guess 1 million? That number seems high right? Surprisingly enough, if you guessed 1 million you would be right! Well, almost right. There are actually over one million international students in higher education in the USA - for the first time! An interesting article in StudyTravel Magazine reports a 7.1% increase of international students in the U.S. for the 2015 - 2016 year. Data from the Institute of International Education shows 1,043,839 international students in the U.S.(an increase of 69,000 since 2014 /15). International students make up 5.2% of all higher education students in the country- the highest ratio ever.  

Here are where most of the students are from: 

China


China is the largest source of international students in the U.S. 31.5% (or approx. 328,547 students) of all higher education international students in America come from China. This year showed an 8% increase of Chinese students since 2014. 

India

The second largest source is India, which has brought approx. 165,918 students to the U.S. Though a smaller number of students than China, India has the largest growth since last year with the number of Indian international students in the U.S. growing 24.9%. 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the third largest source , taking the spot of South Korea from previous years. Saudi Arabia is the home of about 61,287 international students in the U.S. However, changes to Saudi government's scholarship program have decreased growth to 2.2% compared to the double digit increases in previous years. 

This year there was also a large increase since last year in students from Nepal (up 18.4%), Vietnam (up 14.3%), Nigeria (up 12.4%) and Kuwait and Iran (both up 8.2%). 

Which states draw the most international students?

California is the largest host state with 149,328 students, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts (whoohoo!) and Illinois. 

In terms of the students educational levels the report shows that over 420,000 are enrolled in undergraduate courses, over 380,000 are pursuing graduate degrees, 85,000 are pursuing non - degree courses (like language schools, ect.) and 147,000 are registered in Optional Practical Training (OPT).

International students are drawn to U.S. due to the quality, diversity, and prestigious reputations of the country's institutions. As a homestay provider, we enjoy having a part in these students' international experience and the ability to introduce both hosts and students to a new culture!

The Homestay Experience

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, October 24, 2016

Living in a Homestay is a truly unique experience and the only way to really  learn about another culture and develop foreign language skills. Homestay is a full immersion in a new culture and therefore has certain advantages that private accommodations, such as an apartment or home rental, cannot provide. Such benefits include an insight into the daily life of a local family, an opportunity to practice a second language, and a chance to try typical foods of another culture.

A host attending a tailgate at Gillette Stadium with her Danish students

Global Immersions stands out as Boston's leading Homestay specialist, because we pride ourselves on ensuring that our visitors experience all of these opportunities that Homestay has to offer . In comparison to larger Homestay corporations, Global Immersions  is able to deliver a more personal experience, fostering a closer relationship with our hosts and clients. We strive for quality, and take more aspects into account when matching a visitor with a host family.  We want our visitors to have a full cultural immersion, which is why we certify that no other speakers of the visitor's native language live in the Homestay and require our hosts to communicate with their visitors in English. We take into consideration our visitor's preferences regarding conditions such as allergies, dietary restrictions, pets, smoking, heath needs, and location. We aim to make successful visitor placements by pairing visitors with hosts that share similar hobbies, interests, or personality traits. Global Immersions stands out from other Homestay specialists, because we work actively to help our visitors assimilate into a new culture and have a positive Homestay experience. Upon arrival we provide our visitors with the materials they need to be prepared to live in the home of another family. We offer group orientation sessions where we talk about the cultural differences the visitors will face in an American home and discuss what they should and should not expect of their Homestay and host family.

A host playing a game at home with her family and Danish visitors 

Our main focus as a Homestay provider is on our visitors Homestay experience. This means that we want our visitors to feel completely included in their host's daily life and totally integrated into the family as a whole. This fall, we were pleased to welcome over 163 Danish visitors from five different schools. These students from, Handelsgymnasiet Aalborg SaxogadeAalborg Handelsskole Haderslev Hadelsskole Viborg Gymnasium, and Ringkøbing Handelsskole, were in Boston attending classes at Bunker Hill community College and learning about American culture through their time in Homestay. Our hosts involved the Danish students in dozens of different activities, providing them  with countless memorable experiences and learning opportunities.

 

Danish students attending a hot yoga class with their host father


 Here are some fun moments that our hosts and Danish students shared together: 

  • We enjoyed American football games on TV, and listening to music together. We went to my sister's house in Winchester for dinners and had board game nights with everyone.
  • I took them to the Watertown Yankees Candle and I treated them all to frappes at Wild Willies. I also drove them to school three days.

  • We watched The Presidential Debate together

  • We had a great times together easting out at a restaurant and we also went to a children fundraiser at the Masonic Lodge in Melrose. They had a lot of fun with my kids.

  • We have a home in Maine, so we took them for the weekend. We saw the beautiful foliage, and took them to the Fryeburg Fair. We visited my mother's home and went to dinner together when it was my daughter's birthday. We also enjoyed watching TV together and just hanging out.
  • I teach Bikram Hot Yoga and the students came to a couple classes. They mingled with some great people, Doctors, Lawyers, Brain surgeon, cyclists, and the energy level was high. After class, the students and yoga students took a 40 minute long ocean swim. Afterwards, we toured Marblehead and hit Whole Foods for lunch.
  • We had dinner together each night and enjoyed talking about life in the United States and in Denmark. I took them to church with me, and we had brunch at a local restaurant. We went shopping at the South Shore Mall and at the supermarket. They were very helpful in the kitchen and enjoyed my cooking.
  • We attended a soccer game and went grocery shopping together. I also took them to a tailgate at Gillette. We had a blast!
  • We went to Revere beach and North Gate Mall
  • On Sunday, we took the students shopping at Legacy Place in Dedham and the following Saturday, we took them for dinner at Marina Bay in Quincy. They had a good time. Each evening, we shared the day's experience over dinner.
  • I took the girls to my church last Sunday and they were able to enjoy a true Black church experience. It was "Family and Friends Day" at the church and we also honored the women of the church who were 90 years and older. My grandson was also baptized that Sunday. The girls enjoyed my family at the gathering for my grandson at my home. I took the girls to the South Shore Mall and to the supermarket. They were extremely helpful to me in the kitchen. They mingled very well with my family and met three generations of my family members.
  • Went on a walk together to familiarize them with the neighborhood, we also went to the movies with my book club and talked about families, employment & education goals. we enjoyed having discussions about activities during the day, and comparing cultures. We went to grocery store to pick out their favorite foods, and I introduced them to the other foreign student in my home and they  chatted about their school programs.
  • We visited the Museum of Science and saw a film at the Omni 3D Theater.
  • The boys wanted to go to Taco Bell, as they had never been before. We also saw a high school football game at the Everett the football stadium and went to the Assembly Square Mall.
  • I took the girls to an All White Affair Birthday Party
  • We went to Dave and Busters
  • We visited Revere Beach
 
Danish students making sushi with their host family 
                      

It is our goal to create a positive Homestay experience for our hosts as well as our visitors. In order to continuously improve our services, we ask our visitors and hosts to evaluate their experience during the group program.  The feedback we receive shows us where improvements need to be made to enhance our programs and helps us gauge the satisfaction of our visitors. Here is just some of the many positive notes we received from the Danish students of our recent group programs.

"My Homestay helped me understand the culture of the country much better and it created new connections. "

"My overall experience was really fantastic! My family was so nice and helped me with everything. I will be back at [my host] family's house soon! Our friends loved her too! Our friends joined us on trips with the family."

"It was nice to experience new cultures from the inside and my host was the greatest!"

"Homestay is a very good way to learn about another culture. It was an amazing experience and our hosts were so nice."

Danish girls attending a white party with their host mom 

We also received fantastic feedback from the hosts of our Danish groups, who clearly enjoyed the time they spent with the students.

"These kids were great!!!! I loved them!! Great personality, friendly, fun, respectful, well rounded young men. I wish they were here longer!!"

"I really appreciate hosting the Danish students. The experience was a win/win. We both learned and had great continuous conversations about everything. I was very impressed with their interest and knowledge of U.S. Culture, History and politics as well as their concern for the global environment."

"I am thankful to Global Immersions for the great experience of hosting the Danish students. Granted, the Danish students were well mannered, educated, friendly, health conscious and overall positive happy people.   Global Immersions set the tone by competently securing every step of the students stay from arrival to departure. I thank you all at Global Immersions for doing the job correctly."

"Wonderful girls! We thoroughly enjoyed their company! Only complaint is that they couldn't stay longer!"

"We enjoyed the students from Denmark, they were very happy in our home. We all had dinner together and talked and laughed. They were fun."

"We were very, very, happy with the students we had. They were perfect guests, very fun and I miss them already."

"This was my first time have female students, and the experience was quite enjoyable. It was sad to see them go."

 

Danish boys visiting Revere Beach with their host dad     

Global Immersions is the leader in group Homestay programs. If you are interested bringing a group abroad to experience American life through Homestay please contact our coordinator