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Welcome to Boston Homestay - American Councils Group!18-Oct-2019

A group of Fellows with American Councils (https://www.americancouncils.org/) from a variety of coun..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Silkeborg Gymnasium Group!04-Oct-2019

Global Immersions is happy to welcome a large group of visitors from Silkeborg Gymnasium (https:..


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Explore Boston: Neighborhood Series

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, October 20, 2019

This week in our Neighborhoods Series, we’re highlighting Arlington, Cambridge and Somerville. Closer to Boston, these cities have lots of fantastic restaurants, some colleges, and historical events and landmarks. And, of course, there’s never a shortage of activities to engage in - from museums to biking paths. We’ll start with the city furthest from Boston (Arlington) and move our way in!


Arlington

Located at the end of the Red Line, Arlington has more of a suburban feel, but definitely has a lot to do.  Home to the Jason Russell House (see picture above), this city, bordering Lexington, was a key player in the Revolutionary War. Originally a more rural community rooted in agriculture, Arlington eventually developed into a heavily populated suburb of Boston.  The Smith Museum, located right next to the Jason Russell House, has exhibits that show the development of the town from prehistoric times to present day. If you want to really experience the patriots march, you can walk or bike along the Minuteman Bike Path from Alewife to Lexington. Present day Arlington contains some gems of the Boston area in terms of food and activities. With a diverse range of restaurants, from Argentinian cuisine at Tango to authentic and delicious sushi at Toraya, they’ve got some good fancy eats as well as their fair-share of casual American fare and pizza parlors.  And if you’re looking to follow dinner with a movie, Arlington has a couple options, from more current movies at the Capitol Theatre to special musical performances and movie festival flicks at the RegentTheatre.  If you want to enjoy some dessert, Arlington has many options, from the mouth-watering cookies at Cookie Time to the rich ice cream at Abilyn’s Frozen Bakery.  And for your late night fix, The ScoopN Scootery is open and serving ice cream sundaes until 2 am!


Somerville

Getting closer to Boston, and further along the Red Line, Somerville has more of a city feel and has major centers for restaurants and boutiques in Davis, Porter, and Union Square. There are also a number of smaller squares, including Magoun, Inman, and Ball Square.  Somerville also houses Tufts University, so there are a lot of college-age residents in the area along with young families, immigrants, and long-time residents Being so highly and diversely populated, there is a huge variety of events, community groups, and things to enjoy. In Davis Square alone, there’s the over-100-year-old SomervilleTheatre which shows both contemporary films and also has special showings of classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, along with bowling and pizza at Sacco’sBowl Haven and Flatbreads, and live music at The Burren.  Not only that, but there’s a number of clothing stores, bars, and other amazing restaurants like Redbones BBQ and Tenoch Mexican and to enjoy. And while Somerville has a lot of older infrastructure, there is a lot of newly developing sections, like Assembly Row shopping center, which has restaurants, tons of shops, and a movie theater. There is always somewhere to be or something to do for any interest- whether it’s enjoying the view from Prospect Hill (see picture above) or going out one of the many festivals, concerts, or markets. 

Cambridge

Right next to Somerville, Cambridge directly borders Boston, and feels almost like an extension of the city. It is host to many prestigious colleges, like Harvard and MIT, and, like Somerville, has a wide diversity in its population.  There are so many fun places to explore for all different interests. For the cinephile, Kendall Landmark Theatre and Brattle Theatre both host a number of independent films and movie marathons, like the upcoming Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat-Cereal Cartoon Party at Brattle. And if you’re more interested in shopping, there are malls like the CambridgesideGalleria for more well-known stores and also lots of vintage stores, like RaspberryBeret. On a beautiful sunny day, you can drop by Paddle Boston and rent a canoe, paddleboard, or kayak to take out on the Charles River. If the weather is crummy, there are also many museums in the area to check out, including the Harvard ArtMuseums (pictured above) for art lovers, the Museum of Science for an interactive experience for the whole family, or the MIT Museum for a mix of technology and history. In terms of food, Cambridge has too many options to list! For everyone from the carnivore to the vegan, fine-dining to fast casual, and a huge cultural diversity in cuisine. You can check out this list of “33 Essential Cambridge Restaurants” to get an idea of all the options out there.


Leaf Peeping in New England

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, October 11, 2019

Fall is in full swing, with a crisp in the air and all your favorite seasonal treats coming back into rotation.  One of the most wonderful parts about living in New England is that we get such distinct seasons, and with the Fall comes the changing of leaves.  Vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows dominate the New England color scheme throughout September and October, and present the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy the colorful scenery with some leaf peeping!

Every state has different peak foliage time; for Massachusetts, mid-October is the best time to go peep some leaves.  If you want to head outside of the state, check out this live “Peak Fall Foliage Map” to see how the color progresses through all of New England.

With many state forests and scenic drives, there are options to catch the fall leaves whether you want to stay closer to Boston or drive up to New Hampshire or Vermont.  Here’s a list of some options for every type of leaf peeper to enjoy!

Middlesex Fells


Often referred to simply as the Fells, this state park stretches across Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Winchester.  There are more than 100 miles of hiking trails and two reservations  for you to explore.  To really get a good glimpse of the leaves, hike up to Wright Tower where you’ll get a spectacular view of Boston, the surrounding area, and the bright foliage!

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary


Broadmoor is an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary that over 800 acres on the Charles River in Natick and Sherborn.  It’s got 9 miles of hiking trails through forest, wetlands, and fields.  In the fall, one of the best activities to do there is canoe along the Charles River and take in the beautiful variety of colors.

Walden Pond


Just down Route 2 in Concord, Walden Pond is a serene getaway where you can hike the trails to see the home of Henry David Thoreau or take a boat out on the pond and get a 360 degree view of the trees and their vivid reflections on the water.

Emerald Necklace


The Emerald Necklace cover 1,100 acres in the Boston Area, and is made up of several parks and recreation areas including the Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica, Pond, Olmstead Park, and The Riverway.  You can walk the 7 miles from one end to the other or explore park by park.  To see a huge variety of trees, the Arboretum bordering Roslindale and Jamaica Plain has a lot of leaves to peep with 14,980 different kinds of plants.

If you are feeling more ambitious, there are an abundance of scenic drives that you can take to get out of Boston and be immersed in the fall beauty.  The Berkshires have many scenic drives and hikes to enjoy.  To see a comprehensive list of leaf peeping drives, check out this Boston Magazine article on “The 15 Best Foliage Drives in New England”.





Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Happy Labor Day Weekend!




Labor Day this year falls on Monday, September 2nd. It’s a long weekend and extra day off for Americans, but do you know the reason behind the holiday?




The history of Labor Day goes back to the 19th century labor movement during the Industrial Revolution. Americans worked 7 days a week for 12 hours each day to barely provide for their families. In addition, young children worked in factories to help support their parents. The country struggled; especially immigrants and the poor as the wages they received were low. These working conditions were extremely dangerous and gruesome, but the workers had no other choice. Labor unions were created which protested the long working hours, unsafe conditions and low wages. Strikes and rallies were held for years in order to raise awareness to the government of the issues. Finally, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill for Labor Day to become a national holiday in 1894. The Adamson Act was passed in 1916 and limited work days to 8 hours. 




Since this holiday is always on the first Monday of September, it represents the end of the summer as well as the start of the school year for most Americans. Typically there are fireworks, barbecues, parades and family gatherings held this weekend in the United States. Enjoy the weekend!


Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1


August 2019 Festivals

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, August 09, 2019

African Festival of Boston




Saturday, August 10th from 10am - 7pm at the Boston Commons Park join the African Festival of Boston. This event is FREE and open to the public! Learn about African heritage through music, dancing and fun! For more information click here

India Day Festival


Saturday, August 17th from 3 - 8pm go to City Hall Plaza to attend the India Day Festival! This FREE event features Indian music, food and dance to celebrate Indian Independence Day. Enjoy and learn about Indian culture at this festival. Click here for more information.

Fort Point Festival

Sunday, August 18th from 12 - 5pm head to Thomson Place and Stillings Street for the Fort Point Festival! This street party is FREE with music, games, dancing, food and yoga! Hear a Prince tribute band, play cornhole and pose at the photobooth! This is the festival’s 2nd year and it’s going to be bigger than last year! Click here for more information.

Illuminate the Harbor Fireworks Celebration

Thursday, August 29th from 8:30 - 9pm enjoy fireworks at the 7th annual Illuminate the Harbor Fireworks Celebration. Fireworks can be seen from Christopher Columbus Park in the North End, Piers Park in East Boston and Fan Pier in the Seaport District. This FREE event celebrates summer, the city and the community. There will be live music at Christopher Columbus Park starting at 6:30pm. For more details, click here.

Boston Jazz Festival

Friday, August 30th and Saturday, the 31st check out the Boston Jazz Festival at Maritime Park in the Seaport! This event is FREE and full of live performers starting at 12pm! There’s plenty of food, music and fun to enjoy as this is their 9th year of the festival. Jazz originates in the United States with African American roots and this festival showcases everything from the classic to contemporary. For more information click here.

Boston's Museums

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, July 26, 2019

Museum of Fine Arts


The MFA is the fifth largest museum in the United States and home to about 500,000 works of art. It was founded in 1870 and originally located in Copley Square, but had to relocate to a larger location due to the growing collection of artwork. With over a million visitors each year, this museum is widely known and a destination point for tourists, locals and art lovers! There are collections of paintings, photography, drawings, jewelry, textiles, fashion art, and musical instruments. The artwork dates from the ancient world to the contemporary now with collections from The Americas, Oceania, Asia and Europe. Past exhibitions include Frida Kahlo, French Pastels, and Native American art while currently Toulouse-Lautrec, Jackson Pollock and gender bending fashion collections are on display. Click here to plan your visit!

Museum of Science

   

Boston’s science museum was founded in 1830 and receives about 1.5 million visitors annually. There are over 700 interactive exhibits ranging from Dinosaurs, Butterfly Garden, Theater of Electricity, To the Moon, Math Moves and New England Habitats. The museum features the only domed IMAX screen in New England, the Mugar Omni Theater and the Charles Hayden Planetarium. There’s plenty to explore for all ages within the exhibit wings, animal zoo and live presentations. For more information about the museum, click here



Harvard Museum of Natural History 


 


In this museum there are collections from the Harvard University Herbaria, the Museum of Comparative Zoology and the Harvard Mineralogical Museum. It’s located on the Harvard campus as it was created in 1998 and there are about 250,000 visitors yearly. There are exhibits on arthropods, cenozic mammals, evolution, glass flowers, microbial life, sea creatures in glass, birds of the world, New England forests, Earth and planetary sciences to name a few. Specimens from Asia, Africa and the Americas are featured throughout the museum in the Great Mammal Hall and other exhibits. Plan a trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History here.



John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum



John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States and the library was created as a memorial starting in 1964. There are exhibits on the 1960 Election, JFK’s inauguration, The Peace Corps, The Oval Office, The White House Corridor, the U.S. Space Program and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. It’s a perfect place to learn about American and Presidential history. Plan your trip here.


For more information about all of Boston’s museums, click here.

Host Tip of the Week: Communication Part 2

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, April 29, 2019

The Host Tip theme this week is communication focusing on improving communication strategies within the home. An integral part of the homestay experience is making our visitors feel as comfortable in the home as possible. Although visitors are in a new country and are surrounded by the unfamiliar, our goal is for our hosts to create a home away from home. One of the best ways to ensure this kind of relationship is to manifest forms of effective communication with our visitors!


 


Written Instructions:
As our hosts can tell you, the visitors in our program come with a wide range of English language skills and capabilities. For those with lower levels of English comprehension, it is often easier for visitors to read written instructions versus having it verbally told to them by the host. An easy way to
accommodate all visitors is to label and/or provide written instructions and any necessary information on how to work appliances like the washer, dryer, and shower, etc. Anything in your home that you have to explain how to use and might not seem self-explanatory is worth taking the time to write down instructions.  The best part is, you only have to do it once. Try using Post-it Notes or a label maker to help you create instructions.

Use Simple Vocabulary: When providing written instructions or in everyday conversations use simple vocabulary. Slang and idioms are often not known to an English learner, especially a beginner, and can cause a lot of confusion and miscommunication. Many hosts tell us they use translation sites such as Google Translate or other translation apps to effectively communicate. These are just some of the useful tools to help both the hosts and visitors. Overall our advice is to find communication methods that work for you, your family, and your student to ensure a positive homestay experience!


As always, we want to hear what you're thinking. Share your recommendations and host tips with us by using #HomestayBoston or sharing with @globalimmersions!

 


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!

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