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St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

St. Patrick’s Day



Did you know that Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish? And that he wore blue, not green? Or that his name was originally “Maewyn Succat”? Make sure to wear green on March, 17th because Irish folklore claims that leprechauns pinch anyone not wearing green! Legend has it the red-headed fairies also appear at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold! How did this green holiday come to be today?



Saint Patrick was actually born in Britain and taken to Ireland at 16 as a slave. He introduced Christianity to the Irish people and used the shamrock (3 leaf clover) as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity. Although he died on March, 17th, 461, his legacy was passed on through generations in Ireland and around the world. The first celebration in the United States was in Boston in 1737, while the first parade was in New York City in 1762. For more history, click here.


As of 2016, there were over 32 million people with Irish ancestry in the United States, which is 7 times more than the population of 4.8 million total people in Ireland. Over 10% of U.S. citizens are Irish, while 1/5 Massachusetts citizens have Irish ancestry. Middlesex County in Massachusetts has over 348,978 Irish Americans, which has the greatest Irish populated county in the country. Norfolk County, Massachusetts, has about 203,285 citizens with Irish ancestry. For more facts, click here and here.



Many countries around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by illuminating their landmarks with green and have parades. The Sydney Opera House in Australia as well as Christ the Redeemer in Brazil are lit with green lights. In England, the tallest ferris wheel in Europe, the London Eye, is lit with green lights. In New York City, the Empire State Building and in Paris, France the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy also change their lights to green. The Chicago River and Vilnia River in Lithuania are two rivers that are dyed green for the holiday. Even the Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx in Egypt are lit with green!  For more, click here.



On this holiday, corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and soda bread are the main meal. For traditional recipes, click here and for festive green recipes, click here


Super Bowl Sunday 2020!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, February 01, 2020

Happy Superbowl Sunday!


Tune in Sunday, February 2nd at 6:30pm Eastern Standard Time to FOX to watch the 54th Super Bowl! This year, the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Garden, Florida. Demi Lovato will sing the National Anthem while Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will perform the Halftime Show! 




We all know that Americans love game day snacks and football parties, especially on Super Bowl Sunday! Approximately 1.3 million pounds of chicken wings, 88 million pounds of cheese, 10 million pounds of ribs and 3.8 million pounds of popcorn are eaten on game day every year! Domino’s reports that they sell about 2 million pizzas alone on Super Bowl Sunday! That’s insane! More statistics can be found here! For tasty Super Bowl recipes, click here and here!




The Super Bowl is known for their ads and some people only tune in to the biggest televised event of the year to watch the ads! Last year, a 30 second advertisement cost $5.25 million which is about $175,000 for every second. Over 114.4 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLIX, which makes it the most watched television broadcast in the history of the United States. Learn more about Super Bowl commercials here.


For more ways to tune in, click here!


Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, January 23, 2020

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!




2020 is the Year of the Rat! This year’s Chinese New Year begins on January 25th and ends on February 4th. This time is called the Spring Festival. The Lantern Festival Festival follows from February 5th to the 8th. Keep reading to learn more about the most important Chinese holiday!




During Chinese New Year, dumplings are eaten in order to “send away” the past and welcome in the new year. A coin is placed to a random dumpling and the person to receive it will have good luck in the upcoming year. Noodles are another staple dish to eat during this special time. It is believed that the longer the noodle, the longer one’s life will be and it is forbidden to chew or cut the noodles. To celebrate the approach of spring, spring rolls are enjoyed in many variations. Certain ingredients in meals represent different symbolic meanings in the Chinese culture. For example, duck symbolizes loyalty, lobster represents endless money, eggs equal a healthy and large family, shrimp is for wealth, tofu means happiness for the family and fish stands for surplus. In addition, seaweed represents wealth, lotus seeds are considered the key to a healthy family, grapefruit symbolizes hope and bamboo shoots mean longevity.  




For dessert, simple rice and sponge cakes are served after dinner which symbolize success. Turnip cake (made of radishes) are enjoyed for breakfast or on the 7th day of the Spring Festival. Flowers are a common ingredient in Chinese desserts such as in Jujube Flower Cakes which stand for wishes coming true or blessings for children. Friendship and success are represented by the “may flower” petals used in the Osmanthus Jelly dessert. Rice balls filled with bean paste are traditionally eaten as the first breakfast of the year in the South while in the North, people shape them like peaches to symbolize longevity. 




Children receive red envelopes with money from their elders in order to have a good year full of fortune and blessings. Red is an important color in Chinese culture as it represents fortune and happiness. To protect themselves from demons and monsters, people hang red decorations and poems outside their houses. Fun fact: it is bad luck to say negative words, sweep, break glass, use sharp objects, fight or give forbidden gifts such as clocks during the Spring Festival. For more information about Chinese New Year traditions, food and myths, click here.




For the Lantern Festival, people write down their wishes and release the lantern up to the sky, with the hope that their wishes will come true in the upcoming year. 





Here in Boston, the Chinese New Year Parade will be held on February 2nd, starting at 11am in Chinatown. There will be dragon dances, martial arts, drummers, lion dances, firecrackers and more! For the full list of details about the celebration, click here.

  


In addition to the Parade, the Museum of Fine Arts offers FREE admission to the museum from 10am - 5pm on February 1st to attend the New Year Celebration. There will be performances, dancers, activities and traditions. For more information, click here


Global Immersions wishes you a happy and healthy Chinese Lunar New Year!


Thanksgiving Favorite Foods

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, November 22, 2019

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and besides getting together with family and expressing gratitude, one of the big features of the holiday is the amazing and abundant foods!  It’s a display of all our favorite fall foods, coupled with some special dishes that are reserved for Thanksgiving itself. 

One of the most iconic Thanksgiving foods, and the one we always save a little extra room for, is pie!  While most people think of pumpkin pie when they think of Thanksgiving, a study done by GE looked at the preferences of 1,550 people around the U.S., and found some differing opinions in their favorite post-dinner treat.  As shown in the map below, while the prevailing favorite was pumpkin, the Northeast seems to actually favor apple pie and in the South pecan is the most popular pie for the season.


In a separate poll taken about the overall favorites across the U.S., pumpkin pie again takes the lead with 36% of the country choosing this as their ideal Thanksgiving pie.  Apple and pecan seem to be tied for 2nd most popular, with percentages around 15%, and sweet potato pie came in fourth with 10% of the vote.


A regional difference is also seen with the rest of Thanksgiving dinner as well, with favored side dishes varying largely in popularity by region.  Bostonians might not necessarily think of mac and cheese as a traditional Thanksgiving side, but in the South, 35% of people have it on their menu!   And squash makes an appearance in 56% of New Englander’s Thanksgiving feasts, as compared to only 18% of the nation overall.



While these seem to be the most traditional Thanksgiving foods in the U.S., every family embraces the Thanksgiving meal in their own way, and may have pieces of their own culture to add. Thanksgiving is really a time of coming together and welcoming, so we hope whatever side dishes, desserts, and main courses are your favorites, that you enjoy the time spent with family and loved ones!

Sources: Delish, Food and Wine, Lonely Planet, FiveThirtyEight





Boston Apple Picking

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, September 15, 2019

Boston-Local Apple and Pumpkin Picking Hotspots

Fall is officially here, and with the changing leaves and brisk autumn weather comes so many fun seasonal activities and foods.  One great way to start off the season is to do some apple or pumpkin picking, and Boston has some amazing places within driving distance.  So grab your keys and set off to one of these local farms or orchards for an apple-picking day trip!

Dowse Orchards - Sherborn, MA (40 mins)


Located West of Boston in Sherborn, Dowse Orchards has a long family history of farmers and has been running this farm stand for 60 years.  You can go there to “pick your own” apples and they also have lots of seasonal crops to enjoy, including pumpkins! 

 Belkin Family Lookout Farm - South Natick, MA (40 mins)


Belkin Farm offers a fun activities for both kids and adults.  In addition to being able to pick your own seasonal fruits (apples, plums, pears, peaches, etc…), they have train rides and children’s face painting!

Brooksby Farm - Peabody, MA (30 mins)


Brooksby Farm boasts a TON of amazing activities for you and your family to enjoy.  Not only do they have apple picking and a pumpkin yard, but in the Fall they also have hayrides, barnyard animals, cut your own bouquet, and a farm store and bakery!

Boston Hill Farm - North Andover, MA (35 mins)


Boston Hill Farm is a 12 generation family-owned farm out in North Andover, in which “pick your own” could mean any number of their seasonal fruits.  We’re coming out of berry season, but in the fall they have both apple and pumpkin picking and have an amazing farm stand  with all sorts of yummy treats!

Connors Farm - Danvers, MA (35 mins)


Located North of the city, Connors Farm is well-worth the visit.  It’s got both pumpkin and apple picking as well as fun Fall activities like hayrides, a great farm stand, and an amazing 7-acre corn maze! 

Pakeen Farm - Canton, MA (40 mins)


Fall has truly arrived at Pakeen Farms, who are in full-swing of the season with apples, pumpkins, cider, and mini donuts.  They also have a new attraction starting this year, called “Explore the Farmyard”

If a 40-minute drive isn’t for you, there’s also many local farms in Boston that may not have the apple-picking experiences, but will give you a taste of being outside the city.  Head out to Wilson Farm in Lexington to try their amazing apple cider donuts, pop over to Allandale Farm in Brookline for a hayride starting in October, or, if you’re in the heart of the city, go to the Boston Public Market  to see all the local farms and foods they have on display there! 

And if you want to check out more farms to visit, check out the Massgrown Map to get more inspiration!

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.

Explore Boston: Neighborhoods North

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, August 04, 2019

In our Explore Boston series: Neighborhoods we will highlight and explore some of the neighborhoods and towns where our hosts call home.
Towns located north of the city are some of the most beautiful and historical of New England. Explore colonial lifestyles, beautiful waterfronts, and amazing cuisine. This blog takes us to the following neighborhoods: Winthrop, Everett, East Boston, and Charlestown.


Winthrop:

Located just north of Boston, Winthrop is another typical New England town. Winthrop was originally settled in 1630 by English Puritans. The town was named after John Winthrop who was the second governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Today the town is almost 20,000 people! If you have the chance to visit Winthrop, make sure to visit the Deer Island Harborwalk. There are miles of trail to explore with views overlooking Boston and the Harbor Islands, landing airplanes, and the ocean. From Winthrop, you can also see Nix’s Mate which is an island in the Boston Harbor where pirates would hang enemies as a warning to sailors. Check our list of favorite Winthrop restaurants here.



Everett:

Located in Middlesex County, Everett is a small city located just north of the city of Boston founded in 1870. Full of history, Everett is named after a former president of Harvard University, Edward Everett, who also served as the United States Secretary of State in 1853. The small city has two claims to fame. First, Everett is the home city of the Leavitt Corporation, known for their Teddie brand peanut butter! Second, for those who are fans of Grey’s Anatomy, Everett is the home town of Ellen Pompeo who plays Meredith on the TV show. Everett is also well known for its nightlife with its locally owned pubs and breweries. The town also borders the water if you are looking for views of the Mystic River! On rainy days, make sure to check out SkyZone Trampoline Park located on Norman Street. Your friends and family will love it. Finally, if you have time for a bite to eat, make sure to stop by Texas Roadhouse and Abbondanza as you explore the city!



Fondly referred to as Eastie, the town of East Boston has personality, character, and deep cultural roots. Historically, East Boston was a shipbuilding town and home to immigrants from around the globe including Irish, Russians Jews, Italians, and later many Latinos. The Kennedy family even lived in East Boston for some time! Eastie has the advantage of being close to the city while having its own vibrant culture. First and foremost, East Boston is home to Logan International Airport accommodating quick and easy travel. Eastie is also home to some of the most beautiful waterfronts of Greater Boston where you can find stunning views of the city skyline. Piers Park is also a treasured wonder of Eastie where you can explore around the greenery as well as the sailing yard. If you have time to walk around town, make sure to visit Belle Isle Marsh and Constitution (Shay’s) Beach to fill your natural scenery fix! Last but not least, East Boston is home to some of the best and most diverse restaurants in the City. Angela’s Cafe, Mi Pueblito, Rino’s Place, and Santarpio’s are known local favorites. For a complete list of recommended restaurants, click here.

Charlestown is located between the Mystic and Charles Rivers, which means beautiful waterfront views and fresh cool breezes. Established in the 1600s, Charlestown is one of America’s most historical and traditional towns. Its roots are deeply intertwined with the American Revolution. Today, the community is close-knit and family friendly, making it a perfect place to explore for a few days! When you visit, make sure to start your adventure on the Freedom Trail as it weaves through the history of the town. Also on your list is the USS Constitution Museum and the Charlestown Navy Yard to learn more about our country’s naval history. Charlestown is also home to Bunker Hill Monument where you can enjoy the beautiful green scenery while recognizing the famous battle. While walking around the town center, make sure to explore both Main Street and City Square for all of your dining and shopping needs! Also, stop in Warren Tavern, Massachusetts' oldest bar, where even George Washington dined after its opening in 1780. If you are looking for other great local cuisine, refer to our list here.

Upcoming Boston Food Festivals

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, July 10, 2019



Are you a pizza lover? From 12pm - 8pm on Saturday July 13 and Sunday July 14 head to the Boston Pizza Festival at Boston City Hall Plaza. Be prepared for live music, pizza acrobats, pizza tossing stations and more entertainment. With 30 pizzerias, there are endless amounts of options including vegan and gluten free options! Tickets are on sale and only $15 for an excellent experience of taste testing handmade pizzas! Click here for more information.




Donut Fest is coming on Sunday, July 28 from 11am - 6pm at Underground Ink Block. You’ll find 10 different donut vendors, food & ice cream trucks, live music, giveaways, Instagram backdrops, and much more entertainment! There are donuts for everyone, with even gluten free and vegan options available. Tickets start at only $12 for this delicious donut filled event! Click here for more information.



Craving a plate full of fresh, local seafood? Check out the Boston Seafood Festival from 11 am - 6pm on Sunday, August 4 at the Boston Fish Pier. This is their 8th year of sharing spectacular seafood with the Boston area. The festival features live chef demos, a fish cutting contest, “Battle of the Shuckers”, outstanding food from over 15 vendors, and much more! Tickets are only $15 for a day filled with sensational seafood. Click here for more information.


Fourth of July

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, June 29, 2019

Every year, at the peak of summer, Americans make a great commotion. Throughout the country people gather with family and friends, enjoy music and food, and send bombs bursting in air, lighting the night sky blue, red, and white. In Boston, these celebrations last a full week. It’s been called Independence Day, America’s Birthday, or simply, the Fourth of July. But before the barbecues and parades and fireworks; before the states even were, or could be, united as one, 56 delegates from the 13 British colonies of America committed treason against the British crown. 

By June 7th, 1776, war raged in the colonies for over a year. At this point, the escalating violence and Thomas Paine’s bestseller “Common Sense” had shifted the views of colonists. Where once the idea of complete Independence from Britain seemed extreme, widespread support for revolution resulted in a meeting of delegates from each colony. From Massachusetts, John Hancock, Sam Adams, John Adams, Robert Paine, and Elbridge Gerry joined fellow members of the Continental Congress in the sweltering summer heat of the Pennsylvania Statehouse. It was Richard Henry Lee from Virginia who first officially put forth the motion to declare independence from Britain. Debate ensued, and the meeting adjourned. But not before delegates Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were tasked with drafting an official document to explain their reasons for defiance. They wrote:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another...a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”



And that’s what they did. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress met again and the motion was passed. Two days of revisions followed, and on July 4th, 1776, The Declaration of Independence was formally adopted. Though war continued for five more years, the Treaty of Paris officially declared peace another year later, and the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1788, the celebration of the nation’s birth marks the anniversary of that July 4th meeting in 1776. Were the course of events different, and the war lost, the 56 men involved would have been jailed, executed, and forever branded traitors of an empire. Instead, their words were read aloud throughout the colonies, inspiring hope, resilience, and bravery in the face of oppression.



And so, every year around July 4th, Americans make a great commotion. It’s a time of celebration, community, and leisure. Amid the oohs and aahs associated with fireworks over the Charles River, it can also be a time of reflection. A time to think about such things as self evident truths and inalienable rights. What do the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” mean to you? In Boston, a city rich with history, the spirit of those words is embedded in the very culture. There are few better places to celebrate Independence Day. Make sure to check out the list of events below!


Events

July 1st - 7th: The 38th Annual Boston Harborfest


July 1st - 7th (12pm - 1pm): Changing of the Guard Ceremony - Historical reenactment of colonists and redcoats interacting at the corner of Washington and Summer St. 

July 1st (11am - 7pm): Arts at Harborfest - Join local artists as they display their work at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.


July 2nd (11am - 1pm): Harborfest Opening Ceremony - Come see the Mayor of the city speak and cut the ceremonial cake outside Faneuil Hall Marketplace.


July 2nd (11am - 2pm): Chowderfest - Vote for your favorite chowder at Downtown Crossing and enjoy all kinds of live games and entertainment. 


July 2nd (8:25pm - 9pm): Parade of Lights and Fireworks - Finish the day with a brilliant light show at Christopher Columbus Park and Fan Pier. 

July 3rd - 4th (8pm - 11pm): Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular - Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe winner, and Academy Award Nominee Queen Latifa performs along with acclaimed singer songwriter Arlo Guthrie. July 3rd event includes musical performances without fireworks. July 4th event includes musical performances and fireworks.

Sources: BostonUSA, Harborfest, History, USHistory

Explore Boston: Chinatown and Dim Sum

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Like all neighborhoods in Boston, Chinatown has a fascinating history built on the foundations of hard working immigrants and fervent culture. The South Cove, where Boston Chinatown now resides, was originally built in the 1840s on top of a landfill to establish railroads and row houses. Close to the industrial sector, the neighborhood became a hotspot for new immigrants such as the Irish, the Germans, and the Jews. However, by 1870, there was a flood of young male Chinese immigrants. The majority of Chinese immigrants set up laundry shops and lived in their workplace alone. As a result of the Chinese Exclusion Act, families of the workers were unable to come to America. Thus the men would work all day and send their earnings back home to China to support their families there. As more and more Chinese immigrants continued to flood into the community, the neighborhood was officially recognized as Chinatown by the 1880s.



The community continued to grow into the beginnings of the 20th century. Laundry shops were still the most common workplace, followed by restaurants, nightclubs, and the opium trade. Many Chinese-Americans volunteered and fueled the war efforts, eventually resulting in the abolition of the Chinese Exclusion Act. By the mid-20th century, spirits were high as Chinatown began to fill with women, children, and families. In 1965, the Immigration Reform Act was put into place which eradicated previous immigration quotas. Once again Chinatown experienced more growth as more Chinese came, including families and university-educated intellectuals from cities like Hong Kong. During this influx of residents, social organizations such as the Chinese American Civic Association and the South Cove Community Health Center were established and expanded to serve the growing population.



By the 1990s, many young Chinese scholars took refuge in the neighborhood under the Chinese Student Protection Act following the Tiananmen Square massacre. Most educated individuals end up in high tech industries while working class individuals often work in the Chinatown restaurant industries forming the backbone foundation of the local economy. Today, Chinatown is one of the must see neighborhoods in Boston with its delicious food, infamous festivals, and vibrant culture.



If you are able to visit Chinatown in 2019, make sure to leave time in your schedule for a Dim Sum meal! Literally translated to mean “touch the heart,” Dim Sum is a traditional Chinese meal of made of small plates of savory or sweet treats, tea, and shared with close company. Traditional dishes include varieties of tea and often steamed buns such as roasted pork buns, steamed rice dumplings, beef noodle rolls, or fried sesame balls. Each dish is served in portions meant for 3-4 people. It is recommended you order many different dishes to split amongst the table! Dim Sum has recently become popularized in the United States and other western cultures, but the best spots are still found in your local Chinatown. Here are some of the best restaurants in Boston to try Dim Sum! You will find that Dim Sum served here is similar to Chinese cuisine for brunch, while the traditional cultures in Hong Kong and the Guangdong Province may serve the meal at any time throughout the day.



Although Americanized Dim Sum is different from the traditional meal in China, there are many customs that still the same. When eating Dim Sum, here are a few tips to remember! First, make sure to take small bites and eat slowly in order to maximize the delectable homemade flavors. Similarly, in Dim Sum, the less soy sauce you use, the better, as it masks the true flavor of the dish. Second, make sure to keep your chopsticks to yourself. Although serving others may be well-intended, it is most polite to keep your own utensils to yourself to minimize germs. However, there is one exception: when receiving the kettle for tea, make sure to serve others around you before yourself! Click here to learn more Do’s and Don’ts of Dim Sum!


As always, we want to see your favorite Chinatown and Dim Sum experiences in Boston! Share with us @globalimmersions or by using #HomestayBoston.



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