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Thanksgiving Fun Around Boston!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, November 16, 2017


November marks the beginning of the holiday season, as friends and family flock home for the familiar comforts.The days may be getting shorter, but this doesn’t limit what’s happening around town. Thanksgiving is less than one week away and there is plenty to do before and during and after the holiday!

In anticipation of Thanksgiving, thousands of people flock to the site of the first Thanksgiving in American history: Plymouth. America's Hometown Thanksgiving in Plymouth is November 17-19.  The weekend of festivities has become a beloved holiday occasion as well as an important link to our nation’s history and heritage. The celebration of Thanksgiving becomes history-brought-to-life as Pilgrims, Native Americans, Soldiers, Patriots, and Pioneers proudly climb out of the history books and onto the streets of Plymouth. A historic parade, New England food festival, reenactments, patriotic concerts and more will take place.


Thanksgiving traditions vary from family to family. This could be gathering together to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the National Dog Show or “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”. Watching football is another Thanksgiving tradition shared by many families. In addition to the various games being played by the NFL, local high school games are played on Thanksgiving Day, and there is no shortage of energy because usually these games are played against rival teams. Attending one of these games is a great way to feel involved in the community. 

For those who want to work off all of the calories before Thanksgiving dinner get out and run and/or walk on November 23 morning at the following Thanksgiving races: Franklin Park Turkey Trot 5KBrighton - Boston Volvo Village for MS 5K; SalemWild Turkey 5-Mile Run; Somerville Gobble Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving weekend offers a variety of activities to get out and work off all of the Thanksgiving goodies! A return of the Boston Winter at City Hall Plaza on November 24 - December 31, 2017.  City Hall Plaza is turned into an ice skating rink and an outdoor shopping experience with 85 vendors offering a variety of local and international gifts and more! Head to Faneuil Hall on November 25th for the 32nd Annual Boston Tuba Christmas. An estimated 150-200 tuba players will entertain the crowd outdoors with favorite holiday classics. 

Make sure to also put on your calendar all of the tree lighting events around Boston coming in late November and early December. 


The Story Behind Boston's Christmas Tree

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Last week the city of Boston was notified by our northern friends in Nova Scotia, Canada that the annual Christmas tree gift was chosen! Every year the city of Boston is rewarded a giant tree as a thank you for services provided a century ago.

Exactly 100 years ago, on December 6th, 1917, the Halifax Explosion killed 2,000 people and injured upwards of 9,000 in the Nova Scotia province. A French cargo ship, the Mont Blanc, was preparing to head overseas to fight in World War I when it found itself in some trouble. The Mont Blanc collided with a Norwegian ship in the Halifax harbor and caught fire.

The ship was laden with high-powered explosives that were meant for battle in the war. Shortly after the fire began on the Mont Blanc, however, so too did her munitions. Many people believe this was the largest man-made explosion in the world prior to the development of atomic bombs.

Over 1,000 people were instantly killed, while entire neighborhoods in the Richmond district were demolished. When word reached the Massachusetts governor, he immediately dispatched a relief train filled with doctors, Red Cross nurses, and medical supplies. Once in Halifax, the aid workers handed out food and water, set up hospitals, and built shelters to treat the thousands of injured bodies and spirits.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, the first aid responders took it upon themselves to become Santa's elves by setting up trees and decorating best they could amidst the ruin. They tried to keep Halifax's spirit up during such a devastating time. The following year, Nova Scotia sent Bostonians a Christmas tree in thanks and remembrance for their aid after the explosion.

The gift was revived again in 1971 when the Lunenburg County began an annual donation of a large Christmas tree to Boston in remembrance of the Halifax Explosion. This act was later taken over by the Nova Scotian Government to continue spreading the goodwill and holiday cheer.

This year the tree lighting ceremony will be held on November 30 from 5:00 - 6:00pm on Boston Common. Be sure to head downtown in your layers to see the spectacular tree in all its glory.

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 History of Halloween

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Straddling the line between fall and winter, the month of October boasts beautiful scenic views, an abundance of seasonal activities, and, most importantly, Halloween. Halloween is the holiday in which consumers purchase a quarter of all the candy sold in the U.S. annually. It is a time when neighborhoods come together for trick-or-treating, costume parties, and story-telling. But where did we come up with the idea to ask our neighbors for candy, and why do we dress up in scary outfits? To understand much of what the modern Halloween celebration entails, we must also understand where it has its roots.

Halloween is thought to have originated from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain ("sow-in"). November 1st marked the start of a new year for the Celts - the end of summer and harvest, and the beginning of a dark, cold winter. It was thought that on the night before the new year, October 31st, the boundary between the dead and the living blurred, and souls were able to wander the earth. Druids, ancient Celtic priests, would light massive bonfires, where people gathered to offer crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities for a safe and protected winter.

The Roman Empire conquered Celtic territory around 43 AD, and for several hundred years dominated those lands. Over the course of their rule, two Roman celebrations were combined with Samhain: Feralia, a day to commemorate the dead, and a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit - typically symbolized through an apple. This was incorporated into Samhain through the tradition of bobbing for apples - an activity still practiced today. By 1000 AD, the Church had dedicated November 1st as All Saints' Day to honor the dead, which was celebrated in much of the same way as Samhain - big bonfires, parades, and dressing up. The night before this grand celebration was called "All-Hallows Eve", and, eventually, "Halloween".

During Samhain and All Saints' Day, people would dress in costume and ask fellow townspeople for food. When the holiday came to America during Colonial times, a particularly American version began to emerge. It began as a public event that celebrated the harvest, where villagers would share ghost stories, tell each other's fortunes, and get into all sorts of mischief-making. By the late 1800's, Halloween became more about the community than about ghosts and pranks, as parents were encouraged to remove the "fright" out of Halloween celebrations. It was not until the mid-1900's that the holiday again took a spooky turn. It was also around this time that Halloween became geared to younger crowds.

Today, Halloween is celebrated by all age and sizes, and with spooky stories, scary costumes, and yummy treats to boot.

New England Fall Foliage

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It is officially Fall, and we are all set and ready for a season of pumpkin spice, apple cider, crisp weather, and colorful trees! In my humble opinion as a born-and-raised-Bostonian, the Northeast is the best place in the U.S. to catch the Fall foliage. Whether or not you want to hike the White Mountains or hop on a foliage train tour, you will certainly find some incredibly beautiful views in and around the region this season. Here's a breakdown of the best ways to view the Fall foliage:

If you want to see colorful trees without the hassle of traveling far, you can enjoy wonderful views by touring around Boston on your own! The Boston Common/Public Garden and the Esplanade all put on a spectacular display of colors during the Fall. The Common and the Garden, located next to each other, tend to change color a bit earlier than the Esplanade. Take a stroll across the foot bridge in the Public Garden to see Mallard Island (of Make Way for Ducklings) or search for the brass labels underneath trees in the Common to discover what leafy species you can admire. In October, the Esplanade, the long linear park along the Charles River, will be aflame with reds, oranges, and yellows. Take a jog along the river or grab a buddy and a lunch and enjoy the colors in a piece of peaceful park!

If you want an easy escape from the bustling city, hop on the Orange MBTA Line to Forest Hills and walk through the Arnold Arboretum. The 265-acre Arboretum hosts almost 5,000 different species of trees that turn into a fiery composition in October. Boston's Fall Foliage Festival will be hosted in Arnold Arboretum on the last Sunday of October, so be sure to come out and enjoy apples, cider, storytelling, and the brilliant colors of the Arboretum.

Another option for foliage sight-seeing is taking a walk, jog, or bike down the Southwest Corridor through Jamaica Plain to Back Bay and Beacon Hill. These elegant neighborhoods boast a variety of colorful leaves and textures. The picturesque neighborhoods will not disappoint with lovely little eateries, shops, and brilliant leafy colors.

If you want a more extensive Fall foliage experience, there are tours to different New England areas that will NOT disappoint. The Fall Foliage Sightseeing Tour from Boston includes a lunch, a visit to an apple orchard, and views of old Colonial churches, farms, and villages. This is a great option to immerse yourself in the New England seasonal colors and tranquil landscapes. Another option is the Autumn on Old Cape Cod Tour. This coach tour stops at the Sandwich Glass museum and the JFK memorial in Hyannis Port before turning into a sightseeing cruise along Lewis Bay, where you will see entrancing views of quaint Cape Cod villages. Lastly, the New England Coastal Tour will take you from Boston to Maine along the beautiful New England coast. You will see the wonderful fall foliage along the Massachusetts and New Hampshire coasts, and get a chance to lunch and shop in Kennebunkport, Maine.

There are many ways to admire the colorful foliage in and around Boston, so be sure to check out as much of the region as you can this Fall!

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.

A Favorite Fall Activity: Apple Picking!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

As the beginning of September brought some chilly weather and the start of a new school year, we are reminded that autumn is right around the corner. Fall is one of the most beautiful times to be in the Northeast of the United States, and the tell-tale scenic changing colors reminds us, once more, that apple picking season is upon us.

Fresh hot cider, juicy apples, and delicious freshly baked cider doughnuts are some of the best things New England orchards have to offer. Beyond that, the fun activity is known for its bonding and relaxing nature! Here is a list of apple orchards within an hour's drive from Boston:

Belkin Family Lookout Farm

One of the longest running farms in the country, the Belkin Family Lookout Farm boats apples, pumpkins, Asian pears, train rides, and farm animal fun! The closest working farm to the city, this gem will surely brighten up your fall.

Price: $12 weekday admission per person (kids under 2 are FREE); $16 weekend admission

10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 89 Pleasant St., South Natick, Massachusetts, 508-653-0653

Brooksby Farm

Located a little further outside of Boston, Brooksby Farm has all of the Fall holiday essentials. This Pick-Your-Own apple orchard also has doughnuts, cider, pumpkin patches, and more!

Price: $9 for 1/2-peck bag; $17 for 1-peck bag


9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, 54 Felton St., Peabody, Massachusetts, 978-531-7456

Dowse Orchards

For over 200 years, Dowse Orchards has been a functioning farm that produces apples, veggies, flowers, pumpkins, and Christmas trees.  This Fall come out to pick your favorite sweet Golden and Red apples for the best pies around!

Price: $16 for 1/2-peck bag


9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays & Sundays, 98 North Main St., Sherborn, Massachusetts, 508-653-2639, dowseorchards.com.

Honey Pot Hill

Nominated for Best Apple Orchard of 2017 by USA Today, Honey Pot Hill Orchards is a must-see this Fall! From hedge mazes, to hay rides, to farm animals, to hot cider and cider doughnuts, to jams, veggies, and pies, and, of course, to pick-your-own apples (and blueberries!), Honey Pot Hill has so much to offer for the best Fall day! Be sure to come out and enjoy the festivities this year.

Price: $18 for 10lb bag; $28 for 20lb bag


9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, 138 Sudbury Road, Stow,  Massachusetts, 978-562-5666

For a more comprehensive list of apple-picking Orchards in and around Boston, follow this link!

Memorial Day Weekend in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Memorial Day is an annual holiday celebrated throughout the United States in remembrance of those who have died in service in the United States military. The holiday originated from honoring the dead from the Civil War, however later on was expanded to encompass all fallen soldiers. It was first recognized by New York in 1873, and eventually spread throughout the country. Now it is a federal holiday observed on the last Monday each May, allowing for an annual three day weekend that everyone looks forward to.

This Monday, May 26th, many Americans will visit cemeteries and memorials to honor those who have died in the American Armed Forces. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is also a day when families and individuals decorate graves and cemeteries with American flags.

For many Americans, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the summer season. Many celebrate the holiday by taking short vacations, having barbeques, picnics, and family gatherings. Also, many pools and other outdoor spaces will open up this weekend.

Some activities occurring around Boston this Memorial Day weekend include:

View the Military Heroes Garden of Flags at the Boston Common

Every year flags are planted in front of the Soldiers and Sailors monument located at the Boston Common to commemorate those who gave their lives serving our country. For more information visit: http://www.massmilitaryheroes.org/our-work/community-building-events/public-program-events/memorial-day-flag-garden-planting/

Free Museum Admission

Museum of Fine Arts: The MFA is offering free admission to all visitors on Monday, May 29th from 10am to 4:45pm!

Institute of Contemporary Art: The ICA is also offering free admission from 10am to 5pm on Memorial Day, Monday May 29th.

Shop Memorial Day Sales


Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to go shopping, as many places put on special sales or promotions in honor of the weekend. Check out the Prudential Center and Copley Square for upscale stores and boutiques, or the Wretham Outlets and Assembly Row for even bigger savings!

In addition to these, you can always go sightseeing around Boston or go on a walking tour to enjoy the first unofficial weekend of summer.

Happy Earth Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, April 21, 2017


Earth Day this year is April 22nd (this Saturday!)

Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet's environment and raise public awareness about pollution. The day is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.

History:

The first Earth Day was in 1970 , when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a national "teach-in" to educate the population about the environment after the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1968.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being the founder of Earth Day. This is the highest honor given to civilians in the United States.

Earth Day Today:

Today, more than 1 billion people across the globe participate in Earth Day activities. 

In 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries participated Earth Day, giving the event international recognition. For the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010, 225,000 people participated in a climate rally at the national Mall in Washington, D.C. The Earth Day network launched a campaign to plant 1 billion trees, which they then achieved in 2012.


Last year on Earth Day, the Secretary General of the United Nations urged world leaders to sign the Paris Climate Agreement - a treaty aimed at keeping planet warming below 2 degrees Celcius (or 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit). U.S. President Barack Obama signed the treaty that day.

The Impact of Earth Day:

Though Earth Day is widely observed, the environment is still suffering. A recent Gallup Poll shows that 42% of Americans believe that the dangers of climate change are exaggerated, and only less than 50% agree that protection of the environment should be given priority over energy production.


However, Earth Day is still significant because it reminds people to think about the importance of the environment, the threats the planet faces and ways to help combat these threats. Every year on Earth day individuals and corporations alike take proactive measures to reduce their carbon foot print- by planting trees, reaching a recycling goal, reducing their energy output,  switching to renewable products, and participating in other "green" activities! 

Source: LiveScience