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Explore Boston: The North End

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 18, 2019


As warm spring weather approaches and you are looking for places to explore around Boston, make sure to include the North End on your list! Filled with a rich cultural history and heartwarming cuisine, the “Little Italy” of Boston has pastimes that everyone can enjoy.



The North End has a fascinating history beginning in the 1600s when British settlers came to the area. The neighborhood was originally home to Puritan craftsmen and in the 1800s later evolved into a wealthy neighborhood where those belonging to the mercantile and shipping industries resided. After the war, many of the British returned home and shortly after the North End became a beacon for immigrants coming to Boston. Many Irish came in the 1840s, followed by the Jewish, and finally the Italians in the 1860s. Soon the Italians dominated the neighborhood with their large families and cultural presence; by 1930 the North End was almost completely Italian. The same family lineages, culture, language, cuisine, and customs can be found in the neighborhood today!



When we think of the North End, we think of incredible Italian food. From mom and pop pasta recipes, to fresh handmade pizzas, to the best dining service, the Little Italy of Boston has it all.  Check out this list of the best restaurants to try during your visit! Don’t feel like a full meal? Make sure to try out the area’s local bakeries, too! The neighborhood is especially known for its cannolis; Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry are some of Bostonian locals’ favorites.



Located right near the seaport and walking distance from the financial district, the North End is a perfect neighborhood to explore while walking around downtown. If you tour the Freedom Trail, you will definitely pass through! The neighborhood is home to many historical sites as well, such as the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, St. Stephen’s church, the Holocaust memorial, and more. If you feel up for walking a bit further, add the USS Constitution museum, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, and the Harborwalk to your North End exploration. The North End is a perfect blend of Boston’s old and new!


Make sure to share with us your favorite North End moments by tagging @globalimmersions or using #HomestayBoston.

Source: NorthEndBoston, Boston Magazine, Timeout

Marathon Monday in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 11, 2019


It is almost that time of the year again for...Marathon Monday! This year the Boston Marathon will take place on Monday April 15th with the first heat of racers leaving from Hopkinton at 9am. All Maine and Boston schools have the day off for Patriot’s Day, and many adults take work off to show support for the event! In addition to the marathon, the Boston Red Sox also host their annual home opener on Patriot’s Day in the morning and live stream the race for all fans to see!



The marathon typically draws 500,000 spectators and more than 35,000 runners, making it one of the biggest Boston events of the year since its opening race in 1897. To even qualify for the marathon, racers must have finished races within a range of 3-4 hours depending on age, gender, or other classifications. The race also has a wheelchair division! Those who do not qualify but would still like to race, must raise between $5,000 and $7,500 in order to compete. Many former professional athletes and celebrities compete in the race, too! This year some big names include Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson with her husband Andrew East from the NFL, as well as Jared and Genevieve Padalecki from Supernatural.


Interested in watching the marathon and cheering on the runners? Here are some of our favorite spectating spots!



First up is the Scream Tunnel located near Wellesley College, around 13 miles into the race. Since 1897, the women of Wellesley have notoriously cheered on runners so enthusiastically that runners can hear the cheers from over a mile away! The Scream Tunnel is an infamous half-way spectating spot that you can only hear to believe. There is one tradition where fans will offer kisses to passing runners.



Our second spectating spot is located at the Newton Firehouse. Located at mile 16 of the race, hundreds of spectators gather around the firehouse to cheer on racers as they make a right hand turn to begin the climb into Newton’s hills.



A third famous cheering section is located at Heartbreak Hill between miles 20 and 21 of the marathon near Boston College. Although not particularly steep, the marathoners are beginning their final 5 mile stretch to the finish line and need the extra encouragement as they begin to tire. Spectators line the hill cheering on the runners to get them up the hill as quickly as possible!



Our fourth and final spectator spot, new this year, is Fan Fest in Copley Square. Thousands of spectators will gather in Copley to cheer on racers as they are about to cross the finish line. This year, Fan Fest will be hosting live music, promotional activities, sponsors, and more!


Click the link here for the marathon map and more details on the event. Wherever you may be watching from, we would love to see you celebrate! Share your favorite moments with us @globalimmersions or using #HomestayBoston.


Sources: BAA, Accel, RunnersWorld, Boston, Abbott, History


Boston Red Sox Opening Season

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Happy April everyone! Spring has officially arrived in Boston. The sun is shining, people want to be outside, and most importantly... The Boston Red Sox baseball team season has begun! Watching a ball game in Fenway Park, the oldest Major League Baseball stadium in use, is known as one of the greatest American traditions. Today we want to share with you some of our favorite Fenway Park and American baseball traditions. After winning the World Series last year, the Red Sox are expected to be one of the most competitive teams in the MLB this 2019 season. The Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park will take place on Monday, April 9 against the Toronto Blue Jays! Click here for more about the season schedule and ticket purchasing!



In order to fully experience a game at Fenway Park, you must be familiar with these two songs: Sweet Caroline and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Most important is Sweet Caroline, by Neil Diamond. The song is now played at every Red Sox home game in the middle of every eighth inning since 2002! The whole crowd stands and sings in unison as a way to encourage and cheer on their favorite Boston team as the game comes to a close. The next song, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, is an important song to know if you are a spectator at any ball game in America. Written in 1908, the song is commonly referred to as the National Anthem of baseball and sung during the seventh-inning stretch by fans of both teams.


Now, I am sure you are wondering, “What snacks can I get at a baseball game?” The average MLB game will last around 2-3 hours, and with up to nine innings, you have plenty of time to try some of these delicious stadium treats. First up to bat, are Cracker Jacks! An icon of American baseball, Cracker Jacks are a crunchy mixture of caramel, peanuts, and popcorn, often with a prize inside. Another classic stadium treat are hot dogs - Fenway Frank. They have lots of toppings and are easy to eat with one hand while you ‘root for the home team’ with the other! Often times you will see vendors walking through the stands who will sell a variety of snacks to you. For Fenway ball games specifically, make sure you try the clam chowder and lobster rolls as they are best known in New England.

Finally, if you have the chance to go to Fenway, make sure to be aware of the Green Monster! What? They have a monster in the park? Well, not exactly. The Green Monster is a wall, a 37 feet high green wall to be exact, that stands 309 feet away from home plate. You will see it, it is impossible to miss. The wall is nicknamed ‘Green Monster’ as it is incredibly tricky to hit a home run over the wall due to its elevated height. Many players take this as a challenge, and Red Sox fans take pride in its difficulty. If you are lucky enough to get seats near the wall, make sure to touch it for good luck!


Fenway Park is an stadium that everyone should take the opportunity to experience. The stadium even offers guided tours every day from 9AM-5PM at your convenience. Make sure to explore the Fenway neighborhood, including the infamous and photoworthy Red Sox banner on Lansdowne Street, restaurants, and more! Want to support the Red Sox and Boston? Make sure to find apparel by clicking the link here.

Share your favorite Red Sox memories with us at #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, March 14, 2019


Every year those of Irish ancestry celebrate St. Patrick’s day on March 17th. St. Patrick, the Irish patron saint himself, is commemorated for bringing Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century. Traditionally, the holiday had a religious connotation. The Irish would attend church in the morning and prepare feasts for the afternoon! Although March 17th usually corresponds with the Christian fasting holiday of Lent, the rules would be waived as a tribute to St. Patrick. The holiday has evolved over time and celebrations quickly spread to countries such as the United States where many people identify with Irish descent.




America is responsible for the first St. Patrick’s day parade in New York in 1762. More than 100 St. Patrick’s day parades are held across the United States annually, including cities such as Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Savannah! Chicago is known for celebrating the holiday by temporarily coloring the Chicago River green for about five hours. In the holiday’s home city of Dublin, Ireland, more than one million people take part in the St. Patrick festivities.  



There are many symbols associated with the holiday. If this is your first time celebrating St. Patrick’s day, the most important social cue to follow is to wear all things green! The tradition of wearing green began in the 17th century as Irish immigrants to the United States believed that wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairytale creatures who would pinch you otherwise. Leprechauns themselves are symbols of the holiday. Legend says that leprechauns are notoriously mischievous and are depicted as small bearded creatures with a green coat and hat. According to myths, they are most commonly seen at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold. Further, if you are to catch a leprechaun, he will grant you three wishes! Another important symbol of the holiday is a shamrock. A shamrock is a three-leaved clover said to represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Christianity. If you find a four-leaved clover, it is said that you will be bestowed with good luck!




Some of the favorite holiday foods include corned beef, cabbage, shepherd's pie, and Irish soda bread. Bakeries will decorate their pastries green and with symbols such as the shamrock noted above. Make sure to head to Boston’s very own St. Patrick’s day parade this Sunday, March 17th starting at 1 PM. Make sure to show us how you celebrate this St. Patrick’s day by using #HomestayBoston or sharing with @globalimmersions!


Sources: History, USA, Brittanica, BHG, Express


FREE Pancakes at IHOP 3/12/19!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, March 10, 2019

Happy National Pancake Day!

Head over to IHOP on Tuesday, March 12 to celebrate and get your FREE short stack of original buttermilk pancakes and donate to help children battling critical illnesses! Find your nearest IHOP and learn more here.

Do you know the history of Pancake Day? Last Tuesday, March 5, was also Shrove Tuesday. "Shrive" means for one to confess their sins. During the olden days, on the day before Lent, people would use all of their eggs, fat and butter to make pancakes since they would not be eating these foods over the next 6 weeks. Lent is the 40 days preceding Easter in Christian traditions where fasting and food abstaining occurs. Lent began this year on March 6 and ends April 18.


Around the world, different countries celebrate Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day in many ways! In some towns in the U.K., people have pancake races while flipping them in frying pans. In Denmark, the day is called Fastelavn, in which children dress up in costumes and eat Danish style buns. In Canada, their pancakes are filled with objects to predict the future as the ring finder will be married first, the thimble finder will be a seamstress/tailor, the name finder will be a carpenter and the coin finder will become rich. In France, Shrove Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras or "Fat Tuesday", but their pancake day is on February 2nd and called Candlemas. They eat crêpes which are believed to bring a year full of happiness, wealth, health and good crops. Whoever flips their pancake without dropping it on the ground, has good luck for the year. Let us know your Pancake Day traditions in the comments below!


Hosts: Try making pancakes from scratch with your students with this recipe from Food Network! TAG us in your Instagram pictures @globalimmersions and enjoy!


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed

Sources:

https://www.whyeaster.com/customs/shrovetuesday.shtml

http://blog.english-heritage.org.uk/pancake-day-traditions/

http://projectbritain.com/pancakeday/world.htm

New England Patriots in the Super Bowl

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, January 30, 2019


This weekend tune in for SUPER BOWL SUNDAY on February 3 at 6:30 PM! Super Bowl Sunday has practically become a national holiday here in the United States. Whether you watch football regularly every week or don’t know the difference between a touchdown and a field goal, everyone watches this football game. Last year alone, more than 103.4 million people watched the game via NBC broadcast. It is one of the best American traditions! Once a year, people join together with friends, make delicious foods, and camp out in front of the television on Sunday afternoon to watch the game. Not a sports fan? You can look forward to the musical half-time show, this year starring Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi as well as the famous half-time commercials.There is something entertaining for everyone to watch.



What’s more, this Super Bowl LIII we are able to cheer on our very own Boston team, the New England Patriots! For the third year in a row, the Patriots will compete for the Super Bowl championship title.The Pats have just broken a record for the most Super Bowl appearances, this being their 11th! And our star quarterback, Tom Brady, currently holds the record for more appearances than any one player, with nine championship games this year. The Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI way back in 2002, with the same coach and quarterback as we have now. The Rams have completely changed their team structure since then, so this should be a competitive game. The Patriots will face off against the Rams at the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. All major news stations will be covering the event. The only commitment you have to make is which spot on the couch you want to watch the game!


To ensure that you have the most American Super Bowl experience, these are a few of our favorite recipes to try for the big day. Here’s the game plan. Think appetizers. (And make sure to bring extra napkins.)

Wings

They can be slow to make, but worth the wait! Whether BBQ, Buffalo, or Garlic Parmesan, these wings are a staple dish at any Super Bowl get together.

Barbecue Chicken Nachos

Great for the family to share or to bring for a party at your friend’s place. Everyone loves nachos.

Best Dips

Anything that goes with chips, will be a hit. From onion dip, to salsa, to guacamole, try these dip recipes for the Super Bowl!


Wherever you may be watching from, we want to see you in your New England Patriots gear! Share your Super Bowl spirit with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


Sources:

CBS Sports

Statista

Ring in the New Year in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, December 28, 2018

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is already coming to an end. In just a few days Bostonians will celebrate the New Year with parties, fireworks, and family gatherings. How will you celebrate the New Year? New Year’s Eve, or First Night, is a popular holiday in Boston, with the city hosting several free and festive events to commemorate the start of 2019! If you don’t have NYE plans yet, here are some ways you can ring in the New Year in Boston.


Frog Pond Skating Spectacular

 On December 31st at 5: 00 pm, the Skating Club of Boston will host a free figure skating show at Boston Commons’ Frog Pond. This annual show features performances by national and international competitive figure skaters from the Skating Club of Boston as well as other soloists, groups, amateur, and beginner skaters, and The Skating Club of Boston’s synchronized skating and Theater on Ice teams. One exciting aspect of this year’s show is that it will be headlined by Olympic medalist, Ashley Wagner. After the show, turn your attention to the Common’s to watch the Mugar Family Fireworks display, beginning at 7: 00 pm.


First Night Boston 

First Night festivities will begin at noon on New Year’s Eve with live musical performances at Copley Square and the Prudential Center. There will also be arts & crafts, a puppet show, and cultural performances for younger children. Later in the evening, guests can view illuminated ice sculptures before making their way to Boston Common for the night’s first fireworks display. Musical performances are scheduled throughout the night and the event cumulates with a midnight pyrotechnics and light show. Those present at Copley Square can participate in the midnight countdown, followed by a “multi-sensory display of music, lights, and pyrotechnics”. You can find a complete schedule of performances here.


Boston Harbor Fireworks

Boston will also host a firework display between Long Wharf and Fan Pier by the city’s waterfront. The event will begin at 11:59 pm on December 31st to bring you into the New Year with an exciting firework show. As the harbor is expected to become crowded, the best spots to see fireworks and escape large crowds are at Christopher Columbus Park in the North End, at Fan Pier in the Seaport District and from the East Boston Harborwalk.

First Day

The celebrations don’t stop on New Year’s Eve. On January 1st, Boston hosts First Day events, too. Spend the first day of 2019 at Copley Square, partaking in different activities for family and children. The event runs from 12: 00 pm – 4: 00 pm and is free and open to the public.

Happy New Year to all our host families and international visitors! We hope your 2018 was filled with new and exciting experiences. Share your favorite memories from the past year with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

Boston Holiday Markets

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas is right around the corner, only 5 days away! Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Whether you’re buying presents for others or just want to look around, you can’t go wrong with one of Boston’s seasonal markets. Check out this list below to see where you should shop this weekend! 


Harvard Square Holiday Market 

The Harvard Square Holiday Fair returns Cambridge for its 33rd season. This holiday market features a variety of handmade items from local New England artists. As you browse the market, stopping at different stores and speaking to the craftspeople, you’ll find a selection of unique gifts, from jewelry to ceramics, to paintings to candles -perfect for friends, family, or yourself! This year’s Holiday Fair will be held at St. Paul’s Church Hall at 29 Mt. Auburn St. The market is open weekdays from 11:30 am- 7: 00 pm, Saturday from 10: 00 am – 7: 00 pm, and Sunday from noon – 6: 00 pm. Admission is free!


Downtown Boston Holiday Market

Have you walked through Downtown Crossing lately? If so, then maybe you’ve seen the Downtown Holiday Arts Market at its new pop-up location at 467 Washington Street. While doing some holiday shopping Downtown, make sure you stop by the Holiday Market where area vendors will be showcasing their work. Like the Harvard Square Holiday Fair, this winter market has an array of different handmade items, such as woodcarvings, metal sculptures, food, clothing and much more. You can find a list of participating vendors here – I’m sure you’ll recognize a few names! The Holiday Arts Market will be open until January 6th (with the exception of Christmas Day and January 1-2) The market is open weekdays from 11:00 am – 7: 00 pm and weekends from 11: 00 am – 5: 00 pm. 



Boston’s Cultural Survival Bazaar is an annual event at the Prudential Center that brings together indigenous artists from a range of different cultures. This special market is the perfect place to find a gift for globally-minded friends and family while supporting indigenous cultures. In the past, the Bazaar has brought artists from the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tibet, India, Nepal, China, and many more. Make a quick trip around the world by browsing handcrafted pottery, blown glass, natural-dyed textiles, baskets, jewelry, and paintings. The Bazaar is open December 21st- 23rd from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm and until 8:00 pm on Sunday

Happy Holiday shopping! Share your unique holiday finds with us by Happy Holidays! If you see any of these festive plays, be sure to share your experience with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

See Holiday Theater This Week

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, December 14, 2018

Boston Ballet’s performance of the world-famous ballet, The Nutcracker, is perhaps the most well-known holiday show in the city. The Nutcracker, set to score of Tchaikovsky, tells the story of a young girl named Clara, who is taken on a magical journey when her nutcracker, a gift from her uncle, comes to life on Christmas. For many families, seeing the Nutcracker has become a holiday tradition. But, did you know that there are many other entertaining holiday musicals and plays annually performed in Boston? Local theater companies across the city host a variety of theatric holiday performances, based off of seasonal favorites like It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol, all at a fraction of the price of a Nutcracker ticket. Below is a selection of some holiday shows to get you in the Christmas spirit!


A Celtic Sojourn

Boston’a Cutler Majestic Theater will host Celtic Sojourn, an annual show featuring holiday music, with Celtic and Pagan influences. Celtic Sojourn, once a popular radio program, has been transformed into a live performance every Christmas season for the past 15 years. The show features a cast of talented musicians, singers, and dancers from Celtic countries around the world. Performances will run from December 14 -23, 218. You can find more information and a showtime schedule here.  


It’s A Wonderful Life

If you’re a fan of the classic Christmas movie, A Wonderful Life, then you can’t miss out on seeing a live version performed by the Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham, MA. The Greater Boston Theater Company is a non-profit theater organization that performs six or seven shows a year. This holiday, the Company will also be performing another well-known holiday film, Tiny Tim’s Christmas Story from now until December 23rd. You can purchase tickets here, and a special discount is given to students!


A Christmas Carol

The Central Square Theater will also be hosting its own version of A Christmas Carol through December 30th. The performance tells the story of Charles Dickens’ famous novel and has become a holiday classic in Boston. Actors dance, sing, and use puppets to animate the story of Ebenezer Scrooge in Victorian-era London. The Theater also offers discounted tickets for both high school and college students. You can purchase tickets and find showtimes here.  


Hip Hop Nutcracker

Hip Hop Nutcracker is an unconventional rendition of the classic ballet, set in 1980s Brooklyn. This contemporary dance performance, hosted by the Emmerson Colonial Theater, features hip-hop mashups of Tchaikovsky’s famous music with a professional cast of dancers, an electric violinist and a DJ. Last December’s performances were all sold out shows, and this year is expected to be just as popular. Tickets still remain for this weekend’s shows, you can browse showtimes here.


Happy Holidays! If you see any of these festive plays, be sure to share your experience with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

Get into the Holiday Spirit in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Although we just wrapped up Thanksgiving, radio stations are already playing Christmas carols, stores are advertising holiday sales, and families are buying their Christmas trees. Boston has begun to transition into the holiday season, as many areas of the city are displaying holiday lights and hosting winter activities. If you’re excited to celebrate the holidays in Boston, check out one of these festive events this week:

Mayor’s 2018 Enchanted Trolley Tour

Mayor Marty Walsh’s Enchanted Trolley Tour is back again for the 23rd year to kick off the start of the holiday season. The Trolley Tour consists of a series of events, such as tree lightings, holiday performances, and visits with Santa for young children in Boston’s neighborhoods. Some events, such as the lighting of the Christopher Columbus Park Trellis and the Copley Square Tree took place in mid-November, while others, such as the Boston Common Tree and Commonwealth Avenue Mall lighting, are scheduled to take place this Thursday and Friday, respectively. On Saturday, December 1st, the Mayor and a crew of holiday performers, will parade through the streets of Boston’s neighborhoods bringing music, dancing, and activities for kids. Find out when the Mayor will be in your neighborhood here.


Sowa Winter Festival

Boston’s popular farmer’s market returns to its South End location this winter for two weekends only, to host a special holiday-themed bazaar. Many of the local vendors from Sowa’s summer and fall market will once again open their booths for visitors to find a variety of merchandise, such as apparel, art, jewelry, crafts, food, and drink. The Winter Festival will also feature a separate area with food trucks, face painting, live ice sculpting and more. This event is the perfect place to buy holiday gifts, or just enjoy the afternoon browsing the different shops, listening to live music, and trying some delicious treats! Find a full list of vendors here.


Holiday Music on the Row

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than with a little music? Every Saturday Boston Free Radio will be sponsoring a musical event at Assembly Row in Somerville. Different local DJ’s will be at the Row each weekend to make your visit a bit more festive.   This month, the shopping center will also host a few winter events, like an Ice Sculpture Stroll and Santa Paws Pet Photos which are both free and open to the public!


Holiday Pet Photos

Speaking of holiday-themed pet photos, the Thorndike Dog Park in Arlington will also be hosting its own Santa Paws event. On Saturday, December 1st, dogs can get a free picture taken with Santa along with some tasty dog treats. Maybe you bring your host family’s pet? or just go to see some dogs and sip some (free) hot chocolate. The event will be from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm!


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