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Fall Foliage in New England

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, October 04, 2012

It’s officially fall, and there is no better place to be than in New England! Visitors travel from the world over to experience the time of year when the days are warm, the nights are cool and leaves change from green to brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange. This years’ fall foliage season is already underway and is nearing its peak in the northern New England states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Here in Boston it is estimated that prime “leaf peeping” will be the weekend of October 20th to the weekend of the 27th, but throughout the month and into early November all of New England will be covered in the bright colors of fall. Here’s a guide to some famous locations and the weekends of their peak foliage.

October 6th to 13th

During this time New England’s northern states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire will be experiencing the peak of their fall foliage.  In Maine, the Oxford Hills and Lakes region is highly recommended, with fewer tourists than the coast, rural roads, picturesque lakes and beautiful scenery, only a two and half hour drive from Boston. Vermont boasts the most scenic drives of any New England state and is known for its rolling mountains and protected forests. Add the historic farms, quiet country roads and pristine villages, all which make Vermont one of the most popular states for leaf peeping. The town of Stowe is at the heart of Vermont’s scenery and is a three hour drive from Boston. New Hampshire holds the regions highest mountains and is known for its gorgeous fall days when early morning fog covers the deeps valleys and the color of the tree stands out beautifully. North Conway is at the edge of the White Mountains, and is a great place to begin a tour of New Hampshire, located just three hours away from Boston.

October 20th to November 3rd

As the nights turn colder and winter approaches, northern New England’s foliage seasons passes and the colors peak in the southern New England states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. In Massachusetts the Berkshires area is known for its beautiful hills, small artsy towns and perfect fall foliage. Located only two hours west of Boston, the Berkshires are the complete opposite of the hustle and bustle of the city! Small Rhode Island has just as much fall scenery as any other state, especially in the Newport area, located only and hour and a half from Boston. This historic city is a great place to visit and the surrounding country has classic New England architecture, tightly constructed stone walls, rolling farmland, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The “quiet corner” of eastern Connecticut is only an hour and a half from Boston and features giant trees, quaint bed and breakfasts and "uninterrupted tranquility".  Historic Lisbon is a great place to start your tour of the state.

In Boston

Remember that you don’t have to leave the Boston area to see some of the best fall foliage in the world! In the Boston Commons, the local parks and any of the suburbs easily accessible by the MBTA system you will find trees changing to the same beautiful colors seen elsewhere in New England. Take the commuter rail to the north shore and explore Massachusetts historic fishing towns with fall colors at their peak, or go to the south shore and walk along the ocean during a brisk fall day. In the city Urban Adventures offers a guided bike tour of Boston’s “Emerald Necklace”.  "The tour begins on the shaded boulevard of Commonwealth Avenue, goes along the popular shores of Jamaica Pond and ends on the winding paths of the Arnold Arboretum.  This chain of gardens, reserves, and open space displays some of the most colorful flora as the fall sets in". The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) offers guided walks in the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton. They’re FREE and held throughout October and November. Their website also has information on local hikes and bike paths that are great to explore.

No matter if you’re a visitor to Boston or a local; this is the best time of the year to be outside! Explore Boston, New England or your own neighborhood, and make sure to share your fall adventures with Global Immersions! 

Source: Yankee Foliage 

The 2012 Olympics

Global Immersions - Thursday, August 02, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games in London are in full swing! The world greatest competition, which started on July 27th and will continue until August 12th, features the best athletes from all over the world competing for both personal and national glory. While the competition is fierce, it’s also a time of worldwide camaraderie and a shared pride in the athlete’s abilities.  This is a great opportunity to share the Olympic tradition with your visitor! Many of Global Immersions current visitors are from China and Japan, and both countries are performing spectacularly in this year’s games. Here is a guide to the Olympic tradition in those countries, so next time you’re watching the games with your visitor you can really share the experience! 


Japan was first represented at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games by a two-man team in sprinter Yahiko Mishima and marathon runner Shizo Kanakuri. The country’s first Olympic medalists were in Tennis that year. Gymnast Takashi Ono is his country's most successful Olympian, winning five gold medals over three successive Olympic Games. Three Japanese cities have hosted the Winter Olympic Games; Tokyo in 1964, Sapporo in 1972 and most recently Nagano in 1998. Out of a total of 360 metals’s won during the country’s Olympic career, 92 have been awarded for artistic gymnastics, 65 in Judo and 62 in swimming. 

So far this year the real exciting competition for Japan  has been the artistic gymnastics, lead by three-time world champion Kohei Uchimura. His performance has solidified him as one of the best gymnasts in the world and added a gold metal to the one silver Japan had already won in an earlier gymnastics event. 



The host nation of the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese have had success in many sports since returning to the Olympic fold after an agreement was brokered by the IOC in 1979. While China has competed in part in a number of Olympic Games, the country’s first full competition was at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. In the first event of that year, shooter Xu Haifing won the men's free pistol to become the first Chinese to win gold. Gymnast Li Ning collected three gold medals, two silver and a bronze, making him the outstanding individual performer of the Games. Table tennis has been dominated by Chinese players since its introduction to the Olympic program. They won all four gold medals in Sydney 2000 and in Beijing 2008 they took every medal open to them. Out of a total of 365 metals awarded during China’s Olympic career, 51 have been in artistic gymnastics, 49 in diving, 43 in weightlifting and 41 in table tennis. 

At this year’s Olympics the world has been floored by 16 year old Ye Shiwen, who has won two gold medals in the swimming events of the 200 and 400 individual medley. In the 200 meter race Ye shattered the world record by more than a second and knocked five second seconds off her personal best in the final 50 meters of the race. 

If you have a visitor from another country, make sure to celebrate the Olympics with them! This is a great opportunity to really "Go Global" in appreciation of the world's best athletes. Share your stories of how you enjoyed the 2012 Olympics with Global Immersions!   


Global Immersions - Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Friday is the first day of Ramadan, one of the most important holidays in the Islamic faith. Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days according to the visual sightings of the crescent moon. This year the holiday will begin on the night of July 19th and last until August 18th. Every day during this month Muslims around the world will fast throughout the daylight hours. Muslims believe that Mohammed first received the Qur'an from God during the month of Ramadan, and fast as a way to symbolize their submission (the literal translation of “Islam” in Arabic) to God. 

The Five Pillars of Islam

The Arabic word for "fasting" (sawm) means "to refrain" - and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words. Sawm is one of the five pillars of Islam, which also includes the shahada (declaration of faith) the salah (daily prayers) zakat (giving of charity) and hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). The whole month is a time for spiritual reflection and prayers, and it is believed that fulfilling any of the five pillars of Islam during this month will multiply the spiritual benefits.  Many Muslims will read the whole Qur'an during Ramadan, or hear it recited during prayers in the Mosque where every day during the month 1/30 of the book is read until it is completed.

Special events during Ramadan

Once the sun sets the fast is broken with a meal called the iftar, which is seen as a time of fellowship between family and friends and has grown into large banquets in many countries. Traditionally, the iftar meal begins by eating three dates, just as Mohammed did during the first Ramadan. The most important night of Ramadan, and the whole year, is Laylat al-Qadr where it is believed God first revealed the Quran to Mohammed. Finally the last day of Ramadan is called Eid ul-Fitr, which is also celebrated with much revelry.

There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and every able bodied adherent (exceptions given to pregnant or nursing women, and the sick or elderly) are expected to fast during the month of Ramadan. That means more than a billion people will be fasting during the day this month!

Are you hosting a Muslim visitor, or would you like to engage with Islamic cultures during this special month? Here are some suggestions for activities in Boston:

This Friday Boston’s Center for Arabic Culture is holding an “Evening of Palestinian Embroidery from Gaza” event. It’s a great opportunity to see intricately handmade Palestinian embroidery, with proceeds from the sales going to help families in Gaza. 38 Newbury St. 7th floor; 6:30- 9:30pm

Algiers Coffee House is a Harvard Square staple that is famous for its Arabic coffee and Middle Eastern foods. Serenely sip a cup of coffee or tea and watch the busy traffic outside!

If you or your visitor would like to take part in Ramadan celebrations, especially the iftar meal, the Islamic Society of Boston is holding numerous events at their Cultural Center in Roxbury over the month.

Share any Ramadan celebrations you have with Global Immersions! 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan 

Explore Boston- The HarborWalk

Global Immersions - Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Boston HarborWalk is a unique walking pathway that follows the beautiful Boston harbor through several of the city’s waterfront neighborhoods.  Weaving through the piers, wharves, beaches and shorelines of areas like Dorchester, South Boston, Watertown, Deer Island and the whole Downtown area, the HarborWalk will extend a full 46.9 miles once it’s completed! Creation of the HarborWalk is a long-term cooperative project between the City of Boston, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, MassDEP, and the Boston Harbor Association to maintain a walk able waterfront in the city as public access areas, and is now nearly 80% completed! 

The HarborWalk offers much more then spectacular views of Boston, the ocean and a nice sea breeze; the city has worked hard to protect and draw attention to the numerous cultural, historical and educational highlights along the city’s waterfront. With stops like the ICA and JFK Library museums, the Charlestown Shipyard and the Fort Point Channel, and the upscale restaurants alongside Liberty Warf, the HarborWalk is much more than a walking path!  To serve as markers and add a fun modern element, the city has sponsored local artists to create sculptures and installations along the walk, as well as monuments marking significant points along the historic harbor.

The curators of the HarborWalk also highlight the green parks and beaches, perfect for a family outing in the summer.  You can visit the Christopher Columbus Park, Castle Island and Pleasure Bay, or the Belle Isle Marsh. There are variety of stops along the water that offer nice views, open spaces and outdoor adventure.

Check out the HarborWalk’s website for a full list of attractions and events. Talk a walk along the harbor and share your story with Global Immersions! 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Harborwalk 

Explore Boston Event at the ICA

Global Immersions - Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Our Explore Boston program is designed to help our visitors learn more about U.S. culture and Boston while attending a local event or activity with our staff.   Each Explore Boston event is researched and determined based on maximized cultural learning, time of year and cost.   The goal is for our visitors to explore the great city of Boston and all that it has to offer with insiders and attend events they might not know exist!  We welcome hosts and their families to join their visitors for each Explore Boston event.  Do you have suggestions, ideas or local happenings our visitors would like?  

Join Global Immersions on our first 2012 Explore Boston event this Thursday, July 19 at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) for a free concert featuring Jaime Woods and Nick Hakim! The G.I team, visitors and hosts will enjoy local music, the view on the waterfront and each other’s company! 

Meet at the front door entrance to the ICA at 5:15pm.  Take a tour of ICA at 5:30pm and the music starts at 6pm.  Look for Derek (wearing a G.I. t-shirt) if you arrive after 6pm on the stairs near the music. The ICA has a cash bar and café. The concert will go until 8:30pm.     

Berklee Artists Jamie Woods and Nick Hakim

Together Jaime Woods and Nick Hakim create “feel-good” music influenced by soul, blues, jazz, and folk and inspired by Curtis Mayfield, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix. Their first album debuts this summer. Throughout the summer the Institute of Contemporary Art features artists from the Berklee College of Music, which boasts some of the most talented students, alumni, and faculty in music today.

Happy 4th of July!

Global Immersions - Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tomorrow is the 4th of July! We’re lucky to be in one of America’s most historically significant cities, and there is so much to share on this day with your visitor! Bring them to your family barbecue, watch your town’s fireworks display, walk the Freedom Trail - nothing demonstrates American culture better then Boston on Independence Day! Here are some helpful links to inspire your holiday celebrations:

Find 4th of July fireworks in your neighborhood at Boston Central 

4th of July events are held all over the Boston area - find a long list of celebrations here.

Look at our earlier blogs for more fun Independence Day celebrations, and share your stories with Global Immersions! 

Have a good 4th!   

Celebrate 4th of July in Boston!

Global Immersions - Friday, June 29, 2012

This Wednesday, July 4th America’s Independence will be celebrated all over the country in the same way it has been for generations: with fireworks, parades, family, barbeques and an undeniable feeling of patriotism. As one of the thirteen original colonies and home to numerous American revolutionaries, Massachusetts played a formative role in the creation of our new Union. What makes Massachusetts so special in the story of American Independence? Here’s some more information on America’s birthday and how we’ll be celebrating: 

Massachusetts and the 4th of July:

  • The Second Continental Congress passed a resolution asserting American independence from Britain on July 2nd, 1776, a resolution that had originally been introduced in June of that year. Two days later on July 4th Tomas Jefferson introduced the actual “Declaration of Independence” document, which was signed by Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin that day.
  • However, most historians have concluded that the rest of the Continental Congress took a full month to sign the document, which wasn’t official until August 2nd, 1776. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4th, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2nd.
  • Of the 56 original signatories of the Declaration of Independence, 5 represented Massachusetts, tied with New Jersey for the third most after Virginia (7) and Pennsylvania (9). 3 other signatories, including Benjamin Franklin, William Hooper and Roger Sherman were originally from Massachusetts. 
  • In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4th as a state celebration. 
  • Before fireworks, New England towns used to celebrate the 4th by lighting huge bonfires: the bigger the bonfire the more patriotic your town was. Salem, Massachusetts was known as having the largest, using over forty tiers of barrels to light their bonfire! 

How will you Celebrate? 

The Boston Pops Fireworks show is one of the nations largest: over 500,000 people will attend the event and another 7 million people will watch it broadcast live on CBS! Watch the concert at the Hatch Shell, and then enjoy the fireworks over the Charles River. Get there early!

Celebrate American Independence at the Gore Place in Waltham, the Federal era historical estate and former home of Governor Gore. Visitors will tour the beautiful estate, still furnished in the Federal style, while hearing stories about the fight for Independence. July 2nd through 7th, time varies on the day. Call (781) 894-278 for more information, reservations recommended.  

Reenact the signing of the Declaration of Independence at the Adams Carriage House on the Adams National Historic Park in Quincy. One of the signatories of the Declaration, Adams knew from the beginning that this day would be celebrated with “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more”. The event is free, call (617) 770-1175 for more information.  

Visit http://www.bostoncentral.com/events/massachusetts_fireworks_2010/p5389.php 
for a full list of when each town in the Boston area will hold their fireworks show. 

Share your 4th of July stories with Global Immersions! 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(United_States) 

Celebrate America's Independence Day at Harborfest!

Global Immersions - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From June 28th to July 4th the whole city of Boston will celebrate the 31st annual Harborfest and the bicentennial of the War of 1812, America’s “Second War of Independence” fought to defend the new nation from England. This annual week-long gala celebrates all that Boston has to offer: history, culture, fun and excitement, culminating on July 4th with one of America’s biggest Independence Day celebrations. Share Boston’s rich history by taking part in any of Harborfest events, catering to all ages, interests and budgets. Your visitor will love to experience the celebration surrounding America’s Independence in one of the nation’s most historical cities.


Here’s just a sample of some Harborfest daily events, which range from classy brunches on the Liberty Clipper to fun reenactments of historical events in Boston’s intricate role in the fight for American Independence.  

Thursday, June 28th

Reenact the Boston Tea Party aboard the Liberty Clipper! Raid a British ship with the Sons of Liberty, throw tea in the harbor and fire cannons! Admission is $24-$35; reservations recommended (617) 742-0333 Noon- 2pm .


Tour the elegant mansion of Harrison Gray Otis, a Congressman, Senator and the third Mayor of Boston, his wife, Sally Foster Otis and their family. Free for Boston residents, 141 Cambridge Street Noon-4:30pm.

Friday, June 29th

Walk through the life of Paul Revere, one of Boston’s most famous patriots! Join the guided walking tour through the North End as you visit the sites that mark Revere’s life, including his silversmith shop and foundry. Admission $1.50-$5, 2:30-3:30pm at the Paul Revere House (617) 523-2338

Saturday, June 30th

Spend the whole day enjoying Spectacle Island!

Start your day by ferrying out to Boston’s Harbor Islands for a Hatha yoga class, appropriate for all ages and abilities. The ferry costs $9-$15 and space is limited. Boston Harbor Islands Ferry Kiosk, Long Warf to Spectacle Island 10:30-11:30am (617) 723-8666

After yoga build or bring a kite to fly over the harbor! Materials provided from 1:30 to 2:30.

Then have a real New England dinner from 6:00-9:00pm with the Spectacle Island Clambake featuring all the best seafood New England has to offer! Admission $70-$80 reservations required (617) 960-7166

Sunday, July 1st

Sample the best of New England’s clam chowder from the area’s top restaurants, then vote for your favorite! This is one of Harborfest most popular events, over 2,000 gallons of chowder were served last year! Admission $8 - $11; City Hall Plaza 11:00am-6:00pm


Take part in the Trial of the Century at the Old State House! Actors will reenact the trial of the British soldiers accused of taking part in the Boston Massacre featuring patriot lawyer John Adams arguing for the defendants. Admission $3-$7.50, 6:00-7:00pm (617) 720-1713

Monday, July 2nd

Watch the U.S Coast Band in concert as the national touring band plays patriotic favorites! Free at Pier One, Charlestown Navy Yard (978) 806-5050

Tuesday, July 3rd

Dance to a variety of classic rock and original blues with the Town Hall Blues Band on the Plaza at City Hall. Free, Noon-3:00pm

Wednesday, July 4th

Watch the 4th of July fireworks on the Charles River Esplanade! The Boston Pops Orchestra starts at 8:00pm, with the firework’s beginning at sundown and celebrations lasting until 11:00pm. Free! For more information call (888) 484-7877 


Visit http://www.bostonharborfest.com/  for more information. Share your Independence Celebrations with Global Immersions Homestay, we hope to see you at Harborfest!  

Taiwanese Food!

Global Immersions - Friday, June 22, 2012

In preparation for our upcoming group of Taiwanese visitors attending TALK Language School, we’ve been thinking a lot about Taiwanese foods. A world apart from the lo mein or sushi available on nearly every block, Taiwanese food is an often underrated slice of Asian cuisine. In Taiwan the idea is to eat small and often, and street side “boa’s” dedicated to snacking are always busy. From the easily found “bubble tea” to the more rare “stinky tofu,” Taiwanese food has a lot to offer. Here are some of the crowd favorites:

Braised pork rice (滷肉飯)

Taiwanese love their lurou fan, so much so that the capital city of Taipei launched a “braised pork rice is ours” campaign last year after Michelin’s Green Guide Taiwan claimed that the dish is from Shandong Province in mainland China. A good bowl of lurou fan has finely chopped, not quite minced, pork belly, slow-cooked in aromatic soy sauce with five spices. There should be an ample amount of fattiness, in which lies the magic.

The meat is spooned over hot rice.  

A little sweet, a little salty, the braised pork rice is comfort food perfected.

Oyster omelet (蚵仔煎)

 Taiwanese food

Here's a snack that really showcases the tastes of Taiwan. You've got something from the sea and something from the soil.

The eggs are the perfect foil for the little oysters easily found around the island, while sweet potato starch is added to give the whole thing a gooey chewiness -- a signature Taiwan food texture.

No wonder it was voted best snack to represent the island in a poll of 1,000 Taiwanese by Global Views Monthly in 2007.

Bubble tea (珍珠奶茶)

Bubble tea is representative of the "QQ" food texture that Taiwanese love and has found a solid following in America as well. The cute-sounding phrase refers to something that is very chewy, just like the tapioca balls that are the "bubbles" in bubble tea.

It is said that this unique drink was invented out of boredom. Liu Han-Chieh threw some sweetened tapioca pudding into her iced Assam tea on a fateful day in 1988 and one of the greatest Taiwanese exports was born.

Bubble tea is easy to find in Boston. Try it out at Infusions Tea Spa (110 Brighton Ave), Lolicup (219 Quincy Ave) or Leisure Station (625 W Kendall St).

Stinky tofu (臭豆腐)

Taiwanese food 

This is the world's best love-it-or-hate-it snack and Taiwan does it just right. 

The "fragrant" cube of bean curd is deep-fried and draped with sweet and spicy sauce. If you hold your nose, it looks and tastes just like a plain ol' piece of fried tofu, with a crisp casing and soft center like pudding. Breathe deeply and your nose will tell you another story.

Want to try these delicacies? Here are some top rated Taiwanese restaurants in Boston:

Taiwan Café, 34 Oxford St, Chinatown (617) 426-8181

Jo Jo TaiPei, 103 Brighton Ave, Allston (617) 254-8889

Gourmet Dumpling House, 52 Beach St, Chinatown (617) 338-6223

MuLan, 228 Broadway, Cambridge (Kendall/MIT) (617) 441-8812

For more information about Taiwanese food read “40 Taiwanese Foods We Can’t Live Without” by Hiufu Wong available at http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/eat/40-taiwanese-food-296093?hpt=hp_bn5



Father’s Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Sunday, June 17th, many families around the globe will celebrate fatherhood and paternal bonds in the annual celebration of Father’s Day. Founded in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, Father’s Day was created to complement the recently established Mother’s Day. Dodd was inspired by her Father’s ability to raise six children as a single parent, and pushed for a public holiday honoring fathers. Though the holiday took several years to gain success, in 1972 US President Richard Nixon designated the third Sunday of June as the permanent national holiday, Father’s Day.

In the US, Father’s Day is typically associated with male-oriented gifts such as tools or electronics, and spending time with fathers and grandfathers. Continue below to find out how Father’s Day is celebrated in other countries.


In Brazil, Father’s Day occurs three months after Mother’s Day, on the second Sunday of August. The holiday was originally created as a celebration of Saint Joachim, the patriarch of families.  Though it is not an official holiday, many Brazilians celebrate the holiday by spending time with their fathers and families.


Father’s Day in Germany is always celebrated on Ascension Day (marking 40 days after Easter), a federal holiday. Also known as Men’s Day or Gentlemen’s Day, the holiday is often celebrated with a group of males going on a hiking tour with traditional regional food and drink.  


Father’s Day in Nepal is celebrated in late August or early September depending on the lunar calendar. On the day of the new moon, families go to their temples to pay respect to their deceased fathers.


In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated as the birthday of the king. As the king is the “father of the nation,” Thais wear yellow on Father’s Day, representing the day the king was born. Thais also celebrate Father’s Day by giving their father or grandfather a Canna flower, which is considered a masculine flower.

Do you have any Father’s Day plans? Let us know! If you are in homestay, be sure to wish your host father a Happy Father’s Day!

source: http://www.history.com/topics/fathers-day 

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