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

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

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

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


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Explore Boston: The South End

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 01, 2019


Close to downtown but not too crowded, the South End of Boston is one of our favorite places to explore in the city! Referred to as SoWA (which stands for South of Washington Street), the South End is full of art, creativity, and vibrancy. The neighborhood is beautiful to explore by foot this time of year with historic brownstone architecture, quaint boutiques, parks in full bloom, and delicious bistros around every corner!


To truly appreciate the authenticity that is the South End, one needs to understand its remarkable history as well. Parts of the modern day South End, just like the Back Bay neighborhood, were originally under water! Downtown Boston, near the seaport, was connected to the mainland, to towns like Roxbury, via a strip of land referred to as the neck. As the city became busier, the city of Boston began to build up more land surrounding the neck in 1829, which eventually created the South End! The neighborhood originally was home to many middle upper class families in the latter half of the 19th century. As cheaper housing became available near streets like Columbus, the South End experienced periods of bankruptcy and crime. However, in the 1970s the city of Boston introduced redevelopment and renovation efforts to return SoWA to its former glory! Today the South End is home to artists, young professionals, and other Bostonians.



The best way to explore the South End is to walk around on foot! You will find dog parks, beautiful gardens, and most notably, breathtaking historical architecture. Here is a list of landmarks to keep an eye out for and arranged walking tours of the neighborhood. If you are lucky enough to explore the South End in the spring and summer months, make sure to visit one of the many outdoor markets such as the South End Open Market, the SoWA Vintage Market, and the SoWA Farmer’s Market. This weekend, May 3rd, 4th, and 5th SoWA will be hosting its 15th annual Art Walk where local artists and galleries will open their doors and new exhibits to all who can stop by! See what other upcoming events the SoWA Art & Design District is offering here.



In addition to its art scene, the South End is well known for its award winning restaurants! From jazz clubs, to pizza parlors, to french bistros, the South End has a taste of it all. If you want to live the life of a true millennial Bostonian, head to the South End for weekend brunch. Most places are located along the streets of Columbus, Tremont, and Washington. These are some of our favorite restaurants and brunch spots in the neighborhood.


We want to see where you decide to explore! Share your favorite South End moments with us @globalimmersions or by using #HomestayBoston.


Host Tip of the Week: Communication Part 2

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, April 29, 2019

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


 


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

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


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

 


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


Host Tip of the Week: Communication

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 04, 2019


The Host Tip theme this week is communication. Just like in any relationship, communication with the student in your home is essential in order to manifest a healthy and productive homestay experience. Communication methods and skills are especially important when language and cultural barriers are in place in order to effectively convey important information. Therefore, having as many kinds of communication as possible, such as audio forms, written, and visual.

Here are a few tips from our hosts to help make communication with your student as easy as possible!



Prepaid "burner" Cell Phones: In the modern day, mobile communication methods are becoming more and more common to stay in touch with others. Some of our veteran hosts have found purchasing prepaid cell phones to be a useful homestay strategy. These phones are prepaid and can be refilled as needed when a new student arrives. The phone offers a way to communicate with hosts especially if the student is unable to use their international cell phone in Boston or only has Wifi. Most major companies such as Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint have pre-paid phone plans in Boston. Pre-paid SIM cards are also available at stores like CVS, Staples, and Walmart. Click this link for the best options in Boston. Ultimately this mobile communication strategy benefits both the host as well as the visitor and provides a safety net for the student in case of emergency!


Whiteboard: Whiteboards are a great visual communication method and can be easily customized and updated regularly to the information necessary for your house. For example, some hosts draw boxes where students can check "yes or no" to coming home for dinner each night of the week. Others have a weekly calendar for both the student and host family to list activities and/or events for planning purposes. This form of communication is straightforward and easy to interpret!


Messaging Apps: It is important to remember that our visitors come from all over the world which means that mobile apps used to communicate may be different from our own norms of iMessage and text messaging. Often it is helpful to download the app used in the country of the respective student to facilitate communication. For instance, most of Europe uses an application called WhatsApp to communicate informally between friends and family. Many of our hosts have learned that Japanese students use an app called LINE. Talk with your student about which apps they use to communicate.


Overall our advice is to find communicate methods that work for you, your family, and your student to ensure a positive homestay experience!


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!

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

Favorite American Foods

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 05, 2019


The United States is known as the melting pot of the world, a unique mixture of religions, peoples, cultures...we have it all. And we have all of the food too! Often times when deciding what to eat for dinner, you will hear Americans say they want Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Tex-mex; the possibilities are endless. Although one’s first thought of American food may be McDonald’s hamburgers, the truth is there are plenty of more cultural dishes to offer! Today we want to share with you some of our favorite American meals, to try while eating out or to try while cooking at home. There’s too many to choose from, so we picked out the best for you!



Let’s start with breakfast, known as the most important meal of the day.The American culture typically encourages a larger breakfast portion size than other cultures, although a breakfast routine is different for every individual. New England especially is well-known for its American breakfast diners with plates piled high with scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, and of course, local maple syrup. At home, people commonly eat cold cereals, toasts, and eggs. Breakfast sandwiches are also commonplace, as well as oatmeal or granola dishes. For those near or visiting Boston, 11% of Northeasterners report preferring to eat bagels for breakfast, which is more than anywhere else in the United States! Another important American phenomenon normally found in cities is brunch. For those of you new to the idea of ‘brunch’, it is a combination of a breakfast and lunch time meal typically served from 10AM-2PM on the weekends. Lucky for you, Boston has some of the best brunch. Most importantly, Americans need their coffee in the morning. One study shows that more than ⅓ of the American population drinks coffee daily, and the average coffee drinker has more than 3 cups per day!



For lunch, most Americans opt for a quick and easy meal such as salads or sandwiches. One American favorite is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, most commonly loved by children. A Boston favorite is a New England lobster roll. Caught locally, these lobster rolls can be served hot and toasted with butter, or cold and tossed in mayonnaise. (Many people have their preference but both are worth a try!) Another important food group for Americans is all things barbecue. We love grilling and hosting picnic get togethers with friends and family. Every region of the United States is known for its own barbecue style or flavor. Hotdogs and hamburgers also fall within the barbecue category. The most “American” restaurant you will find in the U.S. is a burger or barbecue joint. Favorite side dishes may include homemade macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, cole slaw, or french fries. Many diners or burger places will also serve sweet milkshakes to complement the savory burgers! Boston Burger company, a local burger chain, is famous for over ten flavors of decorated milkshakes.




Finally, desserts! First and foremost, are chocolate chip cookies. Whether freshly baked at home or bought from the store, chocolate chip cookies are an American staple. Often kids will dunk their cookies in milk, or put ice cream between two cookies to form an ice cream sandwich called a chipwich. Next, are s’mores. We make s’mores mostly in the summertime by roasting marshmallows over the fire. Everyone has their preference to how gooey or cooked they like their marshmallows toasted. The final product is a marshmallow sandwiched between chocolate bars and graham crackers to form one of America’s all time favorite desserts.

What is your favorite American dish or treat? Share with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

Sources: ABC News, Time

Lunar New Year - Year of the Pig

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, February 09, 2019


Happy Lunar New Year everyone! The Lunar New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival, started on Tuesday, February 5th this calendar year and will end with the Lantern Festival on Tuesday, February 19th. As the most important festivity in countries like China, North and South Korea, and Vietnam, this holiday alone is celebrated by more than 20% of the world’s population! Not to mention that more fireworks are set off on the Lunar New Year than any other day of the year. This is is the most important time for celebrating families all over the world to gather together to welcome spring and share in one another’s company.



This Lunar New Year is the Year of the Pig, which is often seen as a symbol of wealth, diligence, kindness, and generosity. Each Lunar New Year cycle is characterized by one of the  twelve zodiac animals, as well as the five elements of earth. The year you are born and your Zodiac can help predict your fortune, marriage and career compatibility, and so much more.  This Year of the Pig overlaps with the Earth element. So according to the Zodiac, Pigs born in 2019, are predicted to be outgoing, supported by loved ones, and fortunate. Lucky colors include yellow, gray and brown. Lucky numbers are 2, 5, 8. Curious to know your Zodiac sign? Click here to find out!



As family come from all over to celebrate for two weeks, The Lunar New Year has some of the best food recipes and traditions too. Many meals are designed to provide specific blessings for the upcoming year. Certain food groups and dishes have symbolic powers to bring prosperity, fertility, and happiness. For example, eggs are known for big happy families and lobster is known for financial prosperity. Some traditional meals may include spring rolls, dumplings, noodles, steamed fish and chicken, rice cakes, vegetables, and hot pots. There is even special wine saved just for the occasion. Each family has their own favorites and traditions! You will notice that the color red dominates the Lunar New Year celebration. Red lanterns, red string, red clothing. Another famous tradition is to exchange gifts, particularly red envelopes that are filled with money! Most commonly these red envelopes are passed from the elderly to children, symbolically passing along fortune to the youngest generation. However, the envelopes can also be passed between friends, family, and even co-workers.The new year celebration will continue until the Lantern Festival when everyone socializes in the streets, plays games, and lights lantern to celebrate the new year. We want to see you celebrate! Share your Lunar New Year experiences with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


Sources: Chinese New Year


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!

Seven Can’t Miss Sights in Salem, MA

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Salem, the Massachusetts city infamous for the 1692 witch trials is the perfect destination for a spooky weekend excursion. Salem in October is full of festive activities to get you in the Halloween spirit and out of Boston for a day! When planning your Salem trip itinerary, be sure to make time to visit these seven spots. 


Salem Willows

While Salem might be known for its “witches” it also has a beautiful waterfront that should not be overlooked. Salem Willows is a public, seaside, park offering scenic views and the world’s best popcorn along with a popular arcade and carousel ride. While you're there, stop by nearby Pickering Wharf - another location along the Salem waterfront that has adorable shops and tasty restaurants.



The Salem Witch Museum

The Salem Witch Museum is probably the most famous museum in Salem. The Witch Museum gives visitors a life-like retelling of Salem's 17th-century history, featuring stage sets with wax figures, lighting, and narration to present an accurate depiction of the Salem Witch Trials. The current exhibit, "Witches-Evolving Perceptions", draws parallels in history between the "witches" of 1692 to the Japanese-Americans encamped during WWII and the blacklisted Communists of the 1950s. The Museum is open daily with extended hours in October. 

The House of Seven Gables

This historic home was built in 1668 and was once owned by serval prominent maritime families. The home is perhaps most well known for being famously chronicled in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel of the same name. If you're visiting Salem, check out the House of Seven Gables for a guided tour...and decided for yourself if it’s truly as haunted as the stories say.

The Witch House

Another famous Salem home, the Salem Witch House, is the only remaining structure in Salem with direct ties to the Witch Trials. The home was once inhabited by Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the Salem residents investigating the claims of witchcraft in 1692, and one of the people partly responsible for convicting 20 people of witchcraft. It is said that many of those convicted could have been interrogated by Corwin right in the homes living room. Visitors to Salem can stop by for both guided and self-guided tours.

Spooky Walking Tours

Salem has several night-time walking tours that allow you to learn the town's history in an informative yet terrifying manner. The Salem Witch Walk and Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour are two popular options. On the Witch Walk, witches take you on a tour of the Salem seaport, while on the Ghost Tour guests are taken through the haunted areas of Salem's streets. 


Harbor Sweets

It wouldn’t be Halloween time without candy! If you’re looking for something sweet and less spooky, head to Harbor Sweets to stock up on all the goodies you need for October 31st.  All the candies and chocolates inside are handmade, so you know you’ll be trying authentic New England treats. 

How Should I Get There? 

If you're planning to visit Salem from the Boston area, you can take the Commuter Rail Newburyport/Rockport Line to Salem. 

Remember to share all your weekend activities with by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


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