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Office Closed on Memorial Day - May 27, 201924-May-2019

The Global Immersions office will be closed on Monday, May 27 for the Memorial Day holiday. The..

Happy Mother's Day to our Wonderful Host Mothers!12-May-2019

We would like to wish all of our wonderful host mothers a Happy Mother's Day! Thank you for all ..


Best in Hospitality

Host Tip of the Week: Welcoming Your Visitor

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, May 13, 2019


Our Host Tip of the week focuses on how to best welcome visitors into your home! This is the first post in a series of ways to welcome a new visitor. Our veteran hosts tell us that an integral aspect of making a visitor feel welcomed from the beginning is to ensure that the outside of your home is easily accessible. Boston can be a confusing city to navigate upon arrival, from the beginning with Logan Airport all the way to finding the homestay, as streets and roads are often not properly marked. This can be stressful for a tired and exhausted visitor who has been traveling from overseas. Making sure your home is properly marked and easy for the new visitor to find will help ease the transition to their new home in Boston.


 

The outside of your home will provide the first impression that a visitor has about homestay. If the visitor is being delivered to your home by a car service or ride sharing service or is taking public transportation to your home for the first time, having the home properly marked and identified is crucial.


Here are some tips for making sure your the outside of your home is ready to welcome a new visitor:

  • Make sure your house number is marked and visible from the street.
  • If your residence shares two family homes, confirm that the two different neighboring apartments are labeled or easy to distinguish (especially if there is a shared entryway).
  • Make sure your doorbell is in working order. If not, put instructions on the door of how to contact you upon arrival.
  • How do you access your home? From the side/back door or from the driveway? Do you live in an apartment and need to be buzzed in to the building? If the visitor will need specific instructions on how to enter the homestay, make sure to inform us prior to arrival so we are able to inform the visitor or car service. The more information, the better!
  • Put your last name by the doorbell or marked house number, so that your visitor is able to verify two pieces of information before entering the home.
  • Are there special driving instructions to get to your home that might be confusing on Google Maps? Do you live on a dead end road or on a newly named street? Often GPS does not have new roads identified and one can easily get lost trying to get to the destination, especially a ride shared/taxi driver who is not familiar with the neighborhood. Make sure to tell us or the visitor in advance if you are communicating prior to arrival.
  • Have the porch light or outside lights on and working when your visitor arrives, especially for evening arrivals.

 


Lastly, aside from the outside of your home, make sure your cell phone is charged and on when expecting the arrival of your visitor. Be ready and listening for the visitor to arrive to avoid mishaps with the arrival. Please answer the phone even if you do not recognize the number as the car service will call before delivery or if the visitor is lost and needs to speak with you.  If you are going to be outside in the backyard and not in the house, put a note on the door. Remember, communication is key!

We have found that all of these small steps help make a big difference with a new visitor's arrival to homestay. If you have been told by friends coming to your home it is difficult to find, then it will be even more challenging for someone from another country. Starting off homestay with a stressful arrival experience due to lack of identification on your home can easily be fixed. Take a minute and head outside to check to make sure your home is ready to welcome your next homestay visitor!

 

Have hosting tips and advice for other hosts? We would love to hear your thoughts! Please share your recommendations with us here.


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!

 


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!


Host Tip of the Week: Homestay Binder

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, March 29, 2019


We are excited to announce a new weekly blog called "Host Tip of  the Week" This blog will feature advice from our hosts which they have found helpful over the past years. Our hope is that these insights will be beneficial to others, especially our newer hosts! The tips may range from providing transportation schedules, to providing ways to better connect or communicate with our host students in facilitating their American transition. This week’s theme is imparting local knowledge.


Ever find that you are repeating instructions or your student has a lot of questions about your home and the area? Try making a Welcome to Homestay Binder!  The welcome binder is reusable and can be left in the bedroom for each new student to access.  The binder can be updated as needed and will save you time.  The binder will help eliminate a lot of stress for the student when arriving and settling in to your home and the area.



Sample of different pages from a Host's binder



Customize the binder to provide the materials that may be most relevant or helpful for your home. Some suggestions include: MBTA schedules and a "T" map, walking directions from your home to public transportation, WiFi information for the house, your contact information (business card), house guidelines, what is available for continental breakfast, keys to your home on key ring, monthly calendar with any activities scheduled (i.e, exercise classes, family day activities, children's sporting game, etc.), places in the neighborhood to shop, eat, etc., and activities and places to explore in Boston!  Include photos as visual aids or provide translations of the most common languages. A binder is convenient as students can reference the information readily and easily and use Google translate if needed!

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

International Students in MA: By the Numbers

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September has really flown by! Now, almost one month into the school year, a new group of international students are well into their immersion experience in Massachusetts. It’s no surprise that many international students choose to study in Boston, after all, the city is a hub for colleges and universities. If you’re curious about the international student population in Massachusetts (or in the U.S. in general), here is some information you may find interesting!

How many international students study in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is #4 in the ranking of most international students by state. According to the most recent Open Doors Report from the Institute of International Education, Massachusetts had about 62, 926 international students in 2017, a 5.9% increase from the previous year.

Where do international students study?

While Massachusetts has a variety of schools with international student populations, the institutions with the most international students are Northeastern University (13,201), Boston University (8,992), Harvard University (5,978), MIT (4,685) and UMASS Amherst (3,364). Aside from these larger universities, MA and specifically Boston are home to many language schools where students from all over the world come to study English. Students staying with Global Immersions' host families attend these various language schools, as well as different universities and community colleges in the Boston area.

Where do international students in Massachusetts come from?

According to the data, most international students in the state are from China (33.6%), followed by students from India (15.25%), South Korea (4.7%), Canada (3.9%) and Saudi Arabia (2.6%). Most students that study overseas in the U.S. during their college years come from China, however, India has a fast-growing population of international students. It is expected that a larger portion of international students will be from India in the future. 


This map shows the leading places of origin for international students in the U.S. The darker the blue, the more international students from that country.

What do international students in Massachusetts study?

International students are enrolled in many different programs and focus on a lot of different subjects. Many students choose Boston to study language, however, at four-year universities, popular major choices include those in the STEM fields, Business Administration, or the Arts and Humanities. According to Open Doors, in the U.S. most international students are enrolled in doctoral-granting universities, followed by master’s colleges and universities. Of the 20 million students enrolled in U.S. universities, over 1 million are international students. Of that 1 million, about 900,000 are enrolled in universities across the country, and about 175,000 are completing their OPT post-graduation. The chart below shows that on average, the number of international students in the U.S. has increased over time. 


Are you an international student studying in Boston this Fall? Like us on Facebook to take advantage of all the fun (and free!) events happening around the city. We hope you enjoy your immersion experience! 

A Boston Holiday Season

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 06, 2017

As many of you know, the start of December is the official kick off for the Winter holiday season, and Boston is as charming a city as they come this time of year. If you're looking for fun things to do this month, then look no further because we've compiled a list of the best activities this season.

Light shows:

Greenway Carousel: From December 1, 2017 through January 1, 2018, head over to the Greenway Carousel to take a spin against the backdrop of bright, festive light shows and favorite holiday tunes. Beginning at 4:45pm and running until close, these light shows are sure to brighten up a cold winter's evening.

Somerville Illumination Trolley Tours: Several homes in Somerville go all out with their holiday decorations, and the Somerville Arts Council created a trolley tour to shuttle interested parties from house to house to check them out. Tour is Saturday, December 16, from 4:30pm to 10:00pm. 

ZooLights, Stoneham: Every year, the Stoneham Stone Zoo puts on a dazzling holiday light show from 5:00pm to 9:00pm each evening through December 31. This spectacular display is in addition to wonderful holiday-themed decorations added to many animal enclosures.

The Lynn Fells Parkway, Saugus: For over 60 years, families pile into their cars for a slow drive down the Lynn Fells Parkway on the North Shore. Most residents on this mile-long stretch of road gave up counting the number of bulbs on their property, though their estimates are in the thousands.

Blink! Faneuil Hall: Holiday shoppers around the Faneuil Hall area have been able to enjoy an audiovisual show called Blink!, where 350,000 LED lights dance to the music of the Holiday Pops. The spectacle lasts about 7 minutes, but plays throughout the night from 4:30pm to 9:30pm until January 1.

La Salette Shrine: For over 60 years, La Salette Shrine in Attleboro has amazed visitors with displays of over 300,000 lights spread across 10 acres. There is also an international crèche museum with more than 1,000 crèches. Open daily from 5:00pm to 9:00pm though January 1.

Your OWN! If you can, take your visitor along for a drive around the neighborhood to see all of the holiday decorations near your home! And for a more comprehensive list of the best light shows around Boston, follow this link!

More holiday activities:


December can be a brutally cold month, and you won't always want to enjoy the holiday cheer outdoors. Instead, perhaps purchasing tickets to Boston Ballet: The Nutcracker, or the Holiday Pops show, or to Black Nativity, or to the Disney on Ice: Dream Big tour will fill you with the holiday spirit while keeping your hands and toes warm. Either way, any of these shows will prove to be quite fun. The Nutcracker and the Holiday Pops show run through December 31, Black Nativity will run through December 17, and the Disney on Ice tour will be here until January 1!

Another fun way to get into the holiday spirit is on the Northern Lights Boston Harbor cruise. There are three different holiday cruises this year: the Irish Christmas Carols Cruise, the Holiday Jazz Cruise, and the Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise, all featuring live music, holiday decor, and delicious beverages. Take your pick of these cheerful holiday cruises!


If you're downtown completing your holiday shopping, you should also check out the different ice skating opportunities! Frog Pond is an age-old favorite for many Bostonians. Bring your own or rent some skates and twirl on the rink surrounded by holiday lights covering Boston Common's trees. The city's newest skating venue is right in City Hall Plaza for Boston's Winter Wonderland. Open 7 days a week, Boston Winter offers a skating opportunity as well as an outdoor holiday shopping market!

Love to ski or snowboard? Nashoba Valley Ski Area is only 45 minutes away from Boston and has a lovely relaxed environment. The Blue Hills in Canton, MA is a family-oriented, good-for-learners mountain, and Pats Peak is another mountain in Southern New Hampshire that has lots of ski/snowboard instructors on site and homemade food in the cafeteria. If you'd like a longer list of nearby skiing and snowboarding opportunities, follow this link!

If you're interested in Boston's history, then come out to the 244th Boston Tea Party Reenactment. On December 16, 6:30pm, meet at the Old South Meeting House near State Street to join more than 100 volunteer reenactors, including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock. The procession will gather at the Old South Meeting House for a debate and proceed with fifes and drums in tow to Griffin's Wharf to dump a load of tea in the Boston Harbor. Rain or shine, it should be a sight to see!


Last and certainly not least, welcome in the New Year at First Night 2018! Join the million or so people who come to celebrate the New Year in Boston at this huge city-wide event. There will be entertainers, food, performances, a parade, fireworks, and ice sculptures. Be sure to bundle up and head into the city on December 31 for some great eats and even better experiences!

Common Misspellings in the English Language

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

For those who are learning English as a second language, I'm sure you know that English is one difficult language to master. We understand that. In all honesty, English can be tricky even for native speakers. Just take, for example, the most misspelled words by each state in America. Strangely (or not-so-strangely), Wisconsinites tend to have an issue spelling Wisconsin. Go figure.

If you're from Massachusetts, apparently you might have had some trouble spelling "license" - does the 's' come before the 'c', is there even a 'c' to begin with? Hard to know sometimes. Google compiled a list of the most misspelled words by each state, and the results are very interesting! Here are a few of our favorites:

State

Misspelled Word

Alaska

Schedule

Florida

Receipt

Illinois

Appreciate

Mississippi

Nanny

Tennessee

Chaos

Wisconsin

Wisconsin

To check out the results for the rest of the states, follow this link.

According to Oxford English Corpus, an electronic compilation of over 2 billion English words, the list of the most misspelled English words is far greater and more complex than "schedule" and "chaos". Words like "gist" make the list because, yes, it is spelled with a 'g', and not with a 'j' - even though it's pronounced [jist]. *Palms face*. English can be quite the confounding language. Based on the Oxford list of most misspelled words, we chose a few to share with you:

Correct Spelling

Common Misspelling

Achieve

Acheive

Bizarre

Bizzare

Calendar

Calender

Definitely

Definately

Foreign

Foriegn

Forward

Foward

Happened

Happend

Independent

Independant

Knowledge

Knowlege

Publicly

Publically

Tongue

Tounge

To check out the full list, follow this link!

Learning a new language, especially one as complex and confusing as English, is tough work, and we applaud all of you that are attempting to master it!

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.


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