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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Danish Haderslev Handelsskole Group 29-Sep-2019

A large group of Danish visitors from Haderslev Handelsskole (https://www.hhs.dk/) arrived to Bo..

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Explore Boston: Chinatown and Dim Sum

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Like all neighborhoods in Boston, Chinatown has a fascinating history built on the foundations of hard working immigrants and fervent culture. The South Cove, where Boston Chinatown now resides, was originally built in the 1840s on top of a landfill to establish railroads and row houses. Close to the industrial sector, the neighborhood became a hotspot for new immigrants such as the Irish, the Germans, and the Jews. However, by 1870, there was a flood of young male Chinese immigrants. The majority of Chinese immigrants set up laundry shops and lived in their workplace alone. As a result of the Chinese Exclusion Act, families of the workers were unable to come to America. Thus the men would work all day and send their earnings back home to China to support their families there. As more and more Chinese immigrants continued to flood into the community, the neighborhood was officially recognized as Chinatown by the 1880s.



The community continued to grow into the beginnings of the 20th century. Laundry shops were still the most common workplace, followed by restaurants, nightclubs, and the opium trade. Many Chinese-Americans volunteered and fueled the war efforts, eventually resulting in the abolition of the Chinese Exclusion Act. By the mid-20th century, spirits were high as Chinatown began to fill with women, children, and families. In 1965, the Immigration Reform Act was put into place which eradicated previous immigration quotas. Once again Chinatown experienced more growth as more Chinese came, including families and university-educated intellectuals from cities like Hong Kong. During this influx of residents, social organizations such as the Chinese American Civic Association and the South Cove Community Health Center were established and expanded to serve the growing population.



By the 1990s, many young Chinese scholars took refuge in the neighborhood under the Chinese Student Protection Act following the Tiananmen Square massacre. Most educated individuals end up in high tech industries while working class individuals often work in the Chinatown restaurant industries forming the backbone foundation of the local economy. Today, Chinatown is one of the must see neighborhoods in Boston with its delicious food, infamous festivals, and vibrant culture.



If you are able to visit Chinatown in 2019, make sure to leave time in your schedule for a Dim Sum meal! Literally translated to mean “touch the heart,” Dim Sum is a traditional Chinese meal of made of small plates of savory or sweet treats, tea, and shared with close company. Traditional dishes include varieties of tea and often steamed buns such as roasted pork buns, steamed rice dumplings, beef noodle rolls, or fried sesame balls. Each dish is served in portions meant for 3-4 people. It is recommended you order many different dishes to split amongst the table! Dim Sum has recently become popularized in the United States and other western cultures, but the best spots are still found in your local Chinatown. Here are some of the best restaurants in Boston to try Dim Sum! You will find that Dim Sum served here is similar to Chinese cuisine for brunch, while the traditional cultures in Hong Kong and the Guangdong Province may serve the meal at any time throughout the day.



Although Americanized Dim Sum is different from the traditional meal in China, there are many customs that still the same. When eating Dim Sum, here are a few tips to remember! First, make sure to take small bites and eat slowly in order to maximize the delectable homemade flavors. Similarly, in Dim Sum, the less soy sauce you use, the better, as it masks the true flavor of the dish. Second, make sure to keep your chopsticks to yourself. Although serving others may be well-intended, it is most polite to keep your own utensils to yourself to minimize germs. However, there is one exception: when receiving the kettle for tea, make sure to serve others around you before yourself! Click here to learn more Do’s and Don’ts of Dim Sum!


As always, we want to see your favorite Chinatown and Dim Sum experiences in Boston! Share with us @globalimmersions or by using #HomestayBoston.


Memorial Day Then and Now

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, May 24, 2019


Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Memorial Day is an American holiday dedicated to honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the United States military. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, this year across the country we will commemorate Memorial Day on Monday, May 27th.



Memorial Day was originally born from the American Civil War, as a way to respect and honor those who had fallen to protect their country. The American Civil war took more American lives than any other U.S. conflict and resulting in the establishment of America’s first national cemeteries. Back then, the holiday was named Decoration Day and was proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, General John Logan to be on May 30th “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion…”. The first Memorial Day commemoration took place at Arlington National Cemetery where 5,000 citizens came to honor more than 20,000 fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. New York was the first state to officiate the holiday in 1873 and was quickly adopted by the northern states by 1890. The South celebrated and remembered their dead on a different day. However, after World War I, the holiday was changed from honoring only the fallen from the Civil War, to honoring American deaths in all and any war. After the congressional National Holiday Act of 1971, Memorial Day is celebrated by almost every state as a three day weekend.



Everyone chooses to celebrate or remember those who they have lost in different ways. However, there are a few universal traditions that are historically used to commemorate Memorial Day. First, is the National Moment of Remembrance. Passed in December 2000, this resolution asks that at 3 PM local time on Memorial Day for all American citizens to pause for a moment of silence or listen to the song ‘Taps’ as a way to honor our fallen soldiers. Another quintessential part of Memorial Day is the symbol of poppy flowers. Started by poet Moina Michael in 1915, wearing red poppy flowers has become a way to recognize, show appreciation for, and honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our country. Americans will also visit memorials and cemeteries on Memorial Day, leaving flowers, flags, and notes to show their appreciation. Many towns and cities will have Memorial Day parades to honor local military families and encourage patriotism. The largest and most decorated parades take places in New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. It is also common to make patriotically decorated food for Memorial Day barbecues as a small reminder of the sacrifices our military has made for us.



If you are in Boston for the weekend, make sure to visit Boston Common for the Massachusetts Military Heroes Garden of Flags display. The Common will be decorated with more than 37,000 American flags to represent and commemorate each of the Massachusetts soldiers who have given their lives to protect our nation’s freedom. Additionally, on Saturday May 25, Veterans Memorial Park in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood will be celebrating the holiday with their 73rd Annual Memorial Day Service at 11 AM.


As always, we want to see how you celebrate! Please send us your favorite Memorial Day memories and traditions by sharing with us @globalimmersions or using #HomestayBoston.


History of Ice Cream in America

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, May 16, 2019


Ice cream has been part of the American culture since our Founding Fathers built our nation! Records by New York Merchants show that George Washington spent $200 alone on ice cream in the summer of 1790. He even had a 306 piece ice cream serving set in the home used when entertaining his guests. What’s more, Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing the first ice cream recipe to the United States after tasting the frozen treat earlier in France. He had ice boxes installed at his estate, Monticello, so that he could serve ice cream all year long! Ultimately ice cream was reserved for the elite until around 1800 when insulated ice houses were invented, which helped to popularize the treat for the masses. Even immigrants coming to Ellis Island were often given ice cream as their first taste of America!




The American ice cream industry took off in 1851 with the help of milk dealer, Jacob Fussell. From there, as technologies involving refrigeration, mechanization, automobile distribution, and pasteurization advanced, ice cream rates of production and consumption skyrocketed! Consumption rates were at an all time high at the beginning of Prohibition as the people substituted one vice for another (alcohol to ice cream) with a national consumption of 260 million gallons of ice cream in 1920! Later on after World War II, we celebrated the end of the war by eating ice cream with returning troops after the dairy product ration was lifted. That is just about as patriotic as it gets. In the 1980's in the lingerings of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan declared the month of July, National Ice Cream Month, as a way to lift the morale of the American people. Today, the average American consumes more than 45 pints of ice cream per year, which equates to around $10 billion in frozen dairy consumption both in the winters and summers. It is safe to say that ice cream and the American culture go hand in hand.



If you have ever had American ice cream, you know that we take our toppings and flavors very seriously. One of the leading American ice cream brands, Ben and Jerry’s, boasts of having more than 54 flavors currently available for consumer purchase ranging from plain vanilla to pistachio to strawberry cheesecake. And there are so many ways to eat ice cream too! We eat hard ice cream, soft serve, milkshakes, cones to choose from, ice cream trucks, ice cream parlors, and more. Many ice cream shops have topping bars that may include hot fudge, caramel, sprinkles, cookies, candies, etc. Choose your favorite combination or switch it up every time! Lucky for you, Boston has some of the best ice cream parlors in the country. Click here for our favorite places in the city for ice cream!

Which Boston ice cream place is your favorite? Share with us @globalimmersions or by using #HomestayBoston!


Sources: NPR, Boston, IDFA, Washington


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.


Happy Mother's Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 08, 2019


Mother’s Day is celebrated by different countries and cultures around the globe as a way to recognize and show gratitude for all that mothers and mother figures do. In the United States, we traditionally celebrate the holiday on the second Sunday in the month of May. (For those of you who have not checked the calendar, Mother’s Day is this upcoming Sunday, May 12th!) The holiday was incarnated by Anna Jarvis to the United States in 1908 and became an official holiday in 1914. Countries such as Canada and Australia celebrate the second Sunday in May as well. However, other countries celebrate an equivalent Mother’s Day holiday during different months of the year. The map below shows which months countries around the world observe the holiday.




For example, countries like Egypt or other Arab countries typically celebrate the holiday around March 21st to celebrate with the marked beginning of Spring. Countries like Japan and India have chosen to import the westernized holiday and celebrate Mother’s Day in Spring. Most of Western Europe celebrates the holiday in May, while the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe choose to celebrate in March. Although these countries celebrate at different times, most of their gifts and celebrations are actually the same! The most common customs are giving thoughtful cards and presenting flowers to mothers. For instance, in Thailand, the most common flower to give a mother is jasmine! In the United Kingdom, Mother’s Day has many historical and religious roots to Christianity and a former celebration called Mothering Sunday that was celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent. To this day the churches will hand out daffodils for young children to give to their moms. In the U.K. it is also customary to make mothers fruitcake!

There are other ways of giving as well. A favorite tradition in the United States is to make your mother her favorite breakfast foods and bring the dishes on a tray to her bed. This way she is able to relax and enjoy her morning. Many families will have extended family or close friends over to celebrate. Other common gifts may include jewelry, clothing, and family photos. Click here for homemade gift ideas! The most important advice when choosing a gift for Mother’s Day is to be thoughtful and think about what acts of appreciation would mean the most to her.

On behalf of our family here at Global Immersions, we would like to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all of our host mothers! We appreciate you and all that you do. Please share your favorite Mother's Day memories with us @globalimmersions or using #HomestayBoston.


Sources: TimeandDate, Time, Scholastic, History


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.



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