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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Ritsumeikan University!09-Feb-2020

Global Immersions Homestay welcomed a group of college students from Ritsumeikan University (http://..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - SHOWA February Group02-Feb-2020

Global Immersions welcomed a group of female Japanese visitors from SHOWA Boston (https://showabosto..


Best in Hospitality

Happy Valentine's Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day!




Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the world, but why? Here’s more to know about the history behind the romantic holiday and the traditions in other countries. 


There are many claims about the origin of the holiday as there is not one story. A priest wrote a note to his jailor’s daughter and signed it with “from your Valentine”. He was martyred in 270 C.E.by emperor Claudius II Gothicus. Another possibility is that St. Valentine married couples in secret to save the husbands from being drafted to the military, which was against the emperor’s wishes. It became a holiday in the 1300s after Pope Gelasius I changed the festival of Lupercalia, in which women and men were coupled by lottery, to St. Valentine’s Day. The first Valentine’s Day cards were distributed in the 1500's and printed in the late 1700's. The United States didn’t officially print them until the 19th century. For more information, click here.



Here, in the United States, it is common for couples to go out on a dinner date and exchange chocolate, roses, balloons and teddy bears on the “day of love”. Single friends celebrate together and treat themselves for “Galentine's Day” instead. In schools, children write notes for their classmates and pass out candy. But what about other countries?




In Denmark, in addition to giving chocolate to friends and lovers, snowdrops (white flowers) are placed inside handmade cards. Estonia and Finland celebrate not only for couples, but for everyone with “Friendship Day”. In South Korea, not only is the 14th of February a day for celebration, but every 14th of each month is a special day! In Ghana, National Chocolate Day is celebrated as it is one of the world’s largest cocoa producers. A “Week of Sweetness” is celebrated in Argentina in July. In the Philippines, February 14th is the most common day to get married as hundreds of couples are married every year. It is also a common day for couples to get engaged in Romania. Bulgarians celebrate with wine on the “Day of Winemakers”. For how more countries celebrate the day, click here and here.


Need some music for Valentine’s Day? Check these love songs out: Love Story - Taylor Swift, Valentine - 5 Seconds of Summer, My Funny Valentine - Frank Sinatra, Valentine - Willie Nelson, and All You Need is Love - The Beatles. For more songs, click here and here.


Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, January 23, 2020

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!




2020 is the Year of the Rat! This year’s Chinese New Year begins on January 25th and ends on February 4th. This time is called the Spring Festival. The Lantern Festival Festival follows from February 5th to the 8th. Keep reading to learn more about the most important Chinese holiday!




During Chinese New Year, dumplings are eaten in order to “send away” the past and welcome in the new year. A coin is placed to a random dumpling and the person to receive it will have good luck in the upcoming year. Noodles are another staple dish to eat during this special time. It is believed that the longer the noodle, the longer one’s life will be and it is forbidden to chew or cut the noodles. To celebrate the approach of spring, spring rolls are enjoyed in many variations. Certain ingredients in meals represent different symbolic meanings in the Chinese culture. For example, duck symbolizes loyalty, lobster represents endless money, eggs equal a healthy and large family, shrimp is for wealth, tofu means happiness for the family and fish stands for surplus. In addition, seaweed represents wealth, lotus seeds are considered the key to a healthy family, grapefruit symbolizes hope and bamboo shoots mean longevity.  




For dessert, simple rice and sponge cakes are served after dinner which symbolize success. Turnip cake (made of radishes) are enjoyed for breakfast or on the 7th day of the Spring Festival. Flowers are a common ingredient in Chinese desserts such as in Jujube Flower Cakes which stand for wishes coming true or blessings for children. Friendship and success are represented by the “may flower” petals used in the Osmanthus Jelly dessert. Rice balls filled with bean paste are traditionally eaten as the first breakfast of the year in the South while in the North, people shape them like peaches to symbolize longevity. 




Children receive red envelopes with money from their elders in order to have a good year full of fortune and blessings. Red is an important color in Chinese culture as it represents fortune and happiness. To protect themselves from demons and monsters, people hang red decorations and poems outside their houses. Fun fact: it is bad luck to say negative words, sweep, break glass, use sharp objects, fight or give forbidden gifts such as clocks during the Spring Festival. For more information about Chinese New Year traditions, food and myths, click here.




For the Lantern Festival, people write down their wishes and release the lantern up to the sky, with the hope that their wishes will come true in the upcoming year. 





Here in Boston, the Chinese New Year Parade will be held on February 2nd, starting at 11am in Chinatown. There will be dragon dances, martial arts, drummers, lion dances, firecrackers and more! For the full list of details about the celebration, click here.

  


In addition to the Parade, the Museum of Fine Arts offers FREE admission to the museum from 10am - 5pm on February 1st to attend the New Year Celebration. There will be performances, dancers, activities and traditions. For more information, click here


Global Immersions wishes you a happy and healthy Chinese Lunar New Year!


Martin Luther King Junior Day (MLK)

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, January 18, 2020

Happy Martin Luther King Junior Day!


January 20th, 2020, is a federal holiday to celebrate and honor Martin Luther King Junior. Although his birthday is January 15th, MLK Day is always observed on the third Monday of January. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1983 to officiate the day, while it was initially presented to Congress in 1960. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first celebrated three years later in 1986 and we still continue to commemorate him today. 




Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and received a quality education. He faced racism as a child which led him to advocate for equality for his whole life. At the young age of 15, Dr. King attended Morehouse College and graduated with a bachelor in sociology. He went on to Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania to obtain a bachelor in Divinity and then a PhD in theology from Boston University. He married Coretta Scott, had 4 children and was a minister at a local church in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks was arrested because she refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, which began the Montgomery Bus Boycott. King lead the Montgomery Improvement Association in attempts to desegregate the transit system. He supported sit-ins, protests and gave speeches to promote equality and speak out against racism. The “I Have a Dream” speech is most well known from the Washington March on August 28th, 1963. This lead to the Civil Rights Act being established a year later, which made discrimination officially illegal. He won a Nobel Peace Prize due to his activism in the Civil Rights Movement. King organized 1,500 people for the Selma March in 1965 which was met with extreme violence from authorities. The Voting Rights Act was established after this event caught the nation’s attention. He was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. 




Quotes: 


“Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'” - the March on Washington


“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”


We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”


“The time is always right to do what’s right.”


"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."


"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."



Martin Luther King Jr. played an important role in desegregation, equality and the Civil Rights Movement. Known for his peaceful protests, inspiring speeches and preachings, Dr. King’s legacy will live on forever.


Sources:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Martin-Luther-King-Jr/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/16/mlk-day-martin-luther-king-jr-holiday-monday/2838025001/

http://drmartinlutherking.net/


New Year's in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, December 30, 2019


What a year 2019 has been. It's crazy to think that not only is the new year approaching, but the next decade! If you're spending New Year's in Boston and don't have plans yet, be sure to check out some of these FREE events! Plus, the MBTA will be FREE on New Year's Eve from 8pm - 2am. 

First Night


On Tuesday, December 31st at Copley Square, there will be live performances, fireworks and more! Musical guests will play all afternoon as well as puppet shows, drumming and improv. Illuminated ice sculptures will be on display such as a replica of the Mayflower in honor of Plymouth's 400 year anniversary! For more information and a full lineup of performers, click here.   

Fireworks on the Harbor


Ring in the New Year from either the East Boston Harborwalk, Christopher Columbus Park in the North End, or Fan Pier in the Seaport District to view the spectacular firework display over the Boston Harbor! This is the 40th year of the firework tradition in celebrating New Year's! The show will begin at 12am and for more details click here

Frog Pond Skating Spectacular 


At 6pm at the Boston Common Frog Pond, watch the show presented by the Skating Club of Boston. This year the show features the incredible Mirai Nagasu, the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics. As a two time Olympian, she won a bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics and is a seven-time U.S. national medalist. There will be a firework display by the Mugar Family on the Boston Common at 7pm after the skating. For more information, click here. 

For a full list of New Year's activities, click here. 

Global Immersions wishes you a safe, fun and exciting New Year's! Best of luck in 2020! Tag us on Instagram @globalimmersions and use #homestayboston! 

Happy Veteran's Day Boston!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, November 08, 2019


This upcoming Monday, November 11th marks Veteran’s Day, and, as always, Boston has many events to pay respect to the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Originally called Armistice Day, November 11th marks the date of the end of World War I.  However, in 1954, it became known as Veteran’s Day, celebrating and honoring all American veterans.

Since Veteran’s Day is always on November 11th, many Boston events celebrating the holiday take place the weekend before.  This year, Boston’s annual Veteran Day Parade is this upcoming Sunday, November 10th at 1 pm on the corner of Tremont and Boylston streets.  There is also a second Veteran’s Day parade that starts right after the first, called the Veteran’s for Peace Parade.  This march is to celebrate a day of peace and unity, as seen from the signs and banners that people walking in the parade carry to promote peace and non-violent solutions to war.  Both parades march the same route, ending at the statue of Samuel Adams in Faneuil Hall where there are speeches, poetry readings, and more.

Another annual event in Boston is the Veteran’s Day Cruise.  This year, the cruise will take place on Saturday, November 9th from 11:00 am to 3:15 pm.  Leaving from Boston Harbor, this cruise includes a narrated boat tour to Georges Island, where you then go on a guided tour of Fort Warren.  Fort Warren is a Civil-War era fort constructed from 1833 to 1861 to protect Boston.  Many Union soldiers were trained there and it served as a prison for many members of the Confederate forces.  After the tour, there are reflections on service as well as fun activities for families to enjoy!  This cruise is free for veterans and up to 3 family members, so get your tickets today!

On Veteran’s Day, businesses and local attractions and communities will also show their appreciation by offering discounts or free meals.  In Boston and nationwide, there are a number of restaurants participating, including deals like a free donut at Dunkins’, a free meal at Applebee’s and a free entree and drink at California Pizza Kitchen.  Click here to see a full list of deals in the Boston area.  From Saturday to Monday, Franklin Zoo and Stone Zoo are also offering free admission for veterans.  Lastly, there are many local events to celebrate and commemorate veterans, including the Veterans Monument Conservation in Cambridge, Harvard Extension Veterans Day Celebration at Harvard, Veteran's Day - Honoring Vets Service in Malden, and Veterans Day Commemoration & Exhibit in Newton to name a few. 

Wherever and however you celebrate, we hope you enjoy the day. And to all of our hosts who are veterans - we thank you for your service!

Halloween In Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, October 28, 2019

October is here and that means that that the Halloween festivities are in full force!  There is not only a flurry of events going on in and around Boston, but there are so many fun things that you can do in your own home.  For visitors coming from abroad, it is possible that they may have experienced Halloween or something similar in their country, as the origins of Halloween are based in Celtic and European traditions.  In other places, like Mexico, there is a different holiday to celebrate the dead, called Dia de los Muertos.  With so much spooky activity going on this month, we thought we would hone in on Halloween in Boston - both in the city and at home!

There are no shortage of fun fall and Halloween activities to participate in with your visitor, without having to even leave the house.  One tradition a lot of our hosts love to engage in is carving pumpkins together.  You can get the pumpkin at a pumpkin patch or just at your local supermarket (which would have a pumpkin carving kit as well).  Just lay down the newspaper and carve away!

Another great Halloween activity for those who really want to embrace the holiday is decorating the house. Whether it is spider webs on the bushes, spooky lights up the walkway, a ghost in the tree, or even more, it is a great way to make the house look and feel festive.

Lastly, one of the most arguably important Halloween activities is picking out your costume! Some people like to go out to a thrift store or a special Halloween pop up store to see what treasures they can find there, while others look in their wardrobe to try to find any costumes they may have left over from prior year.  

If you want to get out and experience what Halloween in the city, there are lots of options available to you!  Here’s just a short list of the many events happening in Boston, and you can also click here for Boston's Ultimate Halloween Guide:


Boston is also close to one of the towns that contains supernatural attractions year-round - Salem, Massachusetts! Known for the Salem Witch Trials, this town is a hot-bed for psychics, mediums, magic, and, in October, the "Haunted Happenings" festival.  Taking place throughout the entire month of October, this festival includes a Psychic Fair & Witches Market and the Ghosts & Legends Trolley, along with all the year-round attractions like the Salem Witch Museum and the Witch Mansion haunted house.

Every family has different traditions for the day itself.  Some people go to Halloween parties, some like to hand out candy to kids from the neighborhood, and some are actually going out trick-or-treating with their little ones.  Either way, it is a chance to dress up and make a night of it!  Happy Halloween!

Sources: History.com, Haunted Happenings






Leaf Peeping in New England

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, October 11, 2019

Fall is in full swing, with a crisp in the air and all your favorite seasonal treats coming back into rotation.  One of the most wonderful parts about living in New England is that we get such distinct seasons, and with the Fall comes the changing of leaves.  Vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows dominate the New England color scheme throughout September and October, and present the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy the colorful scenery with some leaf peeping!

Every state has different peak foliage time; for Massachusetts, mid-October is the best time to go peep some leaves.  If you want to head outside of the state, check out this live “Peak Fall Foliage Map” to see how the color progresses through all of New England.

With many state forests and scenic drives, there are options to catch the fall leaves whether you want to stay closer to Boston or drive up to New Hampshire or Vermont.  Here’s a list of some options for every type of leaf peeper to enjoy!

Middlesex Fells


Often referred to simply as the Fells, this state park stretches across Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Winchester.  There are more than 100 miles of hiking trails and two reservations  for you to explore.  To really get a good glimpse of the leaves, hike up to Wright Tower where you’ll get a spectacular view of Boston, the surrounding area, and the bright foliage!

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary


Broadmoor is an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary that over 800 acres on the Charles River in Natick and Sherborn.  It’s got 9 miles of hiking trails through forest, wetlands, and fields.  In the fall, one of the best activities to do there is canoe along the Charles River and take in the beautiful variety of colors.

Walden Pond


Just down Route 2 in Concord, Walden Pond is a serene getaway where you can hike the trails to see the home of Henry David Thoreau or take a boat out on the pond and get a 360 degree view of the trees and their vivid reflections on the water.

Emerald Necklace


The Emerald Necklace cover 1,100 acres in the Boston Area, and is made up of several parks and recreation areas including the Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica, Pond, Olmstead Park, and The Riverway.  You can walk the 7 miles from one end to the other or explore park by park.  To see a huge variety of trees, the Arboretum bordering Roslindale and Jamaica Plain has a lot of leaves to peep with 14,980 different kinds of plants.

If you are feeling more ambitious, there are an abundance of scenic drives that you can take to get out of Boston and be immersed in the fall beauty.  The Berkshires have many scenic drives and hikes to enjoy.  To see a comprehensive list of leaf peeping drives, check out this Boston Magazine article on “The 15 Best Foliage Drives in New England”.





Explore Boston: North Neighborhoods

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, September 22, 2019

Explore Boston: Neighborhoods

This week in our Explore Boston series, we’re heading back to the north of Boston to check out Medford, Malden and Revere. These cities cover a large stretch, on one side bordering Somerville and Arlington and, on the other, Winthrop, Everett and the Broad Sound.  Each town is so distinct in itself, so let’s start the tour with Medford!

Medford


The name Medford originates from “the ford by the meadow” or “Meadford”, highlighting importance of the fordable part of the Mystic River just west of Medford Square.  While it has developed to have more of an urban feel, there are still many historical landmarks, houses, and monuments.  One example is the Royall House and Slave Quarters, a Colonial mansion house and what are believed to be the only surviving freestanding slave quarters in the Northeast.  Medford also boasts a lot of natural beauty with the Middlesex Fells, Mystic River State Reservation, and Wright’s Pond.  In terms of food, Medford has got you covered from breakfast at Donuts with a Difference or Magnificent Muffin and Bagel Shoppe to dinner at one of the abundant Italian restaurants like Nappi’s or Bocelli’s.  Finish off your day with some delicious ice cream at Colleen’s Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop, which has been a staple of Medford Square since 1990.

Malden


Bordering the Mystic River and the Middlesex Fells, Malden was originally settled by Puritans and was considered part of Charlestown.  They eventually established themselves as a separate town and have grown into a diverse and developing community.  If you’re looking to spend the day on puzzles and games, grab a group of friends head to Boda Borg or 8D Escape Room to put your mind to the test.  Afterwards, you can grab a bite to eat at one of Malden’s many incredible ethnic restaurants – try All Seasons Table for modern Pan-Asian cuisine, Exchange Street Bistro for Spanish-French fusion tapas, or Habesha for Ethiopian.  For some quality time in nature, head out to the Fells or Pine Banks Park to enjoy the beautiful hiking trails.

Revere


Revere was originally inhabited by Native Americans who belonged to the Pawtucket Tribe, but was taken over by Colonial settlers who established as the town of Revere in 1871, in honor of Paul Revere.  The Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation operates a museum that documents the city’s history from its origins in the early Colonial period to the present. If you’d rather do something outdoorsy, you could do some bird-watching at Rumney Marsh Reservation or walk the trails and see the last remaining salt marshes at Belle Isle Reservation.  If you just want to relax on the beach, Revere Beach is a 3-mile stretch which hosts a yearly International Sand Sculpting Contest with some incredible submissions.  And if you need to grab a bite, there is no shortage of amazing seafood and seaside restaurants, including Hook and Reel Cajun Seafood, Kelly’s Roast Beef, and The Marina Restaurant and Bar.

Boston Apple Picking

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, September 15, 2019

Boston-Local Apple and Pumpkin Picking Hotspots

Fall is officially here, and with the changing leaves and brisk autumn weather comes so many fun seasonal activities and foods.  One great way to start off the season is to do some apple or pumpkin picking, and Boston has some amazing places within driving distance.  So grab your keys and set off to one of these local farms or orchards for an apple-picking day trip!

Dowse Orchards - Sherborn, MA (40 mins)


Located West of Boston in Sherborn, Dowse Orchards has a long family history of farmers and has been running this farm stand for 60 years.  You can go there to “pick your own” apples and they also have lots of seasonal crops to enjoy, including pumpkins! 

 Belkin Family Lookout Farm - South Natick, MA (40 mins)


Belkin Farm offers a fun activities for both kids and adults.  In addition to being able to pick your own seasonal fruits (apples, plums, pears, peaches, etc…), they have train rides and children’s face painting!

Brooksby Farm - Peabody, MA (30 mins)


Brooksby Farm boasts a TON of amazing activities for you and your family to enjoy.  Not only do they have apple picking and a pumpkin yard, but in the Fall they also have hayrides, barnyard animals, cut your own bouquet, and a farm store and bakery!

Boston Hill Farm - North Andover, MA (35 mins)


Boston Hill Farm is a 12 generation family-owned farm out in North Andover, in which “pick your own” could mean any number of their seasonal fruits.  We’re coming out of berry season, but in the fall they have both apple and pumpkin picking and have an amazing farm stand  with all sorts of yummy treats!

Connors Farm - Danvers, MA (35 mins)


Located North of the city, Connors Farm is well-worth the visit.  It’s got both pumpkin and apple picking as well as fun Fall activities like hayrides, a great farm stand, and an amazing 7-acre corn maze! 

Pakeen Farm - Canton, MA (40 mins)


Fall has truly arrived at Pakeen Farms, who are in full-swing of the season with apples, pumpkins, cider, and mini donuts.  They also have a new attraction starting this year, called “Explore the Farmyard”

If a 40-minute drive isn’t for you, there’s also many local farms in Boston that may not have the apple-picking experiences, but will give you a taste of being outside the city.  Head out to Wilson Farm in Lexington to try their amazing apple cider donuts, pop over to Allandale Farm in Brookline for a hayride starting in October, or, if you’re in the heart of the city, go to the Boston Public Market  to see all the local farms and foods they have on display there! 

And if you want to check out more farms to visit, check out the Massgrown Map to get more inspiration!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Happy Labor Day Weekend!




Labor Day this year falls on Monday, September 2nd. It’s a long weekend and extra day off for Americans, but do you know the reason behind the holiday?




The history of Labor Day goes back to the 19th century labor movement during the Industrial Revolution. Americans worked 7 days a week for 12 hours each day to barely provide for their families. In addition, young children worked in factories to help support their parents. The country struggled; especially immigrants and the poor as the wages they received were low. These working conditions were extremely dangerous and gruesome, but the workers had no other choice. Labor unions were created which protested the long working hours, unsafe conditions and low wages. Strikes and rallies were held for years in order to raise awareness to the government of the issues. Finally, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill for Labor Day to become a national holiday in 1894. The Adamson Act was passed in 1916 and limited work days to 8 hours. 




Since this holiday is always on the first Monday of September, it represents the end of the summer as well as the start of the school year for most Americans. Typically there are fireworks, barbecues, parades and family gatherings held this weekend in the United States. Enjoy the weekend!


Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1



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