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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Chiba Japanese School Group!15-Mar-2019

Our largest group of Japanese teens from Chiba, Japan arrived to homestays. The group will atte..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Gifu High School Japanese Group!10-Mar-2019

A group of visitors from Gifu High School arrived to Boston and homestay on Sunday evening. The gro..


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Happy St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, March 14, 2019


Every year those of Irish ancestry celebrate St. Patrick’s day on March 17th. St. Patrick, the Irish patron saint himself, is commemorated for bringing Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century. Traditionally, the holiday had a religious connotation. The Irish would attend church in the morning and prepare feasts for the afternoon! Although March 17th usually corresponds with the Christian fasting holiday of Lent, the rules would be waived as a tribute to St. Patrick. The holiday has evolved over time and celebrations quickly spread to countries such as the United States where many people identify with Irish descent.




America is responsible for the first St. Patrick’s day parade in New York in 1762. More than 100 St. Patrick’s day parades are held across the United States annually, including cities such as Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Savannah! Chicago is known for celebrating the holiday by temporarily coloring the Chicago River green for about five hours. In the holiday’s home city of Dublin, Ireland, more than one million people take part in the St. Patrick festivities.  



There are many symbols associated with the holiday. If this is your first time celebrating St. Patrick’s day, the most important social cue to follow is to wear all things green! The tradition of wearing green began in the 17th century as Irish immigrants to the United States believed that wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairytale creatures who would pinch you otherwise. Leprechauns themselves are symbols of the holiday. Legend says that leprechauns are notoriously mischievous and are depicted as small bearded creatures with a green coat and hat. According to myths, they are most commonly seen at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold. Further, if you are to catch a leprechaun, he will grant you three wishes! Another important symbol of the holiday is a shamrock. A shamrock is a three-leaved clover said to represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Christianity. If you find a four-leaved clover, it is said that you will be bestowed with good luck!




Some of the favorite holiday foods include corned beef, cabbage, shepherd's pie, and Irish soda bread. Bakeries will decorate their pastries green and with symbols such as the shamrock noted above. Make sure to head to Boston’s very own St. Patrick’s day parade this Sunday, March 17th starting at 1 PM. Make sure to show us how you celebrate this St. Patrick’s day by using #HomestayBoston or sharing with @globalimmersions!


Sources: History, USA, Brittanica, BHG, Express


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

Valentine's Day in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Every mid-February, people around the world gather with loved ones to celebrate. In the United States and most western cultures, we celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th! Originally named after Valentine, the Saint of courtly love, this holiday is all about showing affection and appreciation to those closest to you. There are many versions of the story as to how Valentine’s Day came about. The most common tale is that the holiday first became associated with love and romance during the Middle Ages in England as spring mating season began. Valentine’s Day also has inspiration from a Roman pagan festival called Lupercalia that celebrated fertility and matchmaking. Nowadays, we associate the holiday with pink and red hearts, roses, and candy. You will also see figures of Cupid, the God of love, as a small figure flying with a bow and arrow. Legend says those who are shot with his arrow will fall madly in love with their partner.


In the modern day, Valentine’s Day is most commonly celebrated between romantic partners as a way to commemorate the relationship and the love the two share. Every Valentine’s Day is the most popular date night in town! Some people will plan their engagement proposals or weddings on Valentine’s Day to join the romantic spirit. However, many people also celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends and family. It is tradition to give your loved ones Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, or sweets like chocolate or candy as a way to show your appreciation for them. Kids in school often make handwritten Valentine’s Day notes expressing their favorite thing about each classmate. Every student has their own decorated box, and they take turns dropping off notes for each other! Valentine’s Day can also be a day for secret admirers. Many people will finally confess their love for those they have been crushing on as a romantic gesture. Overall the holiday is meant to tell others how special they are and how much they mean to us.




Although not a national holiday, you will see recognition of Valentine’s Day all around you in Boston! Many people will dress in pink or red clothing, bakeries will make special pastries, and people will gift flowers and chocolates to their loved ones. Make sure to check out the decorated Tunnel of Love at Christopher Columbus Park this month! They will light up the decorated tunnel every night now until February 28. Wherever you may be celebrating from, we want to see how you will be spending your Valentine’s Day. Share your experiences with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


Sources: History, TimeandDate


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


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

Ring in the New Year in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, December 28, 2018

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is already coming to an end. In just a few days Bostonians will celebrate the New Year with parties, fireworks, and family gatherings. How will you celebrate the New Year? New Year’s Eve, or First Night, is a popular holiday in Boston, with the city hosting several free and festive events to commemorate the start of 2019! If you don’t have NYE plans yet, here are some ways you can ring in the New Year in Boston.


Frog Pond Skating Spectacular

 On December 31st at 5: 00 pm, the Skating Club of Boston will host a free figure skating show at Boston Commons’ Frog Pond. This annual show features performances by national and international competitive figure skaters from the Skating Club of Boston as well as other soloists, groups, amateur, and beginner skaters, and The Skating Club of Boston’s synchronized skating and Theater on Ice teams. One exciting aspect of this year’s show is that it will be headlined by Olympic medalist, Ashley Wagner. After the show, turn your attention to the Common’s to watch the Mugar Family Fireworks display, beginning at 7: 00 pm.


First Night Boston 

First Night festivities will begin at noon on New Year’s Eve with live musical performances at Copley Square and the Prudential Center. There will also be arts & crafts, a puppet show, and cultural performances for younger children. Later in the evening, guests can view illuminated ice sculptures before making their way to Boston Common for the night’s first fireworks display. Musical performances are scheduled throughout the night and the event cumulates with a midnight pyrotechnics and light show. Those present at Copley Square can participate in the midnight countdown, followed by a “multi-sensory display of music, lights, and pyrotechnics”. You can find a complete schedule of performances here.


Boston Harbor Fireworks

Boston will also host a firework display between Long Wharf and Fan Pier by the city’s waterfront. The event will begin at 11:59 pm on December 31st to bring you into the New Year with an exciting firework show. As the harbor is expected to become crowded, the best spots to see fireworks and escape large crowds are at Christopher Columbus Park in the North End, at Fan Pier in the Seaport District and from the East Boston Harborwalk.

First Day

The celebrations don’t stop on New Year’s Eve. On January 1st, Boston hosts First Day events, too. Spend the first day of 2019 at Copley Square, partaking in different activities for family and children. The event runs from 12: 00 pm – 4: 00 pm and is free and open to the public.

Happy New Year to all our host families and international visitors! We hope your 2018 was filled with new and exciting experiences. Share your favorite memories from the past year with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

Boston Holiday Markets

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas is right around the corner, only 5 days away! Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Whether you’re buying presents for others or just want to look around, you can’t go wrong with one of Boston’s seasonal markets. Check out this list below to see where you should shop this weekend! 


Harvard Square Holiday Market 

The Harvard Square Holiday Fair returns Cambridge for its 33rd season. This holiday market features a variety of handmade items from local New England artists. As you browse the market, stopping at different stores and speaking to the craftspeople, you’ll find a selection of unique gifts, from jewelry to ceramics, to paintings to candles -perfect for friends, family, or yourself! This year’s Holiday Fair will be held at St. Paul’s Church Hall at 29 Mt. Auburn St. The market is open weekdays from 11:30 am- 7: 00 pm, Saturday from 10: 00 am – 7: 00 pm, and Sunday from noon – 6: 00 pm. Admission is free!


Downtown Boston Holiday Market

Have you walked through Downtown Crossing lately? If so, then maybe you’ve seen the Downtown Holiday Arts Market at its new pop-up location at 467 Washington Street. While doing some holiday shopping Downtown, make sure you stop by the Holiday Market where area vendors will be showcasing their work. Like the Harvard Square Holiday Fair, this winter market has an array of different handmade items, such as woodcarvings, metal sculptures, food, clothing and much more. You can find a list of participating vendors here – I’m sure you’ll recognize a few names! The Holiday Arts Market will be open until January 6th (with the exception of Christmas Day and January 1-2) The market is open weekdays from 11:00 am – 7: 00 pm and weekends from 11: 00 am – 5: 00 pm. 



Boston’s Cultural Survival Bazaar is an annual event at the Prudential Center that brings together indigenous artists from a range of different cultures. This special market is the perfect place to find a gift for globally-minded friends and family while supporting indigenous cultures. In the past, the Bazaar has brought artists from the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tibet, India, Nepal, China, and many more. Make a quick trip around the world by browsing handcrafted pottery, blown glass, natural-dyed textiles, baskets, jewelry, and paintings. The Bazaar is open December 21st- 23rd from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm and until 8:00 pm on Sunday

Happy Holiday shopping! Share your unique holiday finds with us by Happy Holidays! If you see any of these festive plays, be sure to share your experience with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

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!

Boston Celebrates Cultural Diversity

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Boston is a diverse city, home to many different cultures and ethnicities. Boston’s diversity makes the city an interesting place to live and study, as different cultural groups share their heritage through food, cultural events, or even film festivals. Boston City Hall has found a unique way to celebrate the different cultures that make up Boston, raising a flag at City Hall each month to bring awareness to the city’s diversity. The Mayor’s office has chosen to commemorate flags from many countries and community’s to “create an environment in the city where everyone feels included and is treated with respect”. According to the Mayor's office, the goal of displaying these flags is also to “foster diversity and build and strengthen connections among Boston's many communities.”


(The Ethiopian Flag raised outside City Hall)

If you have walked by City Hall, in Boston’s Government Center, then perhaps you have noticed another nation’s flag, raised next to those of the United States, Massachusetts, and Boston. Often times, along with a flag raising, the designated cultural group will hold an event, sharing their traditions and heritage with the rest of the city. Depending on the culture, flag raising ceremonies may include dancing, live music, food, and public speeches. Thus, the City Hall flagpole serves as a sort of community meeting place. The steps outside City Hall have become a place of cultural appreciation, where Boston residents can learn more about each other and celebrate each other’s differences.  


(Puerto Rican community members gather at the Peurto Rican Flag Raising)

The full schedule for upcoming flag raising ceremonies is not yet complete, though the Mayor’s Office Website indicates the February flag will be Lithuania, followed by Pride Week, Caribbean American and Puerto Rico in the late spring and summer. Cultural groups can contact the Mayor’s office if they wish to have their flag displayed.


(Performers at the Italian Flag Raising Ceremony)

What are some of the values and traditions of your culture? Share them with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


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