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Office Closed - Veteran's Day 201908-Nov-2019

The office will be closed from Friday, November 8 - Monday, November 11, 2019 for the Veteran's ..

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

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


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Thanksgiving Favorite Foods

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, November 22, 2019

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and besides getting together with family and expressing gratitude, one of the big features of the holiday is the amazing and abundant foods!  It’s a display of all our favorite fall foods, coupled with some special dishes that are reserved for Thanksgiving itself. 

One of the most iconic Thanksgiving foods, and the one we always save a little extra room for, is pie!  While most people think of pumpkin pie when they think of Thanksgiving, a study done by GE looked at the preferences of 1,550 people around the U.S., and found some differing opinions in their favorite post-dinner treat.  As shown in the map below, while the prevailing favorite was pumpkin, the Northeast seems to actually favor apple pie and in the South pecan is the most popular pie for the season.


In a separate poll taken about the overall favorites across the U.S., pumpkin pie again takes the lead with 36% of the country choosing this as their ideal Thanksgiving pie.  Apple and pecan seem to be tied for 2nd most popular, with percentages around 15%, and sweet potato pie came in fourth with 10% of the vote.


A regional difference is also seen with the rest of Thanksgiving dinner as well, with favored side dishes varying largely in popularity by region.  Bostonians might not necessarily think of mac and cheese as a traditional Thanksgiving side, but in the South, 35% of people have it on their menu!   And squash makes an appearance in 56% of New Englander’s Thanksgiving feasts, as compared to only 18% of the nation overall.



While these seem to be the most traditional Thanksgiving foods in the U.S., every family embraces the Thanksgiving meal in their own way, and may have pieces of their own culture to add. Thanksgiving is really a time of coming together and welcoming, so we hope whatever side dishes, desserts, and main courses are your favorites, that you enjoy the time spent with family and loved ones!

Sources: Delish, Food and Wine, Lonely Planet, FiveThirtyEight





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






August 2019 Festivals

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, August 09, 2019

African Festival of Boston




Saturday, August 10th from 10am - 7pm at the Boston Commons Park join the African Festival of Boston. This event is FREE and open to the public! Learn about African heritage through music, dancing and fun! For more information click here

India Day Festival


Saturday, August 17th from 3 - 8pm go to City Hall Plaza to attend the India Day Festival! This FREE event features Indian music, food and dance to celebrate Indian Independence Day. Enjoy and learn about Indian culture at this festival. Click here for more information.

Fort Point Festival

Sunday, August 18th from 12 - 5pm head to Thomson Place and Stillings Street for the Fort Point Festival! This street party is FREE with music, games, dancing, food and yoga! Hear a Prince tribute band, play cornhole and pose at the photobooth! This is the festival’s 2nd year and it’s going to be bigger than last year! Click here for more information.

Illuminate the Harbor Fireworks Celebration

Thursday, August 29th from 8:30 - 9pm enjoy fireworks at the 7th annual Illuminate the Harbor Fireworks Celebration. Fireworks can be seen from Christopher Columbus Park in the North End, Piers Park in East Boston and Fan Pier in the Seaport District. This FREE event celebrates summer, the city and the community. There will be live music at Christopher Columbus Park starting at 6:30pm. For more details, click here.

Boston Jazz Festival

Friday, August 30th and Saturday, the 31st check out the Boston Jazz Festival at Maritime Park in the Seaport! This event is FREE and full of live performers starting at 12pm! There’s plenty of food, music and fun to enjoy as this is their 9th year of the festival. Jazz originates in the United States with African American roots and this festival showcases everything from the classic to contemporary. For more information click here.

Fourth of July

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, June 29, 2019

Every year, at the peak of summer, Americans make a great commotion. Throughout the country people gather with family and friends, enjoy music and food, and send bombs bursting in air, lighting the night sky blue, red, and white. In Boston, these celebrations last a full week. It’s been called Independence Day, America’s Birthday, or simply, the Fourth of July. But before the barbecues and parades and fireworks; before the states even were, or could be, united as one, 56 delegates from the 13 British colonies of America committed treason against the British crown. 

By June 7th, 1776, war raged in the colonies for over a year. At this point, the escalating violence and Thomas Paine’s bestseller “Common Sense” had shifted the views of colonists. Where once the idea of complete Independence from Britain seemed extreme, widespread support for revolution resulted in a meeting of delegates from each colony. From Massachusetts, John Hancock, Sam Adams, John Adams, Robert Paine, and Elbridge Gerry joined fellow members of the Continental Congress in the sweltering summer heat of the Pennsylvania Statehouse. It was Richard Henry Lee from Virginia who first officially put forth the motion to declare independence from Britain. Debate ensued, and the meeting adjourned. But not before delegates Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were tasked with drafting an official document to explain their reasons for defiance. They wrote:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another...a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”



And that’s what they did. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress met again and the motion was passed. Two days of revisions followed, and on July 4th, 1776, The Declaration of Independence was formally adopted. Though war continued for five more years, the Treaty of Paris officially declared peace another year later, and the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1788, the celebration of the nation’s birth marks the anniversary of that July 4th meeting in 1776. Were the course of events different, and the war lost, the 56 men involved would have been jailed, executed, and forever branded traitors of an empire. Instead, their words were read aloud throughout the colonies, inspiring hope, resilience, and bravery in the face of oppression.



And so, every year around July 4th, Americans make a great commotion. It’s a time of celebration, community, and leisure. Amid the oohs and aahs associated with fireworks over the Charles River, it can also be a time of reflection. A time to think about such things as self evident truths and inalienable rights. What do the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” mean to you? In Boston, a city rich with history, the spirit of those words is embedded in the very culture. There are few better places to celebrate Independence Day. Make sure to check out the list of events below!


Events

July 1st - 7th: The 38th Annual Boston Harborfest


July 1st - 7th (12pm - 1pm): Changing of the Guard Ceremony - Historical reenactment of colonists and redcoats interacting at the corner of Washington and Summer St. 

July 1st (11am - 7pm): Arts at Harborfest - Join local artists as they display their work at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.


July 2nd (11am - 1pm): Harborfest Opening Ceremony - Come see the Mayor of the city speak and cut the ceremonial cake outside Faneuil Hall Marketplace.


July 2nd (11am - 2pm): Chowderfest - Vote for your favorite chowder at Downtown Crossing and enjoy all kinds of live games and entertainment. 


July 2nd (8:25pm - 9pm): Parade of Lights and Fireworks - Finish the day with a brilliant light show at Christopher Columbus Park and Fan Pier. 

July 3rd - 4th (8pm - 11pm): Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular - Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe winner, and Academy Award Nominee Queen Latifa performs along with acclaimed singer songwriter Arlo Guthrie. July 3rd event includes musical performances without fireworks. July 4th event includes musical performances and fireworks.

Sources: BostonUSA, Harborfest, History, USHistory

Father's Day Around The World!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, June 15, 2019




Happy Father's Day! Here in the United States, children and mothers celebrate their fathers or husbands on this beautiful day. Families go out to dinner, exchange a small gift, card and express their love for their fathers. It’s a day to show appreciation for their contributions and pay tribute to all the hard-working fathers. In addition to Dads, families wish ‘Happy Father’s Day!’ to grandfathers, uncles, stepfathers and other men in father figure roles.


Typically this holiday is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in the United States as well in over 90 countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Canada, India, Turkey, and the Netherlands.


Some countries have religious ties to this holiday such as in Spain in which this day is called, “Dia del Padre”, and in Italy, “Festa del Papa”. It is celebrated on March 19 based on the Catholic observance day of the Feast of St Joseph. Furthermore, 40 days after Easter, Ascension Day takes place in Germany in which people attend church to celebrate Jesus’ ascension to Heaven.




Next, Thailand celebrates the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on December 5 by gathering in the streets to sing, light candles and show their respect. This day is extremely significant in their culture and it is a tradition to wear yellow shirts. The Thai expression for ‘Happy Fathers’ Day’ is สุขสันต์วันพ่อ[sùk-săn wan pâw.


Finally, the countries of Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden commemorate Fathers on first Sunday in September while in Denmark, Finland and Norway it’s on the second Sunday in September. Brazil celebrates ‘Dios dos Pais’ on the second Sunday in August while Russia and Belarus celebrate the ‘Defender of the Fatherland Day’ on February 23rd to mostly show respect for veterans.


Thank you to all the Fathers in the world - we wish all of our host fathers a Happy Father's Day!


Sources:

http://blogs.colgate.edu/bookstore/2015/06/fathers-day-traditions-from-around-the-world.html

https://www.theholidayspot.com/fathersday/around_the_world.htm 
https://www.expique.com/blog/2017/11/21/fathers-day-kings-birthday-thailand/



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


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



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