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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.


Super Bowl Sunday 2020!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, February 01, 2020

Happy Superbowl Sunday!


Tune in Sunday, February 2nd at 6:30pm Eastern Standard Time to FOX to watch the 54th Super Bowl! This year, the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Garden, Florida. Demi Lovato will sing the National Anthem while Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will perform the Halftime Show! 




We all know that Americans love game day snacks and football parties, especially on Super Bowl Sunday! Approximately 1.3 million pounds of chicken wings, 88 million pounds of cheese, 10 million pounds of ribs and 3.8 million pounds of popcorn are eaten on game day every year! Domino’s reports that they sell about 2 million pizzas alone on Super Bowl Sunday! That’s insane! More statistics can be found here! For tasty Super Bowl recipes, click here and here!




The Super Bowl is known for their ads and some people only tune in to the biggest televised event of the year to watch the ads! Last year, a 30 second advertisement cost $5.25 million which is about $175,000 for every second. Over 114.4 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLIX, which makes it the most watched television broadcast in the history of the United States. Learn more about Super Bowl commercials here.


For more ways to tune in, click here!


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! 

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






Explore Boston: Neighborhood Series

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, October 20, 2019

This week in our Neighborhoods Series, we’re highlighting Arlington, Cambridge and Somerville. Closer to Boston, these cities have lots of fantastic restaurants, some colleges, and historical events and landmarks. And, of course, there’s never a shortage of activities to engage in - from museums to biking paths. We’ll start with the city furthest from Boston (Arlington) and move our way in!


Arlington

Located at the end of the Red Line, Arlington has more of a suburban feel, but definitely has a lot to do.  Home to the Jason Russell House (see picture above), this city, bordering Lexington, was a key player in the Revolutionary War. Originally a more rural community rooted in agriculture, Arlington eventually developed into a heavily populated suburb of Boston.  The Smith Museum, located right next to the Jason Russell House, has exhibits that show the development of the town from prehistoric times to present day. If you want to really experience the patriots march, you can walk or bike along the Minuteman Bike Path from Alewife to Lexington. Present day Arlington contains some gems of the Boston area in terms of food and activities. With a diverse range of restaurants, from Argentinian cuisine at Tango to authentic and delicious sushi at Toraya, they’ve got some good fancy eats as well as their fair-share of casual American fare and pizza parlors.  And if you’re looking to follow dinner with a movie, Arlington has a couple options, from more current movies at the Capitol Theatre to special musical performances and movie festival flicks at the RegentTheatre.  If you want to enjoy some dessert, Arlington has many options, from the mouth-watering cookies at Cookie Time to the rich ice cream at Abilyn’s Frozen Bakery.  And for your late night fix, The ScoopN Scootery is open and serving ice cream sundaes until 2 am!


Somerville

Getting closer to Boston, and further along the Red Line, Somerville has more of a city feel and has major centers for restaurants and boutiques in Davis, Porter, and Union Square. There are also a number of smaller squares, including Magoun, Inman, and Ball Square.  Somerville also houses Tufts University, so there are a lot of college-age residents in the area along with young families, immigrants, and long-time residents Being so highly and diversely populated, there is a huge variety of events, community groups, and things to enjoy. In Davis Square alone, there’s the over-100-year-old SomervilleTheatre which shows both contemporary films and also has special showings of classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, along with bowling and pizza at Sacco’sBowl Haven and Flatbreads, and live music at The Burren.  Not only that, but there’s a number of clothing stores, bars, and other amazing restaurants like Redbones BBQ and Tenoch Mexican and to enjoy. And while Somerville has a lot of older infrastructure, there is a lot of newly developing sections, like Assembly Row shopping center, which has restaurants, tons of shops, and a movie theater. There is always somewhere to be or something to do for any interest- whether it’s enjoying the view from Prospect Hill (see picture above) or going out one of the many festivals, concerts, or markets. 

Cambridge

Right next to Somerville, Cambridge directly borders Boston, and feels almost like an extension of the city. It is host to many prestigious colleges, like Harvard and MIT, and, like Somerville, has a wide diversity in its population.  There are so many fun places to explore for all different interests. For the cinephile, Kendall Landmark Theatre and Brattle Theatre both host a number of independent films and movie marathons, like the upcoming Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat-Cereal Cartoon Party at Brattle. And if you’re more interested in shopping, there are malls like the CambridgesideGalleria for more well-known stores and also lots of vintage stores, like RaspberryBeret. On a beautiful sunny day, you can drop by Paddle Boston and rent a canoe, paddleboard, or kayak to take out on the Charles River. If the weather is crummy, there are also many museums in the area to check out, including the Harvard ArtMuseums (pictured above) for art lovers, the Museum of Science for an interactive experience for the whole family, or the MIT Museum for a mix of technology and history. In terms of food, Cambridge has too many options to list! For everyone from the carnivore to the vegan, fine-dining to fast casual, and a huge cultural diversity in cuisine. You can check out this list of “33 Essential Cambridge Restaurants” to get an idea of all the options out there.


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”.





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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