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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


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.

Explore Boston: Neighborhoods North

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, August 04, 2019

In our Explore Boston series: Neighborhoods we will highlight and explore some of the neighborhoods and towns where our hosts call home.
Towns located north of the city are some of the most beautiful and historical of New England. Explore colonial lifestyles, beautiful waterfronts, and amazing cuisine. This blog takes us to the following neighborhoods: Winthrop, Everett, East Boston, and Charlestown.


Winthrop:

Located just north of Boston, Winthrop is another typical New England town. Winthrop was originally settled in 1630 by English Puritans. The town was named after John Winthrop who was the second governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Today the town is almost 20,000 people! If you have the chance to visit Winthrop, make sure to visit the Deer Island Harborwalk. There are miles of trail to explore with views overlooking Boston and the Harbor Islands, landing airplanes, and the ocean. From Winthrop, you can also see Nix’s Mate which is an island in the Boston Harbor where pirates would hang enemies as a warning to sailors. Check our list of favorite Winthrop restaurants here.



Everett:

Located in Middlesex County, Everett is a small city located just north of the city of Boston founded in 1870. Full of history, Everett is named after a former president of Harvard University, Edward Everett, who also served as the United States Secretary of State in 1853. The small city has two claims to fame. First, Everett is the home city of the Leavitt Corporation, known for their Teddie brand peanut butter! Second, for those who are fans of Grey’s Anatomy, Everett is the home town of Ellen Pompeo who plays Meredith on the TV show. Everett is also well known for its nightlife with its locally owned pubs and breweries. The town also borders the water if you are looking for views of the Mystic River! On rainy days, make sure to check out SkyZone Trampoline Park located on Norman Street. Your friends and family will love it. Finally, if you have time for a bite to eat, make sure to stop by Texas Roadhouse and Abbondanza as you explore the city!



Fondly referred to as Eastie, the town of East Boston has personality, character, and deep cultural roots. Historically, East Boston was a shipbuilding town and home to immigrants from around the globe including Irish, Russians Jews, Italians, and later many Latinos. The Kennedy family even lived in East Boston for some time! Eastie has the advantage of being close to the city while having its own vibrant culture. First and foremost, East Boston is home to Logan International Airport accommodating quick and easy travel. Eastie is also home to some of the most beautiful waterfronts of Greater Boston where you can find stunning views of the city skyline. Piers Park is also a treasured wonder of Eastie where you can explore around the greenery as well as the sailing yard. If you have time to walk around town, make sure to visit Belle Isle Marsh and Constitution (Shay’s) Beach to fill your natural scenery fix! Last but not least, East Boston is home to some of the best and most diverse restaurants in the City. Angela’s Cafe, Mi Pueblito, Rino’s Place, and Santarpio’s are known local favorites. For a complete list of recommended restaurants, click here.

Charlestown is located between the Mystic and Charles Rivers, which means beautiful waterfront views and fresh cool breezes. Established in the 1600s, Charlestown is one of America’s most historical and traditional towns. Its roots are deeply intertwined with the American Revolution. Today, the community is close-knit and family friendly, making it a perfect place to explore for a few days! When you visit, make sure to start your adventure on the Freedom Trail as it weaves through the history of the town. Also on your list is the USS Constitution Museum and the Charlestown Navy Yard to learn more about our country’s naval history. Charlestown is also home to Bunker Hill Monument where you can enjoy the beautiful green scenery while recognizing the famous battle. While walking around the town center, make sure to explore both Main Street and City Square for all of your dining and shopping needs! Also, stop in Warren Tavern, Massachusetts' oldest bar, where even George Washington dined after its opening in 1780. If you are looking for other great local cuisine, refer to our list here.

Boston's Museums

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, July 26, 2019

Museum of Fine Arts


The MFA is the fifth largest museum in the United States and home to about 500,000 works of art. It was founded in 1870 and originally located in Copley Square, but had to relocate to a larger location due to the growing collection of artwork. With over a million visitors each year, this museum is widely known and a destination point for tourists, locals and art lovers! There are collections of paintings, photography, drawings, jewelry, textiles, fashion art, and musical instruments. The artwork dates from the ancient world to the contemporary now with collections from The Americas, Oceania, Asia and Europe. Past exhibitions include Frida Kahlo, French Pastels, and Native American art while currently Toulouse-Lautrec, Jackson Pollock and gender bending fashion collections are on display. Click here to plan your visit!

Museum of Science

   

Boston’s science museum was founded in 1830 and receives about 1.5 million visitors annually. There are over 700 interactive exhibits ranging from Dinosaurs, Butterfly Garden, Theater of Electricity, To the Moon, Math Moves and New England Habitats. The museum features the only domed IMAX screen in New England, the Mugar Omni Theater and the Charles Hayden Planetarium. There’s plenty to explore for all ages within the exhibit wings, animal zoo and live presentations. For more information about the museum, click here



Harvard Museum of Natural History 


 


In this museum there are collections from the Harvard University Herbaria, the Museum of Comparative Zoology and the Harvard Mineralogical Museum. It’s located on the Harvard campus as it was created in 1998 and there are about 250,000 visitors yearly. There are exhibits on arthropods, cenozic mammals, evolution, glass flowers, microbial life, sea creatures in glass, birds of the world, New England forests, Earth and planetary sciences to name a few. Specimens from Asia, Africa and the Americas are featured throughout the museum in the Great Mammal Hall and other exhibits. Plan a trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History here.



John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum



John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States and the library was created as a memorial starting in 1964. There are exhibits on the 1960 Election, JFK’s inauguration, The Peace Corps, The Oval Office, The White House Corridor, the U.S. Space Program and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. It’s a perfect place to learn about American and Presidential history. Plan your trip here.


For more information about all of Boston’s museums, click here.

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.


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


Host Tip of the Week: Communication Part 2

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, April 29, 2019

The Host Tip theme this week is communication focusing on improving communication strategies within the home. An integral part of the homestay experience is making our visitors feel as comfortable in the home as possible. Although visitors are in a new country and are surrounded by the unfamiliar, our goal is for our hosts to create a home away from home. One of the best ways to ensure this kind of relationship is to manifest forms of effective communication with our visitors!


 


Written Instructions:
As our hosts can tell you, the visitors in our program come with a wide range of English language skills and capabilities. For those with lower levels of English comprehension, it is often easier for visitors to read written instructions versus having it verbally told to them by the host. An easy way to
accommodate all visitors is to label and/or provide written instructions and any necessary information on how to work appliances like the washer, dryer, and shower, etc. Anything in your home that you have to explain how to use and might not seem self-explanatory is worth taking the time to write down instructions.  The best part is, you only have to do it once. Try using Post-it Notes or a label maker to help you create instructions.

Use Simple Vocabulary: When providing written instructions or in everyday conversations use simple vocabulary. Slang and idioms are often not known to an English learner, especially a beginner, and can cause a lot of confusion and miscommunication. Many hosts tell us they use translation sites such as Google Translate or other translation apps to effectively communicate. These are just some of the useful tools to help both the hosts and visitors. Overall our advice is to find communication methods that work for you, your family, and your student to ensure a positive homestay experience!


As always, we want to hear what you're thinking. Share your recommendations and host tips with us by using #HomestayBoston or sharing with @globalimmersions!

 



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