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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..


Best in Hospitality

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

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

International Students in MA: By the Numbers

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September has really flown by! Now, almost one month into the school year, a new group of international students are well into their immersion experience in Massachusetts. It’s no surprise that many international students choose to study in Boston, after all, the city is a hub for colleges and universities. If you’re curious about the international student population in Massachusetts (or in the U.S. in general), here is some information you may find interesting!

How many international students study in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is #4 in the ranking of most international students by state. According to the most recent Open Doors Report from the Institute of International Education, Massachusetts had about 62, 926 international students in 2017, a 5.9% increase from the previous year.

Where do international students study?

While Massachusetts has a variety of schools with international student populations, the institutions with the most international students are Northeastern University (13,201), Boston University (8,992), Harvard University (5,978), MIT (4,685) and UMASS Amherst (3,364). Aside from these larger universities, MA and specifically Boston are home to many language schools where students from all over the world come to study English. Students staying with Global Immersions' host families attend these various language schools, as well as different universities and community colleges in the Boston area.

Where do international students in Massachusetts come from?

According to the data, most international students in the state are from China (33.6%), followed by students from India (15.25%), South Korea (4.7%), Canada (3.9%) and Saudi Arabia (2.6%). Most students that study overseas in the U.S. during their college years come from China, however, India has a fast-growing population of international students. It is expected that a larger portion of international students will be from India in the future. 


This map shows the leading places of origin for international students in the U.S. The darker the blue, the more international students from that country.

What do international students in Massachusetts study?

International students are enrolled in many different programs and focus on a lot of different subjects. Many students choose Boston to study language, however, at four-year universities, popular major choices include those in the STEM fields, Business Administration, or the Arts and Humanities. According to Open Doors, in the U.S. most international students are enrolled in doctoral-granting universities, followed by master’s colleges and universities. Of the 20 million students enrolled in U.S. universities, over 1 million are international students. Of that 1 million, about 900,000 are enrolled in universities across the country, and about 175,000 are completing their OPT post-graduation. The chart below shows that on average, the number of international students in the U.S. has increased over time. 


Are you an international student studying in Boston this Fall? Like us on Facebook to take advantage of all the fun (and free!) events happening around the city. We hope you enjoy your immersion experience! 

A Boston Holiday Season

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 06, 2017

As many of you know, the start of December is the official kick off for the Winter holiday season, and Boston is as charming a city as they come this time of year. If you're looking for fun things to do this month, then look no further because we've compiled a list of the best activities this season.

Light shows:

Greenway Carousel: From December 1, 2017 through January 1, 2018, head over to the Greenway Carousel to take a spin against the backdrop of bright, festive light shows and favorite holiday tunes. Beginning at 4:45pm and running until close, these light shows are sure to brighten up a cold winter's evening.

Somerville Illumination Trolley Tours: Several homes in Somerville go all out with their holiday decorations, and the Somerville Arts Council created a trolley tour to shuttle interested parties from house to house to check them out. Tour is Saturday, December 16, from 4:30pm to 10:00pm. 

ZooLights, Stoneham: Every year, the Stoneham Stone Zoo puts on a dazzling holiday light show from 5:00pm to 9:00pm each evening through December 31. This spectacular display is in addition to wonderful holiday-themed decorations added to many animal enclosures.

The Lynn Fells Parkway, Saugus: For over 60 years, families pile into their cars for a slow drive down the Lynn Fells Parkway on the North Shore. Most residents on this mile-long stretch of road gave up counting the number of bulbs on their property, though their estimates are in the thousands.

Blink! Faneuil Hall: Holiday shoppers around the Faneuil Hall area have been able to enjoy an audiovisual show called Blink!, where 350,000 LED lights dance to the music of the Holiday Pops. The spectacle lasts about 7 minutes, but plays throughout the night from 4:30pm to 9:30pm until January 1.

La Salette Shrine: For over 60 years, La Salette Shrine in Attleboro has amazed visitors with displays of over 300,000 lights spread across 10 acres. There is also an international crèche museum with more than 1,000 crèches. Open daily from 5:00pm to 9:00pm though January 1.

Your OWN! If you can, take your visitor along for a drive around the neighborhood to see all of the holiday decorations near your home! And for a more comprehensive list of the best light shows around Boston, follow this link!

More holiday activities:


December can be a brutally cold month, and you won't always want to enjoy the holiday cheer outdoors. Instead, perhaps purchasing tickets to Boston Ballet: The Nutcracker, or the Holiday Pops show, or to Black Nativity, or to the Disney on Ice: Dream Big tour will fill you with the holiday spirit while keeping your hands and toes warm. Either way, any of these shows will prove to be quite fun. The Nutcracker and the Holiday Pops show run through December 31, Black Nativity will run through December 17, and the Disney on Ice tour will be here until January 1!

Another fun way to get into the holiday spirit is on the Northern Lights Boston Harbor cruise. There are three different holiday cruises this year: the Irish Christmas Carols Cruise, the Holiday Jazz Cruise, and the Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise, all featuring live music, holiday decor, and delicious beverages. Take your pick of these cheerful holiday cruises!


If you're downtown completing your holiday shopping, you should also check out the different ice skating opportunities! Frog Pond is an age-old favorite for many Bostonians. Bring your own or rent some skates and twirl on the rink surrounded by holiday lights covering Boston Common's trees. The city's newest skating venue is right in City Hall Plaza for Boston's Winter Wonderland. Open 7 days a week, Boston Winter offers a skating opportunity as well as an outdoor holiday shopping market!

Love to ski or snowboard? Nashoba Valley Ski Area is only 45 minutes away from Boston and has a lovely relaxed environment. The Blue Hills in Canton, MA is a family-oriented, good-for-learners mountain, and Pats Peak is another mountain in Southern New Hampshire that has lots of ski/snowboard instructors on site and homemade food in the cafeteria. If you'd like a longer list of nearby skiing and snowboarding opportunities, follow this link!

If you're interested in Boston's history, then come out to the 244th Boston Tea Party Reenactment. On December 16, 6:30pm, meet at the Old South Meeting House near State Street to join more than 100 volunteer reenactors, including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock. The procession will gather at the Old South Meeting House for a debate and proceed with fifes and drums in tow to Griffin's Wharf to dump a load of tea in the Boston Harbor. Rain or shine, it should be a sight to see!


Last and certainly not least, welcome in the New Year at First Night 2018! Join the million or so people who come to celebrate the New Year in Boston at this huge city-wide event. There will be entertainers, food, performances, a parade, fireworks, and ice sculptures. Be sure to bundle up and head into the city on December 31 for some great eats and even better experiences!

Common Misspellings in the English Language

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

For those who are learning English as a second language, I'm sure you know that English is one difficult language to master. We understand that. In all honesty, English can be tricky even for native speakers. Just take, for example, the most misspelled words by each state in America. Strangely (or not-so-strangely), Wisconsinites tend to have an issue spelling Wisconsin. Go figure.

If you're from Massachusetts, apparently you might have had some trouble spelling "license" - does the 's' come before the 'c', is there even a 'c' to begin with? Hard to know sometimes. Google compiled a list of the most misspelled words by each state, and the results are very interesting! Here are a few of our favorites:

State

Misspelled Word

Alaska

Schedule

Florida

Receipt

Illinois

Appreciate

Mississippi

Nanny

Tennessee

Chaos

Wisconsin

Wisconsin

To check out the results for the rest of the states, follow this link.

According to Oxford English Corpus, an electronic compilation of over 2 billion English words, the list of the most misspelled English words is far greater and more complex than "schedule" and "chaos". Words like "gist" make the list because, yes, it is spelled with a 'g', and not with a 'j' - even though it's pronounced [jist]. *Palms face*. English can be quite the confounding language. Based on the Oxford list of most misspelled words, we chose a few to share with you:

Correct Spelling

Common Misspelling

Achieve

Acheive

Bizarre

Bizzare

Calendar

Calender

Definitely

Definately

Foreign

Foriegn

Forward

Foward

Happened

Happend

Independent

Independant

Knowledge

Knowlege

Publicly

Publically

Tongue

Tounge

To check out the full list, follow this link!

Learning a new language, especially one as complex and confusing as English, is tough work, and we applaud all of you that are attempting to master it!

The Science of Hygge

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Imagine a cold winter's night and you're curled up on the couch under a mound of blankets watching your favorite show or reading a thrilling book with a cup of tea steaming next to you. If you have children, they are finally asleep -  and you have this particular moment all to yourself. It's nice, is it not? In the U.S., we might call the fuzzy, warm feeling created in that moment a sense of "coziness". In the Danish culture, however, there is a specific word to describe that feeling: hygge.

Pronounced "hoo-guh", hygge is defined by Oxford Dictionary as "a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being". Some refer to it as an "art of creating intimacy" - either with yourself, with others, or with your home. Hygge generally requires a person to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere that can be shared with friends, family, and even strangers.

Hygge has become one of the defining aspects of Danish culture. In the last few years, the philosophy has gained an international audience; at least six books on hygge were published in the U.S. in 2016 alone. The concept is more than just a room full of candles and familiar faces though - it is a way of life that has helped Danes appreciate the importance of simplicity and practice a slower pace of life.

CEOs of companies, such as Meik Wiking of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, have written books on hygge and how others around the world can start to incorporate it in their lives. Here is a list that Wiking includes in his  "The Little Book of Hygge":

  • Get comfy. Take a break.
  • Be here now. Turn off the phones.
  • Turn down the lights. Bring out the candles.
  • Build relationships. Spend time with your tribe.
  • Give yourself a break from the demands of healthy living. Cake is most definitely hygge.
  • Live life today, like there is no coffee tomorrow.

Though there is not a direct translation of the word hygge in English, the tangible feeling of comfort, coziness, and contentedness is one we are all familiar with. Remember to pause what you are doing today, take a deep breath, and slow down.

Employee Spotlight: Nicole Trecartin

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, June 15, 2017



As my time here at Global Immersions comes to an end and I move towards my next adventure in Indonesia, I was given the opportunity to tell you a little bit about my experience as our Homestay Coordinator. With a background in travel and a clear interest in learning and understanding new cultures it was no surprise I ended up here. For most of my life travel has been a vital part. I believe the very act of traveling and entering yourself into a new culture opens your mind to new experiences and perspectives which you may otherwise have been unable to see.  About a year and a half ago, as I entered into my second semester of my Master's Degree, the position of Homestay Coordinator here at Global Immersions seemed like the perfect next step after all of my travel experience. It is here I was able to gain new daily insights into the dynamics of hosting international students. My role as Homestay Coordinator really let me switch between two perspectives of host and visitor.  I constantly was brought back and forth between what I remembered as a traveler, where everything was a new experience, to my old Bostonian ways and understanding a host’s perspective when having a visitor in their home.


                                                          


Working with international students is a constant eye opening experience. What I and the office consider to be the "norm" is constantly challenged from day to day. This allows for an open mind and continued learning opportunities. This continued ability to learn and understand is what makes the whole team here at Global Immersions continually improve.  I imagine some larger companies with their algorisms and long listed numbered surveys, where they allow a computer to match a student with a homestay. At Global Immersions we take the time to analyze each visitor application personally and match the students with the homestay they would best fit in. Working in this role you continually learn that it is the experiences and scenarios which come up day to day that provide us with the knowledge necessary to make the best placements.


                                                                


The matching portion of Homestay coordinator, although an important part, is only a small piece of the pie.  In addition to the time I take to match students into homestays I also act as a cultural liaison between host and visitor. During our busy season as well as throughout the entire year, I act as the front line contact person for host and visitor needs. I am able to fine-tune the skills I was taught in University to help our host network navigate through and problem solve any cultural issues which arise in the home. Personally this is my favorite part of this position. Being a natural people person I enjoy the conversations I am able to have with our hosts and helping them to make life in their homestay as comfortable as possible. I love the unpredictability of the scenarios our office comes across and the collaborative approach we take to solving them. The continuing variety that I was able to experience in this role kept things fresh and new with each new day!


As my time comes to an end here, I will bring these skills and experiences into my next adventure overseas. It has been a pleasure being a part of the Global Immersions team and I hope that this blog has shed a little light on what goes on here in the Homestay Coordinator role.

Until we meet again or as they say in Bahasa Indonesia Sumpai jumpa lagi!

European Gestures

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, June 08, 2017


They say actions speak louder than words, and often times our gestures and body language can say a lot about a message we are trying to convey as opposed to merely words themselves. In some areas of the world such as Europe, gestures hold more weight in communication styles. To an outsider, many of these gestures may go unnoticed or misunderstood., however they play a large part in communication in this part of the world.

Fingertip Kisses

While most commonly attributed to Italy, this gesture is also used in Germany, Spain, and France as well. This gesture consists of kissing the tips of ones fingers then flinging the hand out in front of them. This is most commonly used to compliment something, most frequently food.


Eyelid Pull

Also common is the eyelid pull, which is less friendly and more assertive. This gesture consists of taking a finger and pulling down one's bottom eyelid. Seen as a warning, this gesture sends the message that one is watching you and is onto your clever ways.


Chin Flick

The meaning of the chin flick in Europe vaires by location, however in Italy and France it signifies that one is uninterested or bored. It is considered to be fairly rude, however in Portugal the gesture just means "I don't know."


The Upwards Cupped Hand (Hand Purse)

This gesture is most frequently used in Italy, however is also used in other places in Europe. This gesture indicates a question, however it can also be used to signify annoyance with someone and to call them a fool. In France, this gesture can also mean fear, or good in Greece and Turkey.

The Nose Tap

Tapping your nose signifies secrecy and that something should not be spoken about. In Italy, it can mean "watch out!" and in France and Belgium it can signify a shared secret that no one else knows.

Personal Space

In the United States, people are very conscious of personal space and generally like to have distance between each other when conversing or interacting. However in Europe, people are very affectionate, even with people they do not know. People greet each other with kisses and hugs, and conversations happen at a close distance. In Spain, if you step back, it is considered rude.

Body language and gestures can vary from country to country, so next time you travel or host an international visitor be sure to do some research to know what message you are communicating!



Dining Etiquette Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Many of us likely feel as though we have a strong command on dining etiquette in our respective countries. However, some people may not know that these table manners vary across the world from region to region, and sometimes even within those regions. Some things that we may not even think twice about doing may be considered extremely rude or taboo in other countries. If you are hosting an international visitor or traveling abroad, it is important to keep these in mind!

Asia:

Do not use your chopsticks as a spear: Throughout Asia, it is consistently considered rude to spear your food with chopsticks instead of using them properly to pick up the food. This has to do with superstitious beliefs as usually when on pierces their food with chopsticks you are offering this food to the dead.


Other chopstick rules: There are actually many rules surrounding the use of chopsticks. For example, pointing a chopstick at someone is just as rude if not more disrespectful than pointing a finger. In addition to this, passing food directly from your chopsticks to another's is actually part of a funeral ritual in which the deceased's bones are passed between chopsticks. Also in many parts of Asia placing your chopsticks sticking straight up in your food is a gesture meant for the deceased. It is best to avoid these practices as many Asian cultures as superstitious and doing these is considered very taboo and disrespectful.

Eat the food served to you: Particularly in China and Korea, it is an honor to be served food especially what are perceived as the "best" parts of something. Even if you do not like the food, it is respectful to finish the food served to you.

Paying the bill: In China and other areas influenced by Chinese customs such as Malaysia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, bills are not typically split among diners. Instead, one person picks up the entire check. Usually a several people will put up a fight to cover the expenses, and doing so shows a sign of appreciation for relationships and is seen as polite.

Europe:

Bread: In France, bread is placed directly on the table as opposed to being placed on a bread plate. Bread is not served as an appetizer and should be consumed along with your meal. When consuming the bread, it is important to break it into pieces as opposed to biting them off.

Also, in Russia it is considered bad form to waste bread, as it is believed that when one dies all of the bread they've wasted over the years will be weighed and added to the balance that determines whether or not one is accepted into heaven.

Eating your food as it is prepared: In Portugal and Spain, it is considered an insult to the cook to alter your food by adding salt and pepper to the prepared dish.

Use your silverware: Often times in European countries, it is considered polite and normal use your utensils with what some may consider finger foods, such as pizza.

Middle East:

Don't eat with your left hand: Because the left hand is associated with using the restroom and associated bodily functions, it is considered unsanitary and rude to use your left hand to eat. Instead, eat strictly with your right hand.

Drinking coffee: In Bedouin culture, they will continue to pour you coffee once you have finished it. That is, until you shake the cup by tilting it two to three times when you hand it back. By doing this, you are signifying that you are finished.

Etiquette for eating with your hands: While it differs from country to country, generally when eating with your hands you should use your fingertips to ensure the food does not touch your palms. If you are sharing a large dish, which is common, only eat from your side of the plate. Often times diners will use bread to scoop the food, which the house owner breaks and distributes to guests.

It is important to remember that every country is different and these rules of etiquette may vary! To be safe, look up specific customs for a specific country if you are curious, however these are some general rules to follow for each region.

Six More Weeks of Winter

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 21, 2017


On February 2nd, once again, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means another six weeks of winter. If you and your visitor(s) are not sure what to do during these six weeks before the weather warms and flowers bloom, we have some suggestions for fun outdoor activities to take advantage of all this snow! 


Sledding or Tubing
There is a hill to go sledding in virtually every Boston neighborhood. Sledding locations in the city include places like Flagstaff Hill in Boston Common or Marine Park in Southie.
 This article lists great sledding hills all around the greater Boston area, and if you are looking to go tubing, this article provides tubing locations just a short drive from Boston. 


Skiing
You do not have to travel out of state to enjoy a ski trip with your family. Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton has 12 trails and over 60 acres of terrain for both beginnings and advanced skiers.
 This guide can help you can find other nearby mountains open for skiing this winter. Do you prefer cross country over downhill skiing? Check out The Middlesex Fells Reservation. This park has cross country trails and is located a short five miles north of Boston. 


Skating:
Boston has many opportunities for public skating. Visit
 Boston Common's Frog Pond Which hosts weekly "College Nights" featuring discounted tickets for University students. You can also take the opportunity to visit  The Boston Winter skating path at Government Center before it closes for the season on February 26th. 


Snow Shoeing
If you want an outdoor activity that requires minimal skills, you should try snow shoeing! There are many places a short distance from the greater Boston area that are great for exploring on foot.
 Gore Place in Waltham offers snow shoe rentals and features 50 acres of explore-able estate. This article has information about the top five places near Boston to take a show shoeing day trip.


After spending time in the great outdoors warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from one of these Boston Cafe's. what goes best with host chocolate? Warm cookies :) This list will show you the best best spots to get delicious homemade cookies in the city. Use this snowy weather as an excuse to treat your student (and yourself!) to some of the best desserts the area has to offer!

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