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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Danish Haderslev Handelsskole Group 29-Sep-2019

A large group of Danish visitors from Haderslev Handelsskole (https://www.hhs.dk/) arrived to Bo..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Danish Aalborg Turogade 3S/3T Groups19-Sep-2019

Two large Danish groups from Aalborg Handelsskole Turogade (https://www.ah.dk/) 3S and 3T arrived to..


Best in Hospitality

Japanese Culture Tips from our Japanese Homestay Coordinator

Global Immersions - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Since I started working here at Global Immersions, Inc., I have encountered several cases when our host families told us their experiences hosting Japanese visitors and shared comments with us like “they were nice, but very quiet” or “they seemed shy, so I’m not sure if they wanted to be engaged.” As a Homestay Coordinator who was born and raised in Japan, and has lived in two other countries, New Zealand and the U.S., here are some insights you should know to understand the Japanese visitors better.

Those who have hosted Japanese visitors before might have wondered at least once: why they seem to be so quiet, shy, and even look like they are uncomfortable having conversation with you? It can be commonly said that Japanese students tend to be a little more reserved than students from other parts of the world. This partially depends on the English language skills of each individual student, and also on their personalities. However, for Japanese students, there are several important cultural factors that make them seem reserved. In my own experiences, when I stayed at the Homestay for a year in New Zealand, I have been asked for countless times why I was being so shy, even though I would not describe myself as a shy or quiet person. On behalf of all Japanese students in Boston who have experienced the same situation, here is some explanations why.

They do not like questions like “why are you so shy?”

            First of all, being modest is one of the most respected virtues for Japanese people. Having a modest and humble personality, or even showing yourself as a humble person, is broadly considered as a positive behavior. This culture is believed to have been deep-rooted among people during the Japan’s Shogunate Era (1192 - 1867) due to the reinforced hierarchical society. Absolutely nobody could be seen as more important than the Shogun and everybody always showed him respect, and civilians and farmers were nothing more than the samurais. This social hierarchy, however, did not have a direct relationship with political or social oppressions, but what was prioritized in the society was the exchange of goods between peasants and the local lords, and the local lords and the Shogun. In this give-and-take system, impudent and arrogant peasants were considered to be the ones not appreciating what they get and not showing enough respects to the Shogun. Being called an arrogant person is such a disgrace and shame for Japanese people back then and still now. So, showing modesty and not speaking too much about matters is just their way of respecting you by listening to what you have to say, and avoiding any misunderstandings with you by misleadingly speak of something. To conclude, the reason why being modest is considered as a virtue in Japan is simply because having an arrogance is not socially acceptable for anyone.

           

Is it considered as a good thing to stand out?

            Another important virtue for Japanese people to have, which may contribute to look themselves reserved, is the ability to coordinate with others, and maintaining the harmony in a group. This sounds like a pretty positive virtue to have; however, many of the western societies where individualism and competitiveness are the keys to success question this Japanese social ethic. If someone says to you “you are outstanding” it always means a positive way in the U.S. for example; however, in Japan “standing out” from everyone else is usually considered as unacceptable behavior. There is a common saying in Japan that reads “Deru kui wa utareru” meaning that “the stake that sticks out gets hammered down”. This literally shows how the society does not accept anybody who tries to be better than anyone else. Although this culture has slowly been drifting away, I still see the tendency that those who value the social harmony would be more successful than those who value in the individual skills. Also there is a similar phrase “Kuki wo yomu (to read the air)” which is commonly used in Japan. They use this phrase in occasions when there is one who is doing something different from others in a group or is thinking about a matter in a wrong direction. Feeling content for doing the same thing as others and trying to be at the same level with others might not be considered as a positive moral in the U.S. society. But in Japan, by doing those people maintain the harmony with others at schools, at companies, at any parts of the society.

         

I am not saying that Japanese people should not be called quiet, shy or reserved, because I do agree that a lot more people have those personalities in Japan compared to other societies in the world. But I believe understanding the background of why they tend to have such characteristics will make your hosting experiences much better.

Here are a couple of extra insights about Japanese culture that are important when hosting.

What is “wabi-sabi”? :

            Wabi-sabi is a key concept in the Japanese tradition and culture that means the spirit of finding happiness and feeling content for the minimal amount of things you possess (wabi) and seeing the beauty in the simplicity of objects or of the universe, and staying away from extravagance (sabi). The traditional rooms for “Tea Ceremony” or Cha-shitsu are always kept without any luxurious decorations and silent except the sound of nature, and this stems from the culture of wabi-sabi.


Tradition of giving gifts and “returns”:

            In many cultures sending gifts and presents is very common among families, relatives and friends. This culture is also typical in Japan and there are two seasons where we send gifts to those whom we have a close relationship.  Ochugen and Oseibo are celebrated in mid-August and in December respectively. Once you have received a gift from someone it is considered polite and morally right to send something back in return. This is called Okaeshi, and this word literally means returns, but implies the return of appreciation. It is common to keep the wrapping paper from a gift received, not to use it again, but because the wrapping paper is considered part of the gift. This explains why Japanese visitors open gifts so carefully and try not to tear them.


            In conclusion, Japanese culture and traditions are built after hundreds of years upon the concept of respecting others by demonstrating their humbleness. They try not to stand out in the crowd of people to maintain the harmony with others. Keeping silent when you are having conversations with them is their way to respect you by listening carefully to what you are talking about, and being shy when they are asked or offered to do something ultimately stems from the culture of respect and humbleness.

            Obviously there are more characteristics to what makes Japanese culture so unique, so if you are curious, you can click here to learn more: . Also, if you are curious about Japanese modern pop culture (anime, manga, J-pop etc.), click here to the “Cool Japan” program, which is the culture promotion initiative sponsored by The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry:. Also the link to the government website.

 

It's Pumpkin Time!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall has just begun in Boston, and it is once again the time to go crazy on consuming pumpkin-inspired products and foods. Recently, Americans have seen the resurgence of pumpkins, and the products range  from pumpkin beers, cookies, donuts, teas, and even Pringles! Furthermore, in the Massachusetts area there are always awesome activities and places to go if you ever want pumpkins or pumpkin inspired foods, so below are a ton of suggestions on how to get your pumpkin fix this fall!

Anyone who loves pumpkins will surely enjoy this first event! The Beacon Hill Neighborhood is celebrating their 10th annual Pumpkin Fest, and from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm you will be able to carve, decorate, and paint pumpkins whilst also enjoying a great meal! Located at 75 Chestnut Street in Boston, the restaurant will have special pumpkin inspired items on their menu such as Harvest Pumpkin Bisque and more! Sounds delicious and this is a great event to take your family, friends and visitors. Find out more here

What better activity is there than going on pumpkin picking adventures just as fall has started? All over Massachusetts, there are tons of family farms where you can go out on to their fields and pick your own pumpkins at your own leisure! Once again, this is a great activity to spend the whole day with your visitors and family members, as not only are you guaranteed to be picking the freshest pumpkins but also at the same time you can soak in the beautiful atmosphere of the different farms. To find a farm near you, click this link for an interactive map 

Another community organized event, bring your entire family to the Mayor's Fall Pumpkin Fest located at the Frog Pond on October 17th, 2015. You can bring your own carved and decorated pumpkin, and they will illuminate and float it on the pond for you to create what will surely be an amazing spectacle at night with all the different pumpkins floating around. Furthermore, there will be refreshments, music, and family orientated activities throughout the day, and best of all it is FREE! 

This blog would not be complete without a list of places where you can satisfy your pumpkin cravings in the greater Boston area! Firstly, there is of course the iconic pumpkin spice latte at participating Starbucks, and also Dunkin Donuts has just introduced the new Pumpkin Macchiato on to their menu, so make sure you check either out when you need some coffee! However, if you are in the mood to support some local brews, make sure you taste the Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee at Polcari's Coffee Shop, located at 105 Salem Street, Boston, MA in the North End!

As the cold weather officially kicks in, people will be swarming for the ultimate comfort foods, which is usually anything with pumpkin flavor in it. Here are some dishes you have to try in the next few months! First off, make sure you head to Juniper if you are in the mood for some dessert. Located on 13 Central Street, Wellesley, MA, their pumpkin cheesecake will surely have you craving more! It is infused with spicy whipped cream, caramel apples, and candied walnuts, which is everything you would want in the fall!

Another pumpkin dish that will serve us well this fall can be found at Prezza, located in the North End at 24 Fleet Street, Boston, MA. Although the Italian food has always been top notch, the thing that sets it apart from other restaurants is the fact that the chef is always prepared for the changing seasons, and hence you must try the pumpkin ravioli, which is served with lobster and mascarpone, brown butter and sage!

Furthermore, when the cold weather starts to hit and all you crave is some nice, warm, soup, head over to Bistro du Midi, located on 272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. A beautiful French restaurant, make sure to try the mushroom consomme which features pureed pumpkin and ricotta cheese, and even more pumpkin that is roasted and used as a garnish in this savory soup!

If you are in the mood to try and cook your own pumpkin inspired dishes, make sure you check out the many farmers markets available to get your hands on the best pumpkins you can find! One market that we recommend is the Boston Public Market, located on 100 Hanover Street. This year long market is guaranteed to have the freshest produce available, and you will be supporting the local farmers by purchasing your produce here! Another farmers market that will offer you some of the best deals on fresh produce is the Haymarket, located on the iconic 96 Blackstone Street. 


Hope everyone has a great fall, and let us know what your favorite pumpkin dishes are!

Danish Groups: Short-Term Programs

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, October 31, 2014

Global Immersions Homestay specializes in customized group homestay programs.  We spend time discussing and determining exactly what each client wants their visitors to experience during their time in Boston.  Hosts and visitors are matched by our coordinators based on their compatibility. This compatibility is determined by the shared hobbies of hosts and visitors, preferences on pets, gender, and various other aspects of the household to ensure all involved have the most enjoyable experience possible.  There is a minimum of four nights on the length of stay but not for the number of visitors in the group. Each homestay program is specifically designed for the each group! 

This fall Global Immersions had the pleasure to accommodate homestays for number of high school groups from Denmark. During their programs these students took part in business seminars at Bunker Hill Community College, visited iconic site in Boston such as Faneuil Hall and the Boston Science Museum, attended a Celtics game, visited Salem, took part in Halloween celebrations and activites, and toured local schools. The goal of the homestay program was to live with Americans in order to truly experience and learn about U.S. culture and traditions and enhance the overall program.  Our hosts exposed the visitors to a variety of activities and events and foods that allowed them to have a taste of American life with locals to entirely culturally immerse them. 

Here are a few of the experiences the Danish visitors enjoyed with their hosts!

  • Going to church
  • Shopping at the Prudential Center, malls, and Newbury Street
  • Sightseeing in Boston
  • Dinner enjoyed together
  • Visited the Patriots Stadium in Foxborough
  • Watched football games
  • Cultural conversations
  • Birthday parties
  • Playing billiards
  • Cooking meals together
  • Playing ping pong
  • Carving pumpkins
  • Watching Bruins ice hockey games
  • Apple picking on a local farm
  • Watching Halloween movies
  • Halloween parties and trick-or-treating
  • Attending corn mazes and haunted houses
  • Eating out at restaurants
  • Playing with host children
  • Manicure and pedicures
  • Bowling
  • Making ice cream sundaes
  • Touring neighborhoods looking at decorations

Boston is a city filled with all types of activities and happenings for any interest. The highlight is not only the diversity of our great city's offerings but the fact that many events are FREE! We post many fun, interesting and upcoming activities on our facebook page daily.

One of these Danish students wrote, "My host family always cared about us. They talked to us many times and when we didn't know what to say or do, they helped us. They let us meet 17 people and we got to go to many places so our schedule was busy and full of fun!!" And another student said, "I was worried about homestay at first, but I really enjoyed this homestay. I can't thank my host family enough. I want to put this experience to good use in the future!"


The hosts sincerely enjoyed this group program as well. One host wrote, "I wish they could've stayed longer everything went so fast but they were very very polite.  We thoroughly enjoyed the visit"
 Another host commented, "I found this group to be excellent! It's like heaven sprung a leak in the hosting student department and the Danish girls fell out! I told them they came as students and left as family."

In regards you our group programs, one host wrote "I enjoy hosting with Global Immersions because I think it is great that 2 students are required in each home. I also think it gives the student a sense of security and also someone to have quiet time with when the day is over and everyone goes to bed, it gives them the opportunity to talk about what they think and feel without any interruptions."

Do you have a group that you would like to bring to Boston?  Contact us today to learn more about our group homestay programs.  

Would you like to host for our international visitors and get involved with these group programs? Check out the Global Immersions short-term programs page for upcoming groups.   Contact us for details on hosting and an application.

Thank you to all the hosts and students who participated in these homestay programs!

Tips for Success as a Homestay Visitor

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Global Immersions welcomes visitors from all over the world into their Homestay program consistently throughout the year. Many come to homestay as part of a group for a short-term cultural immersion experience. Others stay in homestay while studying at private high schools or colleges in the Boston area. Young professionals learning English, students touring the U.S., and researchers from all over the world decide to become a part of our homestay experience. While ultimately all our visitors do well and achieve the experience of American culture first hand while living with our host families, some visitors adapt to this huge transition from their home country to the United States more easily than others. Here are some tips many of our most successfully adaptable visitors have used during their time in Boston to gain the most positive homestay experience possible. 

1. Take charge of your experience and pay attention to the details. Some successful visitors have brought a notebook with a pen attached. In this, writing important contacts before leaving your home country is extremely helpful, such as:

  • The name and address of the language school or your daily destination 
  •  Phone number and email of the host family
  •  Name and address of the homestay and host family  
  •  Your home contact information written in English 
  •  Your passport number (in case you lose it)


2. Contact and establish a connection with your host family before arrival. This allows you to be better acquainted with the family in which you will be living before you actually live there making the adaptation to a new home and family easier. Sending a quick email introducing yourself (in English of course) is a great way to break the ice before you even arrive to Boston.

3. Know why you are staying in homestay and coming to Boston. In your notebook, make a note of the top three reasons you are leaving your home, and all that is familiar, to travel far away and stay with an American family. When you are feeling unsure of yourself after arriving, you can remind yourself what you had hoped to gain by going on this adventure!



4. Research Boston and where you will be studying/attending on the web. If you know a bit about the school, city and state are moving to, you will begin to feel at home when you recognize things upon arrival. Did you know for example, Boston has the country's oldest public park (the Boston Common), first ever public beach (Revere Beach), the oldest baseball stadium (Fenway Park in the photo above) and first subway system? Here are some more Boston fun facts



5. When you first arrive- recognize and accept that Americans are very open, friendly and curious people. They appreciate and enjoy outgoing people who smile and ask questions. You may not be naturally open and talkative – but to be successful, give it a try! Practice with your host family. Ask them how long they have lived in Boston; have they visited your country or any other countries outside of the USA; ask them about their animals; ask them about things to do in Boston. Asking questions is a big key to success!



6. Practice saying yes to (almost) everything. Start as you wish to continue – by allowing new experiences in. Try the food (such as lobster in the photo above), drink the water, accept offers of help.



7. And get involved! Engage your host family and ask them about things to do in the city. Make dinner with your host family and attend family events, church, check out an American grocery store, or see a local sports team. Explore the many exciting and beautiful aspects of Boston, from Newbury St. to Chinatown to the Boston Public Garden (in the photo above) and the neighborhood where your homestay is located and share those experiences with others!



8. Be grateful! Even when times are tough, this will be an astonishing opportunity and time in your life. Thank your family for supporting your journey here, your teachers, coworkers, friends and especially thank your host family. Know that you have taken a great opportunity and have been helped by many! A group of Japanese visitors even made this creative 'thank u!' photo for us at Global Immersions, featured in the photo above.  

 So look over these tips before you come to Boston- or if you're already here see what else you can do to even further improve your homestay experience based on these tips!  

What do you think? Are these helpful for you as a visitor? As a host, what else would you consider helpful for visitors to do to ensure a positive homestay? Do you have any input? 
We want to know!

Boston Homestay Group Programs - Chiba

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Global Immersions Homestay specializes in customized group homestay programs.  We spend time discussing and determining exactly what each client wants their visitors to experience during their time in Boston.  Hosts and visitors are matched by our coordinators based on their compatibility. This compatibility is determined by the shared hobbies of hosts and visitors, preferences on pets, gender, and various other aspects of the household to ensure all involved have the most enjoyable experience possible.  There is a minimum of four nights on the length of stay but not for the number of visitors in the group. Each homestay program is specifically designed for the each group! 

In late March, we had the pleasure to welcome back a very large group of middle school visitors from Chiba Middle School in Japan to homestay for an intensive homestay program.  The Chiba visitors were on a school trip to Boston to sightsee, tour Faneuil Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, visit Harvard University, and spend two days at two local high schools interacting with high school students and learning about the U.S. educational system. The goal of the homestay program was to live with Americans in order to truly experience and learn about U.S. culture and enhance the overall program.  Our hosts exposed the visitors to a variety of activities and events and foods that allowed them to have a taste of American life with locals to entirely culturally immerse them. 

Here are a few of the experiences the Chiba visitors enjoyed with their hosts!

  • Walking tours of Boston Common, Boston Public Garden, the Freedom Trail, Chinatown, the North End, Newbury, and Boylston
  • Played outside (basketball, trampoline, catch, etc.) with family
  • Toured the USS Constitution 

  • Watched movies and played Wii and video games
  • Played board games 
  • Went bowling 
  • Attended church 
  • Went on nature walks and to the Arnold Arboretum
  • Had a dinner party with extended family and friends
  • Went to the grocery store 
  • Went to the mall or shopping area
  • Toured an ambulance and learned about EMT services

  • Attended local school and college sporting events
  • Celebrated birthdays and attended birthday parties
  • Dined at local restaurants
  • Went to the cinema
  • Visited  historic homes
  • Went to the Museum of Science
  • Went to the local YMCA
  • Toured Castle Island
  • Toured Boston University campus
  • Went to the Boston Public Library and JFK Library
  • Cooked meals together with the host family

 

  • Visited the New England Aquarium
  • Music lessons with the host family and children
  • Attended Jiu Jistsu lessons 

  • Had a pizza party 
  • Attended free concerts at Jordan Hall
  • Visited galleries at the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum

Boston is a city filled with all types of activities and happenings for any interest. The highlight is not only the diversity of our great city's offerings but the fact that many events are FREE! We post many fun, interesting and upcoming activities on our facebook page daily.

Our hosts received a handmade booklet from each Chiba visitor describing them and their interests, what a typical day in their life was like, details about their family and Japanese culture. The visitors also prepared a Japanese meal for their hosts. It was a win-win situation for the hosts and visitors and a successful group program! 

One of these Chiba students wrote, "My host family was so kind that I really enjoyed this homestay! Even if I can't understand English well, they repeated it for me. I want to stay more and learn English more!" Another said, "My host family always cared about us. They talked to us many times and when we didn't know what to say or do, they helped us. They let us meet 17 people and we got to go to many places so our schedule was busy and full of fun!!" And yet another student said, "I was worried about homestay at first, but I really enjoyed this homestay. I can't thank my host family enough. I want to put this experience to good use in the future!"

The hosts sincerely enjoyed this group program as well. One host wrote, "They were the BEST yet, they were great company, we talked a lot about our different backgrounds, and they learned a lot about the different islands in the West Indies. They cooked dinner for me on Saturday afternoon and it was absolutely delicious. They also enjoyed the meals that I prepared for them. They were the perfect guests, and I am sorry that they had to leave so soon."  Another host commented,What two wonderful boys! They were so friendly, helpful, respectful and fun. Perfect guests!! I wish the could have stayed with us longer as we enjoyed their company so much!"

Do you have a group that you would like to bring to Boston?  Contact us today to learn more about our group homestay programs.  

Would you like to host for our international visitors and get involved with these group programs? Check out the Global Immersions short-term programs page for upcoming groups.   Contact us for details on hosting and an application.

Thank you to all the hosts and students who participated in this homestay program!

Regional American Foods

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The United States is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Almost every single person in the U.S. has a family history of immigration to the country and the number of people from all over the world still coming to America today is ever increasing. Due to this history of diversity, the American cuisine covers a huge range of foods, from our Mexican neighbors to the south to a vast number of variations with roots in European cuisine and so much more. Over the years these influences have had varying impacts on the cuisines of each region in the United States. Such dishes with foreign roots have been varied region to region to utilize the food resources of the area and have caused each region to develop their own traditional cuisine over time. Often this regional traditional food is overshadowed by the abundance and notoriety of American fast food such as the McDonald's hamburger or the Pizza Hut pizza. To better depict the variety of traditional American foods here is a list of some of the most well-known traditional dishes from different regions of the United States.

The Northeast

Boiled lobster is one of the quintessential Northeast and New England cuisines. The state of Maine alone accounts for 90% of the entire country's lobster supply. Traditionally boiled whole and alive it is eaten with butter or lemon. A tourist favorite is a lobster roll which mixes the lobster meat in mayo and is stuffed into a toasted hot dog roll.

Various types of clams, mussels, shrimp, and other shellfish are traditional to this region and are typically cooked by boiling or frying.

Chowder is a type of soup using any of these seafoods or fish and uses a cream based broth, has potatoes and onions, and often times pieces of bacon as well.

Blueberries are also a regional staple. The most traditional way to cook these small berries is in a cobbler- a variation on a traditional English dessert that does not use a crust, but cooks the blueberries with a flour, sugar, and cinnamon crusty top.

Southeast

The south is the birthplace of the fried food. Fried chicken hails from the south and has been perfected through the art of frying in lard or shortening. A staple in any southern cook's handbook, fried chicken is covered in salt and pepper, fried in a skillet, and served with gravy- a sauce using the leftover chicken fat, cream, flour, and spices.

Biscuits are another southern classic. Unlike British biscuit which are often thin and crunchy, southern biscuits are light a fluffy and used to dip the traditional gravy used for fried chicken and other dishes.

Collard Greens are a leafy vegetable similar to kale or cabbage. A staple in the southern cuisine they are the state vegetable of South Carolina. Traditionally they are boiled with the ham hocks and served with the leftover juices from the boiled concoction.

Midwest/ Plains

Barbecue or BBQ is the quintessential plains/ southern food. Traditionally using pork, the meat is slathered in BBQ sauce before, during, and after cooking. In the midwest this sauce is typically made with a tomato, spices, and a vinegar base. The meat is then slow cooked over a charcoal or wood fire (typically hickory in the midwest) for a long period of time until the meat becomes tender and juicy.

Corn is a staple in the midwest and plain diet as the region is know for it's expansive farms and corn based agriculture. Corn on the cob is the most traditional way to eat corn. The ears of corn are boiled whole in water and then smothered in butter, salt and pepper and eaten directly off the cob.

Corn dogs also hail from this region of the United States. Hot dogs have their origin in New York and are a type of sausage traditionally using the leftovers from pork processing. In the midwest and plains region these hot dogs are skewered on a stick and coated in a cornmeal batter, then deep fried.

Cherries are another regional favorite in the northern part of this area. Traditionally they are cooked in a pie with a crust on bottom, cherry filling, and then enclosed in a crust on top and baked until golden brown.

Southwest

The cuisine of the southwest of the United States has strong influence from their Mexican neighbors. A southwest classic is the burrito. It uses the traditional Mexican flour tortilla and is then filled with slow cooked meat, beans, vegetables, and rice and rolled into a wrap form.

Nachos are another southwest staple. Although the ingredients hail from Mexico, this dish is not a Mexican development. Nachos are fried tortilla chips that are coated in cheese and beans, vegetables, or meat, and then placed in the oven to melt.

Salsa goes along with many of the southwest dishes. Although it means “sauce” in Spanish, in the U.S. it is a specific type of sauce using tomatoes, onions, vinegar, cilantro, and jalapeños which are cooked or marinated together and eaten on nachos, burritos, fajitas, and various other southwestern dishes.

West and Pacific Northwest

Salmon is a favorite on the Pacific coast of the United States. Smoked, or grilled it is eaten across the country, but nowhere more so than on the west coast, the salmon's native land. It is a staple on menus and in households in the region.

Cobb salad was developed in California by a chef who, using leftover ingredients he found in the kitchen, formed one of the best known American salads today. A typical cobb salad starts with lettuce greens, then is topped with hard-boiled egg, bacon, bleu cheese, tomatoes, and avocado, with a dijon mustard and olive oil dressing.

Cioppino is a classic San Francisco dish with Italian roots. It has a soup base using fish stock, tomato, onion, garlic, and parsley, and is then filled with a variety of fish depending on the season. The most typical fish used are shrimp, crab, and clams.

All these dishes exemplify the diversity of the population of the United States. Did any of these dishes surprise you as being traditional to a specific region? Have you tried any of these dishes outside of the United States? Are there any dishes you think we should have included? We want to know!

And for some of the recipes for these regional delicacies, click here!

Sources: http://whatscookingamerica.net/AmericanRegionalFoods/RegionalAmericanIndex.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_of_the_United_States

Secondary Education Across the Globe

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Although for many of us the words ‘secondary education’ conjure up memories of brightly clad sports teams and painful social standards that often govern the locker-lined hallways of American high schools, in many parts of the world this level of education is vastly different. In fact, in most countries the final formal years of education before the possibility of entering into higher education are not mandatory and are not even four years long.  For most countries, compulsory education is required for nine years and only those who plan to continue to higher education attend the final years of education before this step towards university can be taken. Most countries also require rigorous entrance examinations for students to be admitted into secondary education.  Working with students from all over the world inspired our Go Global Blog this week as we examine secondary education in the home countries of many of our high school age international visitors.

In China the Chinese Communist Party has had strong influence in the education system for years, making marked improvements in the quality of education as part of their modernization plan to strengthen the country. There, high school consists of three years of costly voluntary education after nine years of mandatory education. The basic curriculum for secondary education includes Chinese, Mathematics and English as they are the three subjects in which all students must pass in their final exam called the Gaokao. These final exams are highly competitive as they determine acceptance into university. Most provinces of China also examine students in subjects such as natural science, physics or biology, and social sciences, which include history and geography. Extracurricular activities are uncommon as the school day typically lasts from early morning to early evening and they are not nearly as important as the Gaokao for university acceptance. After secondary school these students are considered educated although almost all continue on to higher education or vocational schools afterwards.

In Japan, the education of students is also measured by rigorous examinations. Students must pass exams in Japanese, English, mathematics, science, and social studies to even be accepted into secondary education and are examined once again at the end of the three year period for entrance into the most prestigious universities. Education in Japan is generally much more rigorous than in the U.S. with an average of 240 school days a year, compared to 180 in the average American school and with classes often held on Saturdays. Uniforms are also mandatory and students are often required to collectively clean the entire school building at the end of each day. The typical student has two hours of homework a night and most students choose one extracurricular activity in which to take part in for their entire high school career, each taking about 2 hours after school each day. In both China and Japan, the amount of mandatory courses a student must take make it almost impossible for students to take elective courses.

In Denmark we see a similar secondary schooling structure.  Much like in Japan and China, the objective of upper level schooling is to prepare students for higher education after nine years of mandatory education. A marked difference in the Danish system is the ability of students to choose which area of interest in which they would like to pursue their educational career at the secondary level. Students must take an exam at the end of their nine year mandatory education and with those results they choose to continue education in a program focusing on business and socio-economic disciplines, called HHX, humanities or social or natural sciences, called STX, or technologic and scientific subjects, called HTX.  All maintain a core curriculum containing basic subjects along with the specialized courses. Another marked difference in the Danish education system is that student must accept the lesson plans of their teachers. Unlike in Japan and China where the governments control the curriculum and the teachers choose how to teach it; in Denmark each school’s curriculum is self-governed and it is required that students approve a teacher’s lesson plan prior to teaching.

In all three of these countries, the challenging level at which students compete for entrance into universities enhances educational competitiveness in ways in which many college level students in the United States can sympathize with after years of studying for tests such as the SAT and ACT.  Although the ways in which classrooms are taught and governed are different all over the globe, the pressure for students to do well in hopes of entrance into higher education is a phenomenon experienced youths all over the world. 

Global Immersions Group Programs

Global Immersions - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Global Immersions specializes in providing quality group homestay services catering to the needs and interests of each and every client.   Our staff spends time discussing and determining exactly what each client wants their visitors to experience during their stay in Boston. We then create a customized homestay program to match these needs and place the visitors with hosts who meet the group's criteria from our extensive hosting network.  The goal is to ensure a positive and educational experience for the visitor and host. This summer we have happily welcomed groups from previous years as well as a number of new groups.  There is not a minimum or a maximum on the length of stay or number of visitors in the group. Global Immersions Homestay provided services for hundreds of visitors this summer ages 14 to 55 from Taiwan, Spain, China, Japan and Italy who attended language schools, universities, and cultural immersion programs all over the city. 

 Living in homestay is the best way to learn firsthand about U.S. culture.  We help our visitors and hosts explore Boston by providing age appropriate events happening in the city during the stay.  The events are fun, often free and varied to cover a wide variety of interests.  Here’s just a glimpse of what some of our Global Immersions groups have done this summer while living in homestay!


TALK visitors celebrate a birthday

The Taiwanese group attended TALK School of Languages at Regis College for the first time this summer!  These high school students came to Boston to improve their English and experience American culture. Our hosts were able to share unique American experiences like the 4th of July fireworks at Gillette Stadium, a hike in the Catskill Mountains, the opening night of a blockbuster movie, a visit and tour to a local fire station and a visit to Boston area beaches. The visitors also enjoyed a tour of Harvard Square, shopping at the Natick Mall and a few visitors cooked authentic Taiwanese dinner for their hosts.


Spanish teachers at Global Immersions Explore Boston Event

The Madrid Regional Ministry of Education in Spain sent another group of middle school teachers to Boston to attend a customized four-week program at Boston University CELOP.  The History/Geography and English teachers, ranging in age from 25 to 55, came to Boston to hone their respective educational fields as they experienced American culture first hand while living in homestay.  Many were able to live with former teachers, and all got to experience the rich history of Boston as they perfected their English. They were able to share 4th of July with their hosts, attend concerts at Tanglewood, visit historic sites like Concord and Lexington and tour Salem and Cape Cod.  Many also attended Global Immersions Explore Boston event at the Institute of Contemporary Art, where we took a free tour of the museum and heard live music from local Berklee College students.


Italian visitors on the USS Constitution 

The Italian group attended EC Boston Junior's Program at Simmons College.  These high school age visitors came to improve their English, experience Boston and learn about American culture while living with our hosts. A few highlights of their homestay experiences included watching the World Cup at an American style BBQ, eating lobster dinners, the IMAX theatre, and making an Italian dinner for their host families to show them what “real” Italian food tastes like!   In addition to the Italy group, we provided homestay services for two large Chinese groups attending the EC Junior's Program at Simmons College.

As Boston’s Homestay Specialists we work hard to ensure each visitor has a positive experience and each group program meets the needs and goals of the client. Our groups this summer have been from all over the world and each had different requests and needs.  We are confident that each visitor had a full immersion into U.S. culture.  They will take a piece of Boston life back home along with their new friendships made while living in homestay.  Check out our photo gallery for images from this summer’s visitors!  

Advice on Buying a Pre-Paid Cell Phone

Global Immersions - Thursday, July 26, 2012

Having a cell phone when you’re traveling abroad can be very helpful; you never know when you could need it! We strongly suggest all of our younger visitors in homestay have an emergency phone for safety purposes.  

In many foreign countries, cheap, disposable phones can be bought at corner stores, along with “pre-paid” minutes. The same is true in the United States, but there are many more options and “hidden” fees. Here is a quick overview of how buying a pay-as-you go cell phone without a contract may not be as easy as you think:


Many stores, including places like Staples, Wal-Mart and CVS, will sell you no more than two phones at a time due to new regulations regarding disposable cell phones. If you’re part of a large group you should call ahead to make sure they have enough phones, and expect that each person will have to buy their own phone.

For disposable phones with “no contract” many carriers offer “pre-paid” minutes. This means, for example, when you buy your phone you’ll spend an additional $25 for minutes to use on your phone. Be careful, you never know how many “minutes” $25 will last you. A major carrier charges .35 cents per minute, and then .20 cents per text, so that $25 won’t last long! Other carriers offer a set number of minutes, say 300 for $25, and then each minute you use your phone will deduct from that original 300 minutes. If you have a smart phone, you also have to find out how much the carrier will charge you for internet use. This feature is called “data” and it is important to consider how much “data use” costs when you buy your phone.  

What happens if you go over your “pre-paid” minutes? With some carriers the phone will just stop working until you add more minutes to it. With others, your phone will continue to work, but the carrier will charge the credit card you bought the phone with and might add on fees for going over your “minutes”. It is important to keep track of how many minutes you have left on your phone. Often you can do this by dialing a number the carrier provided you with, or by logging into an account online.  

So your trip is over and you’re heading home. What to do with your phone? Some carriers will buy it back from you for a fraction of what you paid, then refurbish it and sell it as a used phone. Others won’t give you money if you return your phone, but will take it so they can donate it to an organization in need of cell phones, such as domestic abuse centers. Whatever you do, don’t throw your phone in the trash. The battery, if not disposed of correctly, can cause pollution as it deteriorates.

Here is some advice to our homestay visitors - be careful when you buy a phone. Think about how often you’ll be using it, and for what purpose. If you text a lot, get unlimited texting. If you don’t have a smart phone, then don’t get data. And remember, read all the fine print! 

If you have any helpful tips regarding cell phones without a contract in the U.S, let us know!

Chiba Group Homestay Program

Patty Brownlee - Friday, April 08, 2011

Global Immersions Homestay specializes in customized group homestay programs.  We spend time discussing and determining exactly what each client wants their students to experience during their time in Boston.  There is not a minimum or a maximum on the length of stay or number of visitors in the group. Each homestay program is designed for the group! 


In late March, we had the pleasure to welcome a very large group of middle school visitors from Chiba Middle School in Japan to homestay for an intensive program.  The Chiba visitors were on a school trip to Boston to sightsee, attend special lectures and workshops at M.I.T., tour Fenway Park and spend one day at two local high schools interacting with high school students and learning about the U.S. educational system. The goal of the homestay program was to live with Americans in order to truly 
experience and learn about U.S. culture.  Our hosts exposed the visitors to a variety of activities and events and foods that allowed them to have a taste of American life. 


Here are a few of the experiences the Chiba visitors enjoyed with their hosts!

Played instruments with family members
Walking tour of Boston Common and downtown (Freedom Trail)
Walking tour the North End 
Walking tour of Faneuil Hall 
Played outside (basketball, trampoline, catch, etc.) with family
Toured Chinatown
Salem tour and museums
Toured the USS Constitution
Watched movies and played Wii and video games
Toured Rockport and the North Shore area
Attended sporting events or practices with family 
Played board games
Went bowling
Attended church 
Attended folk dancing event

Went on nature walks
Had a dinner party with extended family and friends
Went to the grocery store
Had a traditional “Thanksgiving” dinner
Attended a bridal shower and birthday party
Patriot’s Place
Went to the mall or shopping area
Toured a local fire station 
Attended a school event (carnival)

 


Chiba visitors learning how to make pizza!


Chiba visitor doing a basketball trick for host family!

Boston is a city filled with all types of activities and happenings for any interest. The highlight is not only the diversity of our great city's offerings but the fact that many events are FREE!

Our hosts received a handmade booklet from each Chiba visitor describing them and their interests, what a typical day in their life was like, details about their family and Japanese culture. The visitors also prepared a Japanese meal for their hosts. It was a win-win situation for the hosts and visitors and a successful group program!



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