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Fourth of July

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, June 29, 2019

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

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

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



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



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


Events

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

Sources: BostonUSA, Harborfest, History, USHistory

Memorial Day Then and Now

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, May 24, 2019


Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Memorial Day is an American holiday dedicated to honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the United States military. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, this year across the country we will commemorate Memorial Day on Monday, May 27th.



Memorial Day was originally born from the American Civil War, as a way to respect and honor those who had fallen to protect their country. The American Civil war took more American lives than any other U.S. conflict and resulting in the establishment of America’s first national cemeteries. Back then, the holiday was named Decoration Day and was proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, General John Logan to be on May 30th “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion…”. The first Memorial Day commemoration took place at Arlington National Cemetery where 5,000 citizens came to honor more than 20,000 fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. New York was the first state to officiate the holiday in 1873 and was quickly adopted by the northern states by 1890. The South celebrated and remembered their dead on a different day. However, after World War I, the holiday was changed from honoring only the fallen from the Civil War, to honoring American deaths in all and any war. After the congressional National Holiday Act of 1971, Memorial Day is celebrated by almost every state as a three day weekend.



Everyone chooses to celebrate or remember those who they have lost in different ways. However, there are a few universal traditions that are historically used to commemorate Memorial Day. First, is the National Moment of Remembrance. Passed in December 2000, this resolution asks that at 3 PM local time on Memorial Day for all American citizens to pause for a moment of silence or listen to the song ‘Taps’ as a way to honor our fallen soldiers. Another quintessential part of Memorial Day is the symbol of poppy flowers. Started by poet Moina Michael in 1915, wearing red poppy flowers has become a way to recognize, show appreciation for, and honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our country. Americans will also visit memorials and cemeteries on Memorial Day, leaving flowers, flags, and notes to show their appreciation. Many towns and cities will have Memorial Day parades to honor local military families and encourage patriotism. The largest and most decorated parades take places in New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. It is also common to make patriotically decorated food for Memorial Day barbecues as a small reminder of the sacrifices our military has made for us.



If you are in Boston for the weekend, make sure to visit Boston Common for the Massachusetts Military Heroes Garden of Flags display. The Common will be decorated with more than 37,000 American flags to represent and commemorate each of the Massachusetts soldiers who have given their lives to protect our nation’s freedom. Additionally, on Saturday May 25, Veterans Memorial Park in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood will be celebrating the holiday with their 73rd Annual Memorial Day Service at 11 AM.


As always, we want to see how you celebrate! Please send us your favorite Memorial Day memories and traditions by sharing with us @globalimmersions or using #HomestayBoston.


Boston Celebrates Cultural Diversity

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Boston is a diverse city, home to many different cultures and ethnicities. Boston’s diversity makes the city an interesting place to live and study, as different cultural groups share their heritage through food, cultural events, or even film festivals. Boston City Hall has found a unique way to celebrate the different cultures that make up Boston, raising a flag at City Hall each month to bring awareness to the city’s diversity. The Mayor’s office has chosen to commemorate flags from many countries and community’s to “create an environment in the city where everyone feels included and is treated with respect”. According to the Mayor's office, the goal of displaying these flags is also to “foster diversity and build and strengthen connections among Boston's many communities.”


(The Ethiopian Flag raised outside City Hall)

If you have walked by City Hall, in Boston’s Government Center, then perhaps you have noticed another nation’s flag, raised next to those of the United States, Massachusetts, and Boston. Often times, along with a flag raising, the designated cultural group will hold an event, sharing their traditions and heritage with the rest of the city. Depending on the culture, flag raising ceremonies may include dancing, live music, food, and public speeches. Thus, the City Hall flagpole serves as a sort of community meeting place. The steps outside City Hall have become a place of cultural appreciation, where Boston residents can learn more about each other and celebrate each other’s differences.  


(Puerto Rican community members gather at the Peurto Rican Flag Raising)

The full schedule for upcoming flag raising ceremonies is not yet complete, though the Mayor’s Office Website indicates the February flag will be Lithuania, followed by Pride Week, Caribbean American and Puerto Rico in the late spring and summer. Cultural groups can contact the Mayor’s office if they wish to have their flag displayed.


(Performers at the Italian Flag Raising Ceremony)

What are some of the values and traditions of your culture? Share them with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


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