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Cinco de Mayo at Home Edition

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, May 04, 2020

How to Celebrate Cinco De Mayo From Quarantine!




Sitting at home in quarantine wishing you could head over to your favorite Mexican restaurant tomorrow to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Unfortunately we are celebrating this year’s Cinco de Mayo a little differently than normal due to the coronavirus. Here are some ways to celebrate from home!



Learn how to cook authentic Mexican recipes for dinner!

Ever wanted to try to recreate your favorite Mexican dishes? Today, you have time to make them from scratch! Head to the kitchen for some spicy fajitas and quesadillas! Maybe some homemade salsa, guacamole or queso to go alongside chips. You could try making a side of refried beans and rice to go with enchiladas, nachos or a chile relleno. If you’re feeling adventurous, Mexican bread and handmade tortillas! What about some empanadas and tamales? Or of course, just a classic dinner of burritos and tacos! And don’t forget dessert! How about some flan, churros, tres leches or sopapillas?! Yum! For recipes, click here, here and here to explore. The options are endless! ¡Provecho!



Have a Cinco de Mayo Zoom Fiesta!

Call your friends, turn up some music and dance together! While your dinner is cooking, take some time to catch up with friends and family. If you would normally celebrate this holiday with others, we can thank technology for connecting us virtually! Bonus: download a Cinco de Mayo zoom background to increase the festivity like the image above!



Support your local Mexican restaurants! 

Local businesses are struggling and could use your help! Order take out food to celebrate, especially if you’re too lazy to cook! Most places are currently delivering, which makes it even more convenient!



If the weather is warm, have a picnic!

Head to your backyard and have dinner outside! Spending time outdoors is important, especially during this difficult time. It's beneficial to your mental health! Celebrate outside with your family and neighbors, make sure to sit a safe distance away from others! Crank up some Mexican music and make the best of the day! If you leave your home make sure to bring your mask (you could even make a festive one!). 

Learn about the history of Cinco de Mayo.

Do you know why we celebrate this holiday? It’s not Mexican Independence Day! This day is in honor of the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla against the French on May 5, 1862. To learn more, click here.


Please keep practicing social distancing, we are all in this together. Stay safe and celebrate at home! Happy Cinco de Mayo Home Edition!


St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

St. Patrick’s Day



Did you know that Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish? And that he wore blue, not green? Or that his name was originally “Maewyn Succat”? Make sure to wear green on March, 17th because Irish folklore claims that leprechauns pinch anyone not wearing green! Legend has it the red-headed fairies also appear at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold! How did this green holiday come to be today?



Saint Patrick was actually born in Britain and taken to Ireland at 16 as a slave. He introduced Christianity to the Irish people and used the shamrock (3 leaf clover) as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity. Although he died on March, 17th, 461, his legacy was passed on through generations in Ireland and around the world. The first celebration in the United States was in Boston in 1737, while the first parade was in New York City in 1762. For more history, click here.


As of 2016, there were over 32 million people with Irish ancestry in the United States, which is 7 times more than the population of 4.8 million total people in Ireland. Over 10% of U.S. citizens are Irish, while 1/5 Massachusetts citizens have Irish ancestry. Middlesex County in Massachusetts has over 348,978 Irish Americans, which has the greatest Irish populated county in the country. Norfolk County, Massachusetts, has about 203,285 citizens with Irish ancestry. For more facts, click here and here.



Many countries around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by illuminating their landmarks with green and have parades. The Sydney Opera House in Australia as well as Christ the Redeemer in Brazil are lit with green lights. In England, the tallest ferris wheel in Europe, the London Eye, is lit with green lights. In New York City, the Empire State Building and in Paris, France the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy also change their lights to green. The Chicago River and Vilnia River in Lithuania are two rivers that are dyed green for the holiday. Even the Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx in Egypt are lit with green!  For more, click here.



On this holiday, corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and soda bread are the main meal. For traditional recipes, click here and for festive green recipes, click here


Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, January 23, 2020

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!




2020 is the Year of the Rat! This year’s Chinese New Year begins on January 25th and ends on February 4th. This time is called the Spring Festival. The Lantern Festival Festival follows from February 5th to the 8th. Keep reading to learn more about the most important Chinese holiday!




During Chinese New Year, dumplings are eaten in order to “send away” the past and welcome in the new year. A coin is placed to a random dumpling and the person to receive it will have good luck in the upcoming year. Noodles are another staple dish to eat during this special time. It is believed that the longer the noodle, the longer one’s life will be and it is forbidden to chew or cut the noodles. To celebrate the approach of spring, spring rolls are enjoyed in many variations. Certain ingredients in meals represent different symbolic meanings in the Chinese culture. For example, duck symbolizes loyalty, lobster represents endless money, eggs equal a healthy and large family, shrimp is for wealth, tofu means happiness for the family and fish stands for surplus. In addition, seaweed represents wealth, lotus seeds are considered the key to a healthy family, grapefruit symbolizes hope and bamboo shoots mean longevity.  




For dessert, simple rice and sponge cakes are served after dinner which symbolize success. Turnip cake (made of radishes) are enjoyed for breakfast or on the 7th day of the Spring Festival. Flowers are a common ingredient in Chinese desserts such as in Jujube Flower Cakes which stand for wishes coming true or blessings for children. Friendship and success are represented by the “may flower” petals used in the Osmanthus Jelly dessert. Rice balls filled with bean paste are traditionally eaten as the first breakfast of the year in the South while in the North, people shape them like peaches to symbolize longevity. 




Children receive red envelopes with money from their elders in order to have a good year full of fortune and blessings. Red is an important color in Chinese culture as it represents fortune and happiness. To protect themselves from demons and monsters, people hang red decorations and poems outside their houses. Fun fact: it is bad luck to say negative words, sweep, break glass, use sharp objects, fight or give forbidden gifts such as clocks during the Spring Festival. For more information about Chinese New Year traditions, food and myths, click here.




For the Lantern Festival, people write down their wishes and release the lantern up to the sky, with the hope that their wishes will come true in the upcoming year. 





Here in Boston, the Chinese New Year Parade will be held on February 2nd, starting at 11am in Chinatown. There will be dragon dances, martial arts, drummers, lion dances, firecrackers and more! For the full list of details about the celebration, click here.

  


In addition to the Parade, the Museum of Fine Arts offers FREE admission to the museum from 10am - 5pm on February 1st to attend the New Year Celebration. There will be performances, dancers, activities and traditions. For more information, click here


Global Immersions wishes you a happy and healthy Chinese Lunar New Year!


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.

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.


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

Lunar New Year - Year of the Pig

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, February 09, 2019


Happy Lunar New Year everyone! The Lunar New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival, started on Tuesday, February 5th this calendar year and will end with the Lantern Festival on Tuesday, February 19th. As the most important festivity in countries like China, North and South Korea, and Vietnam, this holiday alone is celebrated by more than 20% of the world’s population! Not to mention that more fireworks are set off on the Lunar New Year than any other day of the year. This is is the most important time for celebrating families all over the world to gather together to welcome spring and share in one another’s company.



This Lunar New Year is the Year of the Pig, which is often seen as a symbol of wealth, diligence, kindness, and generosity. Each Lunar New Year cycle is characterized by one of the  twelve zodiac animals, as well as the five elements of earth. The year you are born and your Zodiac can help predict your fortune, marriage and career compatibility, and so much more.  This Year of the Pig overlaps with the Earth element. So according to the Zodiac, Pigs born in 2019, are predicted to be outgoing, supported by loved ones, and fortunate. Lucky colors include yellow, gray and brown. Lucky numbers are 2, 5, 8. Curious to know your Zodiac sign? Click here to find out!



As family come from all over to celebrate for two weeks, The Lunar New Year has some of the best food recipes and traditions too. Many meals are designed to provide specific blessings for the upcoming year. Certain food groups and dishes have symbolic powers to bring prosperity, fertility, and happiness. For example, eggs are known for big happy families and lobster is known for financial prosperity. Some traditional meals may include spring rolls, dumplings, noodles, steamed fish and chicken, rice cakes, vegetables, and hot pots. There is even special wine saved just for the occasion. Each family has their own favorites and traditions! You will notice that the color red dominates the Lunar New Year celebration. Red lanterns, red string, red clothing. Another famous tradition is to exchange gifts, particularly red envelopes that are filled with money! Most commonly these red envelopes are passed from the elderly to children, symbolically passing along fortune to the youngest generation. However, the envelopes can also be passed between friends, family, and even co-workers.The new year celebration will continue until the Lantern Festival when everyone socializes in the streets, plays games, and lights lantern to celebrate the new year. We want to see you celebrate! Share your Lunar New Year experiences with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!


Sources: Chinese New Year


Boston Holiday Markets

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas is right around the corner, only 5 days away! Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Whether you’re buying presents for others or just want to look around, you can’t go wrong with one of Boston’s seasonal markets. Check out this list below to see where you should shop this weekend! 


Harvard Square Holiday Market 

The Harvard Square Holiday Fair returns Cambridge for its 33rd season. This holiday market features a variety of handmade items from local New England artists. As you browse the market, stopping at different stores and speaking to the craftspeople, you’ll find a selection of unique gifts, from jewelry to ceramics, to paintings to candles -perfect for friends, family, or yourself! This year’s Holiday Fair will be held at St. Paul’s Church Hall at 29 Mt. Auburn St. The market is open weekdays from 11:30 am- 7: 00 pm, Saturday from 10: 00 am – 7: 00 pm, and Sunday from noon – 6: 00 pm. Admission is free!


Downtown Boston Holiday Market

Have you walked through Downtown Crossing lately? If so, then maybe you’ve seen the Downtown Holiday Arts Market at its new pop-up location at 467 Washington Street. While doing some holiday shopping Downtown, make sure you stop by the Holiday Market where area vendors will be showcasing their work. Like the Harvard Square Holiday Fair, this winter market has an array of different handmade items, such as woodcarvings, metal sculptures, food, clothing and much more. You can find a list of participating vendors here – I’m sure you’ll recognize a few names! The Holiday Arts Market will be open until January 6th (with the exception of Christmas Day and January 1-2) The market is open weekdays from 11:00 am – 7: 00 pm and weekends from 11: 00 am – 5: 00 pm. 



Boston’s Cultural Survival Bazaar is an annual event at the Prudential Center that brings together indigenous artists from a range of different cultures. This special market is the perfect place to find a gift for globally-minded friends and family while supporting indigenous cultures. In the past, the Bazaar has brought artists from the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tibet, India, Nepal, China, and many more. Make a quick trip around the world by browsing handcrafted pottery, blown glass, natural-dyed textiles, baskets, jewelry, and paintings. The Bazaar is open December 21st- 23rd from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm and until 8:00 pm on Sunday

Happy Holiday shopping! Share your unique holiday finds with us by Happy Holidays! If you see any of these festive plays, be sure to share your experience with us by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

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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