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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: Neighborhoods South

Global Immersions Recruiting - Saturday, July 20, 2019

Aside from Boston’s most touristy neighborhoods, there are great suburbs to explore! In our Explore Boston series: Neighborhoods we will highlight and explore some of the neighborhoods and towns where our hosts call home. This blog takes us to the following neighborhoods: Hyde Park, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain and Mattapan.


Hyde Park:

Hyde Park is commonly named “A Small Town in the City.” The town has its own charm to offer. If you have the chance to explore around Hyde Park, make sure to head to Cleary Square for food stops, storefronts, and historical landmarks. In the square you will find the Vertullo Building. Built in 1868, the Vertullo Building is a must-see in Hyde Park as it is the only surviving wooden commercial building in the area! Nearby you will find Everett Square Theatre. Built in 1915, the theatre was originally used as an artistic space for theatre, musical, and other live performances. The town is now working to restore and renovate the historical building. If you are looking for outdoor activities away from city life, Hyde Park is also close to Blue Hills and Stony Brook Reservation where you can enjoy beautiful New England foliage and scenery. Finally, if you are looking for a bite to eat in HP, check out Ron’s Ice Cream (for both your bowling and ice cream needs) as well as Tutto Italiano, and the Fairmount Grille. Click here for a list of other recommended restaurants nearby.



Mattapan:

The neighborhood of Mattapan is located between Dorchester, Milton, and Hyde Park. The neighborhood was originally a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and since the 1980s has gained large Haitian, African, and Caribbean populations making for diverse people, food, and culture! If you have the chance to walk around, the first place on your list should be Mattapan Square! This marks the center of the town where Blue Hill Avenue, River Street, and Cummins highway intersect. Here you will find the most commercial (not residential) part of the neighborhood with shops and small businesses. If you continue down Blue Hill Avenue, you will find many “Triple-Decker” homes which are quintessential to Mattapan amongst other Victorian and brick style houses. The neighborhood is also well known for the historic Mattapan Trolley. This antique train, although slower at times, serves as a connector to the Red Line at Ashmont. For a Boston neighborhood, Mattapan is filled with more green spaces than most including the Harambee Park, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Boston Nature and Wildlife Sanctuary, the Clark Cooper Community Gardens, and Forest Hill cemetery. Mattapan is also home to one of the Boston Public Library branches! Lastly, here are some of Mattapan’s favorite restaurants.



Roslindale:

Fondly referred to as Rozzie, Roslindale is a beautiful quaint suburb in southern Boston surrounded by hills and dales between Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. The neighborhood was officially annexed by Boston in 1873. The most famous place to visit in Roslindale is Roslindale Village where you will find shops, stores, and restaurants! Here are some of our favorite places to eat including Romano’s Pizzeria and Taqueria, Fornax Bread Company, and Redd’s in Rozzie. If you are looking for some natural scenery, make sure to explore the neighboring south end of Arnold Arboretum or Adam’s Park for Roslindale community events. From June until November, there is also a Roslindale Farmer’s Market on Saturdays for all to enjoy.


Jamaica Plain:

Jamaica Plain, or JP, is a neighborhood filled with artists, activists, young professionals, and families. The most popular spot to check out is Centre Street. There you will find the neighborhood’s locally owned shops and restaurants known for the best thrift shopping and delicious food. Some of our favorite restaurants in the area include Tres Gatos, Ten Tables, Doyle’s Cafe (for Tuesday night trivia), and JP Licks. Make sure to walk through City Feed and Supply, Jamaica Plain’s very own local market, to purchase organic food and community goods. If you are a thrift shopper, 40 South Street will be up your alley! For those interested in art, make sure to walk to the MFA or Isabella Stewart Gardner. Finally, if you are looking for parks and nature walks, JP is just for you. Part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace, visitors can enjoy the views of Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum, and Forest Hill Cemetery. There is something for everyone to enjoy!


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!

International Food Markets

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, November 01, 2017

One thing Boston is known for is its international population. People from around the world come to Boston for higher education, to see historic sites, to catch a sports game, or just to start anew. With such an influx of international visitors, students, and immigrants, the availability of international foods has also risen. Across the Greater Boston region, international markets have popped up, and we're excited to share with you some of the local favorites:

Asian Markets:


Super 88 Market

With two locations, one near Boston University in Allston and one in Malden, this supermarket offers a wide range of Asian groceries, including produce, meats, spices, sauces, and everything in between. There's even a food court where you can enjoy some sushi or pho at your own leisure.

Location: 1095 Commonwealth Ave, Allston & 188 Commercial Street, Malden

HMart

Located on Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge, HMart is another Asian food superstore. From ready-to-serve, to Kimchi, to snacks, to household items, HMart is your one-time stop for any Asian food you are looking for.

Location: 581 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge

Ebisuya Japanese Market

If you're looking for superbly fresh sushi made right in front of you while you shop for all your pantry necessities, then you should absolutely make a stop at Ebisuya. This market is located right in Medford, and has all your Japanese cooking essentials.

Location: 65 Riverside Ave, Medford

Indian Markets:


Taj Mahal Desi Bazaar

This market may be small, but it has much to offer. With a butcher on site, the Halal meat selection is incredibly fresh and the variety of seasonings and grains are plentiful for a good price. Be sure to stop by if you're planning a traditional Indian meal.

Location: 274 Broadway, Somerville

Foodland Market

Located in Cambridge, this market also has an in-shop butcher and fresh produce and spices. A local favorite, be sure to check it out!

Location: 2234 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge

African Markets:


Kaba African Market

If you're looking for African foods and spices, or natural body products, or handmade items for your home, this is a great market with knowledgeable staff right in the heart of Boston.

Location: 29 Roxbury Street, Roxbury

Merkato African Market

Specializing in Ethiopian products, this wonderful little store stocks its shelves with plenty of spices, fresh njera, and hard to find items. This shop is sure to please both mind and body!

Location: 1127 Harrison Ave, Roxbury

Middle Eastern Markets:


Hamdi Halal Market

If you're looking for high quality Halal meats at a reasonable price, this is your go to place. With a wide variety of foods and pleasant service, you will have a fabulous experience.

Location: 1433 Tremont Street, Boston

Sevan Bakery

When you visit this little store, you will discover that it is more than just a bakery. With an amazing selection of imported foods from Armenia and the Middle East, you will surely not be disappointed. Be sure to taste some of the Armenian and Middle Eastern food prepared fresh in the kitchen every day.

Location: 599 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown

Arax Market

This shop is a small Armenian grocery store that also boasts products from Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East. A local favorite, everyone recommends the olive bar and the baklava. Check it out!

Location: 585 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown

Eastern Lamejun Bakers

This little store offers a wide variety of imported gourmet essentials, including Armenian appetizers, every spice you can think of, snacking goodies, and loads of the best dips you can find. Don't forget to try their stuffed grape leaves!

Location: 145 Belmont Street, Belmont

Russian & Eastern European Markets:


Berezka International Food Store

In business for over 30 years, this Russian grocery has expanded to include more than just food. Beyond the fresh foods and imported Russian spices, they now have a department entirely focused on natural remedies. There you can find all sorts of high quality natural herbs, teas, and tinctures. Be sure to check this store out!

Location: 1215 Commonwealth Ave, Boston

Babushka Deli

This special little spot is a gem for those who find it. From kosher goodies to Greek spreads, this one of  a kind store has the Eastern European product you have been looking for. Go in with an open mind, and your day will surely be made.

Location: 62 Washington Street, Brighton

Latin American & Caribbean Markets:


Tropical Foods

This supermarket is known as the store with "the best of both worlds". Not only does it function as a regular grocery store (selling milk, eggs, veggies, etc.), it also provides ethnic products, such as special produce, curries, rice, beans, and unique/hard-to-find specialties from the Caribbean, Central/Latin America, and Africa.

Location: 450 Melnea Cass Blvd, Boston

La Internacional Food Corporation

This is a must-go for your Central and Latin American food shopping needs. Their selection of spices, cheeses, beans, and more are extraordinary. Known as a friendly and well-stocked store, this is a great local market to do some of your ethnic shopping at.

Location: 318 Somerville Ave, Somerville

Mineirao One Stop Mart

This little shop lives up to its name! With a restaurant/butcher in back, and a stocked grocery store in front, you are sure to find everything you may need. Traditional Brazilian products and brands line the shelves of this store, and all at an affordable price!

Location: 57 Union Sq, Somerville

These are just a few of many, many international food markets in the Greater Boston/Boston area. Be sure to do some of your own research and pop in to the next local market that you see!

The Year of the Rooster

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Xinnian Kuaile (sshin-nyen why-luh) ! Happy New Year! This year, Chinese New Year falls on January 28th and will last until February 2nd. Unlike other country's new year celebrations, which coincide with the last day of the Gregorian calendar year, Chinese New Year is based upon the Lunar Calendar and therefore falls on a different date each year (typically between the end of January and mid February). Although Chinese New Year falls in the middle of winter, the celebration is known as "Spring Festival" in China, as the ancient solar calendar classifies the start of Spring as the period from February 4th to 18th.


 Each year is assigned one of 12 zodiac signs with an associated animal. The Chinese believe that each sign has certain characteristics, which describe people born during the sign's corresponding years. 2017 is the year of the rooster - the corresponding sign of those born in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, and 2005. Those born under the rooster are thought to be hardworking, resourceful, courageous, talented and very confident in themselves.

Roosters are always active, amusing, and popular within a crowd. They are talkative, outspoken, frank, open, honest, and loyal individuals. They like to be the center of attention and always appear attractive and beautiful. People born under the sign of the Rooster are happiest when they are surrounded by others, whether at a party or just a social gathering. They enjoy the spotlight and will exhibit their charm on any occasion.

Roosters expect others to listen to them while they speak, and can become agitated if they don’t. Vain and boastful, Roosters like to brag about themselves and their accomplishments.

Their behavior of continually seeking the unwavering attention of others annoys people around them at times.”


Much preparation is done before Chinese New Year even begins. Homes are decorated with red decorations along with streets and public places, as red is considered a very lucky color. Most homes will also include strips of paper known as "Chunlian". These papers contain messages known as "Spring Couplets" or messages of good health and fortune. A typical decoration contains four Chinese characters in gold writing, which are known as "Hui Chun". Families will thoroughly clean their homes for the festival to rid the home of any bad feelings for the new year. It is considered bad luck to not clean one's home before the new year. The Chinese clean beforehand to avoid cleaning for at least the first three days of the new year, as they believe doing so will sweep away any good luck they have acquired. In addition to cleaning their homes, Chinese also take care to clean themselves. They do so by getting a haircut prior to the new year. It is considered unlucky to get a haircut during the new year, so some Chinese people will avoid cutting their hair for at least a month. In Chinese culture, new clothing and shoes symbolize a new beginning, and many Chinese will purchase new items for the new year. It is also common for people to purchase flowers, as flower blossoms symbolize good fortune.

(Migration of Chinese during Chinese New Year) 


The New Year celebration is extremely family oriented. It is estimated that more than 200 million Chinese take long journey's to return home for the holiday celebrations. The main celebration usually begins with a family gathering and meal on New Year's Eve. Families will enjoy special treats along with typical dishes of fish or chicken. Both dishes are served whole, however the fish should not be completely eaten, as leftover fish represents a surplus at the end of the new year. It is also common for the family to exchange gifts in the form of money inside of a red envelope. Families will practice Shou Sui, or staying up until midnight together to greet the new year. 

New Year's celebrations include parades with traditional Lion dances, drums, and large fireworks displays. During the Spring festival, there are hundreds of thousands of fireworks displays and millions of fireworks set off at home. The tradition is that fireworks scare away evil spirits and demons. The largest displays are lit at midnight, similar to the January 1st celebrations of other cultures. The two weeks of celebration usually end with a Lantern Festival. Families and friends come together again to eat and release lanterns into the sky. Children do not attend school throughout the holiday period, and can even go a whole month before returning to class!

(Spring Festival in Malaysia)

You may be surprised to learn that China is not the only country that celebrates Chinese New Year. Spring Festival celebrations occur in dozens of countries across the globe, with more than 2 billion people participating. Countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have huge celebrations, and smaller communities in Chinatowns around the world gather to hold events, parades, and firework shows. Public holidays lasting from one to four days are common throughout Asia, with celebrations extending  for a week in Vietnam. Hong Kong is well known for its Spring Festival celebrations, as the area hosts a major horse racing festival at this time. Events also include fireworks, theatrical shows, as large displays of flowers. Western cities also hold their own Chinese New Year festivals. Most notably is the celebration in London, which sees more than half a million people taking part in organized events. 

Interested in participating in Chinese New Year Events in Boston?? From now until January 27th, The China Trade Building in Boston's Chinatown is hosting a Chinese New Year Pop-Up Flower Marketselling flowers from local businesses in celebration of the New Year. On February 12th, Chinatown will host the Chinese New Year Parade and China Cultural Village, featuring classic elements of Chinese New Year celebrations, such as music, lion dancers, fireworks, and of course delicious food! 

Check out our Facebook Page for more info about Lunar New Year Events and other exciting things happening in Boston! 


Sources: The Mirror, Quartz, KInternational, CNN

Little Italy's Big Feast

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

This Friday marks the start of the three day festival, Saint Anthony's Feast, in the North End. As you might know, the North End has feasts and festivals all summer long, but Saint Anthony's is definietly the biggest and also happens to be a personal favorite of mine. Last year I attended the feast with my family and celebrated my (37.5%) Italian-ness by eating a cannoli on Endicott street. Even if you aren't Italian, or a canoli -lover like me you'll definitely still enjoy the festival - but come on, who doesn't love cannolis??

The Feast is a very lively event, drawing huge crowds that cover the historic streets of the North End. Hundreds of food vendors line the sidewalks serving every Italian plate you could think of; from caprese salads, to sausages, to lasagna, to aranchini. Pizza, calzones, calamari, ceci, torrone, cookies, pastries, and more.  National Geographic wasn't kidding when they called it "The Feast of all Feasts". Once you're full of Italian cooking you can stroll the streets listening to live musical performances or watch the giant statue of Saint Anthony be carried through the streets in an even giant-er parade. Experience food and beverage tastings, dancing, games, and crafts for kids. 

The best part about the celebration is that a lot of North end restaurants that are typically crowded (think: Mikes Pasteries, Pizzeria Regina) have stands where you can get their famous food without waiting in an endless line. Did you say Mike's Pastries without a line??? I know right, unheard of. 

I also really like going to The Feast because the atmosphere is so upbeat and the crowd is so fun. Even though I'm only like (almost) half Italian, its nice to be around a group of people who are all part of a similar history and are celebrating a common heritage. Above everything, I enjoy being surrounded by others who share my love of c̶a̶r̶b̶s̶ ̶ Italian food. So, if this post has convinced you to go, then the only remaining tough choice is deciding what to eat. 

For a full schedule of the weekends events and a brief history of Saint Anthony's Feast click here. 

Adjusting to American Culture: Tips from our Japanese Culture Consultant

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, August 08, 2016

Last week, Ayano gave some advice about assimilating to life in the U.S. and shared her own personal story about coming here from Japan. This week, another Global Immersions employee, Gen, recalls his experience as an international Japanese student in the U.S. and shares important tips for potential international students. 


"My first destination when I came to the United States five years ago was Burlington, Vermont and I went to a small liberal arts college for four months to take some summer courses. Since I had a prior experience in participating in a summer English program back in 2007 at the same college, my adjustment to the U.S. culture and a new life went very smooth without any problems. I had some American friends from my first trip who were so generous to help me out with my move-in and getting all the necessities, like my cell phone, laptop and etc. The friendly and peaceful environment of Vermont also gave me a homey feeling, which made my stay so comfortable. After a couple of months passed, I made some close friends who I would always hang out with, I was doing surprisingly well with all the classes, and got completely used to my new surroundings. Everything was going exactly what I expected it to be.

At the end of August 2011, it was time for me to leave Vermont to start my new life in Boston. I was already admitted to Northeastern University before leaving Japan, and going to a full-time university in the United States had always been my dream, so I could not complain how lucky and granted I was. But to be honest, I was considering cancelling my admission to Northeastern, and register for the college in Vermont as a full-time student instead, just so I could continue the fun college life I was having. I had never been determined to move to Boston to start my upcoming five years college life. Rather, expectations from my parents, my classmates from my old high school, and people who supported me back home pushed me towards making that decision. Aside from my actual desire to study international relations and cultures in the U.S., coming to study at a well-known school and to live in a big city was only a "cool thing" for me.

Five years have passed, and now that I graduated from Northeastern and successfully completed my college life in Boston, I even feel it was ridiculous that I had such anxiety and concerns. As a Japanese from a small city which is in nowhere close from any of the metropolises, it was definitely comfortable to live in Vermont. I felt the sense of community within the campus and outside. For most of the international students studying in Boston, the hardest challenge would be how quickly they can adjust to their new lifestyles in Boston, and to the American culture. The longer the adjustment takes, the more stressful a student would feel over time. Everybody needs to undergo the period of adjustment, and we all understand that it takes some time. Living away from the environment you've loved and feel comfortable of can be extremely stressful. So, how can we try to minimize such stress? Here are some tips and advice for you as a Japanese cultural consultant here at Global Immersions.


First, it is very common to feel insecure, anxious and uncomfortable being in a new environment. But remember, everyone else is on the same page. It is even a waste of time to be thinking that you might be the only one who's experiencing such struggle. Adjusting to a new environment does not necessarily mean making lots of new friends, or knowing more places in the city than your friends do. Adjustment is not a competition. If you hurry trying to "fit in" to the new things, you will eventually exhaust yourself. When you are feeling nervous about your new life, so is everybody else you got to know, and take your time to slowly get accustomed to your surroundings.

Secondly, do not forget the most simple elements and the easiest things you can do. Say "hi" and smile. This may sound a bit ridiculous because everyone can do these and is doing so in day-to-day life. Well, the reality is, it is very easy to forget to smile and greet friendly when you are in the middle of the adjustment period of feeling a little discouraged. Don't we all have this kind of experience when feeling so left behind comparing to others who seem to be having the successful start of new college life, and you start to worry about yourself? Again, it is a waste of time tiring yourself with such worries first of all like I mentioned, but more importantly, everyone will be fully accustomed to their new lives in Boston regardless of  how quickly the adjustment takes. We'll all get to the same point eventually, so why hurry? Instead, you should always be a nice "diplomat" to yourself. I can guarantee that new people you meet will remember you after some years, just because you left a nice impression on them.

Lastly, accept the fact that you are living in a completely different environment, and that your comfort zone does not exist around you anymore, unless you try to create one. When I moved to Boston from Vermont, all I could think about was the "losses", like friends I made there, my favorite beautiful view I could see from my dorm room window, campus, stores, Ben & Jerry ice cream (Boston has more store locations than its birthplace Burlington actually)...  But obviously, leaving the beloved town and people behind and moving to a new location does not only cause you those losses. You'll meet so many new people, get to know new great sites you can go, find your own place where you can relax. Discovering all these positive aspects of the new place could only be possible if you stay open-minded and are ready to accept the differences.

If you are considering on studying abroad and have the same worries and anxieties as I did five years ago, I can guarantee you that you all will do just fine, and will have such awesome experiences when you have completed your programs. After all, adjustment is not all about a series of stressful moments you have to go through. And remember, you can get accustomed to the new environment only at your own comfortable pace, always be nice and smile, and get out in the city and find what your new favorites are!" 



Independence Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Hopefully your independence day this year was filled with fireworks, American flag T-shirts, barbecues, and plenty of potato salad.  As I was impatiently awaiting the start of the Boston fireworks this year, from the comfort  of a roof top in Mission Hill (see above - pretty scenic right??), I wondered if our celebration, fireworks and all, is really as uniquely American as we perceive it to be. So, I decided to do a little research about the Independence Day celebrations of other cultures and I discovered that firework shows, eating contests, BBQs,  parties, and parades are actually a pretty universal thing and seem to be the standard way to celebrate freedom. 


Australia: January 26

OK so Australia Day isn't exactly the Australian equivalent of Independence Day but it's pretty close. On this day the Australians celebrate the first arrival of the British (I know total opposite from the 4th in America) and the first unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove. Australia and America have different reasons for celebrating, but the way they celebrate is similar. Just like Americans, Australians celebrate this day with family gatherings, festivals, fireworks, and (of course) BBQs. Each city has its own Australia Day traditions, for example Sydney holds its famous boat races, while Melbourne has a People's March to celebrate the diversity of the nation. Overall it seems like a pretty good time.

Ghana: March 6

Ghana was the first African colony to celebrate its independence from Britain in 1957. Every year on this day the people of Ghana celebrate with fireworks parades and traditional street parties. And if you think street parties sound fun, on the coast people have beach parties and celebrate with dance moves that combine traditional elements with hip hop.


France: July 14

France's independence day commemorates the day of the storming of the Bastille prison during the French revolution.The day begins with a military parade on the famous Champs-Élysées. The French also attend Firemen’s galas, where fire stations across France are open to the public for dancing, drinking, and partying and even some live demonstrations. A party with French firemen?? Oui s'il vous plaît. 


Peru : July 28 -29

The way Peru celebrates their independence day is actually brilliant. Why? because they take two days to do it instead of one. As someone who thinks July 4th is the greatest American holiday, I am really into the idea of dedicating two days to celebrate. In Peru, they celebrate their independence on July 28, the date when José de San Martine proclaimed Peru’s independence; AND July 29, on which they celebrate the Armed Forces and National Police. The festivities kick off with a cannon salute in Lima, followed by Te Deum mass, led by the Archbishop of the capital city and attended by the President of the Republic. The Gran Corso, (aka a giant parade) also takes place in downtown Lima.


India: August 15

August 15th marks the day the British brexit-ed India ending the three century long period of British rule. Billions of Indians every year commemorate the historic day by decorating their houses, offices, and schools with the deep saffron, white and green of the Indian flag. Families gather to watch the annual flag hoisting ceremony, broadcasted live from the Red Fort in New Delhi. Independence day in India is a beautiful celebration because all over the country the sky is full of colorful kites, which to Indians symbolize freedom. Definitely the perfect day for a picnic outside in my opinion. 


Indonesia: August 17

Celebrations on August 17th begin with the flag ceremony at the National Palace. The flag is hoisted by carefully selected high school students from across the country. It is immediately after the ceremony that the real party starts as neighborhoods ready themselves for street fests with games and music concerts. On this day in Indonesia, the traditional game is "panjat pinang", which is a typical non competitive sport where people try to scale palm trees that are covered in oil (because climbing a non -slippery tree isn't hard enough?) in hopes of grabbing the prizes that have been placed at the top. This challenge is important because it symbolizes the struggle of Indonesians to achieve their independence from the Dutch. If you aren't down to get super greasy climbing trees, then you can try your luck at the hotdog shrimp chip eating contest. Yum.


Mexico:  September 16

The Mexican independence day (no - it's not Cinco De Mayo) memorializes the Grito de Delores, or the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest from Dolores. Mexico city is the hot spot for all the festivities as more than half a million people gather there each year. It is a tradition for the president to repeat the cry of patriotism and then there is a firework show. ¡Viva!

 


Spellabrate: A Guide to Correct Spelling

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Spelling mistakes are easily one of my biggest pet peeves, ever. When people confuse you’re with your, or its with it’s, it drives me completely insane. In my head IT’S common sense – isn’t it?

Okay, I’ll stop with my little rant, and get down to the root of my issues. Woah, okay, not all my issues. The more I think about it, I’m interested as to why spelling mistakes bother me so much. If anything, I’d be more lenient to spelling mistakes because, well, English wasn’t my first language. But I think that’s precisely why it infuriates me as much as it does.

When I came into the US, I literally spoke about three words of the English language: book, bear, and house (you know, the essentials for everyday life, which at age six, was Bear in the Big Blue House). So my poor second grade teacher, pretty much got the worst-case scenario when I was placed into his class. Poor guy couldn’t get three words out (that weren’t book, bear, and house), without seeing my hand being raised at the corner of his eye. As much as I was a definite hassle for my poor teacher, he definitely engrained true Americana English in my head. He constantly corrected my spelling mistakes, in the nicest way possible. And every time I listened to his corrections, I would get a gold star, and sometimes a cookie. With positive reinforcements like that, correct spelling kind of became an obsession for me – but in my mind, I think that’s the case for a lot of students who come from across the pond. We become so adamant about learning our second language to the best possible ability we can, spelling mistakes just simply don’t happen anymore.

(definitely not what my teacher was like - but what a great movie)

I’ve never been in an ESL class, so I can’t pull from those experiences at all. But to my understanding, ESL is even more one on one. The simplest mistakes are made noticeable, not to spite ESL students, but to have them be the best they can.

I have to say though, there are many words in the English language that phonetically make sense, and then as soon as you try to spell them, you’re at a standstill. Let’s look at pneumonia. You don’t hear anyone say, Pneumonia, it’s just pneumonia with a silent p. What in the world is a silent p? Why would it make any sense to include a letter, that isn’t even pronounced? Apparently the residents of Washington, Missouri, and North Carolina, agree with me. It’s the most commonly misspelled word in those three states! I have one word for you guys: autocorrect.

(get on your spelling game America)

Not that I ever need it (haha, lies), but autocorrect is both a blessing and a demon. It makes you look incredibly smart in the texting world, but when it comes to writing a note by hand, you can’t call on siri to fix your “namonia” for pneumonia (I’m okay with that though, because how many times will you actually write down a note by hand with that word?)

My recommendation for you readers that are struggling with your spelling bee skills, and have to constantly google whether you’re spelling something correctly – is to turn off your autocorrect. I’ve done it before, and besides the annoyance of having to go back and correct your texts when you only have one hand to text with him, while you hold a chai latte in the other, it actually taught me a lot. I wasn’t so lazy anymore, and it forced me to keep up with the spelling skills that I gained in second grade. So put that chai latte down (I know, this won’t be easy), turn off your autocorrect, and take a stand against spelling laziness. Who knows? You might become so great you’ll sign up for an adult spelling bee, win, and buy yourself a drink with your earnings. It’s a win-win.

(this could be you)

Cinco de Mayo!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, May 05, 2016

It's Cinco de Mayo today!  A lot of people think that it's the independence day of Mexico, like the Fourth of July in the United States. It is indeed one of the biggest celebrations in Mexico, but it's different from their Independence Day, or Grito de Dolores, which is on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo (literally means the fifth of May) is the festivity to commemorate Mexico's unexpected victory at the Battle of Puebla against French aggression on May 5th, 1862. The United States version of celebrating Cinco de Mayo is said to begin around the same time, in the 1860s, when Mexican miners in California overjoyed with the news of their country's surprising victory, and celebrated with fireworks, drinks and traditional dances. The tradition began to quickly spread throughout the country in the late 1860s and early 1900s, and cities with large Mexican population, like Chicago and Houston, followed the celebration tradition which initiated in California. By this time, the celebration included traditional foods and it grew to the community-wide festivity in the entire United States.

After 1950s, Cinco de Mayo gained further recognition as a Mexican tradition, partly because of commercialization of the holiday, and a series of social movements calling for the equal rights for all ethnicities and communities of color in the 70s and 80s. Nowadays Cinco de Mayo is one of the most well-known Mexican holiday celebrated in the United States by many different cultures. In the recent years, the holiday tradition is celebrated in many different countries, especially in English-speaking countries with large number of Mexican immigrants like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Cinco de Mayo celebration can be seen even in Tokyo, Japan, to recognize the increasing number of immigrants and exchange students from Mexico.

So, how can you celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Boston? Perhaps you can go to a Mexican restaurant today or this weekend to get a taste of the Mexican culture! Here are the 5 highly-recommended Mexican restaurants in the Boston area you can eat at and enjoy the tasty traditional Mexican cuisine! (suggested by Phantom Gourmet) If you are not familiar with the Mexican cuisine and some Spanish words associated with Cinco de Mayo, click this link here for this useful website!

Painted Burro: 219 Elm St., Somerville

El Centro:  472 Shawmut Ave., Boston (also in Brookline and Belmont)

Papagayo:  15 West St., Boston (also in Somerville and Saugus)

La Siesta: 70 Woodside Ave., Winthrop

Rosa Mexicano: 155 Seaport Blvd., Boston





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