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Adjusting to American Culture: A Japanese Student's Perspective

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, August 01, 2016

Adjusting to culture in the U.S. can be very difficult, especially if there are a lot of differences between your native culture and the culture here. If you are thinking about coming to the U.S.from abroad or if you are already a visitor here staying in homestay, then it may be helpful for you to read this testimonial from one of our Japanese staff members, Ayano, who experienced many of the same challenges you might also be facing when she came to the U.S. for college after growing up in Japan. Ayano talks about her time spent learning English and provides a few tips for a positive homestay experience!



"Hi everyone, since we have many clients from Japan throughout the year, we would like to talk about some U.S. culture adjustment tips for the future Japanese students who plan to come to the U.S. and Boston. There are two Japanese members in Global Immersions. Inc and our names are Ayano from Tokyo and Gen from Ishikawa. We will share our stories with you through this blog and hope something helps you.


I, Ayano, came to Boston almost 2 years ago and studied leadership in business at Northeastern University. I am doing an internship during my last quarter here at Global Immersions Inc. and I enjoyed my experience here in Boston. I would like to share what I have done for adjusting to life in the U.S.


First and foremost, I thought I should know about some background of the U.S. and especially Boston. I thought it would be important to get knowledge of the culture, geography, and customs. I believed that knowing that information would make it much easier to adjust to a new environment and give me an idea of the culture differences before my arrival.


Second, I studied English as much as I could. Since I was going to the U.S. and had to speak English all the time, it made sense that I should be familiar with English. Knowing English will help you when you arrive. For example, in my case, once I got an acceptance letter from my current college, I tried listening to English songs, radio, and even short news stories such as VOA and CNN Student news. To practice writing, I wrote diary entries in English. Writing often lead me to learn new words, idioms, and phrases. I was not into reading, so I did not try reading books that much, but I wish I could have practiced reading before I got so many reading assignments from the thick textbooks at school. In terms of speaking, I kept taking lessons online. These lessons were very helpful and I was able to adjust my pronunciation and use new words I learned from other resources.


Third, once I arrived in the U.S.  I just started exploring new things. Exploring definitely gave me a broader views of U.S. culture. You may be scared to go out and explore or break out of your shell, however, it is the best way to learn. Coming to the U.S. and doing nothing leads to little discovery during your stay. If you really want to get precious experience here, you need to actively seek out whatever you can!


Next, I want to share how to deal with homesickness and culture shock. What I have done is find ways to experience my own culture when I miss home or people in Japan. Since I have been in the U.S. I try using English to improve my skills, but also sometimes I want to speak my native language and talk with my family and friends. Therefore, what I try to do is to make time for contacting my friends and family and telling them news about my life. I also watch Japanese TV drama or listen to J-pop to feel like I am at home.Doing this makes me very relaxed. You may want to focus on only English, but it can be tiring and stressful. The balance between the two languages is very important. In terms of culture shock, you need to keep in mind that the things you are used to are not the same everywhere in the world, so you need to keep an open-mind. If you watch some American TV shows or movies, you can see the culture differences. Also, you can avoid a large amount of culture shock if you study before your arrival and know what to expect. Having some knowledge of the U.S. shows your respect of the country, as opposed to arriving without any knowledge.



I went to Australia for one month to study English. I was in homestay at that time and had plenty of experiences with my host family. You may feel very anxious, worried, and confused about homestay. Even if this isn’t the first time you have visited a different country, it is common to feel scared. I had exactly same feelings. I could not speak English well and none of my family or friends would help me learn. However, I was excited because I took this as a challenge and hoped it would change me. Although I was shy and introverted during the first few days, I actively communicated with new people at school and talked with my host family even though my English was poor. After the four weeks, my abroad experience completely changed me! I had many friends from many countries, made better conversation with my host family, and even my brain began to work in English. When I thought about something, the words came to me in English before Japanese. Homestay is a very great opportunity to learn culture and English. I would suggest a couple of tips for successful homestay:


  1. If you have any questions, just ask your host and do not hesitate to talk.

  2. Be active during your stay

  3. Set goals for yourself during your stay


When you are not sure about something, just ask your host and solve the problems. They know you are international students and that English is your second language. You do not need to worry about your skills, so just spit the words out!  Also, while you are staying in homestay,  you should not stay in your room and do things by yourself. You can ask your hosts to do something together with you or you can ask your friends to go out. This is how I improved my English skills, so I can tell you that this really works. Furthermore, I would highly recommend setting goals during your stay. When you feel so stressed or lonely, you may avoid speaking English or become shy. However, if you have goals or an ideal image of who you will be after this stay, it will motivate you to study hard and overcome those troubles! Believe in yourself and keep making an effort and in the end you will have a successful stay in the U.S.!"

" 皆さん、こんにちは!現在私達が住んでいるボストンへは、幸運なことに毎年日本からのたくさんの訪問者がいらっしゃいます。そこで今回は、弊社で働く二人の日本人スタッフ、アヤノとゲンがアメリカでの生活にどう適応していったかを、このブログを通して紹介したいと思います。ここに載せた情報が何らかの参考になれば幸いです。

私アヤノは、約二年前にボストンに来てノースイースタン大学でビジネスを勉強していました。学校の最後のタームを利用して、この会社でインターンシップをさせて頂きました。ここでの経験に加え、ボストンでの生活はかけがえのないもので、とても楽しい時間を過ごしました。今回、私がどうやってアメリカ生活に適応していったかをお話したいと思います。

まず始めに、異国の地を訪問するということで、その土地の文化や風習、そして基本的な背景情報を下調べしておくことは必要不可欠であると思います。多少の知識があれば、その地に到着した際にもっと簡単に適応していくことができますし、文化の違いなども見えてくるでしょう。

二点目にあげられるのは英語力強化であると思います。皆さんも海外に行くなら、英語力を身につけるのが高い優先順位であげられることでしょう。英語力を十分につけていくこと以上に楽なことはありませんが、短期間で英語力を伸ばすには限度があります。しかし、何もやらないよりかは多少でも英語に触れておくことは大事なことです。私が大学の合格通知をもらった後に出発までの間に行ったことは、英語のニュース(VOACNN Student News)や洋楽、ラジオを聞いたりしながらネイティブレベルのスピードにならしていく、ということです。ライティングに関しては日記を英語で書き始めるようにし、そこから新たな単語やイディオムなどを習得できた部分もあります。私はあまり読書が好きなタイプではなかったため、あまり洋書を好んで読むことはしませんでした。今思えば、学校でぶ厚い教科書のリーディングの課題が出される前にもっと洋書に読みなれておけばよかったと痛感しています。会話力に関しては、スカイプオンラインの英会話レッスンを毎日25分受けていました。それを使うことで過去に習った単語を使ってみたり、講師の人が発音を直してくれたりするため、インプットとアウトプット両方を鍛えることができました。

三点目はアメリカに到着後のことになりますが、私は何事にも挑戦する精神をもって行動することを心がけていました。それらは私に幅広い視野を与えてくれ、文化の違いなども生活のちょっとしたところで発見できたりします。せっかくアメリカに来て、挑戦することを恐れ自分の殻に引きこもっていたら勿体無いです。何もしないことには何も始まりません。本当に小さなことからでいいので、是非積極的に行動してみてください!

次に、ホームシックやカルチャーショックにどうやって対応していくかについてお話したいと思います。誰しも海外での生活を送る中で、ホームシックやカルチャーショックは感じるものです。私がこれらに打ち勝つために行っていたことは、日本を感じる時間を作る、ということです。もちろんアメリカに居るのだから、英語力をあげるために英語漬けの生活をするのも大切なことです。しかし、たまに日本語で日本に居る友達や家族と連絡をとって近況報告をすることもストレス解消の一つであると思います。それに加え、日本のドラマや音楽を聴いたりしてリラックスする時間を作っています。英語に集中したい気持ちもわかりますが、時に息抜きをしないとストレスになってしまうかもしれません。うまくバランスの取れた生活をすることでストレスを減らし、有意義な生活をすることができることでしょう。カルチャーショックに関しては、全てに対して自分の常識は世界の常識とは異なるということを頭に置き、新たな視点で物事を見ていくことが必要です。そしてアメリカのテレビドラマや映画をみていると、アメリカ独自の文化や風習などを知ることができるので、一番手っ取り早く文化を学ぶことができるのではないでしょうか。何も下調べをしないでいくよりかはカルチャーショックを防ぐことにもつながっていくと思いますし、その国に対する尊敬の意を示すことにもつながっていくことと思います。

私は過去に一ヶ月間オーストラリアで英語を勉強しながらホームステイをしていました。その期間はホストファミリーと多くのことを経験することができました。もしかしたら、あなたもホームステイを選ぶ可能性があり、不安や心配事など様々なことが頭をよぎるかもしれません。もし今回が初めて海外に飛び立つということなら、なおさら皆さんが感じることです。私自身もまったく同じ状況でした。英語は上手に話せないし、誰も助けてくれない環境に身を置くわけであったので不安でいっぱいでした。しかし、私はこれが自分に課せられた大きな挑戦であると考え、この経験が私の中の何かを変えてくれるのではないかと考えるようになりました。初めの数日はとても内気で何をするにも抵抗がありましたが、その後自ら積極的に新しい人と話をしたりホストファミリーとも単語をつなげての乏しい英語で会話をしていきました。しかし、四週間後にはこれらの行動が私をガラッと変えてくれました!日本へ帰国するときには様々な国籍の友達ができ、文単位での会話をホストファミリーともすることができ、さらには私の脳までもが英語脳に変化していきました。何かを考える際に日本語よりも先に英語が頭をよぎるのです。そのとき初めて自分自身でも成長を感じた瞬間でした。ホームステイは英語力やその国の文化を学ぶには最高の場であると思います。ここでいくつか素敵なホームステイ生活を送るためのコツを提案したいと思います。

1.      何かわからないことがあったら遠慮なくホストファミリーに聞くこと

2.      滞在期間は積極的に行動すること

3.      滞在期間中の目標を持って生活をすること

何か疑問に思ったりすることがあれば、ホストに聞いてすぐに解決しましょう。ホストファミリーは我々が海外からの留学生で英語が第二言語であることを理解しているため、自分の英語力を心配する必要はありません。なので、どんどん知っている単語を繋げて会話してみましょう!そして滞在中は家の中に引きこもって自分ひとりで何かするのではなく、ホストを誘ったり、学校の友達を誘ってどこかへ出かけたり何か一緒にするように心がけましょう。それらは英語力を向上させるための一つのコツでもあります。これは実際に私も行った方法なので自信を持って皆さんにお勧めすることができます。最後に、何かしらの目標をもって過ごすことを高く推奨したいと思います。そうでないと、何か大変なことがあったりつらいことが起きた際に、すぐ諦めてしまったり英語を話そうとしなくなる可能性もでてきます。しかし、もし目標や滞在後の自分の理想像などがあれば、難しいことに直面した際にも乗り越えることができるでしょうし、何ごとに対してもモチベーションを保つことができるでしょう。自分を信じてどんなことにも努力をしていくことが、最終的に良い結果をもたらしてくれると私は考えています。"

Gone Beachin'

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

One thing that a lot of people don't know about Boston is that beaches exist in the city. Yes, despite popular belief you don't have to travel all the way to the cape/south shore for a pleasant beach experience. If you're a Boston native then maybe you frequent Carson or Revere beach, but for me, this being my first summer living here in the city, I hadn't visited any of the local beaches until last weekend. Upon spending all of Saturday and Sunday laying on a beach towel I learned something: "that dirty water" is actually kind of nice - freezing, but nice.

The two beaches I visited were Revere Beach in - you guessed it- Revere, and M Street Beach in Southie. Saturday was the International Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere. What's that? It's like a display of those sand castles you always built when you were little, except way way WAY better. Every year artists from around the world come to Revere to create huge sand sculptures from a bunch of sand imported from New Hampshire. I have no idea how they do it but I know it looks amazing. The festival draws over 300,000 spectators - so you can imagine how difficult it was to park.

In addition to the sculptures there was also a live music stage, carnival rides, and just about every type of food truck you could think of. The whole event was super lively and I'm really glad I went. Definitely better than staying home in my AC-less apartment. 


M Street Beach on Sunday was a lot more laid back than Revere.  The beach wasn't nearly as crowded (probably due to the lack of any international festivals taking place) and the ocean was a lot more calm. While it wasn't as big as Revere, I still liked M Street because the atmosphere was relaxing and the beach itself was pretty. From the sand you have a nice view of the JFK Library and neighboring Carson Beach as well as a perfect location to watch the planes landing/ taking off at Logan. This beach was also cool because the majority of beach-goers are typically young, college-aged Bostonians.  My friends and I started a game of spike ball (think volleyball but the net is a trampoline) and tanned until the sun began to set. It all made for a perfect end to a perfect weekend.


Vamos a la playa! Find a list of Boston's best beaches here. 

Locations and Transportation: 
Revere Beach: 
Revere Beach, Revere MA 02151
MBTA: Blue Line to Revere Beach 
Bus 110 to Wonderland or Broadway & Park Ave. 
M Street Beach
William J Day Blvd. (at M St.)
BostonMA 02127
MBTA: 11 Bus E 8th St @ M st. or N st. 

Red, White, and Burger

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In my travel experience, I have found that one of the best ways to learn about and experience a new culture is by trying the typical cuisine of that region or country. When traveling to the US, sampling the local food should definitely be on your "to do "list. If you're just visiting the United States you might be thinking : America has its own cuisine?? Yes, as much as we do love the food of other cultures ( ex: Mexican, Italian, Chinese) America has a few dishes that are classically American. To get you started, here is a list of a few USA favorites for Americans and tourists alike. 

What's the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about American food? The burger. A classic meal that originated in the 1800s right here in the good ol' U S of A. There is some debate as to who actually created the first hamburger but virtually no debate as to whether or not they're delicious. The popularity of the hamburger (no, not only in the US but all over the world) since its creation speaks for itself. My pick for a must try burger in Boston is Boston Burger Company on Boylston Street.When I went recently there was SO MANY different burgers on the menu it was difficult to decide on just one...but in the end I think I made the right choice (see picture above). They even have a burger topped with mozzarella sticks, fried mac and cheese, onion rings, bacon, and BBQ sauce. If that doesn't scream America then I don't know what does. 

 

The hot dog - commonly coupled with the burger- was created in the US thanks to German immigrants. While Coney Island is the original home of the hot dogs that we know and love today, Boston offers many worthwhile renditions of this American classic - and no I'm not referring to the $20 Franks at Fenway Park. Instead, I would opt for a real outdoor BBQ at Formaggio's Kitchen. Every Saturday from 11 am the restaurant hosts a BBQ outside of their Cambridge location with not only hot dogs but also smoked meat sandwiches, ribs and corn bread. The best part is Formaggio's hot dogs are all beef, not that mystery concoction of meats you sometimes find in grocery stores, so you don't have to feel bad post devouring one Saturday afternoon. Speaking of eating hot dogs on Saturdays...THIS Saturday (July 23rd) is National Hot Dog Day so go out and celebrate America's favorite cooked sausage.

A true meal is not complete without dessert, so in keeping with the spirit of all things American I urge you to try a slice of apple pie from Petsi Pies on Beacon Street in Somerville. All of the pies here are baked fresh daily with real ingredients, so you know they're good. The perfect addition to an American BBQ. I like to top mine off with Vanilla ice cream, but you can do what you want. 

Clam chowder may not be a typical dish of America in general, but it is definitely a typical dish of the New England region. There are A LOT of places in New England to get chowder, but my recommendation in the Boston area has to be the Barking Crab in Seaport. Here, the food is good and the atmosphere is even better. From the outdoor terrace you have a great view of the harbor making for an authentic New England experience.

Pair your meals with other uniquely American things, maybe? A NASCAR race? A football game? You don't even have to feel bad about eating all this food - consider it a learning experience. 

Treat Yo Self to Fresh Foods!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Browsing around an open air market is a fun summer activity and a nice way to enjoy the good weather. Thankfully, Boston has a few options when it comes to farmers markets and finding foods that are (for the most part) actually good for you!  

Copley Square Farmers Market  

Located in the heart of back bay right by the Boston Public Library, the Copley Square Farmers Market is a great place to buy fresh produce and sample items from businesses that use locally grown ingredients. I stumbled upon the market one Friday afternoon and I immediately was thrilled with my discovery. Having just returned from a four month stay in Paris, I was missing the open air fruit and vegetable marchés that I had grown accustomed to shopping at.  That's why when I found this market I was excited that it had a similar feel to those in France. All the food is fresh, and made with REAL ingredients, which is very different from the majority of the products I find in grocery stores here in the US.


What's the best part? FREE FOOD! Many local restaurants, bakeries, and cafes give away free samples at their booths. That means you can not only try delicious fresh fruit, but also taste products like Boston's best (in my opinion) cheesecake from 7ate9 bakery. So, even if you've already done your grocery shopping for the week The Copley Square Market is still worth checking out if you want to snack on new treats from a restaurant you've never tried before or just need a good excuse to get outside and explore a part of the city in the summer. The market is open every Tuesday and Friday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

     

The Greenway

The Rose Kennedy Greenway is a lively spot in Boston during the summer. Located in the financial district across from South Station, the Greenway is another great place to buy and sample delicious foods from over 20 vendors, like fresh baked bread from When Pigs Fly Bakery and ice cream from Honeycomb Creamery.  The Greenway hosts markets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm, which means if you're getting sick of the boring lunch you bring to work every day, the Greenway market can be the perfect solution as many vendors sell "grab and go" lunches and prepared food to enjoy outside on the lawn of the park.

Another interesting lunch idea is to visit one of the many food trucks that park on and around the Greenway everyday  as part of the Greenway Mobile Eats Program.  You can find just about every type of cuisine, as trucks range anywhere from Zinneken's Belgian waffles to Bon Me's Asian food. So, while it might not be as healthy as fresh vegetables from the farmers market, you'll definitely be able to find a delicious meal no matter what you're craving.

 

The Greenway is also home to the Greenway Open Market every Saturday and every first and third Sunday of the month until October. Like the other seasonal markets, the Open Market consists of local businesses, however it is uniquely an artisan market. Local area artists and designers sell their works here on three consecutive sections of the park. If you're an art lover, proud small business supporter or just looking for something to do this weekend I strongly recommend taking a look!

A Father's Day for Everyone

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, June 16, 2016

Father’s Day is this Sunday. Yes, red alert, Father’s Day is THIS Sunday. I’m sure between summer expeditions and the (occasional) work that must be done, you’ve probably forgotten to plan something for dad’s day. Well, don’t fret. I’ve got you covered.

(you too mom)

Father’s Day, in my eyes, is basically the same as Mother’s Day. It’s about honoring the people that raised you, and engrained in you the most precious values you have. I mean, this Mother’s Day was the first Mother’s Day I’ve spent with my entire family in 6 years. Yes! 6 long years. Even though I didn’t give you guys plans for Mother’s Day, (which shame on me, I know), I’ve decided that this blog is not only about honoring your dad, but also honoring your mom (for God’s sake, she pushed you out of her womb). You know, there are many types of families out there, with two moms, a single mom, a single dad  - so no matter if your dad is present (I’m lucky and blessed that mine is), you’ll have something to do this Sunday!

Father’s Day for Dad:

For the Brew Junkie:

Brew is an in beer, just to put that out there. If your dad loves beers, and you’re in Boston (which you should be, Boston is amazing), they’ve you’re pretty lucky. Boston has some of the best local brews in the country. Because “local” in Boston means anything from New Hampshire to Maine, that leaves us with a huge variety. If you’re looking for some place to get your beer one, check out: The Publick House, Sunset Grill, Boston Beer Works, and Cambridge Brewing Company.

For the Breakfast Junkie:

My dad isn’t much of a drinker, but he is a lover of breakfast food – and by breakfast food I mean a Swiss cheese omelet with a side of extra crispy bacon. Oh, and the coffee that he always forgets to order. If your dad is anything like mine, brunch is most certainly a necessity on Sunday morning.

Museum of Science:

I know what you must be thinking, brunch at the museum? Yes! Brunch at the SCIENCE museum, seriously could not get any cooler. Though I’m not a fan of buffets, not because I don’t love all the food I can gobble down, but because I tend to over eat, cry, and then continue eating, I would sign up for a Wolfgang Puck brunch any day. Not only will you be chowing down on some seriously delicious eats, but you’ll be seated in the Skyline Room overlooking the Charles River.

(i don't know these people but how cute are they)

Café Fleuri:

Barbecue is a summer staple, but sometimes, it’s also a dad staple. So because it’s both summer and Father’s Day, The Langham Hotel is pretty ideal. All their brunch items are BBQ inspired. Oink Oink!

For the Animal Lover:

The Franklin Park Zoo offers free admission to all dads. Yes, free admission. Do you think if I wore a mustache and a cap I could pass for a (young and handsome) dad?

Father’s Day for the other dad, Mom:

Yes, Father’s Day for moms is a thing. We’re very used to having a mental image of what a typical family is, but it’s 2016, there is no such thing as a typical family. Like I’ve mentioned, there are families with two moms, two dads, a single mom, a mom and a dad (and maybe you just want to thank your mom again); there’s seriously every kind of family out there. So why not take this day to celebrate the mom in your life too?

For the Spa Lover:

The Emerge Spa has a Father’s Day treatment deal, but it’s also valid for moms. Between getting a relaxing pedicure, a cucumber facial, and the (not so relaxing, but sometimes needed) wax, you’ll make mama very very happy.

For the Vino Lover:

Did you know there’s a Boston Wine School? Yes, you can register for classes, have some tastings, and learn about different kinds of grapes all in the same place. So for the vino loving mama in your life, you can either take it back to your college days and sign up for a class, or you can take her of a City Wine Tour. Mamma Mia!

(sorry I'm wine-y)

For the Instagram Lover (just so she can post super cool boat pics):

Take her on either the lunch or sunset cruise with Spirit Cruises. There’s an open bar, a DJ, and panoramic views of the gorgeous Boston skyline. If your mom’s a photographer (very much like mine), the cruise back drop is perfect for a new insta post.

This coming Sunday is about loving the ones you’re with, and the ones in your life. There’s obviously a special shout out there to the people that raised you, so raise your glasses (beer, wine, or iced coffee), and thank them. They deserve it.

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




The OG Lemonade

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Beyoncé’s new album, Lemonade. She had an HBO special video release, and she basically publicly embarrassed her cheating husband – go Queen Bey.

I’m sure you heard about the Jay-Z, Beyoncé scandal when it happened. Her sister, Solange, took upon herself to smack around Jay-Z when rumors of his affair with Rachel Roy surfaced. Now, it’s not really confirmed whether or not they actually had an affair – but when Queen Bey decides to write a song talking about Becky with the good hair, you best believe it happened. If you didn’t make that connection: Rachel is Becky with the good hair (just google her, she really does have some great hair).

You’re probably asking me what this has to do with any of you? Well, it really has nothing to do with you. Unless you’re a close personal friend of Queen Bey, this probably hasn’t really affected your life. However, let’s think back to the title of her album. That’s right, sweet and sour, ice-cold lemonade. All this lemonade talk had me really craving a tall glass of the stuff. So it had me thinking, Boston must have good lemonade. Yeah okay, that sounds ridiculously boring – and who really goes out for a glass of lemonade? Well, I do. I happen to love lemonade so keep your judgments aside. So as to not bore you, I came up with a lemonade-pairing list too. That’s right, you won’t have to walk up to a nice restaurant and order lemonade. That way, you won’t be embarrassed, and they most likely won’t spit in your drink.

Bon Me

Bon Me is mostly known for their food trucks, that roam around Boston leaving a trail of ginger and garlic deliciousness behind. They have everything from sandwiches, to rice bowls, to noodle soups, but guess what they also have? Lemonades, duh! And they don’t just have one, they have two. Bon Me – the lemonade truck of a lifetime. Good news for you, you won’t have to run after a truck in the middle of the street, because they have two permanent locations: at the Boston Public Market and in Harvard Square (what did I tell you? Harvard Square has everything). Once you order either the Thai Basil Limeade or the Spicy Ginger Lemonade (I’m not giving you an option, you must order either or), make sure to order the Soba Noodle Salad and BBQ Pork to go along with them.

(forget the salad, put some bread in your order)

Café Jaffa

I love Middle Eastern food. I’ve talked about how much I love lamb, and lamb just so happens to be one of the most popular cuts of meat in Middle Eastern cuisine.  Café Jaffa has basically everything lamb. Lamb Kabobs, Lamb Chops, Lamb Schwarma – guys this is lamb paradise. Not that I would condone getting anything but lamb at Café Jaffa, but once you order the lemonana (lemonade with mint, yum), you can either pair it with the obvious lamb kebab sandwich, or the falafel plate.

(steve carell gets me)

Moby Dick

Yes, I’m back with the Middle Eastern food (damn C, back at it with the kabobs and hummus). Hey, I told you how much I love it – so bear with me guys. I’ve only been to Moby Dick once, but that’s honestly all it took. Seriously, they have one of the best rice dishes I’ve ever had. It’s on Northeastern campus, and you’ll most likely walk past it- it’s squished between two other restaurants. So keep a watchful eye out, because you seriously don’t want to miss this place. This blog is about lemonade, right? So I should mention they also serve saffron lemonade. Yes, saffron the super expensive Spanish spice – they put that in their lemonade. That’s some fancy fare right there.

Boston Common

This isn’t a restaurant, so don’t feel embarrassed if all you want to order is a lemonade. The Boston Common is one of the most beautiful parts of Boston, but what most people don’t know, it has some pretty great munchies too. Last summer I was walking around the park, and I really started craving something ice cold (no not a beer, and definitely not water). So I went on a search, and I found like 10 lemonade stands. If you’re lucky enough, and you’re there early, you’ll be able to snatch some lemonade slushies. If not, just have a regular lemonade – it’s just as delicious, and it won’t melt as quickly as the slushy. If you’re feeling hungry, and are craving something cheesy (I mean, who isn’t always craving cheese?), go find the arepa stand. Arepas, for those of you who don’t know (shame on you), is a Colombian corn patty cheese sandwich type thing. It’s really hard to explain to people who didn’t grow up on it, so do yourself a favor and discover the goodness that is the arepa de choclo.

(that's an arepa AND lemonade stand)

Okay, I get it lemonades aren’t things you go out of your way for, but lemonade pairings, they sure are.  As Beyoncé says, this is your final warning, you know (lemonades) give you life.

I’m not kidding, go get yourself a lemonade right now.

You have 24 hours.

(yaaaaas queeen)

Run, Boston, Run!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 14, 2016

Marathon Monday is quite possibly known as Boston's second Christmas. And I'm not even exaggerating here. I was actually speaking to one of my neighbors on Monday, and she told me how she marks off the whole weekend and week before Marathon Monday, just to prep herself (and she's not even running the marathon).

(just in case you didn't catch my title reference)

Before 2013, the Marathon was a day to go out, have a couple (or several) drinks, and cheer on friends, family, or random runners at the finish line. That all changed on April 15th, 2013. I don't want to go into the specifics, because quite frankly, we all know what happened at the Boston bombing. I was sitting on my friend's couch, enjoying her birthday festivities and my Georgetown cupcake, when all of a sudden, everything changed. I scrambled to find my phone, just to tell my parents and sister that I was okay, and that I'd try to keep them as informed as possible. Soon after, all cell services were blocked and I felt like I was in a some sort of trance. I was a freshman in college! I had never experienced anything like it, and needless to say, that was one of the worst weeks of my life.

I am beyond lucky to say that I wasn't on the finish line that day, and that my best friend had decided to leave Boylston about 15 minutes before the bombs went off.

Almost three years after that horrific day, Boston has gotten back on track. What happened during the marathon was one of the worst things Boston has ever seen, but what happened after, truly showed how one city can really come together in a time of remorse. There was a massive amount of support given to everyone and anyone who was in some way affected by the marathon bombing, and Boston didn't let anyone take their strength and resilience away. The city was the true embodiment of Boston Strong.

Though I do think we should take Monday to love our families and friends a little more, to thank whatever force you believe in that we're still around and we're still alive, I also believe there are many places around Boston to do so.

Boston Marathon Pre-Race Dinner

Whether you're running the marathon, or just watching it, there's always an excuse to carbo-load. At City Hall, starting at 4pm the night before, there will be an abundance of trays to any and all food and marathon lovers. If you're a superhuman running the Boston Marathon, you can eat for free! If you're lazy like me, and the thought of running more than 5 minutes absolutely horrifies you, you'll just have to pay $20 for all you can eat. On the menu are FOUR different pasta dishes, and a salad if you're feeling like pasta isn't enough for you.

Midnight Marathon Bike Ride

Now, I'm not much (or at all) of a runner. In fact, I actually hate running. I get bored, and I just don't have the will-power to force myself to do it. However, I do love biking. I am an avid spinner, and will literally bike anywhere because (thankfully) I've built up a resistance to do so. This event is basically perfect for me, but I will most likely find some excuse to stuff my face instead of attending. But don't be like me, and bike away! Every year, thousands of people gather and bike across the city, only to be greeted by a pancake breakfast right after. Yes, it's basically like pulling an all nighter for pancakes, but you deserve them after pedaling so much.

(pedal away pedal gods)

T.J. Spirits

This isn't so much an event, more like a restaurant that I highly recommend. Even though it's not located anywhere near the finish line, this place has some true marathon celebrations. You'll see your typical finger-lickin' wings, and make-your-own burgers, but what's most important is their marathon inspired beer. They serve Sam Adams' signature 26.2 marathon brew. It has a lower alcohol content, so if you're a runner looking for a post race drink, this may be the perfect solution for you - because if I were to have a regular beer on a post-workout empty stomach, I'd probably faint.

Cityside

If you're looking for a more up close and personal view of the marathon, Cityside has panoramic views that are just for you. On Marathon Monday, they open at 9am (say it with me: rise, and shine, and wine), so arrive there early for the best views on their rooftop patio or by the windows! Between the drafts, fishbowls, and greasy eats, you'll be glad you're watching the marathon, and not running it.

I rounded out what I think are some of the best to-dos on Patriot's Day. There are obviously hundreds of other places you can go, and if you didn't particularly like any of my suggestions (rude),  you can look on the BAA website and find some other places (mine are the best, just sayin').

Before I sign off, I'd also like to remind everyone of the holiday on Sunday, April 17th. If you happen to not know (shame on you), it's INTERNATIONAL (yeah she's internationally known) IT'S MY SISTER'S BDAY, DAY. You might be busy prepping for the race, or carbo loading, but whatever you're doing, send some positive vibes out and have a drink for her. She likes champagne (Moet and Veuve only, duh) and chocolate lava cakes, so order those.

Happy birthday my munchkin. Even though no one likes you when you're 23, everyone loves you when you're 24. 

(even leo)

Milking on Some Shakes

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, April 07, 2016

The world is having a milkshake moment. No, it's not a delayed response to Kelis's song Milkshake, circa 2003 - even though, 13 years later, it's still a major hit and you can catch me singing and (poorly) dancing along to it. All over the world, restaurants have been making giant milkshakes. Yes. GIANT MILKSHAKES.

It all started in the land down under, Aussie baby. Patissez, in 2015, started serving their sinfully delicious concoctions in adorable little mason jars. Well, not really mason jars because they're not in America, but pretty close to it. Now, this all sounds pretty impressive, but what puts this pastry shop over the top, is the fact that when they first started serving their milkshakes, they were only 52 days old. In 52 days, they were able to get international attention on their now nationally prided milkshakes. I can't even get my life together in 52 days - but that's beside the point. Canberra, the town where the shop is located, used to be known as Australia's boring getaway. But bore no more - they have thousands of visitors flying, boating, driving, walking (literally everything) just to get a taste of their giant caloric treats. As of now, they have flavors like Salty Nutz, Muddy Pat, French Vanilla (if you're going all the way to Aussie, please don't be vanilla and order the vanilla), and last but not least - wait for it - Nutella & Salty Pretzel. The Nutella & Salty Pretzel is quite possibly about to solve my biggest problem - being too lazy to dunk my pretzels in my giant jar of Nutella. First world problems am I right?

(just let the image sink in)

Okay, the reality of it is, most of us can't afford a foodie trip to Australia, but thanks to the beautiful island of Manhattan, we have basically the same (maybe even a little better) milkshakes on this side of the pond. This place is called Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer (say that three times fast). With two locations, one in SoHo and the other in the Meatpacking District, they're gathering crowds of thousands, causing about a two hour wait time just to get a sip and a bite of their creations. Their milkshakes measure up to about a foot tall, and get this, they're not going to break your bank. They're $15, and they can feed an army. Black Tap's chef and owner, Joe Isidori, credits his success to his wife. Legend has it (can it really be a legend if it happened in November), she asked Joe to whip up a cotton candy milkshake, she posted about it on Instagram, and the milkshake cult began. They have everything from the OG cotton candy, to cookie, to salted caramel apple, and get this, a birthday cake milkshake with an entire slice of cake on top. My sister's birthday is next weekend (hi munchkin, expect a birthday post soon), so it's basically the perfect time to not only have a slice of cake but a giant milkshake too.  

(hi pretties)

Again, these all sound fine and dandy, but we're in Boston, and Boston HAS to have delicious milkshakes too. Well, I'm way ahead of you. I've made a list of the best milkshakes in Boston , so put your mileage cards away, and sell your NYC bus ticket, you won't need to go far for these treats.

Lizzy's Homemade Ice Cream

Classic Vanilla Milkshake

Even though ordering vanilla ice cream at an ice cream parlor is, well, vanilla - it's also the best way to test out how good their ice cream really is. Vanilla is the easiest flavor to make, but the hardest flavor to make well. Everyone has it, so to really nail it, you have to do something truly incredible. That's what Lizzy's has managed to do. Their milkshakes milk to ice cream ratio is just spot on, and it's not at all watery - you'll sip on a creamy and smooth, yet thick milkshake. Maybe you're not so vanilla, vanilla.

Burger Dive

Peanut Butter & Banana Milkshake

I'm allergic to bananas and I'm putting this on my lineup, so you're welcome. Even though I'd likely take the banana out of my shake, I'd definitely still order it. Guys, this is the Elvis of milkshakes. You might be slightly confused with why I'm sending you there - the ambiance is a little...interesting.. Featuring stunning views of a parking lot, but it's worth the eye sore. If you're not a peanut butter banana person, order either the s'mores or fudge brownie milkshake, and let your chocolate mustache rejoice in all its glory.

LA Burdick

Dark Chocolate

Speaking of chocolate, if you're a fan of it, you should definitely make a pit stop at LA Burdick. I'll preface my ode to the dark chocolate shake by mentioning what makes it so unique - it has no ice cream in it. This may offend you, but just listen up for a second. Instead of ice cream, LA Burdick freezes little cubes of  its absolutely incredible hot chocolate, then blends them. You'll then get a dollop of whipped cream and an actual truffle on top. If that doesn't convince you to run to LA Burdick right now, are you really a chocoholic?

Emack & Bolio's

LITERALLY ANYTHING, but actually order the Orange Cream ASAP

My love-hate relationship with this place comes down to a simple fact - they're my next door neighbors and they have made my scale hate me. So I technically don't hate them, I just really really love them too much. I'm a huge fan of Orange Creams, and this place makes me order them to the point where my pants no longer fit. Their recipe is super simple: OJ and Vanilla ice cream or yogurt (I obviously order the yogurt - trying to watch my weight over here), but it's simply delicious.

I know it's cold outside, but milkshakes are appropriate in any season. So go, unbutton your skinny jeans, and have a shake. Who knows? Your milkshakes might just bring some boys to the yard.


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