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How to Spend Your Long Weekend

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, October 04, 2018
What is Columbus Day?? If you’re not familiar with this U.S. federal holiday you can read about its origins here. If you've spent the holiday in Boston before, you'll know that the most exciting part of Columbus Day is taking a mini-vacation away from school. If you’re a student in the Boston area you probably know that Columbus Day means you have an extra-long weekend, which also means you now have extra time to explore the city! Lucky for you there are a lot of fun events happening things weekend and many of them are free. Here are some ways to spend the upcoming long weekend in the city.



East Boston Columbus Day Parade
Head to East Boston Sunday afternoon to experience Columbus Day in the city. Watch and enjoy the annual Columbus Day Parade that has occurred in Boston since 1937. The parade will begin at 1:00 pm in the Suffolk Downs parking lot and will march down Bennington Street, ending at Maverick Square near the waterfront. The parade will feature local organizations as well as veterans groups and can best be viewed from the sidewalk along Bennington Street. 



Chicken Stock 

You might be familiar with the Boston area restaurant, the Chicken and Rice guys. Maybe you've seen their food truck on campus? Well, did you know that they are hosting a free event at the Medford Condon Shell this Saturday? The event will feature live funk, soul and R&B music from local artists as well as free Chicken and Rice Guy's food. The party's main event is their 5th annual ChickyRice eating contest and the Extra Hot Sauce Challenge, where the top contestants can win free Chicken and Rice Guys for a year. If you LOVE chicken and rice or have a high tolerance for spicy food you can sign up for the contest on their event page, however, it might just be fun to watch the other contestants compete.




HONK!

The HONK! festival returns this year to Somerville, for even more music, performances, and celebration. HONK! is a 3-day street band festival, where musicians from all over the U.S. (wielding a variety of brass and percussion instruments) play throughout the city's streets, with no sound speakers or stage to separate them from spectators. HONK! creates an immersive experience as the musicians play among the audience and invite them to join the fun. The festival kicks off Friday night with a lantern parade and band showcase in Davis Square neighborhoods. Then, on Saturday, over 25 bands take over Davis Square for a giant music and dance party, followed by a parade of musicians and local activist groups on Sunday. This event is a great opportunity to engage with members of the Boston community while enjoying live musical performances and the beautiful fall weather. 




Free Admission to the ICA

The Institute of Contemporary Art, normally closed on Mondays, will open on Columbus Day and offer free admission. This is a great opportunity to visit the ICA Watershed, the museum's seasonal space in East Boston, before it closes for the winter. On Monday visitors at the ICA can participate in special events and activities (like art making and short films) as well as view all of the museum's current exhibitions. This is a perfect time to visit the museum if you haven't been able to make your way there on a Thursday when museum admission is normally free.

 


The Manhattan Short Film Festival, an annual film festival of international short films, received thousands of entries from more than 70 countries this year. Of those entries, on 9 finalists were chosen. These 9 films were then screened over 1,000 times in theaters in more than 250 cities on six continents between September 27th and October 7th. On October 6th, those in the Boston area have the opportunity to see these films during a screening at the Museum of Fine Arts. Viewers are invited not only to watch the films but also to judge them! On entry to the theater, you are given a ballot card to vote for your favorite short film and actor. Your votes are sent to Manhattan Short's headquarters and the winner will be announced on Monday! You can watch the event trailer here. 



Spend your day off exploring Boston's Fenway neighborhood at the Opening Our Doors Event sponsored by the Fenway Alliance. Enjoy free activities like a neighborhood walking tour, live musical performances, art installations, an interactive community mural, craft making, and a rhythm and dance parade. The event begins at 10:00 am at 200 Huntington Avenue/Avenue of the Arts with a performance by Boston's Children's Chorus, a New Orleans-style front line parade, and free cupcakes from Oakleaf Cakes! Following the event kick-off, a complimentary trolley will bring attendees to activities at key locations such as Evans Way Park and the Museum of Fine Arts. 

We hope you take advantage of this holiday to explore Boston and are we are excited to see how you'll spend your day off.  Share your long weekend activities with by using #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

Get Your Fill of Fine Arts This Weekend

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, September 24, 2018

Checking out Boston's music and art scene is a must-do during your immersion experience in the city. You might not know it, but Boston has a lot of free (or inexpensive) events celebrating the arts. This weekend, consider exploring Boston's fine art attractions outside of a traditional museum, and learn more about the city through art, film, and music! 

Music: The Boston Pops (Free Concert)

What better way to spend your Sunday than at a free concert put on by the world-famous Boston Pops! The Pops will perform a special free concert at Franklin Park as part of the Park's community arts festival. Aside from the concert, the festival will have other fun, interactive events, such as mural painting, an instrument playground, crafts, a photo booth, live animal demonstrations and more!

When: Sunday, September 30th, 3 pm - 7 pm (The Playstead at Franklin Park) 

Music: The Beyonce and Coldplay Experience 

Do you prefer pop to classical music? What about pop music mixed with science? If that sounds intriguing, consider spending your Saturday night at the Museum of Science to experience the popular music of your favorite artists, fused with stunning visuals under the Charles Hayden Planetarium dome. This is not your average listening party! Hear hits by Beyoncé or Coldplay as you are taken on a “sensory journey full of innovation, artistry, and imagination.”

When: Coldplay: Saturday, September 29th, 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Beyonce: Saturday, September 29th, 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Film: The Boston Latino International Film Festival (BLIFF)

Throughout the year, Boston hosts a variety of interesting and eye-opening international film festivals, and the BLIFF is no exception. This celebration of Latin culture will feature documentaries as well as full length and short films that explore Latino-related topics. The film festival is an exciting opportunity to get a glimpse of Latino culture through the eyes of members of the Latino community in the United States and other Spanish speaking countries. 28 films will be screened at 4 different locations around the city, this Thursday through Sunday. Admission is free!

When: Thursday, Sep 27th, 7:00 pm - Sunday, Sep 30th, 9:00 pm

 

Art: SoWa Artists Market

Every Sunday, the artist studios in Boston's SoWa district open to the public at the SoWa Open Market. The South End becomes busy with artists showcasing their work and art lovers browsing their studios to find that special piece. On Harrison Avenue, four floors of artist studios are open, displaying paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other crafts. While you're at visiting the artist studios, be sure to check out the SoWa farmers market or food trucks bazaar, after a long morning of art spectating, you'll be hungry for lunch!

When: Sunday, September 30th, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Art: Boston's Women's Market 

Boston's Women's Market is celebrating its one year anniversary! This market, located in the Seaport District, showcases work made strictly by local female artists and entrepreneurs. Shoppers can find everything from jewelry, to candles, to body lotions, ceramics, clothes and more. Come to support New England's inspiring female entrepreneurs and stay to explore Seaport and the sights along Boston's beautiful waterfront. 

When: Sunday, September 30th, 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm (District Hall - 75 Northern Ave, Boston)

We hope you see or hear something interesting this weekend! Share all your adventures with us by using #HomestayBoston!

Fall Fun: Apple Picking Near Boston!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, September 16, 2018

It’s that time of year again – the Summer weather is changing and in just a few shorts weeks it will officially be Fall. If you’re lucky enough to spend this Autumn in Boston, you can’t miss out on a classic New England activity: apple picking. Here are some PYO apple spots that aren’t too tough to get to from the city.


Belkin Family Lookout Farm

Belkin Farm is actually one of the oldest family farms in the United States and has over 180 acres with 60,000 fruit trees.  The farm offers PYO fruit options both weekdays and weekends. What can you pick? They have a variety of apples from Macintosh, to Golden Supreme, or Golden Delicious, as well as Asian pears, peaches, and plums.  After a day spent in the orchards, 21+ visitors can check out the taproom and try some of Lookout’s beers and ciders, brewed on site using the farms own produce.

Directions:

89 Pleasant St S, Natick, MA 01760

Public Transit: Take the Commuter Rail Framingham Line to Natick Center, then take a ride share service or taxi only a short distance to the farm.


Russell Orchards

Russell Orchards in Ipswich, MA also has a large variety of pick-your-own apples, as well as blueberries and blackberries. The Orchard’s bakery offers a fall staple – apple cider donuts. Like Belkin’s Lookout Farm, Russell Orchards has an added attraction for 21+ guests. The Orchard’s winery holds daily tasting hours and serves wines and hard ciders made right on the premises with their own fruit. If you’re an animal lover, be sure to stop by the barnyard to visit the farm animals! Pet the farm’s adorable bunnies or help feed the pigs and chickens.

Directions:

143 Argilla Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938

Public Transit: Take the Commuter Rail Newburyport Line from North Station to the Ipswich stop. After the farm is only a short ride away via taxi or ride share.


Connors Farm

Connors Farm in Danvers, MA is known for much more than their produce. Aside from apple picking (and other New England favorites like clam chowder), the Farm has a GIANT corn maze built into a different shape each year. This year’s maze is called “Crazy Train” and it looks crazy hard to navigate (seriously, one family got lost and had to call 911 to get themselves out). Connors Farm is also unique in that it hosts special events throughout the season, from “Flashlight Nights” in October to live entertainment and “Hillbilly Pig Races” on the weekends. If you’re into scary movies, you might enjoy Connor’s Farm at Halloween when it transforms into the haunted farm, “Hysteria”. If monsters and evil clowns aren’t your thing, you can always stop by the farm during the day for a much less terrifying experience.  

Directions:

30 Valley Rd, Danvers, MA 01923

Public Transit: Take the Commuter Rail Newburyport Line from North Station to the North Beverly stop. Then, hail a taxi or call a rideshare to the farm.


Smolak Farms

Smolak Farms in North Andover is another quintessential New England Farm. Smolak Farms is probably best known for their farm stand and bakery, which serves homemade goods each morning. On your visit to Smolak Farms be sure to spend time in the pumpkin patch, where you can have your pick at all shapes and sizes of pumpkins. You’ll definitely find the perfect one to display by your front door come October. Smolak Farms also offers daily PYO heirloom and standard apples from their many orchards. They have over 20 different types of apples! Maybe you can try to taste them all…

Directions:

315 S Bradford St, North Andover, MA 01845

Public Transit: Take the Commuter Rail Haverill Line from North Station to the Andover stop, after that it’s only a quick taxi or ride share to the farm.


Are planning to go apple picking with your host family or friends? Share all your fall activities with us by tagging @Globalimmersions or #HomestayBoston on Instagram!

Labor Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, August 27, 2018


American Labor Day:

The first Monday of September, the day when workers and all they have accomplished is celebrated. For most people this holiday just means they get to enjoy a three day weekend and a day off work. It also  means that sadly summer is coming to an end and the school year is starting. Do you know how this holiday came to be?

History:

12 day hours, 7 days a week was the average work schedule for an American in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution. Adults and even children were working in unsafe and extreme conditions for little money. Strikes and rallies were formed to protest rights such as the Chicago Haymarket Riot in 1886. In New York 1882, 10,000 people took an unpaid day off work and marched for rights. This became the first Labor Day Parade which is still held today. People kept protesting for the work day to go from 12 hours to 8 hours to the point where violence was involved. Finally, in spring of 1894, President Cleveland signed a bill to pass a legal holiday for workers and their rights. To learn more about the history, click here.

Labor Day Traditions Around the World:


Many Americans have barbecues, family gatherings, go to the beach and see fireworks in early September. For more than 80 countries around the world, May Day or International Workers Day is held on May 1. In some countries, people even work on the day instead of it being a work-free holiday.

In France, people give their family members flowers. Parades and campaigns are held for workers' rights as many shops are closed. In Jamaica, people celebrate the workers who contribute to their country on May 24th, which originally honored the labor rebellion. It also used to honor Queen Victoria's birthday because she helped end slavery. In the Bahamas, the first Friday in June is taken off to remember the workers' strike held in  1942. There is a parade held in the capital, Nassau every year. 

In New Zealand, the fourth Monday in October is a public holiday to honor the 1840 eight-hour working day movement. In Trinidad and Tobago, June 19th is a day to remember the 1937 Butler labor riots. In Bangladesh, April 24th is known as Labor Safety day to honor the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse. This day is used for inspecting safety measures in companies and businesses. 

In Italy, festivals, concerts and public demonstrations are held around this holiday. In Germany, 'Witches Night' is celebrated the night of April 30 to rid the evil spirits and pranks are played on friends. May 1, spring is welcomed by people putting up maypoles and marches being held for workers rights. In countries such as Ireland, Poland and Norway, the beginning of spring is celebrated with planting flowers and being outside on May Day.

We hope you enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

Your Guide to July 4th in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, June 29, 2018

Boston is an exciting city during the week of July 4th. The city is a host of many different events, from concerts to parades to historical reenactments. City-sponsored celebrations are popular with Boston residents and tend to be very successful is drawing large crowds of  participants. If you plan on spending Independence Day in Boston consider attending one of these major events.


Boston Pop's Concert and Fireworks Show

The annual performance by the Boston Pop's, lead by famous conductor Keith Lockhart, will once again take place at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade. This year's lineup features headliner Rachel Platten, a Newton native and artist of the popular 2015 track "Fight Song". The concert will also have performances by Rhiannon Giddens, of Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Indigo Girls, and an appearance by actress Rita Moreno. The free event offers seating on a first come first serve basis and is likely to be crowded- so show up early! An identical concert will be held on July 3rd, however unlike the July 4th show, this concert will not be followed by a fireworks display. Both concerts begins at 8:00 pm and the fireworks show on the 4th will start at 10:30 pm. If you can't make the show in person, you can watch it live online.

Harbor Fest

Harbor Fest is an annual event that celebrates Boston's Harbor and History. Harbor Fest hosts many events over independence day weekend. Such events include live music performances, historical reenactments, Freedom Trail Walks, and boat tours. The festival will also include a clambake and scavenger hunt. Marty Walsh will cut the ceremonial Harbor Fest cake at Faneuil Hall on June 28th, signifying the start of the festival that will last through July 4th. The Harbor Fest website provides a full schedule of events during the week, which you can find here.

Independence Day Recognition

Boston's official Independence Day recognition and Parade will take place at 9:00 am on July 4th at City Hall Plaza. The event begins with a flag raising ceremony and then continues with a parade to the Granary Burial Ground, where wreaths are laid on the graves of patriots before the parade marches on to the Old State House by Faneuil Hall. At 10:00 am the Declaration of Independence will bead read from the balcony at the Old State House by the current Captain Commanding of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, to mimic the way the document was read to the citizens of Boston in July of 1776.

Source: Masslive, BostonUSA, Boston Magazine

International Summer Festivals

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 29, 2018

June 22nd will be the longest day of the year. The Summer Solstice signifies the first official day of summer in the United States and the start of what will hopefully be a period of warmer weather in Boston! The meaning of the Summer Solstice varies across cultures, though many recognize the start of summer with special holidays, festivals or rituals. While the United States does not have a popular holiday related to the start of summer, other areas of the world have specific cultural traditions that celebrate the Summer Solstice. Here is how some countries welcome the start of the summer season.

Kupala Night

Kupala Night is a celebration observed in countries with Slavic ancestry such as Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and Belarus. The festival signifies the end of the summer solstice and the start of the harvest season. During this festival participants build fires that they then jump over to demonstrate bravery and strength. A strong theme of the festival is love, and couples will jump over the fire while holding hands to prove that their relationship will last. Additionally, women will float flower wreathes in rivers, which men then try to capture, in the hope of also capturing the interest of the woman who floated the wreath. A sinking wreath is considered a predication of loneliness while a floating wreath indicates the prospect of love. Some participants will also search through the woods for the mythical "fern flower", which is thought to bring good fortune if found, although botanical experts do not believe that this flower actually exists. Historically, this search was an excuse for unmarried couples to spend alone time together without a chaperone, though today is done just for fun. While the festival has Pagan roots it has been incorporated into the Christian calendar as "St. Johns Eve" however, it still contains Pagan elements such as fortune telling rituals and the wearing of flower crowns. Many of these traditions are customary to rural areas as the holiday has been given a more modern twist is major cities where fireworks and concerts are also held.


Midsummer

At the start of the Swedish holiday of Midsummer, many Swedes head to the country side to begin their five week summer vacation.  On Midsummer's Eve (usually a Friday between the 19th and 25th of June) cities essentially shut down as many businesses close and streets are deserted. Families gather together in the country and have large celebrations complete with traditional dances around a may pole and crafting flower wreathes and other decorations. A typical midsummer meal is a variety of pickled herring and potatoes as well as grilled salmon or ribs followed by strawberries for desert. After dinner many Swedes go out dancing. Midsummer is also a popular time for weddings or christenings. Despite the fact thatSwedes are not particularly religious, many people want to get married at a country church during this time of year.


The Duanwu Festival

The Duanwu Festival, known in the West as the "Dragon Boat Festival", is a traditional Chinese holiday that takes place each year near the summer solstice.The festival is also often called the "Double Fifth Festival" as it takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Lunar Calendar. This year the festival will take place from June 16th to 18th. The Festival celebrates Chinese poet Qu Yuan, who is considered to be a martyr in the country. Qu Yaun was a member of the ruling house in the ancient state of Chu.  He drowned himself when the powerful Chinese state of Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. The story of Qu Yuan describes how local admirers of Qu raced out on boats to try to save him. When they could not find Qu, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that fish would eat them instead of Qu's body. This is the origin of Duanwu's dragon boat races and the reason why people snack on "zongzi", or sticky rice balls, during this holiday.

Boston will hold its own Dragon Boat Festival this summer. The 39th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will take place over the weekend of June 9th - 10th and feature Dragon Boat races as well as performances, art, and food.


The Bon Festival

Japan's Bon Festival, or Obon, occurs this year on August 13th - 15th. The three day celebration honors Japanese ancestors and has become an opportunity for families to reunite and spend time together. During the festival people hang lanterns outside their houses to help guide their dead ancestors back home. Families will also visit and clean the graves of loved ones who have died. Perhaps the most significant tradition of the Bon Festival is the Bon Odori, a traditional folk dance that welcomes the spirit of the dead. The dance is different in each region with songs a lyrics specific to that area.

Boston will also host Obon celebrations this summer. Historically Japanese schools such as Boston Higashi School and Showa Boston will each have their own Bon Festival featuring music, dancing, and Japanese food.

Source: WikipediaCulture Trip, Meet the Slavs, Sweden.se, Colorzine

The Month of Ramadan

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, May 10, 2018

May 15th marks the beginning of the Islamic celebration of Ramadan. Ramadan is not a well-known holiday to those outside of the Muslim community in America, but is widely observed by those who practice Islam. Here is a little information about this up-coming celebration.

(A Ramadan celebration is held at the White House each year. This tradition was started during the Clinton Administration and has been since followed by Bush and Obama. )

Islam is the world's second largest religion, after Christianity. Over 1 billion people in the world are Muslim, or followers of Islam. In the U.S. it is estimated that there is 7 million Muslim people, and each of the 50 U.S. states is home to at least one mosque, the Muslim place of worship. Followers of Islam believe that around 610 A.D. a man named Muhammad, from the now Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, started receiving messages from God (known as Allah) through the angel Gabriel. These messages have been collected in the holy book of Islam, known at the Quran (or Koran). Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last and final prophet in a line of prophets that includes such religious figures as Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ. Muslims also believe that God, Allah, is the single, all knowing God and that Muslims can achieve salvation by following the commandments of God. Five key concepts form the basis of the Islamic religion. These core ideas, known as the "Five Pillars of Islam", include a declaration of faith (known as shahada), prayer (five times per day), charitable giving (known as zakat), fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca.

(Mecca, Saudi Arabia)

Ramadan refers to the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic lunar calendar. It is the month that during which Muslims believe that Muhammad received the initial messages from God that became the Quran. Because the lunar calendar is based upon the phases of the moon, Ramadan does not start and end at the same time each year. This year, Ramadan begins at sunset on Tuesday, May 15th and ends on Thursday, June 14th.

Ramadan Practices

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until dusk each day. Fasting is seen in the Islamic religion as a cleansing process, meant to relive the body of toxins and also to show empathy for those who are less fortunate and may be hungry. The first meal of the day during Ramadan, eaten just before sunrise is known as "suhoor". Usually, healthy foods are eaten during this meal so that the person fasting has enough energy to last them throughout the day. East day's fast is broken with a meal known as "iftar". Iftars are typically larger, more elaborate feasts celebrated with the family or close friends. The foods eaten during the iftar meal vary across cultures.  


(Sweets prepared for Eid-Al Fitr)

Eid Al-Fitr

Eid Al-Fitr (or Eid ul-Fitr) is a major celebration that signifies the end of the month of Ramadan. The name of this celebration means "The Feast of Fast Breaking". Eid lasts three days following the end of Ramadan. During Eid Al-Fitr families will recite special prayers and enjoy meals with relatives and friends. Often gifts are exchanged among family members.

Source: History.com

Mother's Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, April 30, 2018


In the United States Mother's Day is traditionally celebrated on the second Sunday in May, so this year that means May 13th. Mother's Day was founded by a woman named Anna Jarvis, who held a memorial for her deceased Mother at a church in West Virginia in 1905. Anna's Mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War.  Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother and all mothers in America and so she began to advocate for Mother's Day as a recognized holiday. At first, Congress rejected the proposal to make Mother's Day an official holiday, but then several states, beginning with Jarvis' home state of West Virginia, began to adopt Mother's Day as a holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day as a national holiday to honor America's mothers. Mother's Day is also celebrated elsewhere in the world. Here are how some countries observe Mother's Day.


Thailand

Mother's Day in Thailand is celebrated on August 12th, on the day of  Queen Sirkit's birthday, a former queen of Thailand who is considered the "mother of the country".  In the days before the holiday, Thai people celebrate by displaying portraits and shrines of Queen Sirkit, as well as putting on fireworks shows and candle lighting ceremonies. In addition to comemorating the birthday of the Queen, Thai mother's are celebrated on this day as well. Children often give their mother's gifts such as white jasmine flowers, which represent maternal love. Children may also give alms to monks in honor of their mothers.


Australia

In Australia, Mother's Day is celebrated on the same day as in the U.S. The traditional flower of the Australian Mother's Day is the Chrysanthemum, which is in full bloom during the season of Autumn when Australian Mother's Day occurs. On this day, Chrysanthemums, as well as carnations, are given to mothers. Many Australians wear colored carnations if their mothers are still living and white carnations if they are deceased.


Poland

Polish Mother's Day, also known as "DzieƄ Matki", is celebrated on May 26th. The holiday gained popularity after WWII, and is now an official holiday of Poland. Because it is an official holiday, many businesses are closed and families have celebrations at home. On Mother's Day, schools often host special events where children give their mothers gifts such as "laurki", or papers decorated with flowers and written messages. At home, family members may gather and have a party, complete with more gift giving and cake.


India

India's Mother's Day is celebrated on the same day as in the U.S. On Mother's Day , Indian children give their Mother's cards and often cook a meal for them. A similar holiday is celebrated by followers of the Hindu religion in October. This festival, called "Durga Puja", honors the goddess Durga, or the "Divine Mother" of India. Durga Purja lasts 10 days, during which people fast, then feast, pray, sing, dance, and perform cultural dramas.

Source: Thebump.com

2018 Boston Marathon

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, April 13, 2018

If you're a resident of the Boston area, you're probably aware that this Monday (April 19th) is Presidents' Day and Marathon Monday.

                                                                                 

Marathon Monday has a become a widely celebrated event in Boston. On this day, Boston schools are typically closed in observance of Patriot's Day and several roads are blocked off for the race. Spectators from across the country and even across the world come to cheer on friends and loved ones  along the route. Others come to stand  by the finish line and watch competitors complete their final miles.


How did the Marathon get its start? The first Boston Marathon was first run in April 1897, making it the oldest continuously running marathon and the second longest continuously running footrace in North America. The Marathon was inspired by the revival of the marathon for the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.  The first winner of the Boston Marathon was John J "JJ" McDermott, who ran the 24.5 mile course in 2 hours and 55 minutes.  Women were not allowed to officially enter the Marathon until 1972. The first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon was Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb, who finished the race in 1966.


While the Marathon was originally a local event, its fame grew to attract runners from around the world. The Marathon was originally a free event, and only began awarding cash prizes in 1986, after professional athletes refused to run the race unless they received a cash prize.

If you want to catch this year's race (either live or on TV) here is what you need to know.


Where: The race will span from Hopkinton to Boston. You can find a race map hereThe race will span 26.2 miles

Time: The Marathon begins at 8:50 a.m. with mobility impaired competitors having the first start time. The women's elite race begins at 9:32 am and the men's at 10:am.

How to Watch: Get there early to claim a good spot along the route. This guide gives the best spots to watch. 

TV/Live stream: f you want to watch the race from the comfort of your own home, it will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. You can also live stream the race on NBC Sports Live and from the Boston Athletic Association website.

Happy Marathon Monday and good luck to all participants!

Cherry Blossom Season is in Bloom

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Spring is here (although from recent weather you probably can't tell)  and that means cherry blossom season! Cherry blossoms usually bloom in Japan from late March - mid April, or even early May. Cherry blossom viewing is a cultural event in Japan, observed by many. Hanami, or "flower viewing" refers to the custom of enjoying the cherry blossoms after winter has gone. A typical hanami usually involves holding an outdoor party under cherry blossom trees. Observers will bring a picnic of food, beer, or sake and relax as sakura¸ or cherry blossoms fall from the trees.

Several cities in Japan are famous for their hanami festivals. Hirosaki, the Japanese city centered around the 17th century Hirosaki Castle, holds the Sakura-Matsuri festival every year. Yoshino-Yama, a mountain in Japan's Nara Prefecture is considered to be one of the best viewing spots in Japan, as the mountain is covered in over 30,000 cherry trees.  Other notable spots include the Japan Mint in Osaka, and Ueno Park in Tokyo.

Our Groups Coordinator, Gen, is working for us in Japan until July. He sent these beautiful photos of cherry trees in bloom in his home city.




The U.S. is also home to cherry blossoms. A grove of cherry blossom trees was gifted to the United States from Japan and now align the title basin in the West Potomac Park. These trees bloom every year, usually in April. The cherry blossom blooming is not nearly as celebrated in the United States as it is in Japan, however D.C. does have an annual cherry blossom festival and annual cherry blossom festival parade.

Source: JNTO


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