As an expat, it’s always a relief to know you’re not alone in your new country. It was hard enough leaving home and all the planning you had to do to make things work. Now you’re here and it can be overwhelming finding friends, a place to live, a new job, and becoming acclimated to a new culture and way of doing things.
There are many expatriate communities available to help newcomers, and Expats Paris is pleased to be one of them. In this article, however, we wanted to focus on another expatriate entity that has been serving the community for many years. It’s called InterNations.
InterNations was founded in 2007 by Malte Zeeck, Philipp von Plato and Christian Leifeld. It is the brainchild of Malte and Philipp, two German students who met at the University of St. Gallen. They both loved living abroad, traveling and interacting with people from all over the world. They enjoyed being expatriates, and when they crossed paths again in 2007, they shared their joys and frustrations from their travels and places they’d visited and decided to create InterNations.
Their own experiences as expats showed them the problems that other travelers and immigrants can face: difficulty settling into a new environment; where to find basic necessities; dealing with regulations; networking and making new contacts; all these and more can be nerve-wracking for a first-time expat. InterNations strives to be the place where you can find everything you need in one location.
InterNations: The brand.
It’s global, and it is about bringing people together. As it says on the website, InterNations wanted to create “a platform where expats from all countries of the world can network, socialize and find trustworthy information and services, wherever they are. A platform that makes life easier for expats.”
In 2008, InterNations held its first official event and InterNations Ambassador was born. From that point forward, more events were held around the world and by the end of the year, the expat community had nine employees and 90,000 registered members. 2009 brought its first advertising partner, premium membership and membership growth up to 140,000.
Growth continued at a fast pace over the years, with the production of country and city guides and the launch of Expat Magazine; the introduction of groups for members with similar interests to have get-togethers; the relaunch of its website; and now the community has a team of 101 members, speaking 31 different languages from 32 countries.
InterNations is the largest global expat network, with a presence in 390 cities worldwide and 2.3 million members. The basic membership is free. Once an individual is a member of InterNations, he or she can choose to upgrade to a premium membership, otherwise known as Albatross Membership. The Albatross Membership allows members to use additional features of the InterNations platform (use of the Magic Cap to hide profile visits, etc.) attend unlimited activities or join exclusive events without charge or at a reduced price.
Members can also become more involved by being: an InterNations Ambassador, or an InterNations Groups Consul. InterNations Ambassadors are the first point of contact for new members and are critical to welcoming newbies to their city. Ambassadors host events and are driven to provide lots of ways to bring members together. InterNations Groups Consuls help connect people who share their passions: music, dance, language study, you name it. These Consuls put together activities to bring members together and build community.
There is also a volunteer program for members to help the disadvantaged in their communities. This effort began in 2012 and has over 4,000 participants to date. This is happening in 15 cities around the world: Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Hong Kong, Lusaka, Munich, Montréal, New York, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, San Salvador, Shanghai and Singapore. They support more than 1,000 people in need. Members can participate by fundraising, goods donation, knowledge transfer, Helping Hands, group activities and One-on-One.
There is a worldwide forum in which members can participate, find friends and get answers to burning questions—or just say ‘hi.’ There are four sections: Politics & Society, Expat Q&A, Travel and Marketplace. Though the InterNations communication language is English, members who are non-English speakers can still interact with others in language-specific groups.
Aside from their website, InterNations, like Expats Paris, can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The physical office is in Munich.
The community has over 5,000 activities every month and over 200 destination guides. You can explore the community by country and city on the site. The Expat Magazine gives in-depth coverage of topics such as cross-cultural communication; culture shock; expat finance; expat insurance; expat women; expatriation; family & relationships; living abroad; moving abroad; repatriation; and working abroad.
Still not sure what InterNations is about?
There is a FAQ section that will answer all your questions.
Topics include: getting started; login & password; managing my account; my profile; membership and payment; special membership status; privacy and security; reporting and issue; my start page; events activities and groups; messaging and networking; forum; and guide.
You can advertise with InterNations, becoming a special offers partner. Your product would reach the international community, or could be tailored for a specific region or city. More information
Do you have special business or service offers dedicated to Parisian expatriates? Find out how Expats Paris helps Small Businesses reach Customers in the Parisian Expatriate communities (for Free)
The InterNations blog provides a wide range of helpful and informative topics that are available to anyone, not just members. The subject matter comes from all over the world, featuring different cities and experiences from a variety of contributors.
And if you decide that you love InterNations so much you want to work there, they even have a career page that you can explore to find out more.
Another neat feature of InterNations is the Expat Insider, which has been around for 3 years. It is one of the largest expat surveys in the world, and “offers in-depth analysis of everyday expat life in more than 60 countries across the globe. More than 14,000 respondents representing 174 nationalities and 191 countries or territories took part and had their say on moving, living, and working abroad.” A wide range of topics is explored, giving, among other things, demographic data and information about the moving process.
The survey for 2016 covered: the best and worst places for expats; biggest winners and losers; best places for expat women vs men; quality of life index; ease of settling in index; family life index; working abroad index; personal finance and cost of living indices; a look at financial matters; expat relationships; work and leisure; working in the Tiger States; the classic expat; expat entrepreneurs; family life in the north; childcare and education for expat kids; common expectations of expats-to-be.
InterNations has grown into a recognizable name and formidable resource for the worldwide expat community in the nine years since its inception. It went from a dream of two young men wanting better resources for expats like themselves to a veritable trove of information, events and a meeting place for millions of people worldwide.
Its brand is well-known and it is a leader in the community. There is a place for everyone at InterNations, no matter their background.
And, oh there’s a place for everyone at Expats Paris as well. No matter your background. Become an Expats Paris member now for free and enjoy all the features and resources that will make your life easier in Paris.
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