The expatriate lifestyle can be lonely at times.
When you’re a citizen of the world, it’s sometimes difficult to meet new people or learn about your temporary home city.
Sure, you could just go off on your own adventures and see who you might meet along the way. For some people, this probably doesn’t sound like such a bad idea – especially if you’re only going to be in a specific area for a few weeks or months.
But if you’re looking to establish a more long-term connection with your location and your peers, you might want to consider expat groups.
Benefits of Getting Involved in Expat Groups
There are many advantages to joining expat groups.
In addition to meeting new people which share your interests or background (which is usually the main reason people sign up for groups), expat groups can also provide assistance in learning the area and culture. Often times, these groups will host events where members will either get together to explore your area or experience a cultural event.
Expat groups may also provide assistance to trailing spouses and children. Your family will have the opportunity to connect with other people in their shoes. This gives them people they can relate to, and may make it easier to form friendships.
4 Easy Ways to Locate Expat Groups Within Your Area
So how do you locate groups within your area?
Depending on where you are working, your company may already provide support or informational groups for expats.
If your employer offers groups like this, take advantage of the opportunity to meet new people or learn about your location.
But if your company doesn’t offer these programs, or you want to find additional groups of likeminded people, turn to the internet and do some research. Here are four ways the internet can help you locate expats groups in your area.
Facebook is the world’s most popular social media network, so it makes sense that you’ll be able to use it to find expat groups.
The money transfer company CurrencyFair recently posted a list of the best expat groups you can join on Facebook. The majority of these groups are locally based, which is helpful when searching for people in your area who can answer questions from your perspective about schools, housing, crime, shopping, or things to do.
If there isn’t an expat group on Facebook representing your area, create one! You probably aren’t the only expat in the area looking to make connections and share information.
LinkedIn is generally used as a more professional networking tool, and you can utilize this social platform to connect with other expats.
Just search for expat groups on LinkedIn and you’ll find a handful of results with different purposes that might interest you. For instance, one of the largest groups, Expat Network, has more than 50,000 members and provides job search and career advice for expatriates in a variety of countries.
Meetup.com is one of the world’s most popular websites and apps for people looking to connect with others in their area who share their same background or interests.
The website has a meeting topic dedicated to expats, which has more than 3 million members and 3,200 meetups. These meetups are both internationally and locally focused and welcome members of all nationalities to join and discover the things they have in common.
InterNations is an online network specifically for expats and long-term international travels. The website includes 3 million expats in nearly 400 cities around the world and provides information about your area and events where you can meet and connect with other expats.
InterNations is viewed as a more exclusive website, and not all expats may be able to use its free features. You need to apply in order to be granted an InterNations membership. The website screens candidates and may or may not accept your registration.
Be Social and Get Involved
These websites all provide the opportunity to meet with other expats, but it’s up to you to be social and get involved.
It doesn’t matter if you’ll be staying in a foreign location for two months or two years, joining expat groups can help you and your family make friends, learn about your new area, and receive information that will assist you in your life abroad.