InterNations's Burak Aydin on how expats can settle in the island
Time Out Bahrain staff
Please explain a bit about InterNations, what it is and what it does? Based in Munich, InterNations (www.internations.org) is the biggest expatriate network worldwide. The community facilitates life abroad and connects ‘global minds’ in a network of personal trust. At monthly events and activities, over 673,000 members can meet in more than 350 cities worldwide to get to know others. In forums and discussion boards members exchange tips about living abroad.
With every move, you lose the social and professional network you have established. That’s one side-effect of a mobile and globalised society that InterNations wants to counteract.
On the one hand it gives, during events and activities, the opportunity to quickly and informally get to know new faces. On the other, the structure of the platform facilitates the process of building a new global network. For instance, prior to a move, new contacts and ties can already be established in the foreign city.
What’s the role of InterNations here in Bahrain? One and a half years ago, when I started to lead these events in Bahrain, we had around 500 members, now we exceeded 1,500! So what we do in Bahrain is very similar to the other communities around the world. We come together once a month at a nice/trendy venue it could be a restaurant, lounge or a club/pub. We organise these gatherings on week days so members can stop by after a long working day to socialise together. Our objective is to develop our local and international network by exchanging emotional benefits with each other such as local know how, business contacts or just simple friendship...
Apart from that, if you travel to another country you can always reach resident expats in those cities and you can get useful information about the city.
How often does the group meet? We come together once a month. We call it the InterNations Monthly Event so our members feel that positive vibe about our gatherings.
What social activities does the group have? We have different activity groups and these smaller communities organise their own programmes. We have scuba diving, a table games group, photography, a night out group and a salsa caliente group. The nice thing with the social activity groups is that as soon as you become a member, you can create your own activity group if there is something you are interested in, with other members who share the same interest, or you can join an existing activity group.
What are the other benefits of being an InterNations member? InterNations is an innovative way to enrich one’s (social and/or professional) network and to be part of a high-quality community. On the InterNations platform, members can contribute to the database and to forums but as well benefit from them because, there, members share past and present experiences as an expatriate.
InterNations offers all the necessary info and connections to start a new life in a new environment. The InterNations site features editorial ‘country and city guides’, which provide reliable information regarding the country. In forums and online discussion groups, members can also share their experiences and give valuable tips to others on how to better settle in their new surroundings.
Even, when you move or travel the world, you can stay connected on the platform, change your local community, join events in other cities and get to know new people.
How can people join? InterNations is an ‘invitation only’ community. New members are invited and chosen by the members themselves. Anyone wanting to join that doesn’t know an existing member, can make a request online and all membership requests are processed in order to ensure the quality of the network.