InterNations* is one of the biggest communities for expats worldwide. Founded in 2007 by three Germans – all of them expats – InterNations quickly grew and now unites more than 1 million expats and global minds in many countries around the world.
Gerrit Baumann, who is one of the InterNations ambassadors here in Charlotte, NC, describes it as an “expat community where you can exchange ideas, experiences and get a helping hand if you have problems adopting to your new cultural environment“.
The platform is built with a newsfeed called the “Wire”, that keeps you in the loop of new forum posts or discussions as well as events in your area. You’ll also see when new members sign up in your area, which are usually expats. The nice thing is, that you see their picture, real name and 2 flags with their profile pictures: One flag is their nationality and the other is what country they currently live in.
Check out a part of my dashboard on InterNations:
Besides social connections within the large expat community, InterNations built a large library of country & city guides with lots of helpful tips and guidance for new expats. Even for seasoned expats it’s a great resource.
For a more entertaining experience you should check out the “Expat Magazine” – a collection of anything about moving, working and living abroad. It’s fun to just browse through all the content provided on this platform.
There are also several forums, worldwide and city/country specific, that will help you to find answers for your expat questions. And if forums are too widespread for you, there’s the option of joining smaller groups or even creating your own group of expats around a certain topic.
Expat Search Feature
If you would like to connect with other expats in your area with the same interests or nationality, InterNations makes it very easy for Albatross members to search for other members. There are a lot of different features to search, starting from everything about the person (name, gender, interests, etc.) to Profession and Residence & Origin. You can go into serious detail while searching for somebody. It almost seems like a LinkedIn for expats.
Free and Paid Membership
There are two options to be a part of the InterNations community: the free membership* that comes with a few restrictions, and the paid Albatross membership that lets you use it to its fullest potential.
So why would you sign up for a free membership at InterNations? Gerrit Baumann says “It opens access to fellow expats whom you can contact with questions you will have moving to a new place. The monthly gatherings are a good way to network on a professional level or even find new friends with similar interests (e.g. the desire to explore the new home).”
For people who would like to have unrestricted access, InterNations offers a paid Albatross membership, which starts at $3.95 a month. The benefits are:
- Free or reduced entrance to InterNations Events
- Unlimited access to InterNations Activities
- Unlimited number of private messages
- Access to our Country / City Guides and the Expat Magazine
- “Magic cap” to increase your on-site privacy
- Advanced member search
If you’d rather stay a free member like me, you still get to send up to 5 private messages a month to other members. You can also just explore the network, find answers and maybe connect with one or the other expat in your area via messages or during an InterNations event. Sometimes it’s a lot better to actually talk to another expat, who has gone through all of this before and can help answering your many questions. These events “usually pick a lounge-like place, open, yet intimate, so there is a group feeling, without being exclusive or difficult to enter“, explains Gerrit Baumann.
What is an InterNations Ambassador?
InterNations is assigning Ambassadors to every regional community to have a main contact person for other expats in the same area, as well as an organizer of the local events. “Ambassadors are not getting paid“, according to Gerrit, “but the job is very rewarding. You go through the same process like getting a professional job by sending an application and being interviewed via Skype.”
My opinion of InterNations
Personally I think InterNations.org is great to get in touch with people in your area and the chance to ask questions. Nobody is hiding behind an Avatar and you usually see their real name and where they’re working. The InterNations events also help to network with expats in your city.
However, I am not signed up for the paid membership. For my needs, I get all I want from the free membership and if you start messaging with another expat, just make sure to quickly exchange email addresses before you run out of your free 5 messages a month.
That’s what I like about it. It’s not one of these “Join for Free” sales pitches, that don’t let you do anything unless you pay for it. InterNations is different. It really lets you use their platform quite a bit without time restriction and without having to pay a dime for it. And if you enjoy the platform and really want to use it to its fullest potential, there’s always the paid membership.
Check it out! Their website is www.InterNations.org*
What do you think of InterNations? Please share your very own review in the comments.
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