Saturday, 25 October 2014

InterNations: Social networking for expats and global minds

Prague Daily Monitor/PTV |
6 March 2014

For anyone considering moving abroad, the internet is definitely the most valuable resource there is. There are hundreds of thousands of web pages, videos and blogs dedicated to providing information for would-be expats on their chosen location. Of course, navigating your way through all of this information is a job in itself, so wouldn’t it be easier to find somewhere where all of the necessary stuff is in one place? Especially one where others who have lived in that country, and are from there, could contribute to helpful articles and forums?

InterNations is just that. Priding itself on being the largest international online community for people who live and work abroad, the network itself is geared towards expats all around the world, providing guidance and contact with users who may need help with relocating, finding a specific service or are just looking for new friends in a new country.

Jana Kolarikova is one of InterNations’ ambassadors based in Prague, and despite being born and raised in the Czech Republic, her experience living abroad in the US and UK has given her an insight into being an expat both in foreign countries and her own country. Now working in Prague again, Jana agreed to tell me a bit more about InterNations and the service it performs for expats.

How do you think InterNations helps expats?
It helps from different aspects- you can go there to find out information, to contact people if you’re looking for a job or friends. And it’s completely global- if you travel to any major city in the world, there will be an InterNations event to bring together all the expats in that area.

How is InterNations different from websites like Prague.TV?
Sites like Prague.TV are for information or what’s on in Prague. InterNations offers information too but it’s much more about networking- actively asking people on the site and communicating with them to find out what events are going on. We also organise our own events, not just the mixer events but activities like hiking and cinema trips, that sort of thing.

InterNations is an invite-only network: do you think this affects the network itself?
It creates a feeling of exclusivity- the fact that you have to be invited and subscribe to the service. It also means that the quality of the events is a lot higher than some of the free events would be, and the quality of the people there too. They’re going to be committed to the network.

What would you recommend for new members of InterNations?
If you join InterNations today I’d say to make sure you set up the updates for Prague, to make sure you get the most relevant updates to you. Definitely consider upgrading to Albatross membership, since that means all the events and group activities are free, or that you can go to smaller group activities instead of the larger ones for no extra cost.

What kind of thing goes on at a typical InterNations event?
At a mixer, we usually start at about 7 or 8 o’clock, so after work. You get a complimentary cocktail and then basically you can just chat with expats from around the area, meet new people and generally have fun. Usually the places we go have a DJ later on, so once people get into the mood there’s usually a bit of dancing! Overall it’s a really fun night and I’d recommend it to all members.

Although InterNations is invite-only, it’s really not that hard to find someone who is a member and sign up to network with expats from Prague and beyond. Their next mixer event is on the 11th at Como on Wenceslas Square, and anyone can attend and just sign up later, but remember that only Albatross members get in free. We hope to see you there!

Internations Prague: http://www.internations.org/prague-expats