Sometimes I struggle to know exactly how to answer when someone asks me what I do; it's a pretty unique company, and I have a quite unusual role within it! But it is worth explaining as it's an interesting company with a novel concept.
Simply put, InterNations is a social network for expats.
Expatriate: a person who lives outside their native country. Commonly used to refer to someone who has moved abroad for work.
Think a mixture of Facebook and LinkedIn but for people who are working abroad.
Imagine you're British and have just been posted in Dubai for 2 years through your company. Sure, they'll probably sort out a place for you to live, maybe a car as well and your health insurance, but how about your integration into day to day life?
You have some questions before you go? You have children and want to know about the best schools in the area, you want information on the best areas to live in or know what the weather will be like. InterNations has a selection of country guides full of information written specifically for expats. Much of it is member written content; written by people who have been exactly in your position. If you can't find the answer to your question there, no worries, post on the forum and wait for a response from another expat.
You've settled in to your job but you're not sure how to meet people outside of work? Or your husband/wife is working and you're at a loose end at home? InterNations has a range of interest groups, from beer drinking, to burger eating, to swimming, to networking, to salsa dancing. You name it, it'll be there, and if it's not, you can apply to open a group that matches your interest.
Either on arrival, or prior to arriving, you can check out the groups and join any which sound appealing. Most groups post an activity each month; sign up to an activity, join and meet like minded people! Many people meet friends for life this way, by joining these groups on a regular basis you can really build a close network of friends who share your interests, and who understand what it's like to be living in a country different to the one you were born in.
So where do I come in? One of the interests that many of our members share is making a difference in their community; so a selection of our communities across the world have a Volunteer Group. This gives expats, who are usually more fortunate than others in their community, an opportunity to help people in need, whilst integrating into their community and meeting new people.
From HQ in Munich, we support our Consuls (the expats who take on the role of running the group), giving them the materials and knowledge they need as well as ensuring they keep active and continue to post activities! We are always proud of our achievements so we also spend some time shouting about it! Our volunteers do amazing things every day and we like to share this with the rest of the InterNations network through different communications materials.
You can find out more about the network on our website: www.internations.org