“When I arrived in a city, I was feeling lost, and just wanted to meet other expats and discover the best places to go.”
That was how former journalist Malte Zeeck used to feel whenever sent on a new assignment – and that was the motivation that led him comparatively recently to set up what is now an organisation that has representation in 180 countries around the world.
InterNations came into being as an idea aimed at tackling exactly this sentiment common to most people who find themselves suddenly in foreign climes.
InterNations aims to be the missing link that provides expats with as much as possible that they need when they begin life in a foreign country.
InterNations first appeared as an online concept in September 2007. Two students who had experienced many cities throughout the world joined forces and the idea became reality.
Similar to the origin of Facebook perhaps? Maybe, but the similarity ends there. Whereas Facebook is designed to keep in touch with existing friends, InterNations is designed for expats to make new friends.
We caught up with the founder on his first visit to Vienna where visitors were queueing out of the door to take part.
Grabbing him for a few minutes he was able to explain how InterNations was not just a social gathering but much more – and could even “help you find the best school for your children, the best restaurant to dine in, the perfect house for you to lead a successful and fruitful life in your new environment”.
He added: “InterNations creates a community of trust and confidence. In order to join and become one of the 270,000 members worldwide, you must request to join or be invited by an existing member.”
“With 13,000 new members joining every month, the network of communicating expats through InterNations in each city is growing intensely. In Vienna there are over 400 members. Within the 400 members, there are expats from all over the world.”
“Although from diversely different backgrounds, the situation is the same for all. When anyone starts life in a new environment, they want the same things – find the best places, make friends, have a good time.”
InterNations has monthly events in each city.
In Vienna the next event is on Tuesday 21 June at Mortons Bar and Grill, Summerstage. Directly located at the U4 (Rossauer Laende) stop, the location is very easy to find.
In attendance at the events are InterNations members and also friends of members, who are welcome to join.
Malte Zeeck says nothing makes him prouder than when he hears stories from members of how they have met their best friends through InterNations.
He said: “An amazing story from InterNations in Zurich, involved two members meeting for the first time at one of the monthly events. The couple got married and had a baby together.”
Malte added: “That made me very proud. The monthly events provide people with the opportunity to make friends, build business contacts or even find someone to babysit your child!”
For more information visit http://www.internations.org/