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One important thing I have learned about living abroad is that you learn to make friends with people all over the world.   Not only because you meet more of them and you want to learn about new cultures but because you are all in the same boat together.

The interesting thing about the expat communities is that you learn that your own person cultural differences don’t really matter because you all are in the same country dealing with the same issues.

Today, I was contacted by a fellow expatriate that invited me to join his website  ( http://www.internations.org/) I was very flattered to find that he had been reading my blogs and thought I could be an asset to his social community.  He felt that I had something I could offer fellow expats that might travel to China in the future or were currently living here.

I was thrilled and decided to check out his website.  I was impressed by the professionalism and number of active members on the website, more than 250,000 members.  I quickly found people who were  in my area that I would be able to connect with and share information.   For those of you moving to China or any other country for that matter this website would be a great source of information to you.

Not only does it provide you with information from actually expats in the your area, they also offer a chance for you to meet up and communicate in person, by holding monthly gatherings.

When I asked the Founder & Managing Director, Philipp von Plato,  for more information regarding his website; he was quick to reply to me with valuable information that I would like to share with all of you…

InterNations was founded in 2007 by my colleague Malte Zeeck and me. We came up with the idea motivated by our own extensive expat experiences when we lived abroad in various different countries and realized how challenging it sometimes can be to accommodate in a new foreign environment and culture. The rapid growth of globalization and the increasing number of people working abroad have triggered the need for a network for expats. Our community helps expatriates to settle easily when moving or living abroad. Members can connect with other like-minded people, who share the same situation, similar interests, and needs.

The idea of InterNations thus is to support expatriates worldwide to settle abroad quickly and easily. Our community helps them to get in touch with like-minded people, exchange valuable information about the new environment abroad and meet fellow expatriates as well as globally minded locals both, online and offline at our official InterNations events.

InterNations is a global network, however with a strong local footprint and Local Communities in 235 cities worldwide. Each Local Community is organized and hosted by so-called InterNations Ambassadors. The InterNations Ambassador is an honorary position for committed volunteers. They take care of developing the local life in their communities, organize and host official InterNations Event each month and act as the primary contact person for newcomers in town.

InterNations helps expatriates both, online and offline: Our website provides our members with a variety of tools to connect and exchange: From the local Members Network to find and contact fellow expats and Local Scouts in town, to our Local Expat Forums and Groups to discuss expat-related topics, up to our City Guides to find all the locations relevant for expatriates (international schools, embassies, language courses, etc.). In addition to these online tools, the local Ambassadors organize official InterNations events once per month where our members can meet up in real life and get to know each other in person.

InterNations is actively engaged in charity: Together with our partners AFS we support young students from underprivileged areas in the world to gain international experience.

After reading all of this, I thought to myself; Wow.. a group that not only helps those moving to new countries and answers questions from those of us that currently live abroad but also supports students in underprivileged areas.   That was all I needed to sign up.  You know I have  to always put my little pearls of advice out there for all to hear…(smile). I completed my profile right away.

Once I did I was contacted instantly with questions from other expats wanting information from me and wanting my advice.  I also contacted a few highly respected business people myself.  You can never learn too much you know.

So, those of you interested in moving abroad or just interested in knowing more about some of us expats or are already living abroad, I would suggest you visit the website of my new friends and join…. it is worth it.

until next time…

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