Founder’s Diary: Introducing the InterNations Activity Groups

You may not have noticed it, but we have been working hard on a new feature for your InterNations website over the past few months. Now it’s ready, and in today’s Founder’s Diary you can read all about it and how it came about.

What do you, as an expat, expect from InterNations? What can we, the InterNations team, do to make sure that we address your needs? These are questions we constantly ask ourselves here at the InterNations headquarters in Munich. To help us answer these questions, we started a major 4-part survey series last year, as some of you may remember. Amongst other things, we wanted to know your reasons and motivations for joining the InterNations network, and we must say that we walked away greatly reassured by your answers. They showed us that as far as the idea and concept behind InterNations was concerned, we were on the right path:

InterNations, as an online community for expats, addresses two basic needs of expatriates anywhere in the world: Meeting other people, and getting essential information on your expat destination. We have always believed that our expat events fulfill an important function in this respect: They offer our members the opportunity to meet people “in real life”, not just online, to make new contacts, to cultivate friendships, and to exchange valuable information. That’s why we are trying to make sure that every InterNations Community has at least one InterNations Event per month – the more the better!

However, we also gathered from your feedback that we could do more to fulfill these needs, so we took your suggestions on board:

In December last year, we first published our Expat Guides to address the need for information among expats. So now we can offer our members trustworthy information on their next expat destination in the form of editorial content – our Expat Country and City Guides. We also released an Expat Magazine covering more general topics of interest for expats, such as Family and Relationships Abroad, Expat Women, Culture Shock and many more.

This past month of April, we reached another milestone in the history of InterNations – a direct result of the feedback we received from you. And I’m not only talking about the answers to our survey questions – I also mean the direct feedback I get from InterNations members when I visit our Local Communities around the world and attend the local events. I’ve had many interesting conversations with our members on these occasions, and one thing quickly transpired, no matter where I was and who I was talking to: the monthly big InterNations parties are simply not enough to satisfy the needs of expats to meet up and socialize. Especially in our bigger Communities, there seems to be a high demand for more frequent, smaller get-togethers, maybe organized around certain activities.

This got us thinking … and after six months of conceptual work, countless (and sometimes heated) discussions behind closed doors, and many late nights in the office, we can now proudly present:

The InterNations Activity Groups!

On April 17, we launched the InterNations Activity Groups in 5 test Communities: Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Istanbul, and Munich.

The idea is to make it easier for you to create groups that focus on a specific activity or interest, such as biking, dining, cinema, etc., and of course to enhance our Albatross membership with this new, value-adding feature. The InterNations Activity Groups have been developed for those of you who want to share their hobbies or interests, so that you can enjoy activities together and at the same time get to know each other in a more intimate environment. Group members can post relevant events (which will be called ‘Activities’) directly in the group. In the event calendar you will see a full list of all upcoming Activities in your Community and be able to choose those that interest you. Meeting up with other expats has never been this easy!

Of course none of this happened at the push of a button. When we’d finalized the concept, the real work just started for our IT team, who began implementing the new feature back in January. Having put so much hard work into it, our goal now is to have a flourishing groups scene with a wide range of activities on offer. The motto: There is something for everyone! In the long term, we would love to see Communities where our members can simply open the event calendar and pick whatever activity interests them from a wide range of events every month. So in addition to the big monthly InterNations party, there would ideally be an event or meeting to attend every other day!

But we cannot achieve this goal without you. The Activity Groups rely on your participation. Now that the infrastructure is in place, it is up to our members to make things happen. There are two things you can do: Get involved, and give feedback!

If you are a member of one of the five test Communities, check out the new Groups Section on InterNations.org, see if there is a group for an activity that interests you, and join! And if there isn’t – why not start your own Activity Group? It’s a great way to socialize, organize after-work gatherings, outings to museums and galleries, friendly soccer matches, photography excursions, and so much more! And once you’ve taken part in one or more activities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, share your experience and get in your own suggestions. After all, we want to make sure that everything is perfect for the big roll out in June to our top 50 Local Communities!Alb

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