InterNations offers up to 6,000 events worldwide every year. That’s 6,000 opportunities to meet interesting, international people, both face-to-face and online. And sometimes, event attendees may also run into us — members of the InterNations team.
InterNations is not only the largest international community for people who live and work abroad. Many of our team members are also expats and enjoy the chance to socialize with other global minds. Some of us have made use of our remote-first setup to move to a different city and are rebuilding personal networks. Others are just looking for people to share hobbies and interests with.
In any case, for InterNations team members from across the company, using our own product is eye-opening and inspiring. It helps unlock insights that you can’t get unless you experience the heart of our product — our events and activities — for yourself. Here’s what we learned this year.
1. We gained a deeper understanding of our members.
“Together with my fellow copywriter Crissy — who’s also an American expat — I attended an InterNations Activity for Independence Day,” our Senior Content & Communications Manager Lenore remembers. “The activity had a great vibe. It felt like spending a relaxed Sunday afternoon at a Biergarten with people who are all ‘international’ in some way.”
As copywriters, Lenore and Crissy found it very valuable to talk to our members. And not only because they genuinely enjoyed their company. “Now, we have actual people we can visualize whenever we write copy, not just fictional user personas,” Lenore explains.
“Meeting the attendees at the activity made us think about the life stage they’re in now. What drew them initially to InterNations? And what keeps them coming back? It definitely gave us food for thought for our daily work. For example, many were no longer new to expat life. But being an international person was very much part of their identity.”
2. We got an extra boost of motivation.
“I was relatively new to both the InterNations community and the InterNations team in early 2022. So, I went to one of our local Newcomers’ Events,” our Feel Good Manager Kiki explains. “It had a great buzz about it.”
Lots of attendees were happy to be able to meet in person again after the previous lockdowns. Many were new in town due to job transfers. They had been living in a virtual world of remote calls. So, there was a bit of initial awkwardness at first. But the hosts quickly made everyone feel as if they were old friends.
“My main takeaway was just how welcoming they are,” says Kiki. “I heard them say more than once to new arrivals: ‘With InterNations, nobody stands alone.’ As the InterNations Feel Good Manager, I had to arrange our first post-pandemic in-person team event in spring 2022. After this night, I was really looking forward to doing it with the same kind of love and energy.”
3. We had the chance to experience some of the product benefits for ourselves.
InterNations Founder and Co-CEO Philipp attended an online activity organized by our Global Virtual Travel Group. They watched a travel documentary about northern Greece together. Afterwards, everyone could share their own observations and experiences.
“The documentary was quite extraordinary, but I liked the conversations it inspired even better,” Philipp says. “I found it very interesting to hear about the reactions from members around the globe.” For example, the documentary portrayed some unexpected cultural peculiarities from the region, shaped by British influences or the Ottoman Empire. And the participants shared how the same or similar customs exist in various parts of the world.
“Taking part in this event made me realize once more the additional value that our online events provide,” Philipp adds. “They offer the opportunity to exchange ideas with people from very different backgrounds, living in very different countries, at this very moment. Our in-person events bring the international community together locally, while our online events create a truly global community.”
In conclusion: It’s all about purpose.
Attending our own events helps us put a face to our members. Depending on our jobs, some of us might mainly know them as user profiles from our app or as statistics from company presentations. Joining an event lets us experience for ourselves how InterNations provides them with a sense of community.
And this is what shapes our team’s own sense of purpose. Or as our founder and co-CEO Philipp puts it: “At the end of the day, we don’t get up every morning for random user profiles, let alone anonymous statistics. What truly motivates us are the people behind the screen.”
We can’t wait to get another taste of this community vibe in 2023!
Image credit: InterNations / Pexels / Rawpixels