A reliable expat network can be an extremely important dynamic in your ability to successfully integrate when you move overseas. One of the biggest single factors that can contribute to the success or failure of an expat assignment is their relationships with the people they meet. Making the most of expat life involves getting out and experiencing the culture and environment of the place in which you live and interacting with as many people as you can. However, the prospect of going out on a limb and attempting to make friends with new people can be a very daunting experience for many people and because of this many new expats simply sit back and wait for like-minded friends to miraculously appear. This approach often fails leaving people lonely and longing to their friends and families back home.
In this essential guide to expat networking we present some hints and tips for forming an expat network in a stress free manner. You never know, you may even have a little fun in the process.
The importance of an expat network
An expat network, or any social network for that matter, can be crucial to your happiness in your host country. Everyone needs social interaction and the more people you have around you, the higher the likelihood that you will enjoy your expat experience and make the most of your life overseas. Not only will a strong expat network offer you an ideal source of information and advice, they can also provide valuable friendship and be there in times of need.
5 tips for improving your expat network
1) Don’t be shy. Remember that every single expat you meet in your host country will have been new themselves at some point. Don’t be afraid to approach others and start conversation. Expats are generally a very social lot and are always pleased to meet new acquaintances.
2) Start networking before you move. There are many online expat network platforms that allow you to interact with fellow expats. Consider starting a thread telling people that you will soon be arriving and ask for advice for the best methods of meeting people. There are always new people in town who are looking to make friends and interact with fellow expats and it won’t be long until you get in contact with a large number of people who are in exactly the same position as you are. See our international relocation guides for information about expat forums in your area or, alternatively, post a message on our very own expat network.
3) Carry cards with your contact details. If you do not have a business card then get some personal cards printed which contain details of your email address and phone number. You will meet people in the most unexpected situations and it’s always handy to have a quick and easy way of giving them your contact details and inviting them to give you a call.
4) Look for newcomer meetings Find out what expat events are taking place in the host city. There are newcomers meetings arranges at regular intervals in most popular expat destinations and the more of the events you attend, the higher the chances of meeting someone you get along with.
5) Don’t give up. When you first arrive in a new country and participate in social events and forums you are bound to come across people who you have nothing in common with and whom you are unable to gel. Don’t let this get you down. Keep trying new organizations until you locate one that’s suitable… there will be one out there somewhere.
For more ideas and tips on successfully forming an expat network see our guide to forming an expat network and making new friends.