Expats united in a common cause: expanding their social network

The place: the huge terrace of a hotel in Guadalajara’s Providencia neighborhood.

The event: the May gathering of InterNations.  The scene: people of many nationalities in long formal strapless dresses, blue jeans, T-shirts and everything in-between mix and blend as waiters come and go from their island in the center of the action.  Music, lowered at the request of the party-goers intent on getting acquainted with new friends drifts soothingly throughout.  The talk: the approaching World Cup, dining out options, accommodation, business travails and much more.

{/access} Founded in the spring of 2007, InterNations has the goal of “connecting expatriates and global minds worldwide.” Its 1.2 million members in 390 cities in 195 countries meet on a regular basis to connect, gain local information, make new friends, network and have a good time.  Members range from their early 20s to seniors, may be working professionals or retirees, globally minded locals or those who have traveled widely and never seem to want to settle in one place. The membership is equally divided between men and women and English is often the common language.

The Guadalajara community of InterNations has about 2,400 members from many countries.  The monthly get-togethers have drawn as many as 110 members and their guests. (The most recent gathering was held at the Red Pub on Niños Heroes June 26.  Members from 14 countries signed up to come.)

Members are encouraged to start groups for “activities” catering to their special interests. Guadalajara’s InterNations currently boasts activity groups for gamers (table games), bowling, tours, dining out and a professional network. Some worldwide InterNations groups dedicate themselves to volunteering, helping others less fortunate in their areas.

The Guadalajara community has two leaders, known as ambassadors, who try to create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone attending the regular monthly events. The ambassadors are often contacted by the membership for advice and help.  Online resources include forums, magazines and the ability to contact other members locally and abroad. There are two levels of membership,: Basic, which is free, and Albatross, which involves a yearly fee.

To learn more about Guadalajara’s InterNations community and to sign up, visit www.internations.org/guadalajara-expats.