Expatriates worldwide tend to quickly find groups of other foreigners in their home du jour, getting the benefit of an experienced, ready-made community in their residence of choice.
Groups don’t just stave off loneliness and provide a social network; they’re an immediate and responsive resource for everything from finding employment and a place to live to getting advice on the best shops or local cultural practices. All expats have at one point been new to a place, and are quick to lend a hand to others now in the same boat.
Discover The Best Of The Expat Social Network
We’ve compiled lists of expatriates groups before, including those in Spain, the UAE, Canada and even on LinkedIn. This time, we’ve turned to Facebook and found 22 of what we think are some of the best expatriate groups out there from every corner of the globe.
You might want to relocate just so you can join. Happy travels!
International Expats Club
The International Expats Club is a site founded by Peter Redrin in 2013, and it has a network of dozens of Facebook groups for expats across the globe. When you become a member, which is free to do, you’ll get invitations to parties, social and business networking events in your locale.
Peyia Expats Group
Started by Tony and Carolyn Samson, the Peyia Expats Group is for expats in the Paphos district of Cyprus. Their group is pretty new, and they say that when there are sufficient members, a meet-up will be arranged and a membership card introduced. As this is being written, the first big get-together has been announced with the “Peggies” invited to attend a Sunday lunch (with musical entertainment and dancing) on March 20.
The Expats Club UAE
If you’re an expatriate living in the United Arab Emirates, The Expats Club UAE — with more than 2000 members — is a good place to meet other expats. Founded by Raj Darshan, who is the CEO of Expats Management Consulting, the club holds social and professional networking events in Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi.
You can only join this group if you can correctly pronounce the Polish city’s name (say: Vroht-swaf). OK, that’s not a true membership requirement, but that is how you say Wroclaw. Why not ask one of the more than 6750 members of the group, whose stated “primary focus is to provide a relaxed, ‘non-pickup-scene’ social environment.”
With nearly 6000 members, Expat Zambia is another of the mid-size expatriate groups on Facebook. Posts asking questions about life in Zambia are encouraged as well as those with security or health announcements that link to the information source. Members are also encouraged to share their experiences at local establishments with recommendations and reviews.
Alanya Expats Social Group
For expatriates who live in or are moving to Alanya, a beach resort city in Turkey, Alanya Expats is a good resource for meeting people and getting information. Its more than 3000 members plan events of all types, including trips, parties, community fairs, and buy-sell swaps.
Expat Club Brussels
Expatriate Edgar Hütte started the Brussels Expat Club as an alternative to those that focused on pub and party events. Scheduled get-togethers include English comedy nights and chocolate tastings as well as various tours. The majority of members range in age from 30 to 60, but outings include families, retired expats and students, as well.
Milan International Group
For expats and students, this 6600-member group is for people living in Milan, as well as those who are planning to move to one of the world’s fashion capitals. Members are welcome to share information, create events and post job offers and meet others new to the city. The official language of the Milan International Group is English.
Bangalore Expat Club
Sign up at the website to become part of this social community of more than 21,000 expats living and working in the center of India’s high tech industry, Bangalore. There’s a forum where you can interact online plus member-only social events, such as the Expat Mingle, held every Friday night and usually with an open bar where you can meet other expats and catch up with friends.
Shenzhen Expats Group
Expats working and living in Shenzhen, China, are invited to share their experiences, ask questions and meet other people in the city. Members of the Shenzhen Expats Group can post events and create activities as well. The membership is close to 13,000, and there is a special section for sale posts, which includes rental listings.
Chiang Mai Expats Club
A non-profit social organisation, the Chiang Mai Expats Club helps expatriates in Thailand adapt to their new life, with its local customs and traditions and network with other foreigners. There are monthly general meetings as well as coffee mornings and smaller interest-based get-togethers. A 25 EUR lifetime membership fee is required to join, which benefits members by way of event discounts.
Pune Expat Club
An initiative of the expatriate relocation company Lexagent, and co-founded by its managing director, Vikas Roongta, the Pune Expat Club is a not-for-profit organisation. The goal of the club is to strengthen ties between expats and city’s Indian citizens, promoting mutual respect for different cultures. They hold “coffee connect” mornings and family heritage walks and recently had a Kite Fest, complete with high tea, horseback riding and paintball for the kids.
Siena Expat Club
This is a small group for expatriates living and working in Siena, Italy, to meet and socialise with other foreigners. One event is a weekly cooking class for children, held on an alternating basis at participants homes, the aim of which is to help Italian kids learn English.
Blantyre, Malawi Expat Social Group
This group is made up of some 1500 members who live in the second largest city in Malawi or in the surrounding area. Whether you have arrived or are on your way, you can obtain information about Blantyre from them, post items for sale or ask for advice from experienced expatriates.
Pattaya City Expats Club
If you’re an expat in Pattaya, about a two-hour drive from Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand, you may not know where to shop, how get a Thai driver’s licence, or whom to ask about immigration or cultural issues.
The Pattaya City Expats Club, which started way back in 2001, can help. Club members hold weekly Sunday breakfast meetings in addition to other member-organised events. The annual membership fee is 400 Baht, which allows discounts at “several restaurants, businesses and two international hospitals.”
Expat Group Ho Chi Minh City
Meet up with other expats living and working in this Vietnamese city formerly known as Saigon. Its 1650 members share Ho Chi Minh City life tips, and are welcome to « rant and rave about Vietnam life. » The only real requirements by the group are that you’re an expatriate (or married to one) living in Ho Chi Minh, and that posts pertain to issues that are of interest to expats in the area.
Expat Chess Club UAE
Founded nearly a decade ago under the auspices of the United Arab Emirates Chess Federation, the Expat Chess Club‘s main activities include organising chess events, exhibitions and clinics. Its stated mission is to promote the game of chess to expats in the Middle East, and it does so by hosting “Clinics for Kiddies” as well as various championships, including rapid and executive chess tournaments.
Moscow Expat Life
Launched three years ago, this quarterly publication is a great resource for expatriates in Moscow. It covers business, social and charitable events, providing useful information to current residents and those thinking of making the move. Moscow Expat Life created the Moscow Good Food Club, which allows lovers of food and wine the opportunity to enjoy gourmet meals, specially prepared by the city’s top chefs.
Qatar Expat Women’s Positive Support Group
Many expatriate women are trailing spouses without the corporate support and community given their husbands. In Qatar, at least, they can find friends when they join this 5000-member group. Led by experienced expats, the multi-cultural community helps women enjoy their lives, encouraging positive and fun-filled experiences with other expatriate women.
If you’re an English-speaking expatriate living in Salzburg, Austria, or are planning to move there, Expat Salzburg is a good group to get information. The community page first started in 2010, mainly with a goal to spreading the word about local events that might interest English speakers. There is a bit of a caveat, however, if you’re looking for help; they say: “Ask if you have questions, we will be glad to help…those of us that are sober…”
This group may be small and have a very imposing name (it’s called the Diplomatic, Expat Community and Estonia Society Association), but it has been going strong since 2012. Created for diplomatic and expatriate families in Tallinn, Estonia, group members hold monthly meetings, excursions, and lunches. Members have also formed several interest groups, including a Hand Bell Choir, a Camera Club, a Knitting Club and a Wine Tasting Club.
The Fun Expat Group of The Hague
There’s only one rule with The Fun Expat Group of The Hague, and that is to enjoy yourself. It’s an expat community of people encouraged to meet others and let others meet them, in person, over a drink or a snack, and have a talk. Comprising nearly 1500 members, the group asks member to avoid selling things. Just post about events and plans so more fun can be had in The Hague.
images by: Hieu Le, Małgorzata Frej, Steven Lewis, kazuend