A couple weekends ago, a friend of mine and I sat at my kitchen table and tried to poke holes in her new business plan. She wanted to start a social network and I offered help since I work in a related field. Her focus were the European professionals living in the US. She split the site into two on a napkin: “Kindle on this side and mingle on this side, ” she said.
“Take it a notch higher and make it bigger,” I replied in a voice that said i-do-many-brainstorms-allow-me. How about a site for expats? Each person becomes an expert for the city they know best or where they live. A light bulb lit in her head, “You’re right, it’s so much bigger than just meeting others. You need to know how to rent a place, where to send children to school before you even move!” she proclaimed.
I was convinced I had set her on a new course, until I got an invitation to join InterNations.org from another friend who is half Turkish, half Libyan and who has lived in Libya, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Canada, India and the USA. It was the expat idea from the kitchen –though, already established and looking pretty slick with active city ambassadors, a donation line to AFS programs and new profiles being set up from around the world, by the minute.
Here is InterNations’ mission statement:
“InterNations aims to be the leading platform for exchange between internationally-minded and acting individuals. Building upon a strong and open-minded international community, InterNations is committed to engage charitably and support cross-cultural understanding beyond the scope of its online community. To do so, InterNations and its members take specific actions together with the AFS Intercultural Programs to support less privileged people around the world in gaining access to international education and experience.”
Take a look at the Google Map showing all the InterNations groups around the world. It’s quite beautiful.
I am planning to go to a NY social get-together next week, to meet other members in person. I shall report back.