• Sweden edition
 
Connecting expats' online and offline worlds

Connecting expats' online and offline worlds

Published: 21 Jan 2011 11:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Jan 2011 11:59 GMT+01:00

On a chilly December evening in Stockholm, around 150 expats from more than nearly 50 countries gathered at the Hell’s Kitchen bar to enjoy an evening of dancing, drinking, and swapping stories about the ups and downs of life in Sweden.

The event was the latest expat meet up organised by the Stockholm chapter of the international social networking site, InterNations.

Founded in 2007, the site now boasts more than 220,000 members in more than 230 virtual communities around the world, about 2,000 of whom are based in Sweden.

The Local caught up recently with InterNations’ Stockholm Ambassador, Barbara Weinzierl, to find out a bit more about the site and what it is doing to help bring expats’ online and offline worlds together.

How did you get involved with InterNations?

I’ve been living in Stockholm for more than12 years now, and I needed to reconnect with my mother tongue and culture, so I started searching for Austrians. When I found InterNations I thought it was much more fun to meet all kinds of expats from all over the world and hear about their interesting life stories.

How is InterNations different than other social networking sites?

From the start, InterNations was conceived with the needs of expatriates in mind. The founders were continually faced with typical expat questions: Is there a German-speaking dentist in town? Can they trust the relocation company? Where can one have a nice dinner outside the typical tourist traps? So, they wanted to gather expats from across the globe in one place specifically designed for them, where they could exchange reliable advice.

They also wanted to combine high-quality online networking with regular offline events for expats. So membership is invitation only and our forums are moderated. Members are also connecting face-to-face using their offline identities

Why do people join InterNations?

To have their personal expat network with them wherever they go. If you join InterNations a few months before you actually go abroad, you’ll already have new friends waiting for you, many of whom were in a situation very similar to yours not that long ago.

They can support you in getting used to everyday life and easing the culture shock. And when you move again – since lots of expats don’t return to their home country, but may go on to work in yet another place for a while – you simply change your InterNations ”Home Community”, and you’ll have the same infrastructure for re-building your local network, no matter if it’s in Stockholm or in Sydney.

What do you say to people who complain they are already overwhelmed with other social networking sites?

That these sites weren’t necessarily created for them. Look at Facebook. It was originally geared towards college students, for gossiping and hanging out online. It’s expanded quite aggressively, but it’s huge, unstructured, overwhelming, and unfocused.

InterNations doesn't want to be another Facebook, a daily app where people post birthday greetings for their aunt or spend their lunch break playing Farmville. We’re for expats, and largely developed by expats. We are about connecting these specific types of people, both online and at our events, and about addressing their real-life problems.

Describe your role as the ‘ambassador’ for Stockholm? What does it entail?

Ambassadors make the InterNations experience more personal. New members receive welcome messages from them. They are also the first go-to person on the site for typical newcomer questions, and of course, they organise one InterNations event per month. Generally, InterNations Ambassadors are committed volunteers, usually expats, as well as some locals with an international outlook and strong ties to the expat community.

What's on the horizon for InterNations?

In the year ahead, InterNations plans to launch more communities in several new cities. Another goal is adding an Activity Group section to the site to introduce small-scale local events for special interests, like going to a museum exhibition together, founding an international soccer team or establishing a multilingual playgroup for toddlers and their parents. We also hope to add a section with information on expat living and various country guides.

And more immediately, we’ve got another event right around the corner. From 7pm on Friday, January 28th we’ll be Sturecompaniet, a popular club in Stockholm’s Stureplan district. It should be a great time –both for current members, but also for other expats looking to join.

Related links:

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

01:14 January 22, 2011 by GLO
What a great idea! Gota look into....
21:19 January 22, 2011 by JulieLou40
Ditto. Wish I'd thought of it!
20:59 January 24, 2011 by zooeden
Yeah! I´ll bring the sandwiches!!!
09:58 January 26, 2011 by Barbara_Weinzierl
Just come as you are to the event on friday, 28th, at Sturecompagniet! From 19:00 untill 22:00 we have the club exclusive to ourselves, and of course after 22:00 you can stay and party on with the regular guests when the club opens to the public.
Today's headlines
National
Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Summer has come to a definite end in Kiruna as residents of the northern town were greeted with a blanket of snow on Sunday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart
Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson. Photo: Leo Sellén/TT

Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart

Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson has said that the election success of the Sweden Democrats is a "slap" in the face for the Stockholm establishment. READ  

National
Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis
Somali nationals taking part in a demonstration against deportations in Stockholm. File photo:Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/ TT

Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis

Three young men in southern Sweden suspected of attacking Somali refugees with stones and screaming "sieg heil" have been indicted on charges of racial agitation. READ  

National
Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Sweden is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

National
Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune
Eric Westerberg's homemade submarine Isabelle. Photo: PS.nu

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune

A Swedish submarine enthusiast who spent over 3,500 hours making his own vessel has sold his prized possession for 705,000 kronor ($98,500) in an online auction. READ  

National
Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance." READ  

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes
A political career for Zlatan? Some fans seem to want to see that. Photo: Peter Dejong/TT

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes

The Bilderberg Group, the Satanic Initiative and Adolf Hitler all received votes in Sweden’s general election, according to a list released by the country’s electoral authority. READ  

Sport
Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games
The Swedish team in action. Photo: TT

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games

Sweden's capital has missed out on a chance to host any Euro 2020 games, with Copenhagen the only Scandinavian city among the thirteen winning locations. READ  

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, is the first woman to head the Swedish church. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests

A Swedish priest has been fired after telling his congregation that people who support female priests would be rejected by God - despite the fact that his own church is led by a woman. READ  

Analysis
Women set to dominate top post-election jobs
Margot Wallström (right) could become Stefan Löfven's new Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: TT

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs

Sweden could soon get a female Foreign Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt's ousted Moderate Party is preparing for its first woman leader and the grandmother of actor Hugh Grant's son is being tipped as Parliament's next Speaker. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Blog updates

20 September

How a Frog Can Save the Environment (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What we do we imagine when we think of children enjoying nature? Perhaps it’s fishing, marveling at lightning bugs on a muggy July day or blowing on the wispy petals of a dandelion to make a special wish. But perhaps most iconic of the playful innocence in childhood is hopping after and trying to catch..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

867
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN