Expatriates' whole new life away from home

Sunday July 19 2015

Internations members during a meetup in Kampala

Internations members during a meetup in Kampala recently. Courtesy Photo 

By Christine Nakalungi

After my daily work I visited a city hangout where I was invited to meet members of a social group; Oh no, it wasn’t one of the Facebook or Twitter social groups, this was kinda unique and I was intrigued to stay longer than expected.

Smooth music played in the background as beautiful ladies set up their front desk, different individuals started coming in, signing up and receiving coupons and stickers which were fixed to either their hand or cloth; and this had their name and country of origin.

Internations members during a meetup in Kampala
Internations members during a meetup in Kampala recently. Courtesy Photo

I watched whites coming in and started thinking I was maybe in a wrong place but no, the girls on the entrance who are actually the group ambassadors were from Zambia ( Suwilanji) and Uganda (Ritah). Huh, ok let me wait to see whether other nationalities come in, of course I saw Kenyans, Ugandans and a Congolese socializing with Europeans, Americans.

Everyone seemed to be knowing everyone but I later found out that they could read your name and that’s what mattered, your name and nationality led to other things like finding out what you do and more so.

When I talked to Suwilanji the InterNations ambassador in Kampala, I found out that this is a networking group where different people leaving in Kampala get to meet up at least once a month as a group and more often in their respective clubs.

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Internations Kampala ambassador, Suwilanji
Internations Kampala ambassador, Suwilanji shares a moment with other members. Courtesy Photo

Suwilanji defines this group as a platform for expatriates who move to Uganda and have no idea what to do, where to take their kids to school, where to go for medication, and those looking for friends in the area. Originating in Germany, InterNations is in more than 390 cities in the world, and having 1.7Million members, it’s free to join just like anyone subscribes to any social platform. Regardless of which city anyone moves to, they can connect with members in that city and can attend any event scheduled within one’s stay.

Members shared with me their purpose of joining the platform, Sage from Congo learnt of it from a friend in Australia and this being his first time, he expects to meet more people who can help boost his business plans, Peter Potter from Norway and former Kampala ambassador praises the platform for having introduced him to so many business partners and he is proud to have introduced other expats who came to the country during his reign.

Internations members during a meetup in Kampala
Internations members during a meetup in Kampala recently. Courtesy Photo

The evening was wrapped up with an exotic dinner, wining and winning presents. After exchanging business cards and contacts, members started leaving one by one till the place was left to the waiters and the staff. I must admit I got a few business and social friends; I don’t have to be in a foreign land to start enjoying, am yet to book my next meet-up, you should join me. And to all expatriates in Kampala, don’t sit home and bury yourself in boredom, skyping to your home friends and falling asleep watching TV; get out, mingle with other expats and even nationals, discover the beauty in Uganda and its culture and I assure you, you will miss this land when you finally leave.

Subscription

Subscribing to this social network is as free as the other social networks, however to upgrade to their albatross category, someone has to pay a specific fee monthly or annually; the albatross members are exempted from event fees and can meetup in any inter-nations event free of charge

Groups

Members are free to join any club of their hobby and together they can have fun. Clubs include: Book club, movie and theatre club, arts and culture, sports, coffee time, motorcycle club, professional networking and much more.


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