Predeparture social networking for expats
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I have already written a blog post about doing some pre-departure business networking before moving to London, Get LinkedIn London. This blog post is about how expats and their expatriate partners can build on their social network before the move to London. Finding out what is available and participating in will make settling into London more enjoyable and less stressful.
- Contact the Embassy
Before you leave you should check what your Embassy in London has on offer regarding social groups, business events, celebrations, festivities, etc. This is a good starting point when you are new in London and they often organise social meetings for the expatriate partners as well.
Ask your friends, colleagues and family network. Surely they will know people who live or have lived in London before. This is a good source of knowledge about the pros and cons of different neighbourhoods, habits, lifestyle, schools, etc.
To get an idea of the experience of other expats and expatriate partners living and working in London, search for blogs written by expats living in London. There are lots of informative and funny blogs available; just google ‘expat blogs in London’ and you will find ones you like.
Why not sign up with Internations on www.internations.org? This is a worldwide organisation that organises lots of social events in the country where you are planning to settle. In London there is a huge group and they organise lots of social gatherings. Signing up is free and it also has a great online forum where you can ask questions regarding living, working and general information on London.
- Meetup groups
These groups are a great way to get to know people in London. You can look for a group with similar interests on www.meetup.com. For example you can go hiking in the weekends with one group of people, have a literature lecture another night or meet up with another group for a pint in the pub. This will ensure you already have some social activities lined up before you arrive or when you just have arrived in London.
- Local council
If you already know where you will be living, you can check your local council’s website. There you can see for instance what activities there are on offer and existing charities you can be involved with. If you want to do some voluntary work, they can point you in the right direction.
If you are a regular worshipper in your home country it is a good idea to check if they have connections with churches in London. The church is always a good way to get involved in the local community and also to be able to meet people from your home country. They always have a good support network and are welcoming. Often many activities organised by local churchwa can be attended by non church go-ers.