Connecting Expats in Ukraine

Connecting Expats in Ukraine

Ukraine has become home for many expats from different parts of the world: those who came here to start a business, transferred to international departments of their companies, or simply visited once and decided this country would be their future home. Naturally, such a large community can't exist without informal organizations, which allow expats to communicate, share experience, find business ties and new friends. To name but a few, Fryday, The Big Meet, and many others are popular in Ukraine. One of them is a big international community InterNations.

A trustful community with 3 million members, InterNations is a popular network to find friends, colleagues and interest groups for those who moved into a foreign country. Besides, this community holds regular events with various activities and amicable atmosphere. Let’s find out more about it!
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The story of this community started way back in 1997, when its founders Malte Zeeck and Philipp von Plato were young students who met on the lands of Switzerland. Their ways soon parted only to meet again - ten years later, Malte and Philipp realized they were bound by common experience of being an expat and common hardships - finding new friends, work contacts and generally sorting out life when you move place to place. That’s when the idea of creating a life-saving network was born: the two friends decided to make a platform where expats from all over the world could socialize, swap tips, and find reliable information no matter where they are at the moment. Soon a common friend of two, Christian Leifeld, joined the project and in May 2007 InterNations saw the world.
Read: How to Travel to Ukraine
Fast forward a couple years, and now it is the biggest platform for expats in the Net. Firmly believing that life is a journey, InterNations choose albatross as its symbol, as this bird travels long distances for a long time. This certainly matches the community, which is present in 390 cities worldwide.
InterNations in Kyiv holds various events for expats and locals who want to meet new people and enjoy their time. 
George Lupascu-Pruna, InterNations Ambassador in Kyiv
How did you find out about InterNations?
One Romanian friend that was living in Kyiv told me about InterNations in 2012 when I joined the network.
What things are you looking forward to when attending events?
In every event we have people from all over the world. For me as a licensed practitioner on Intercultural Communication this is very interesting. No matter how much you study this field, people from different corners of the world will always think and act slightly different than you would expect.
And finally, what do you like the most in this network and its events?
I like the people, and the fact that I meet lots of professionals from all over the world sharing their view on how the world is evolving at this point.
Nata Bogutska, Ukraine
"I found out about InterNations through friends. While attending the events I like to meet new people. Most of all I enjoy the tours they organize."
Turgay Bingöl, Turkey
"I’ve heard of InterNations from a friend who lives in Italy.
While visiting the events I’m looking for a socializing with some expats around the world and also some local people in order to share experiences at the current location regarding daily life, business and legal issues.
Language exchange can be another benefit from these meetings. It’s good to see some good level of people who almost all run business or work as a professional.
I’ve attended many meetings of InterNations Melbourne/Australia. There meetings were almost every week but with less people like group of 6-10."
Victor Duran, Germany
"A friend of mine invited me when I was living in Vancouver, Canada. It was in 2010.
Within the events I want to meet new friends and to socialize. I find interesting to meet expats and locals alike. It also gives the opportunity to visit different venues in a city. When visiting another city, I have a chance to meet locals and make the best of my visit.
I can say that I like visiting the InterNations events in Eastern Europe more. People tend to be more friendly and less pretentious. In Western Europe it is a different vibe.
I have visited events in Mexico, the USA, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Slovenia, Dubai, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Czech Republic, and Germany. And it is always interesting to discover new communities.
The format of the event is pretty much the same. The difference in Kyiv is that people there are more open and curious to interact with an expat. I think that still many locals wonder why an expat or a traveler goes to Ukraine. It seems to me that some locals do not find worth to visit their city and/or country. The events in Kyiv are also seen as a good opportunity for some locals to practice their English, French, Italian and so on." 
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InterNations is a place where both outgoing and shy people can have a good time, as the hosts make sure the atmosphere is light, music and drinks help to “break the walls”. Noone will feel isolated in a new city thanks to these events. Socializing here isn’t merely a necessity, but an act of discovery and it is especially felt during the festive meetings.
Kate Pryliuk
Photo source: Anna Vishtak, All images belong to their rightful authors.


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