I originally joined Internations solely in an effort to recruit volunteers for a Hands On Network event that I was helping to coordinate. But Internations turned out to be how I met some of my favorite people in Mexico and I’d definitely recommend it to fellow travelers.
Internations is an organization that began in 2007 to help expats meet one another when they move away from their home country. My first thought when I arrived was that I wanted Mexican friends…. I was in Mexico! But the reality is that foreigners often have more interest than locals do in visiting tourist sites together and they are usually navigating the waters of apartment hunting and getting to know the neighborhood at the same time and can be a great resource. Plus it can be hard to get into the local circles until you start working, volunteering, or join a particular club or church in the city. So, I ended up posting my need for volunteers in the open forum and afterward, I started scrolling through to see what others were advertising. I ended up joining a group from a forum post that suggested meeting up for coffee one night. Since that first coffee, we’ve met up for drinks, cooked and ate together at a BBQ, ran a 10K race, and shared birthday dinners and goodbye celebrations. The group is comprised of so many different countries, including….Mexicans from different parts of the country!
In addition to that particular group, I also joined a Mexico City volunteer group, where we’ve met up several times to collect donations for organizations in need. We’ve gathered donations for Cruz Roja (Mexico’s Red Cross), the Alzheimer’s Association, and a local orphanage. The group is hoping to put together a project to serve a meal at an orphanage soon.
If you are a traveler, looking for a good way to make fast connections on your international trips, check out the website below. There are some minimal membership fees, although there is no charge to sign up and read the forum board or email fellow members to make plans if you want to check it out before paying. Also the first 3 – 4 months after you join, you will be invited to “newcomers” events to meet up with others who just joined. You can either choose to pay the membership fee and then the entrance to the events is waived or you can choose to pay to attend an individual event. (usually around $5) Or you can forgo the formal events (like I did!) and just meet up with people through the forum.