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What is a Digital Nomad?

Location independent jobs are not a new concept, but have been growing in popularity the last few years. People who have these types of careers often label themselves as ‘digital nomads’. This means they may hold true to the old ways of roaming or not having a base, but they are connected digitally through their online work.

According to recent research, by 2025 remote workers may outnumber those who work from an office worldwide. Those working from ‘home’ for a company full-time has increased 140% since 2005. With the rise of job that can be done from just a laptop, this type of lifestyle is appealing to many. Engineers, web developers, marketers and even language teachers can all have a successful income while living on the road or in another country.

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Here’s what being a digital nomad entails so you can decide if it’s right for you.

Perks of Location Independent Jobs

Being a digital nomad can mean freelancing for yourself or working remotely for the company. This can be full or part-time. The freedom of not having to go into an office everyday is one of the best benefits of this lifestyle!

Otherwise, it can also open up possibilities on where you can live. Some digital nomads choose to live in more rural areas, as they don’t need to be in or close to a city for opportunities. Others will make a more drastic move, by relocating to another country that allow remote workers (such as Thailand).

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Digital nomads who have location independent jobs enjoy many benefits. Commute expenses tend to be non-existent, as well as the worry for business wear in a professional setting. Hours are usually more flexible, so personal vacation time and errands/social calls during the day are easier to take. Taxes might be slightly more complicated, but there are supplemented healthcare benefits and other perks digital nomads can take advantage of with proper commitment and research to the experience.

Ways to Embrace the Lifestyle

No matter if you are a digital nomad full-time or simply have a remote work position, these opportunities can align nicely with a move to a new country.

Before doing any major changes, make sure your current goals, career and personal, align with this type of work. Also, do some research on the best expat enclaves for people who do remote work that are conducive to your desires.

Before making the move, consider cultivating some helpful remote work habits. Without a boss or office structure in your vicinity, your motivation remains your own responsibility. Have a way to organize your days and maintain a routine regardless of where you get work done.

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Resources for Digital Nomads

If you’re happy at your current position, consider speaking with your boss about an international or remote transfer. Many large businesses are becoming more open to the idea of remote workers – just know you might still have to keep their office hours if you’re in another time zone!

Beyond that, here’s a few more things to help learn more about location independent jobs and careers.

  • Here’s a good list of resources for finding remote work and preparing for the change.
  • If launching your own business or looking to take your remote position to the next level, this is an excellent podcast with great information from Tandem Nomads.
  • Invest in good hardware, such as a sturdy laptop extra battery packs and a roaming Wifi hotspot.
  • If you’re an American citizen, these are countries you may be able to do a working holiday. Check the work visa rules for your specific citizenship, and if a company will sponsor you.
  • If you’re new to the idea of remote work, consider a structured program such as Remote Year to get started.
  • Once you’ve made the leap, don’t forget KITnDO to stay connected and discover new things in your new location!

Would you ever consider working remotely? Would you move to a new country to work digitally?

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6 Benefits of Living Abroad for a Year (or More!)

Whether you plan to be living abroad for a year or hope to be an expat more permanently, there are endless benefits to trying out a new place. People worldwide will leave their ‘home country’ to experience other cultures, enjoy new job opportunities, study abroad or simply change their lifestyle. Not only is it exciting, but it’s also good for you as a person to gain a fresh global perspective, learn to adapt and possibly even master a second language. Here’s some wonderful positives of being an expat and living somewhere else.

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Improves Your Mental Health

According to the Harvard Business Review, people who choose to try living abroad for a year or longer can experience benefits to their mental durability. The study mostly deals with a sense of strong identity and self-awareness. Other benefits include things like reducing group biases, career success and enhancing creativity.

Improves Your Physical Health

Not always, but sometimes, when living in a new country, you may have different transport situations than at home. Perhaps walking to work or cycling is more accepted in a new city or rural destination. People who move to new countries often have to find new friends, which could lead to joining more intramural sports and activities. Also, in new countries, expats are inclined to try new, fresh foods that are local and delicious. All of these things can promote better health.

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Helps you Appreciate Your Home Country

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, right? Sometimes a move, especially a drastic one, can help you understand where you’re from on a deeper level. People who move abroad sometimes will miss ‘home’ and seek out ways to re-connect with their culture of birth. Furthermore, people who’ve lived in multiple different countries will see differences clearly and appreciate the beauty in each place.

Cultivates Intelligence

Moving to a new country often means having to learn a new language – or at least the basics! This challenge can lead to lots of benefits, including enhanced creativity, learning about new cultures and even more job opportunities. Simply having to adapt and learn how to get around a new place to live can be a refreshing way to stimulate the brain.

Enhances Communication

Even outside of learning the local language, you usually have to be very clear in your communication. Slang words, colloquialisms and simply different customs all require deeper thought. Communication and respect are key when living abroad for a year or more, which can be great for your job, home life and overall relationships.

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Leads to the Travel Bug!

If nothing else, some time spent living abroad will most likely have you wanting more! People who are expats or move elsewhere often prioritize traveling and exploring. Living in a new country feels like the ultimate trip in itself.

Want to know more about living abroad for a year or longer? Stay tuned, we’ll be covering lots of important expat tips and guides in the coming months. If you’ve already made the move, check out the KITnDO homepage to connect with your culture in your new home!

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Interview: What’s It Like Being an Expat in South Africa With a Toddler?

In our series presenting different experiences of expats all over the globe, let us introduce you to Tushita, who is hailing from India and living actually with her family in Johannesburg, South Africa.

As she shared with us when we first chatted, the decision to move and to explore the ‘unknown’ has surprised her! She has always been in Delhi and thus, to take the huge step of leaving not only her city, but the country, has been her biggest achievement. How does she deal with the remoteness from her family, questions of cultural identities while raising a toddler in another country and what are her biggest challenges?

KITnDO: How was your relocation to South Africa?

Tushita: While in India, my husband and I travelled across Italy, New Zealand, USA, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey on holidays, we always wondered how ‘living’ abroad would be like. Our son was born on Feb 7th, 2017, and two days later, my husband gave us another life-changing news – that we were to move to Johannesburg as he was offered a global movement in his company. With a newborn, life anyway turns upside down and now with this news – I was speechless. We always wanted to experience living elsewhere, especially with increasing pollution in the city. But the move came at a point when I was at my most vulnerable phase.

The idea of having to leave my professional life and managing the baby on my own was a big weight on my shoulders. I felt overwhelmed. We reached Jo’burg, with our 5.5 month old, leaving behind our loved ones, my job and a life we were super comfortable in. Starting afresh and doing things I never did – like cooking, managing the baby single-handedly and leaving my passion – my career was taking its toll. I had good and bad days… But we managed to find people who helped us settle here.

KITnDO: How do you describe your cultural background?

Tushita: We are Bengalis, originally from East India, however, my grandparents moved to the Western part of the country and I was brought up in Delhi, the Capital and melting pot of cultures. Our community is known for its vivacious literature, performing arts, movies, among others. We are foodies and extremely proud of our culture that boasts of feisty women, our ability to question the norms and our sweet mother tongue – Bangla. We have rich culture and heritage and most children are involved in learning either music, dance, theatre or sports – primarily football. Our people are well read and enjoy a healthy discussion that we call ‘adda’. Our community is enriched by many stalwarts – from Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, Amartya Sen to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekananda, Sarojini Naidu, Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Saurav Ganguly.

KITnDO: What do you miss from India? Have you found places in Johannesburg that bring you a little bit closer to your homeland?

Tushita: I miss our family and friends, street food, the chaos and the noise of the city – thankfully, access to street food, albeit occasionally is sorted!

Fordsburg (a suburb of Johannesburg) is the place to go if you’re looking for South Asian spices, herbs, vegetables, fish or small restaurants. You have small shops keeping stock of Indian sweets, savories and street food. Our go-to places are Dosa Hut that offers south Indian, Indian-Chinese and North Indian cuisines. For tandoori items, I go to a small Pakistani shop called Pehelwan – their roast chicken is to die for! For Biryanis and other such items, I usually go to Al Makka run by a Bangladeshi gentleman.

Other than this, there are several restaurants across the city that offer delectable Indian cuisines. For South Indian/coastal cuisine: Thava Restaurant and for North Indian: we like Classic India.

KITnDO: What language do you teach to your son? How is it important to transmit him your culture? Share some example.

Tushita: We speak in Bengali with our son while he learns English in his play school. We intend to teach him Hindi – the national language of India – a bit later.

As a student of history, I understand the importance of knowing one’s culture and heritage as it not only gives a sense of belonging but helps shape one’s identity. It is thus, important for me to provide a glimpse of my culture to my child. Knowing where I came from, helped me understand and respect those from diverse backgrounds. It helped me see what’s good and encouraged me to question norms that I wasn’t comfortable with. Reading and learning music nourished my soul and made me who I am today.

I’m not high on rituals or traditions, I believe in transferring the beauty of our culture – dance, music, literature to my child. Yet, my favorite celebration is Durga Puja – because it’s more than a religious tradition. It is a social occasion where we see our deity – not as god but as daughter visiting her family. Humanizing Goddess Durga and celebrating her and her children was my favorite since childhood. Here too, I’m happy to have founded my community people and we celebrated Durga Puja together – by performing and eating galore!

Tushita and her family

KITnDO: How did you find this community?

Tushita: Before moving to Joburg, I did my own research and found the Bengali Association of South Africa (BASA) page on FB. I contacted them and upon landing immediately became its member. The thriving community has 80+ Bengali families and organises many events during the year – starting from an annual picnic, Celebrating Tagore’s Birthday to the Durga Pujo. The warm and friendly members meet occasionally and I have made some lifelong friends through the association. We all participate and take our responsibilities extremely seriously!

KITnDO: What is most challenging for you as an expat spouse?

Tushita: As an expat spouse, the biggest challenge has been to give up my job and accompany my husband. I have a decade-long experience across nonprofit and private sectors with expertise in communications, CSR and programme management.

To face it, I have recently restarted my career as an independent consultant/freelance specializing in nonprofit communications, content development, M&E reporting and documentation. Finding work is an arduous task and though I regularly apply for positions at UN and likes, it’s proving to be extremely difficult.

I am looking for a development consultancy or an organization that doesn’t shy away from hiring a person like me and I would very much like to work in the social sector space and hoping to work in the mecca of international development – Africa. (And we are happy to share the link to Tushita’s Linkedin Profile!)

KITnDO: Finally, what represents community for you and how you deal with fact having to look for new friends?

Tushita: I feel lucky to have this opportunity of exploring another country and meeting new people. Yes, it’s a challenge to make friends and expand your professional network – but one needs to be open minded and embrace this as part of this journey… after all how many get such an opportunity? It’s best to focus on the positive, and for me community is all encompassing that shares common values like love, respect and acceptance.


So inspired? Have you ever moved abroad to follow your spouse? How did you manage in this new life? If you want to share something, don’t hesitate to do so in the comments section below. We’d like to hear about it!

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I left my country! And now what do I do?

friendship, traveling, travel, friendshipday, croatia, international

How do I keep the contact with my friends and make new ones?

During several moments in the life of a nomad, expat, digital nomad or just a continuous traveler, we find ourselves submerged in effective memories. It’s normal to feel this way.

I believe that what surrounds us is the thoughts of how to keep our friendships or how not to be alone in our new destination.

On the occasion of the World Day of Friendship we took the time to talk a little bit about what to do when we see ourselves in a different country, with a different culture and often with a different language. Below you will find some nice ways to change the situation! Follow me!

A good tip to adapt yourself better in a new place is to find out about the habits of the country that you are going to. One of the biggest problems I realized is the routine. Those who are not newcomers do not know our difficulties. How about looking for people who are in the same situation?

Where to look? Nowadays, that the world is so well-connected, social media is a great way to network and find new groups. It can be a great start. Believe me, whenever I go to a new country I look for groups of the same nationality, people who speak the same language or who have the same interests. There are many groups divided by sports and even activities in common. I once met a group of people who came together to help each other on the challenge of how to clean the house with the variety of unknown products the new country offered.

A new country could mean a world of discoveries. Who better to talk than people who have been through it? Already, in this first contact we can discover many people with the same affinities, same routines and challenges. These people end up becoming our circle of friendship.

Language schools are also good places to bond with people in the same situation. Besides being very good to learn a new language, the local language can open many doors.

In some countries, these classes are free, subsidized by the government or cheap. It is worth checking.

Another nice tip: find out when are the national holidays! Many cities have a very nice cultural calendar. Promoting meetings with locals and expats, whether they are from work, friends of friends or someone you just met. It can also help you to know more about the culture and integrate yourself better in the new place.

Besides, many people are willing to help a foreigner and it could result in a beautiful friendship.

Backpacking in South America
Backpacking in South America

What about my friends who are at my home country? Usually it is cool to send photos and videos, funny little stories and events.

This helps our friends and family know how we are doing. Besides, it can always encourage them to come to visit. Which is always a delight!

Nowadays we can say that our circle of friendship is international and wherever we go we will have company. Being nomad has its advantages.


How about you, tell us what challenges you have already encountered in making new friends! 

Check our Instagram for the chance to win a Rafiki bracelet!

Written by Tábata Martín

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What’s on your shopping list?

Back in the 90’s, just few years after the end of the Cold War, the difference of salaries and costs of living on East and West of Europe were so important that a price of subway ticket was considered as expensive for someone from ex-Soviet bloc. Though I had obtained a scholarship for my studies in a French College, each time I travelled for school break to Slovakia, I would bring back to France bags full of food and non-food items (of course, it would include some sweets from my childhood like “Horalky” or “Študentská pečať”). Many years later, the content of my bags reduced and changed, as I could travel by plane and was also limited by weight. I would bring mostly some souvenirs ‘Made in Slovakia’ for my friends, gifts I received from my family, and food that I’ve been really missing abroad (such as “Bryndza” – special sheep cheese, and “Becherovka” – herb based schnapps).

Much later, with the birth of my daughter, I would mostly bring CD’s with lullabies and little songs, books, and DVD with cartoons in Slovak language. If my family was visiting me in France during Christmas or Easter time, they would also bring some decorations (hand painted eggs, gingerbreads or beeswax candles) and also, some products to cook typical recipes for those special moments. Once, I even asked to bring me a special earthen cask to prepare my own sauerkraut, so I would never miss this ingredient so important in the Slovak kitchen. But unfortunately, when we moved to our New Yorker apartment, this item was left behind, it was not ideal to have fermenting cabbage literally in the kitchen/living room.

Homemade saurekraut FR

During our last summer break, we made a very long trip, visiting all three countries that represent our ‘Home’ countries: Slovakia, France and Mauritius (over 32.000 km all together). Following picture testifies that what we brought back with us, was decent to hold an international mini fair! So, if you are wondering what we have been missing since we moved to the US, here are some examples:

From France:

  • Special laundry sheets that make your life easier because you don’t have to worry mixing clothes of different colors
  • Baking Powder and chocolate Nestle (French expats in US would agree that Hershey’s is not the best substitute for a perfect “Moelleux au chocolat”: French molten chocolate cake)
  • Cosmetics like Chanel, Clarins, and Occitane (all available in US but pricier)
  • Tea “Mariage Frère”
  • Foie gras and some duck terrines
  • Different sweets like “Têtes brulées” and “Malabar”, and comic books for our daughter

From Mauritius:

  • Mixtures of different spices to cook typical Mauritian recipes like Daube, Carry, etc.
  • Pickled chilis from Reunion and Rodrigues Islands
  • Rums
  • “Eau de Mélisse” and “Alcool de Menthe”: alternative to meds for digestive problems, travel sickness, stress, fatigue, and so on
  • Fried salt fish (that we love so much)

From Slovakia:

  • Some spices and Hungarian paste in tube called “Porkolt” (for cooking a sort of beef stew)
  • Some more candies 🙂
  • Swiss toothbrushes Curaprox
  • Special cook utensil for “Koblihy” (Czech style of donuts)

Shopping from SK FR and MU

Luckily we don’t have to wait until our next vacation, if we want to cook our traditional meals. In fact, in New York City, we have a couple of French, Slovak, Polish, Ukrainian or Indian stores, where we can buy many products and there are online shops too. If you want to find addresses of stores related to your home country that are situated in your neighborhood, try out KITnDO platform. You can also add places you know if they are missing there, so that others can discover them too.

Please, share with us what is on your shopping list for your next trip to the country(ies) you are connected to? What are you missing the most (besides family and friends of course)?

Written by Martina Hornakova

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Secrets of the Slovak grandmas … or where you can eat pirohy in New York

Hello readers,

Thought it would be great to discover together some of the local New York addresses with family recipes, memories and stories related to them. Let’s start with East-Slovak specialty called “pirohy”, or what is commonly known here as “Pierogies”.

When we arrived in New York in 2015, my heart bumped up when I first saw “Pierogies” in the supermarket. They are sold fresh or frozen, filled with potato, cheese, feta and spinach, cabbage, etc. But the dough is very thick as compared to what I was used to eat since I can remember. Also, I find that fillings are too “sturdy”. I understood why 5-6 pieces are enough for one portion while in my home, you would eat at least a dozen.

All my family would agree, that my paternal grandma, who lived close to the town Michalovce, did the best pirohy ever: “Zemplinske pirohy” (Pierogies of Zemplin Region). She had such ease to make them, no matter how many we gathered in her house. As she knew that this meal will make everyone happy, whenever we called her that we are coming to visit, she would start preparing them right away. So, when we arrived she was waiting for us in the kitchen, with a big bowl of pirohy filled with home made plum jam and with Slovak style cottage cheese (called “tvaroh”), poured over with melted butter. They were thin and you could see through the cooked dough, in which there was jam and in which one cheese – as you may prefer one or the other, but we always ate them all.

I realized too late that my grandma’s knowledge of making pirohy at the perfection, was our family heritage. My mom and my aunts are good cooks as well and their pirohy are delicious, but I wish I could ask my grandma her secrets.

During my last summer vacation in Slovakia, I had a goal to learn how to cook them. I was proud of making them alone under my mom’s instructions but they were just like any beginning. You need to practice to reach the rightness, and I don’t. So, when I heard about a restaurant called Baba’s Pierogies situated in Brooklyn, founded by the couple with Slovak ancestors, I was curious. Will they taste as the ones from my childhood?

Me making pirohy
Video recipe in Slovak here

First, I read many positive reviews. I was touched by the story that Helena, co-founder of this place, explained in different interviews. In fact, her Slovak grandma, Julia Hlinka, was also the one who gathered all the family every Friday around the bowl of pierogies. And when Helena and her partner Robert wanted to open a restaurant business, she taught them all she could about pierogies so now, it’s them who perpetuate this cultural heritage. And they do it so well!

Their restaurant, situated close to Union Station in Brooklyn, is very cozy, with modern interior design integrating some Slovak elements. The long wall is covered by pictures with family memories and map highlighting Slovakia, and an open kitchen enables guests to feel the home atmosphere. I had a great Chicken soup and a “tasting” plate with every variety of pierogies proposed here. I began with boiled Potato & Cheese, and this is definitely my favorite because it reminds me the closest to the taste I was used to.

I had a chance to chat with Helena about all this “adventure”. We spoke Slovak even though she was born here. I was curious to know why the menu doesn’t include “bryndza” filling (sheep cheese), as this would be really typical Slovak recipe. Though this cheese is available nowadays in New York, it was not the case in the 60’s when Helena’s grandma arrived in New York and needed to adapt her recipe with American Cheese. To keep the family tradition, Baba’s Pierogies proposes the same recipe and when you order “Classic Potato” filling, get ready to be transported. And if you really want to taste bryndza, order the “Kielbasa sliders”, that features this typical Slovak cheese with sausage from Muncan in Queens, sauerkraut, and home cooked mustard. Czech and Slovak beers are available as well. I can’t wait to return here.

Written by Martina Hornakova

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How Can Compatriots Help You In Your Successful Integration?

Moving abroad may be quite challenging. There are so many things to learn, to understand, nearly to re-build your life and integrate into the new society.

Basically, the successful integration involves two moves: * to blend in with the new society + * to preserve its own origins.

Building a social circle and searching for a support definitely, helps to integrate into a new country. It may sound counterintuitive at first sight, but connecting to your compatriots or other expats could be very beneficial for you and your further integration.

These are the people who went through the same process of expatriation, as you are doing now. Moreover, they might have the same cultural background as you do. So who can understand you as a migrant better, than your compatriot or other fellow expats? In a nutshell, you are in the same boat.

Many years ago, gathering together with compatriots abroad was almost essential for the “survival”. The community of compatriots carried out multiple important functions: finding a first job, renting a house or apartment, sharing food, giving advice and tips about the new country etc. So one of the first things to do when arriving in a new country was searching for people of the same origin.

Today, the situation is not the same anymore, the people can find jobs remotely and many are moving abroad having at hand a work contract. The same goes for the studies, where students can register to the university and arrange a lot of formalities before they actually move abroad. Even if a person arrives in a new country spontaneously, it is much easier to find most of the necessary information online.

Nowadays, people don’t need the compatriots for the so-called “survival” in a new country, but the same community of compatriots plays a new role. Firstly, it helps to deal with the feeling that you are a stranger abroad (even if the intensity of such a feeling differs largely from the hosting country). And secondly, such community serves as the main transmitter of your culture.

Which benefits do I get when connecting to compatriots or other expats?

  • Learning from experience of others

Keeping the social contact to the people who share your origins helps you to feel more confident and self-aware. These people are the ones who can not only understand better than anyone the experiences you are going through when setting up in a new country. These are also the people who are facing the similar challenges. Moreover, with the help of the others, you can avoid numerous mistakes, that most of the newcomers make. You can get a quicker grasp of how the “new” system works and, thus, significantly simplify your daily life.

  • Exchange

There are so many things to share in such a community. The exchange of traditions, customs, food recipes, movies, books, addresses where they sell products from your homeland…

It all helps to re-discover yourself and to enrich your culture. Let’s say you didn’t care too much about the folk music from your native country or didn’t appreciate enough your local cuisine. Well, it can easily turn out, that through the community of compatriots you’ll get a fresh view on your culture, (re-)awaken the curiosity to your own country.

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  • Language

When you are not using the language, you are gradually losing the grasp of it. Even if you moved abroad as an adult, your language literacy and eloquence can degrade in no time. Communicating with people who speak your language helps to prevent this, especially if you combine it with reading the books written in your language.

More than that, when moving abroad with kids, as parents, we want them to preserve their language. For example, meeting compatriots enables families to organize playdates for kids.

  • Meet-ups

Meet-ups help to build a community, and the community multiplies the benefits of the connection to your origins. Together you can organize trips to the places related to your home. Or why not promoting and introducing your culture to the country you live in? You can plan a thematic dinner to share the national dishes or to celebrate your national holidays. Or what about organizing a musical band, playing national musical instruments, folk dance club, etc.? The ideas for cooperation are countless.

Testimony from Carlos from Mexico who organized a musical band playing prehispanic music with his compatriots in Germany:

“I am a grandchild of indigenous grandparents, I grew up in a culture that although is not unique, but has a lot of things to show, among them are music, instruments, dance, poetry. When I interpret and people listen to me, I feel being a part of Mexico, of its culture that transcends. But I also think that when this nation (Germans) is interested in what I do, they accept diversity, value and appreciate what is being done beyond its frontiers.”

Grupo Cuicatl

 

So how do we find each other?

You can already find in the KITnDO directory addresses of some local associations related to your origin(s) and also join KITnDO Facebook Group. We also made a list of some ideas on how to find and to connect with compatriots abroad.

1) Web platforms that have physical meetups in several countries/cities

InterNations

Meetup

Justlanded

Expat.com

2) Virtual groups (including social media)

– Facebook groups of people sharing the same culture or language

– local forums (Toytown Germany, TheLocal communities including several European countries)

– local threads on Reddit (r/Germany, r/USA, r/Russia etc.)

Expat Forum

Expatinfodesk.com

3) Local culture centers/museums/libraries

4) Associations (cultural, educational, sport, etc.)

 

Are you keeping in touch with people sharing your origins? If yes, then what’s your favorite way to connect with other expats/compatriots?

Written by Maria Migalina