As Santiago has risen rapidly to become an international destination for business and finance, its expatriate community has grown in turn. Since 2008 those expatriates have been meeting up throug the network known as InterNations, an online community with a major presence in 230 different cities worldwide. In its three years in Chile, the community has already exceeded 1,000 members, 90 percent of whom live in the capital.
Online, InterNations serves as an informational forum for those in the process of creating a new home overseas. Using the online community, members can find information on where and how to move, how to find the best language classes, or where to enroll their children in school. Designed to help new residents settle into life in an unfamiliar city, the community helps both with the practical elements of living in Santiago, and, perhaps more importantly, the social.
For those members already living in Santiago, InterNations is most active as a social network, hosting happy hours each month and providing a base for new residents to meet other new residents. French citizen and Santiago resident for the last year Vincent Marechal told La Tercera, “we don’t want anyone to be alone when they arrive in the city.”
Drawn mostly from the same demographic group, members of InterNations make a natural community of friends. Within Santiago, members are primarily young people over the age of 25, either single or in a couple without children, most of whom live in and around the district of Providencia. The majority of Santiago’s expats hail from North America and Europe, with the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France and Portugal.
The monthly happy hours hosted by InterNations are their largest events and have been held at such high profile locations as Anakena in the Ritz-Carlton, the Terrace Bar of the W Hotel, and Bar The Clinic.
For more information on becoming a member, visit www.internations.org.