ASTANA – On June 28, the InterNations Astana network held another one of its regular expatriate get-togethers, this time at Why Not Lounge Bar. The InterNations community in Astana organises events to help local expatriates find other foreigners and gather reliable, on-the-ground information and advice about life in Kazakhstan.
InterNations is a worldwide social network for expatriates that exists to help members to make friends and connections in new countries. “Even if work takes me to another country and continent, if I am an InterNations member I can connect instantly with the community that exists in that country and find my feet quickly,” said Alexander Carpanini, one of the organisers of the event.
“We had people from 20 different countries attending,” Carpanini said of the most recent event. “It means, therefore, that you can meet all sorts of different people who are open minded and interesting in different ways. We also aim to ensure that guests have the perfect environment in which to get to know each other properly,” he said.
In Astana, at least, the events are also about networking. Attendees are largely professionals; many guests here work in oil and gas industry. “Some of our most frequent guests are people from ENI [ENI S.p.A., an Italian multinational oil and gas company] and BG [a multinational natural gas company headquartered in the U.K.] for example. Nazarbayev University is also very well represented at our gatherings,” said Carpanini. There is no dress code at these events, but the norm is business casual.
InterNations can be joined through its website, which asks prospective members to answer a few questions and submit a few descriptions of their interests. A basic membership is free. A second membership category that works out to be about eight dollars a month, depending on the duration of the membership, allows full access to the website, unlimited messaging privileges and free entrance to events.
InterNations has just started in Astana, but organisers have high hopes. “It will be a very large affair soon,” Carpanini said. “As word spreads and the membership expands, we’ll have the facilities to make grander events with interesting and elaborate themes.”
The usual InterNations programme includes entertainment in the form of live music, dancers or a DJ. Organisers say they are planning prizes, fundraisers and give-aways for future events.