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Connecting with fellow expats: what you need to know

Living overseas as an expat is a life-changing experience. It's a golden opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture full of discoveries, fascinating people and varied landscapes. But at times, it can also be daunting! Amongst all the excitement, it's an excellent idea to connect with fellow expats for tips and support.

This article delves into the world of expat communities, offering ways to connect with like-minded people overseas. We'll cover what expat communities are, how to find them, the best networking platforms and more.

An expat, an abbreviation of "expatriate", is an individual who lives outside their usual country or citizenship.

What is an expat?

An expat, an abbreviation of "expatriate", is an individual who lives outside their usual country or citizenship. It's typically applied to professionals or skilled workers who plan to return to their home country one day. 

The International Organization for Migration of the United Nations defines an expat as "a person who voluntarily renounces his or her nationality," adding that the word is "used colloquially to identify nationals who have taken up residence in a foreign country, such as employees of multinational companies or international civil servants". 


What is an expat community?

An expat community is a group of people living abroad who share a common nationality or culture. Such communities offer support, companionship and a sense of familiarity in new surroundings. They can be formed online, in person or a mixture of both. Expats may bond over similar issues such as language barriers, news from home, cultural differences and homesickness. They offer an invaluable opportunity to feel understood and supported, especially in the first few months of arrival.

Expat communities include official organisations and clubs, formal gatherings, and online forums. Members are encouraged to share experiences about life overseas, from choosing the best healthcare services and picking suitable schools to cultural recommendations and restaurant tips. Ideally, such expat communities serve as a bridge between the comforts of home and the exciting challenges of living overseas.

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What country has the most immigrants?

The country with the most immigrants is the United States, with 50.6M foreign-born residents calling the country home, according to the World Population Review.

Following the US are Germany (15.8M), Saudi Arabia (13.5M), Russia (11.6M), the UK (9.4M), the UAE (8.7M), France (8.5M), Canada (8M), Australia (7.7M) and Spain (6.8M).


Bar chart showing the countries with the most immigrants


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How to find expat communities online

Whether looking for practical advice or seeking friendship, the internet is a great place to connect with like-minded expats around the globe. Finding expat communities is easier than ever, thanks to new websites and forums constantly appearing.

Start by searching for expat groups based in your new city on social media platforms like Facebook or Meetup. If you already have a profile, it's as simple as clicking "join" to get started. Such groups often host events, share information and provide a platform for expats to ask questions and connect.

Reddit, an online platform that hosts discussion forums on a wide range of topics, has an expat subreddit with over 147,000 members. It covers the everyday life of a global expat without being specific about one culture, nationality or country. You can start a new topic, such as a question, story or opinion and let others reply.

You can also reply to various posts where your life experience can help. There are also smaller, more specific subreddits to explore, such as Philippines Expats, Portugal Expats, American Expats UK and Spain Expats.

Experienced expats run specialised websites like and ExpatFocus, including forums, articles and city guides in multiple languages.

Common topics include job and house hunting, cultural differences, money, schooling and travel. Such sites are an excellent place for expats to seek advice and share experiences in a more professional setting than a social networking site.


...going to a range of events enables you to meet expats from different backgrounds and heritages.

What are the best expat networking platforms?

Several expat networking platforms cater to professionals, providing a valuable place to connect with others, explore job opportunities, and discuss life as a working expat.

LinkedIn, a professional networking platform, has a global reach, engaging millions of professionals daily. It includes a space to create a profile, connect with others, join industry-related groups and explore job listings. Popular features include news updates, industry insights and the opportunity to message recruiters directly.

InterNations aims to foster a strong sense of community among expats who live and work abroad. They host local events in various cities worldwide, including in-person industry networking opportunities. Members can join interest-based groups focused on professional topics, participate in forums, access destination guides, and connect with expats with similar working backgrounds.

In addition to informational resources for expats, offers a space for career networking. Users can share their experiences through personal blogs, connect with other professionals on forums and create a CV. In addition, expat entrepreneurs can list their business details and post job opportunities.

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Networking tips for new expats

Here are some tips to help you navigate the world of expat networking in your new home:

  • Be proactive: don't wait for connections to come to you — attend events, introduce yourself and engage with people! And don't be afraid to open up. Whether it's your professional background, moving overseas experience or simply hobbies and interests, sharing your story with others is the best way to create meaningful friendships with other expats.
  • Attend a variety of events: from cultural festivals and community gatherings to job fairs and volunteering, going to a range of events enables you to meet expats from different backgrounds and heritages.
  • Stay connected virtually: exchange contact information with new acquaintances and join expat groups and forums like LinkedIn, Meetup, and Facebook to maintain connections.
  • Take language swap classes: share your language knowledge with others in exchange for theirs. It can improve your reading and writing and help you communicate with locals and fellow expats.

What's the difference between an expat and an immigrant?

The difference between an expat and an immigrant is the reason for their relocation. Although they both live outside their home country, expats move abroad temporarily, often for work, and typically intend to return home.

Immigrants, on the other hand, move to settle permanently for reasons like employment, family, or refuge and often pursue legal residency or citizenship.


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Advice from expats: how to meet fellow compatriots abroad?

We reached out to a few of our happy customers who have successfully moved overseas using our international removals service and asked for their expert tips on meeting other expats in their new homes. Here's what they had to say:


Average Joe Down Under logo

  • "Get stuck into social and sporting clubs — you'll find plenty advertised on Facebook!
  • Join Instagram communities. Whether going overseas as a family, couple or solo, there's a group for you on the platform.
  • From hiking to photography, book clubs to language learning, is a fantastic website for finding social groups and events based on your interests in your local area.
  • Enrol in classes and workshops. Learning something new not only expands your skill set but also introduces you to like-minded individuals."

Darren from Average Joe Down Under

We also got a dog. Amazing the people that chat with you when you have a dog!

Beach in Australia

"Join as many Facebook groups as possible, following people's Instagram accounts, putting yourself out there at school pick-ups (if you have kids), joining local groups, making an effort with work colleagues and going to local pubs. We also got a dog. Amazing the people that chat with you when you have a dog!"

Lynne from Maxwells Sunnyside of Life