Social networking is playing an ever-increasing role in our lives. With a computer and an internet connection, an expat can investigate their new overseas location and connect with people already there.
There are many ways you can use social networking to ease your overseas move — before, during and after. Besides the obvious sites like Facebook and Twitter, there are lots of social networking sites expats and future expats can take advantage of. Here are just a few you might find helpful.
- Boomers Abroad. Geared toward baby boomers, and therefore retirement, this site bills itself as
"the Expat and Future Expat Online Community. Meet, contact, connect, network,…with others that already live abroad and with those that would like to live abroad. Ask, learn, share with us your experiences."
"At Boomer Abroad Online Community we strive to fill the information gap and educate and update Baby Boomers on the news, trends and opportunities in Latin America & The Caribbean.”
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Boomers Abroad focuses on Latin America, so if you’re interested in Europe or Asia, this is not the place for you. But if you’re looking toward Mexico, Panama, or any other Latin American country, you’ll find an active forum, news, expat blogs and other resources, including a job board.
- Expat Forum claims to be the largest online community with 60,000 members who have either moved abroad or want to. There are forums for a long list of countries, as well as articles and news. Some of the countries include:
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
- Go South Expat is a social site dedicated exclusively to living in South America. News, forums, blogs, and an ezine cover:
One of the unique features of this site is the ability to set up a private, password-protected forum area exclusively for you and your invited guests. There is a fee to do so, although they offer a free 30-day trial.
Another social networking site devoted to Latin America is Gringos.com.
- Expat Focus “aims to make life easier for anyone moving or living abroad by being the most comprehensive information and support resource for expatriates on the Web today.” It provides destination information, opinions and advice from experienced expats on the ground, forums, and even a podcast. Their country list is extensive and worldwide.
- Expat Exchange "been helping expats navigate international relocation and the phases of culture shock” since 1997. Their list of country forums ranges from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, with pretty much everything in between.
- Expat Blog is “the living abroad website, by expats for expats.” They offer information and advice on most countries on every continent. Their forums, organized by country, include discussions and classified ads.
- Expat Forums is a bulletin board site. The list of countries is limited, but if you’re interested in Australia, Canada, Dubai, Japan, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UK or the US, you’ll find some value here.
- The Expat Directory has a forums section. However, I personally find the site a bit off-putting as it’s filled with advertisements.
- Live Mocha is a language-learning site that calls itself “the world’s largest language-learning community.” It gives you the opportunity to connect with native language speakers in the countries you’re interested in. It’s a great chance to make friends with future neighbors who are interested in learning your language.
No discussion about social networking for expats and wannabes would be complete without a mention of the new Facebook Groups, rolled out yesterday. It’s too early to tell, but these groups look like they have tremendous possibilities for making discussions bewteen members super easy. It’s not a group yet, but check out Future Expats Facebook Page and we’ll see who’s interested in starting one of the new Groups.