Internations group, is the largest network for expats worldwide, with about 1.9 million members in 390 cities around the world (www.internations.org). It has a monthly official flagship networking event but also encourages members to host their own events connecting people with common interest. The group has both online and offline services. The group was founded in Munich (Germany) in April 2007 by Malte Zeeck, Philipp von Plato and Christian Leifeld. The online platform was launched on 11 September of that same year. Malte Zeeck and Philipp von Plato remain as the Co-CEOs of InterNations which has about 100 employees. Malte also heads community management, sales, marketing & communications.
The Dude joined Internations while in Singapore at a time when he was struggling to look for a job. The Dude had gone to attend an event on wealth management where a highly motivated Singaporean dude suggested that the best way to network with people for a job was to join Internations event. Although could not attend many events while in Singapore, got more involved in 2013 while back in Pune. The dude remained active for about a year until his spiritual sabbatical wherein he refrained from any events focused on informal socializing.
Milan Pal, the founding ambassador of Internations, Pune played an instrumental role in setting up Internations in Pune. Milan, is a German expat of Indian origin and has studied and traveled around the world. His company advises expats on intercultural training and facilitates their settlement in Pune. Milan also regularly hosts outdoor events including a weekly Sunday Pune excursion as well as treks to historical places around India. Another good initiative taken by him was to organise a weekly screening of movies across a wide genre which at one point was very popular among members of Internations. He is very active member of Indo German Chamber of Commerce and enterprising in this work. The co ambassadors of Internations in Pune include Simona Jadronova, Taarika Kotwal and Rahul Oza. All of them played a very vital role in proliferation of Internations Pune chapter, organizing events as well as making it the leading informal networking group in Pune. The cosmopolitan and international experience of all the ambassadors along with Milan’s energy & vitality has made the event very dynamic attracting people from all walks of life. Many people both from India and abroad assisted him in his endeavor in setting up the Pune chapter including Ida, Madhu Patel to name a few. Madhu is high flying global entrepreneur with global experience and very regular at Internations event while Ida is a German national settled in India. Madhu assisted in spreading word around about Internations among his wide circle of friends.
Internations helps not only in networking with expat community in Pune but also gives an insight into their perspectives, their personal journey both globally and within India. Among all the informal networking events, Internations is the best organised and managed with a good mix of expats and Indians. The best part of Internations group is that all the networking events are held around Koregaon Park (KP) since most of the expat community is based in KP as we call it locally. KP is the melting point for everyone in Pune with its wide range of dinning and entertaining places symbolizing an era of vibrant energy and exuberance.
On a lighter note, envision a scene from the James Bond movie, when Bond goes to a bar to order a drink in all the events he visits.
My name is Bond, James Bond; I need a Martini Shaken Not Stirred.
Now when the Dude goes to a networking event and orders his signature drink, this is how it unravels.
My name is Dude, The Quintessential Dude. Please serve me Fresh Lime soda sweet and salty...(Quit alcoholic beverages long time back and strictly believe in a complete abstinence of it). It will be very wise even if you did so…but hey no worries do your own thing…Improvised version no one asks me my name…I introduce myself as Nish to expats, short form of name given by European friends in Singapore and Shanghai.
Recently in one of the events, met a British national, a civil engineer working in Pune. We chatted for a while and got to know his parents are from China. One thing lead to another and we started discussing the cultural ties between India and China and the recent economic progress. There were many similarities between both leaders of these countries including their patriotism, focus on economic progress & cultural roots and anti corruption agenda. Its interesting to note that China is right now transforming from a manufacturing to a service driven economy while India predominantly is service driven economy trying to expand its captive focus in manufacturing. Its important as how both these economies complement each other. China’s exports less than 10% to Asian economies while India’s economic progress will help China to diversify its trade balance since its too dependent on Europe and America. As India grows it will consume more goods which will only help China. India has so many global leaders like Anshu Jain the formidable ex Deutsche Bank head, Satya Narayana Nadella CEO Microsoft, Sundar Pichai from Google to name a few. More on this on a separate article.
Very refreshing to meet ex Col Lalit Rai who was awarded Vir Chakra for his gallantry in Kargil war. Vir Chakra is one of the highest gallantry awards for armed personals in India. (His role was played by Sudesh Berry in the Bollywood movie LOC Kargil). Col Lalit was commanding Gurkha regiment in Infantry during the Kargil war and displayed great leadership in guiding his troops to a decisive victory. Talking to him was enlightening to get a first hand perspective of what happened on ground. Gurkha’s…remember the words of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw “If someone says he is NOT afraid of dying either he is lying or a Gurkha”. Gurkha’s are one of the most decorated soldiers around the world known for their courage, bravery and indefatigable spirit apart from the Sikh regiment. Hailing from Armed forces background ( my father retired as Lt Col from Army) had the privilege of staying in Nagaland which is very close to Assam and found people there to be very humble, brave and patriotic. Kargil war had a very poignant effect on myself and the pain still comes back whenever the name is mentioned.
During my visits over the years many people have stood out and connect with a few of them on a personal level. Some of them came over to my house and we discussed our experiences, hobbies, interests and so on.
The good part of Internations network is the wide variety of people one meets from all walks of life which include entrepreneurs, artists, creative designers, people from media and professionals. Pic: With a group of youngsters from media and gaming industry. Interestingly met someone who is a director of CG in moves. CG means special effects, animation etc. Indian movies certainly need a dose of high quality special effects. The meet generally includes many expats from Europe especially Germany. Pune is one of the leading cities in India where many automobile companies are centered…You got it..You don’t need to be Sherlock to figure this out…Cars means Germany.
Internations is a very vibrant event which helps in facilitating expats to network, regroup and assimilate within the local community. The event serves as a platform in bridging cultural ties with localities, helps to network for better business opportunities and serves as a catalyst for creativity with multi facet and multi talented people. Personally met some fantastic people with whom plan to stay connected although most of them have gone back to their respective countries. The event gives glimpses of people across nationalities with a forum to exchange experiences and ideas. Reflecting from my brief experience with Internations group in Singapore, people could be more forthcoming and enthusiastic of other events organised by members in Pune. Its better from my experience to move around and met new people than to sit in a group among friends. Surely its great to connect with old acquaintances but the whole purpose is lost if one remains in the comfort zone. But hey do your own thing and customize your approach based on your experience.
Internations also has a forum wherein the members can post queries related to job, assistance for housing etc. This feature proactively helps expats in in building a community of like minded people before even coming to a particular country. Internations online platform gives a broad overview of respective cities which might include historical places to visit, appraising rules and regulations governing cities apart from recommendations based on lifestyle. In the end, Internations helps in assimilating expats within the local community, connecting with other expats in a particular region and serves as a ready reckoner for aspiring travelers, explorers and expats. Moreover it has specific groups within its community based on preferences like hobbies, demographics etc. which caters to a specific audience although a lot are not free.
To wrap up in words of Dude “Internations is a platform which brings together people of diverse culture and nationalities in a informal gathering for a symbiotic personal and professional growth”.
The article has been published without the customary photos since all of them got misplaced. Seriously regret BUT have asked for backup photos. Please feel free to send me photos of Internations event at firstname.lastname@example.org and shall upload the appropriate ones. Will update with relevant photos ASAP…So please be patient…So says The Quintessential Dude…
This would be my last article covering any event in Pune for sometime unless its a very creative with underlying holistic cause to benefit humanity.
Going forward the blog will feature more of my research reports and activities directly related to humanitarianism, science, technology and well being.