Going out in a new city and making new friends can be a bit daunting. Especially cross-cultural friendships can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are expat events in Beijing that make meeting people easy and fun. I actually met one of my best friends in Beijing at an InterNations event.
InterNations is the largest expat network worldwide with a big and very active community in Beijing.
They have four (!) regular events every month, as well as different activity groups. InterNations events are a great way for new Beijing expats to meet people and to check out different venues in Beijing.
InterNations, or more specifically my friend Gundula, organizes not only one but two monthly events that are perfect for newcomers:
Beijing Newcomers Event
The Beijing Newcomers Event is a monthly get-together at changing venues. Gundula manages to get the best venues for the events, so besides meeting new people you can also check out cool new places.
The Newcomers Event is meant for conversation and the music is kept at a lower volume. This makes for a relaxed atmosphere, where people are very open to meeting and mingling with other members and newcomers.
It usually attracts between 30 and 40 people. Not all of them are new Beijing expats. Because the event is so good, many people keep coming even after they are already settled.
Unlike other InterNations events, there is no cover charge for the Newcomers Event. It is pay-as-you-go, usually with special discounts on specific drinks.
The Mid-Week Mixer is a rather new monthly event, also at changing venues. As the name says, it takes place during the week, usually on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, starting at 7pm.
The purpose is after-work networking with other expats. So again, Gundula keeps the music at a comfortable volume to make conversations easier.
This event usually attracts 50-70 attendees, including many folks who prefer not to go out much on the weekend.
The Mid Week Mixer is a ticketed event, like most InterNations events. You have to sign up online to get the member pricing and then pay at the door. It includes a free drink and discounts on other beverages.
The events Gundula organizes are extremely well done. Nice venues, excellent directions to get there – both in English and Chinese, super welcoming host, relaxed atmosphere with the focus on mingling, conversation and meeting people.
The Newcomer events are open for everyone, but you have to sign up for the events. To sign up, you have to be an InterNations member. You can select a free membership, which gives you access to all the official events, usually for a small cover charge. They also have a premium membership. As a premium member you pay reduced cover charges and can join activity groups.
PS: The links here are affiliate links, so if you sign up I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. I would not recommend InterNations if I were not convinced that it is worthwhile for new Beijing expats. I attended InterNations events in 5 cities abroad and always met interesting new people.