As many Beijing expats know, living as a foreigner in the nation’s capital is much easier when you pool your resources together and share information. Fortunately, the International Newcomer’s Network (INN) is the business of doing just that, existing as a support network that helps expats lead an easier, more well-informed life. “It is a great way to meet other expats in your neighborhood, learn tips, and share advice about practical living in Beijing, adds INN board member Mary Peng.
Currently, INN holds events every week. The group hosts three Neighborhood Coffee Mornings: in Sanlitun at the Bookworm, Chaoyang Park at CJ Food World in Lido, and at Roundabout in Shunyi. For those seeking active alternatives, INN "trekkies" also organize monthly treks to a part of town that is usually off the beaten path and not on any tourist guides. Furthermore, every month, INN hosts a “Night Out” event at a restaurant in a different parts of town to encourage members to explore Beijing and enjoy a social evening of drinks, food, fun, and friends.
At monthly meetings, INN members represent businesses, hospitals and clinics, animal healthcare and welfare organizations, international schools and language schools, charity organizations, and social organizations providing information about their services for the expat community. Monthly meetings focus on a topic for newcomers and long-term residents which address issues most relevant to life in the nation’s capital.
INN was founded in 1994 by a group of expats living and working in Beijing and is now the longest sanding and biggest all-volunteer organization in China with more than 2,000 members. INN’s volunteers and board members include trailing spouses and business professionals with time in China ranging from a few months to a few decades. INN is always in need of volunteers so expats interested in contributing their time and skills are welcome.Attendees range in age from infants accompanying their parents to retirees that came to China as foreign experts consulting at state owned enterprises or government bureaus.
Whether you’re a long term expat or a Beijing newbie starting off 2015 in Beijing, INN has valuable information for those looking to live Beijing life to its fullest. Visit INN’s website for more information and to find out about volunteering at www.innbeijing.org
Photo: Courtesy of INN