When you first come to London it can be quite overwhelming, depending if you relocate with your partner, family or by yourself. To get started you should check out the many free networking opportunities London has on offer. Whether you want to build up your social life or acquire business connections, there is a suitable network for everyone.
First of all make sure you contact your Embassy. This is a good starting point when you are new in London and they often organise social meetings. It is an easy way to start exploring London by getting information or advise from people from your home country.
Of course London is on your doorstep and ready to be discovered and there are lots of Meetup groups who organise all sort of different social activities and most of them are free to attend. Just check out their website meetup.com to see what type of groups are available in and around London.
Internations.org is another fantastic social network to explore while living in London. It is a worldwide organisation which organises lots of social events in the country where you have settled. In London there is a huge group and they organise lots of social gatherings. Signing up is free and it also has a great online forum where you can ask all sort of questions regarding working and living in London.
Another good network to check out is your local council. If you already know where you will be living, you can check your local council’s website. There you can see, for example, what activities there are on offer and charities you can be involved with. If you want to do some voluntary work, they can point you in the right direction.
If you are a regular worshipper in your home country it is a good idea to check if they have connections with churches in London. The church is always a good way to get involved in the local community and also to be able to meet people from your home country. They always have a good support network and are welcoming. Often many activities organised by local churches can be attended by non church go-ers.
If you are working in London or planning to work there are some interesting networks to explore. Most of them are for free, others require a small fee for refreshments.
Business Biscotti is a network mainly focusing on SME’s. The formula is simple; you can drop into any group meeting, at any time – there are no membership or attendance fees, no restrictions and no commitments. Their meetings are held all over Central London and outside London. For more information you can check their website businessbiscotti.co.uk.
Do you have a business idea you want to explore? There are many opportunities to get more information by attending free seminars at the City business library or attending the large free Business Startup exhibition if you want to start or extend your business. This event is being held twice a year.
To find out which business event suits you best, simply sign up at the online ‘Find networking events’ website to get a weekly email with the latest ones. This list includes free and paid network events.
This article was written by Nicolette Wykeman. Nicolette has lived and worked in London since 2009 and has her own business ‘Wykeman – Connecting People with London’. She coaches expatriate partners on how to find a job or change their career when moving to London. She also helps people starting up their business and she writes blog posts about working and living in London. For more information you can check her website: www.wykeman.com.
Image (the top one) is by Flickr user CIMA gallery