Having a community of friends and networks is the absolute best way to maximize your time in any new city and most large cities are bound to have their fair share of expats looking to make connections, but finding people you can vibe and connect with is no easy task. The most common way to meet people is to attend events, which every thriving digital nomad city is bound to have like pub crawls and language exchanges—but there’s a more direct way. You can host the events yourself.
As an expat in Madrid, I’ve notice that the people who host event are the ones have the largest networks—and it’s not as hard as it sounds. If you’re a social person who wants to give hosting a try, here’s what you need to know to get started.
Why Should You Host an Event?
Scouring Meetup and social media for all the city’s hottest events is an effective way to meet people at the beginning of your digital nomad journey, but when you do the math, you’re likely only meeting a few people each time. The hosts, on the other hand, usually know everyone in attendance, and if they’re a good host, they will establish a good reputation in the community.
Take Corey Chancellor, who hosted his first Paint and Sip event in Madrid in May 2019, and now it’s his full-time job. Since then, he has built an extensive network of expats and locals alike, and now has his own studio space in the heart of the city. Or, Nichole Hastings, who used to run music sessions in her home which combined the feel of a house party with an intimate acoustic show called Living Room Sessions.
Besides expanding your network and getting your name out there, hosting events is the easiest way to find your people. If you don’t like to drink, create an event that’s not centered around pubs. If you want to make more friends who read books but can’t find a book club, start one of your own. Nichole used her groups to explore the local music scene and they helped to organically bridge the gap between community members and up and coming artists who were looking for a wider fanbase. If not for the pandemic, she would still be running her events today. As long as your events are memorable and consistent, preferably, on the same day each week or month. word-of-mouth should spread pretty quickly in expat communities, and you could find yourself with a growing community and, possibly, a business venture.
How To Start Hosting Digital Nomad Events
Expats groups on sites like Facebook and Reddit are the quickest ways to spread the word about any events you’re hosting. City-specific and digital nomad-specific groups are your best bet, so do a quick search for which groups are relevant to what you’re offering.
Corey’s tips for creating an event that people actually want to attend were simple, but effective. First off, know who your audience is. Do you want to attract foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, or cinephiles? He also recommends that, when thinking of what type of event to host, dinner parties and potlucks can be cost-effective. No matter what type of event, make sure it’s something unique that no one else is doing to create intrigue. If you’re excellent at making a dish from your home country, you can create free events where you teach guests how to make it. If you enjoy poetry and want to meet other writers, offering an hour of music and poetry in the park could be an excellent and cheap idea to bring in like-minded people.
Jessica Andrea Ramos is a writer currently based in Madrid, Spain, but is originally from Los Angeles.
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