Living abroad in a foreign country is definitely a great intercultural experience, but typically brings up a lot of questions, for instance, how to find new friends and do something together?
Oslo is a fast growing capital and several events and things are happening. However, sometimes it is hard to find the interesting ones. There are already a number of groups on Facebook, but they are often too big and messy.
That’s why Christopher Bach (31), when he came to Oslo, Norway from Germany in 2007 and decided to stay, wanted to establish a group for expats and other people interested in multicultural issues. Together with his Norwegian friend, Per Kristian Haakonsen (35) he decided to create a Facebook group, Oslo Social Network.
The group was established in July last year and has already nearly 2,000 members, mainly expats but also some locals.
Daily Scandinavian joined the group at one of their social coffee meetings at Henriken across the honorary artist’s residence Grotten (“The Cave”).
“Oslo Social Network focuses on events that make it possible to meet new people,” says Per Kristian. “When members spot an interesting event or hear from a friend about something they think will fit, they are invited to post the information to the group. That might be cultural events, art exhibitions, concerts, parties, flea markets or hints on good cafés or places to eat. Even if someone just want to go hiking or just want to meet for a coffee (tea is fine, too) they can post it.”
The only requirement is that the activity should be open to all the group’s members.
“We always welcome newcomers to the events!” says Christopher Bach.
These events do not necessarily have to be “Facebook events”. Sometimes the most interesting things are happening outside of Facebook. Therefore, members just post it as a good old status message (“Let’s meet tomorrow by the tree”) or link to a website that has more information.
Christopher emphasizes that this group is special because it is all about finding events and social things to do in and around Oslo. The group is open to everyone; it is an inclusive group and anyone can join.
“Sometimes we do our own gatherings and have coffee hours, like tonight, or pub nights or hikes.”
Thee coffee hours are popular, and several multicultural friends had gathered this late summer evening in Oslo. It was easy to get in contact with the members. They told us that two or three events are planned for the dark season, in addition to the coffee meetings. Actually we eyewitnessed more people drinking beer than coffee.
It was second time Waquas Ahmed (37) from Pakistan joined the coffee hour. “It is nice to meet international people,” he said. He likes to discuss Oslo and Norway as well as his home country. “I want to do new things,” he said.
We know that Christopher Bach and Per Kristian Haakonsen have some great ideas, and it will be interesting to follow the group – not only on Facebook.