When he’s not working in digital marketing, French expat Cyril Cousteur socialising with fellow members of InterNations, a global expat community. Here he tells us more about it, including his role as InterNations Ambassador.
How did you hear about InterNations and what appealed to you about it?
A friend told me about it in March 2012. I joined up and attended my first social event, and I really enjoyed it as a way to meet other expats and make new friends.
After joining, you went on to become an InterNations “Consul”, and then an “Ambassador”; tell us about that.
My favourite InterNations group when I first joined was one called “Dinner Nations”. (I’m a big foodie.) I stepped up to the plate in mid-2012 and organised a dinner at a restaurant that was in the Hong Kong Michelin Guide. It was such a success that I became famous in the InterNations Community as the “Dinner Guy”!
Later that year, I was asked to be the Consul of Dinner Nations. In that role, I organised a dinner every month, with the help of my Co-consuls. I was then asked if I wanted to be an Ambassador, and was confirmed in the role in September 2013.
What do you do as an Ambassador?
I organise or co-organise one or two social events a month, and my role at the events is to be the host and help create a welcoming atmosphere. I also talk to members and help them meet new people. I’m basically the “ice breaker”.
How does a person get involved in InterNations? Is it free to be a member?
Basic Membership is free and gives access to all the community features and social events (for which there is an entrance fee). There’s also a premium Albatross Membership that allows you access to exclusive features and content, and free or reduced entry at all community events. If you progress to holding the position of Consul or Ambassador, you get Albatross Membership for free.
What’s your own expat “trail”?
I was living in France before coming to Hong Kong, but I’ve now been here for more than 10 years. When I first arrived, I really wished I had access to something like InterNations. It would have given me the chance to meet new people more quickly, and to get tips on living here from other expats. I found settling in quite difficult, and it took me time to understand how it all works, how to find a job, set up a flat and so on. Some extra help would been very welcome!
Where in Hong Kong do you live now? What do you like about it?
Jordan. I love it; it’s very “local” and it has a really nice market.
What are some of your favourite InterNations events and activities?
I enjoy the monthly social drinks at our Global InterNations community events, and also the boat trips we hold in summer. These two events really help expats to meet and get to know each other; they also enhance the community feeling. In a big city like Hong Kong, you often meet like-minded people once and then you don’t see them again; with InterNations’ regular gatherings, you get the chance to catch up with recent acquaintances. The boat trip is very good as it’s one of our full-day events and we have the chance to socialise with 100 people all day and get involved in activities together.
For more information about InterNations, visit internations.org.