A great way to get your social life started in a new town in a new country is joining a club! This can be any type of club, related to sports, languages, art, literature, music, games, crafting, animals, nature, hiking, cooking or anything that is of interest to you. Through common interests we can easily bond, regardless of the language barrier, our origin, gender or age.
Here in Germany, you can join the traditional clubs (called “Vereine”) very easily and at a very low annual fee. These “Vereine” play an import role in the German society as the trainers work on a mainly voluntary basis, thus making sports accessible to everyone. Additionally, there are also many other types of clubs for whichever hobby you can think of.
Our own particular interests are so-called “identity anchors” that remain constant throughout our lives, even if we move frequently and our environment changes. Look for a club that allows you to feel comfortable and in tune with your anchors and build a “tribe” of like-minded people as it plays a major role in fulfilling our basic human need to belong.
Personally, I am very happy to have found IWAH, the Internationals Women’s Association Hannover. It’s actually a one-in-all club as there is a huge variety of interest groups, activities and nationalities. I especially appreciate the international crowd and being able to speak different languages, connect to different parts of my personality, learn about the other women’s fascinating life stories as well as share memories of the countries I’ve been to.
Last week it was my turn to give a talk about an interesting topic from my professional area as an intercultural trainer. I shared some insights on unconscious bias and why this matters to us. The audience was very participant and engaged in my various exercises with great enthusiasm and openness. It wasn’t easy for me to step out of my comfort zone and get on the “stage”, but I felt in touch with my anchors and hopefully could provide some interesting impulses for the fellow IWAH ladies.
I would like to close with one of my favourite quotes by Brené Brown: “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”