InterNations: October’s Lacklustre Gathering Amid Covid-19


The day the Government of Sweden announced extra-measures as an extra-precaution in the current coronavirus pandemic in addition to the prevailing social distancing steps, the InterNations in Gothenburg gathered at the Comfort Hotel by Stenpiren but the response was feeble. Less than fifty people registered to attend but out of them less than two-dozen people attended for the monthly networking event.

Comfort Hotel has been one of the regular venues of InterNations, and the organisers chose to have this again in the final month of the autumn season. The venue has stunning views over the city with an in-house restaurant and access to the public transport including by boat.

Two of the first timers were a local Gothenburger who teaches German at a high school and professional in network marketing who had travelled to more than seventy countries. The German teacher initiated a conversation with the US Presidential elections with another regular American. And the conversation over the US elections dominated the rest of the evening, who would win and why.

The organisers initiated a measure to make the attendees know one another by distributing a leaflet that said:

‘Getting to Known Each Other

‘Introduce Myself

‘Goal: Learn names and get to know each other

‘Time: 20 min

‘Age: All

‘Participants: 3-20 people

‘Participants introduce themselves and tell why they are there. Variations: Participants tell where they first heard about InterNations or the Newcomer’s Events, how they became interested, their occupations, home towns, interests, or best book they have read in the last year.’ But none of the attendees took the initiative to go out and meet another person for one or the other reason. All the members were distributed into three groups and remained in the group until one by one started to exit out of Comfort Hotel.

InterNations is one of the few networking points in Gothenburg, online and offline, for foreigners in Gothenburg who lack social interactions with native society except for their workplace; and for the locals, it is the place to meet the foreigners.

In the featured photo of this article: on the left is Lars the German teacher and in the bottom image are the organisers.

Many of them registered to attend the event had failed to attend despite the organisers sent a message before the start of the October’s mingle event, which said, “We are very happy to see you on the attendance list for the event happening tomorrow starting at 5 pm.

“As we witnessed a high no show up rate at the last event we kindly ask you to consider attending the event since you are on the guest list and we confirmed the venue accordingly, so they and we can manage logistically for a good evening. 

“Please do not forget that we cannot accept card so swish the right amount of money, latest at noon tomorrow, when we also close the guest list for printing your personalized nametag :).” It indicates the ongoing situation dictated by the coronavirus pandemic in the city, and around the world.

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