Popular Networking Events for Expats in Bogotá
When you move to a new city, and especially if it’s a big one, starting from scratch and making new friends can be a challenging and slow process. It takes time to find people you like, who have similar interests, and to finally form a network of interesting individuals. Whether you’re looking to meet singles in Bogotá, make business connections or meet new friends, the capital has a few events to cater to you.
In addition ‘Bogotanos‘ are infamous for being “cold”. On the contrary to popular belief, I must disagree, as I find the fact very relative, depending on which country you are comparing them to. In my opinion, the city dwellers of Colombia’s capital are friendly, warm and welcoming. Notwithstanding, I will not deny that they do stick to their established groups which might make it difficult for you to mix in with the locals. But ultimately, I find this normal and not particular to ‘Bogotanos’ but more of a worldwide trait of anyone who is not an expat and is obliged to start fresh.
With that said, your best bet is to try to find people like you, who have recently arrived or are interested in expanding their circle. And what better than to attend networking events specifically for these purposes?
Which ones? Will I match the crowd or vice versa? To start off, the most popular networking events here are intercultural. Below are a few options for you to get out and start winning over hearts:
Starting at 5pm every Tuesday evening, the event begins as a language exchange going on till 9pm which then turns into a nightclub till 3am. If you do plan on meeting new people and/or learning a new language, be sure to arrive before 9pm so you don’t find yourself dancing solo just because you missed out on making new friends earlier in the night. (Not like I’m talking from experience.) Here you will find a good combination of internationals mixed with Colombians in their mid-20s, early 30s.
Entrance fee: Free before 9pm; After 9pm $15,000 pesos.
Address: Carrera 14A No. 83-56
Holds an average of 2 language exchange sessions a month. From 5pm-9pm,¡Dame Tu Lengua! provides a friendly and artistic environment strongly focused around the intercultural experience. Here people can practice languages they are interested in learning and meet new friendly faces. From 9pm onwards, they crank up the music and kick back. Expect to find student expats and Colombians alike in their early to late 20s.
Entrance fee: $3,000 pesos
Address: Restaurante Seis Manos (Calle 22 No.8-60)
If you are a foodie like myself, you might be more interested in their newly created Kitchen Club event, occurring every second Sunday of every month. It’s an all day event of language exchange and sharing of a foreign dish.
Entrance fee: $12,000 pesos
Address: Botanik(Calle 35 No.15-18)
If you’re an English-speaking woman (regardless of your nationality) and looking for a network of expat women, then this is for you. Most women in this club are expat housewives or entrepreneurs who focus their efforts on raising funds for local charities through networking events, hobby clubs, and an extravagant yearly gala. Most of these women seem to be the wives of foreign ambassadors or of expats working in the oil industry whose children go to the CNG (Colegio Nueva Granada). Although the majority of networking events and clubs take place in the middle of the day during the week, they do have a few evening get-togethers for the working woman.
Yearly membership fee: $150,000 (excludes the price of any event participation)
InterNations is always a sure option, offering a worldwide network of international and well-travelled people. Here in Bogotá, InterNations holds many events depending on your interests. Their main cocktail event held every month or so seems to be more of a dating scene for Colombians aged 30+ who have lived abroad. However, I have heard smaller events held in individuals homes have been quite friendly and enjoyable.
Membership and Event fee: Varies