Finding friends in a new city just got easier.
Navigating a new city can be intimidating. Gone are familiar haunts replaced by foreign sights and a new routine. Many a summer intern and recent grad may find themselves fighting the urge to hole up with their faithful companions Ben & Jerry content to live vicariously through characters on the TV screen.
Luckily for career climbers who made the move — literally — Meetup, self-dubbed “the world’s largest network of local groups,” offers quick relief for that growing itch to get out, explore and build a new social network.
Meetup is a free tool that allows users with similar interests to “use the Internet to get off the Internet,” according to its Apple App Store description. Searching by interest or location on the Meetup mobile app or website, users can find groups meeting for an event nearby.
Groups have hosted meetups in 45,000 cities, and over 9,000 groups gather each day, according to the company’s website. Many were created to help young adults establish new relationships after emerging from the collegiate social bubble.
Friday the New to NYC Group for Young Adults 20-25 is attending a free concert featuring fun. — the band responsible for the breakthrough single We Are Young — at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Meetups intended for college students have been created in states across the country from Massachusetts to Washington.
Ben Rice started the meetup Recent College Grads (Under 30) as an experiment when he moved back to Santa Clara, Calif., in 2009 after graduating college. He found a vibrant community looking to mingle.
“I can tell you from experience that no matter what, you will meet a lot of people if you go to meetups. That’s a given. And, not everyone is going to mesh with everyone, but mixed in could be your new best friend, a job opportunity or maybe even your future wife,” Rice said in an email to USA TODAY College.
The Recent College Grads meetup has attended brewery tastings, hosted movie nights and watched stand-up comedy.
“I have spent a lot of time setting up events, executing them and ensuring that members are fully enjoying themselves. I take pride in my group and have worked hard to establish Recent College Grads as a brand,” Rice said. “It’s a fun hobby for me, and I think I have cultivated a fun and friendly environment that makes it easy for new grads to get in the mix.”
In Rice’s experience, successful social and professional relationships then move offline.
“I think that there are more and more young professionals taking to the Internet to get what they want out of life,” Rice said. “With resources like Meetup and LinkedIn, recent grads are connecting with each other in ways that were never possible in the past. And, each year it’s becoming more ‘normal’ to meet new people online.”
Meetups can also provide career resources for graduates looking to keep their professional skills fresh, from writers’ workshops to freelance engineering consulation.
“I enjoy talking with people both socially and professionally, and the Recent College Grads Meetup has given both the members and myself a great platform to practice those skills,” Rice said.
It’s been said, ‘College is the best four years of your life.’ By meeting new people and exploring new pastimes, don’t wait to make the next four even better.
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