What is a Volunteer Community Manager? I hear you ask! Who are Girls Gone International? GGI (Girls Gone International) is the world’s largest female expat community and network, on a mission to connect international female travellers online and in person through regular meet-ups in different cities. Every city that there is a GGI group, they need a volunteer community manager; someone who has lived in that particular area for a while and can lead their local community and connect and empower them with other girls who have ventures internationally. How exciting does that sound?!
For my U.K. readers, I’ve recently joined a few GGI groups since I’ve moved home including; Manchester and Amsterdam. I even hosted my first quiz with the Amsterdam girls, which was SO MUCH FUN! Right now, everyone at GGI has been working extra hard on interesting events that their communities can attend, which of course follow their country’s guidelines during the current pandemic. Whilst I lived in Vietnam, I joined the Hanoi community ran by the lovely Nga Nguyen. Although my work schedule often clashed with the events, I still kept in touch with Volunteer Community Manager, Nga and when I can visit again, I will definitely catch up with her and the fellow GGI girls out there.
Want to know how to join? Join the Facebook group! That’s right, search for ‘London Girls Gone International’, ‘Hanoi Girls Gone International’ or which ever city you are and click join! The volunteer community manager will post a link in the group with all the new members to introduce themselves and you’ll be a GGI member! Whoop!
If that hasn’t swayed you to join, read on for my interview with Nga, Volunteer Community Manager in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Hi Nga, you currently run the Girls Gone International group in Hanoi, can you talk me through the principles of GGI and what it means for anyone travelling?
Girl Gone International was founded by Anne Scott 10 years ago with the aim of creating a safe, women-friendly platform for girls who travel far from home to make friends and share experiences. Today, more than 150 GGI groups are run all over the world to help connect women and support female expats.
Hanoi Girl Gone International hosts at least one big event every month and is trying to organize several mini/random meetups more often. We all love men but in the monthly events, the girls often leave their men home and enjoy girls’ time together. We take advantage of this to try new food, grab some good drinks, have a quality talk and make more friends. All the girls are encouraged to share their stories, ask for help as well as to ask other members to hang out on the Facebook page.
I believe that GGI means a lot for female travelers/expats. To some, the group even changed their lives positively. I know that it’s way easier than ever for girls to travel, work or study in a foreign country. Modern women nowadays are genuinely strong and independent but we still live in a world where still remains lots of hurdles for the female gender. And I believe that GGI makes life, in many ways, easier for the girls who live far away from home.
Have you been to any other Girls Gone International events around the world?
It’s very unfortunate that I haven’t got to attend any GGI event outside of Vietnam. Hopefully, I’ll have more opportunities to join one in the future.
How did you first find out about GGI and what drew you to apply for the Community Manager role in Hanoi?
There was a time in the past I just felt bored of the bubble I lived in and the routine I repeated, so I googled groups to join in Hanoi with the hope of meeting new people and seeking opportunities to do things I had never done. I first found Hanoi Girl Gone International on Meetup and joined a couple of events before the former manager, Liz, wanted to resign. I remember how nervous and worried I was when I asked Liz if I could apply. At that time, I was inexperienced and unconfident and afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone, but I always believed that I would learn, grow up and complete myself more by doing so. That belief drew me to take the role.
What’s been one of your favourite things about GGI?
I love the diversity and the friendship beyond borders. Being a community manager means that I have attended the most events of Hanoi GGI than any girl in the group. This gives me a chance to meet up with lots of women coming from many nations. Regardless of where we are from, what our mother tongues are, what skin color we have, when we gather up, friendship is our mutual language. Also, I’ve met inspiring girls and made friends with some of the most amazing humans on earth along the way. That we still keep in touch even when some of them now live thousands of miles away from me is a thing I’ve been always grateful for.
Can you give me three reasons you’re a GGI?
I’m a GGI because:
#1. I don’t want to limit myself physically and spiritually within a city, a country, a culture or any invisible unrealistic boundaries. I don’t just see myself as a Vietnamese girl, I am also a global citizen.
#2. I just don’t have any friends in Antarctica, I have friends in all other continents
#3. My love for traveling is so big that it can be visible.
What advice would you give to anyone reading this who is feeling a little nervous to move abroad?
I would say that it’s totally okay when you feel worried or even scared to move abroad. Living in a foreign country can be tough, traveling far from home is not always easy and fun, and you might have to risk everything. But we only live once and in the end, people who have the most what-ifs are the least happy people.
I love the idea behind the Girls Gone International magazine, do you have any favourite issues? (maybe there was a story or article that really resonated with you or the front cover star was someone you have followed for years or have met…)
That’s a very difficult question, I love them all. But if I had to choose, I would pick issue 10. I just love some quotes in there and the new design of this magazine.
Does your city have a GGI? There’s no better time to open your own GGI community! Why not check out how to apply? Here!