For those struggling to meet new people, making connections abroad can be challenging. However, in Odense, there is a potential solution - you can join the International Book Club!
Text: Michaela Medveďová
Started by the International Community Odense, the club is run by volunteers. "I tend to say that the book is an excuse. The real purpose is to make a networking event where like-minded people that are a little more introverted can meet each other," says Ingrid Benavente, who currently runs the club.
You can join the bibliophiles at Nelle's in the Odense Teater. They meet to discuss a new book at the end of every month, usually the last Friday of the month. Sometimes, it is a group of 15-20 people, sometimes there are just four. "It varies a lot depending on the length of the book. People tend to skip the meeting if they don't finish it. But I encourage everyone to come regardless."
The club also cooperates with the Odense Library; they have a list of suggested books the members can get copies of. People attending the club can also choose a book themselves - but in that case, all members have to agree to procure it themselves.
Ingrid tries to make the meetings more social-oriented.
“I want everyone to get to know each other a little before we start talking. I never forget that the point is to make a network.”
Once they start talking about the book, she has ready-made questions to lead the conversation a bit.
In a smaller group, people usually get very engaged, resulting in a compelling debate. "We come from all over the world, from different educational backgrounds and cultures, so we have different ideas and readings." With more controversial books, the discussion can get too political - Ingrid's role is to try to keep the tone civil.
The book for the next month is always announced ahead of the club's Facebook group meeting. Fancy a read?