With swords on the mantel, Buddha statues greeting visitors in the tall foyer and porcelain dolls encased in glass displays, almost every inch of Anne Godsey’s home tells of the 25 years she spent in Asia.

More than 30 women have gathered at her Cobb County residence, filled with a dizzying array of mostly Chinese and Japanese décor, for a wine tasting and presentation on women in the international wine business.

Ms. Godsey’s home—with ornately carved armoires, hanging tapestries, original Asian art and even a Chinese Coca-Cola sign—is a fitting stage for this month’s Thursday meeting of the International Women Associates, a group founded nearly 30 years ago within the Georgia Council for International Visitors to provide social interaction and support for international women adjusting to new lives in Atlanta.

Although the group started in 1978 as a gathering for the wives of foreign students, international businessmen and diplomats, it now includes a diverse array of members—some married, some widowed and some Americans who have lived abroad or have a keen interest in international affairs.

As white wine, champagne and red wine samples circulate, nametags and accents give away some of the countries represented by this diverse cross-section of Atlanta’s international women. Australia, Croatia, Germany and Lithuania are all represented here, along with Hungary, India, Scotland and others.

Ms. Godsey, an American, lived two years in Puerto Rico, seven in Japan and 15 in Macau, China, with stints in Singapore and Indonesia in between. Her husband worked most of that time with Coca-Cola Co. or franchised Coke bottlers, and she accumulated about 15 years of experience teaching in Chinese and Japanese universities.

When they returned to America for good, the Godseys brought home 40- and 20-foot shipping containers filled with their vast collection of artifacts—and also a changed outlook on the world.

Living as expatriates gave them exposure to a broader range of ideas and opinions, said Ms. Godsey, who actually joined the International Women Associates twice, once during a brief return to the States and again when they decided to retire in Atlanta.

“That’s one reason we like Atlanta, where there is a diversity of nationalities and cultures from which we can continue to learn and to appreciate the differences as well as the similarities,” she said.

Although the group only meets on the second Thursday of every month, many attendees have been members for years, and the small conversation groups forming as lunch begins suggest that the organization has fostered some lasting relationships.

Andrea Denny, an Austrian-born real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, has been coming to the meetings for the three years since a Swiss friend introduced her to the group.

A self-proclaimed lover of the U.S. and now an American citizen of two years, Ms. Denny arrived in the country 32 years ago with her husband, whom she met while he was working in Europe. She described the group as “great,” emphasizing that word three times.

Silvana Eakin, who has attended monthly meetings regularly since 1989, agreed with Ms. Denny that the group is a place to meet women from other countries with similar struggles and interests.

“All of us are well-traveled, and a lot of our speakers talk about issues we’re interested in. You just love the people here,” said Ms. Eakin, whose parents emigrated from Croatia and brought her as a child to the U.S. in 1955.

Ms. Eakin plays the role of welcoming committee, and she said that in a volunteer organization, everybody has to contribute to keep things going.

Faye McKay-Clegg, vice chairman, knows that feeling all too well. When Chairman Denise McGinnis was seriously injured in an automobile accident that claimed the life of her husband, Ms. McKay-Clegg had to take the helm in planning the group’s activities.

With Ms. McGinnis recovering physically and emotionally from her loss, members of the group banded together to offer what support they could during the tragedy.

“It may sound trivial—notes, cards, phone calls, e-mails and visits—and large numbers of us attended the memorial service” for Ms. McGinnis’ husband, Ms. McKay-Clegg said.

With many members busy or working, Ms. McKay-Clegg said the group doesn’t try to do too much. It stands ready to accommodate interested parties, though recruiting usually comes through word-of-mouth or GCIV, according to Josephine Maloney.

Ms. Maloney, one of the longest-standing members of the group, is Hungarian-born, and she retains a stubborn but charming pride in her heritage even after 50 years of being in America.

One of her favorite aspects of the group is the practical assistance it gives to newcomers, when experienced members help new ones in mundane tasks like finding a grocery store. Ms. Maloney speaks six languages and has also helped start a similar women’s group in the Japanese community.

The International Women Associates are looking to recruit new members.

Ms. McKay-Clegg encouraged human resources staff to refer wives or other female members of international businessmen’s families to the group.

Prospective members can visit twice before making a firm decision to join.

Should they choose to do so, they must first pay the $50 dues required to become a member of GCIV. The group asks for an additional $10 in annual dues to help hosts defray the cost of refreshments.

And men aren’t always left out. Associates bring husbands to the GCIV’s primary fundraiser, the annual consular ball, and the associates hold summer and winter parties to include the men in their lives.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...