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Expat Advice: Working in Istanbul, Turkey

Submitted by chrispoole


Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

An expat in Istanbul offers advice on job hunting and working in Turkey. He explained that the pay and conditions are usually better if you are hired from abroad, but there are more positions available to those who are already in country.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Istanbul

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

I am pretty sure any industry you care to mention exists in Istanbul, but even though I have a good resume with managerial experience in international companies and despite a lot of positive feedback and high hopes in other sectors, teaching english as a foreign language has been the only reliable way for me to make a living. After realising this is probably the case for many people I started to offer assistance based on my won experiences via my blog on www.englishjobsturkey.com I post any english teaching jobs in turkey that I am aware of an I even offer private students that I cant take myself.

What type of work do you do and how did you find your job?

I am an English teacher. Most of my income is generated by private lessons, which I have put a great deal of time and effort into building up but I do also work for a private school for the security and a legal working status

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How did you obtain your work permit? What advice would you have for others about work permits?

My school prepared all the documents and told me what to do, but the information was quite vague and inaccurate so I was left to solve a lot of it on my own. They did pay for it though!

Have you taken language and cross-cultural training courses to prepare for your assignment? If so, how have they helped you on the job?

No. I didnt find Istanbul to be a difficult place to adapt too. In fact I found it very easy to settle in quickly. However, I think it gets harder the longer you stay. Certain things like the traffic situation grind you down over time. Compared to Bangkok for instance which slaps you in the face as soon as you arrive!

If you were transferred abroad by your employer, were you guaranteed a job upon repatriation? What type of mentoring programs does your employer offer?

I moved here under my own steam because my wife is Turkish. I cant say it was easy exactly because there was no centralised place to go to find teaching english jobs in Istanbul, but after emailing dozens of schools one by one I eventually got a call back and landed a job which had free accommodation as part of the package. I guess it took about 2 weeks in all but I was a miserable process. Again, thats why I felt a website or blog which deals with this challenge could be useful to others.

What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?

Try to visit the place a couple of times before making the move. Usually the pay and conditions are better if you are hired from abroad but there are more positions available to those who are already in country. Get a job first and then find a convenient place to live nearby. Adding a long commute in a foreign city to the other factors of a new life is not a good idea. Connect with as many people as you can who are doing what you hope to do, and find blogs like mine at englishjobsturkey.com to give you a less biased view than you prospective employer might offer!

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