Medical Care in Turkey
"Great medical and dental care and no where near as costly as the US. Many of the doctors trained in Europe and the US. The equipment is state of the art and many speak English. The hospitals paired with the US ones are the best," said one expat.
Getting to Know People in Turkey
"There's the Izmir Turkish American Association which has various activities for Turks and Americans and some of them are free and for others there's a fee. They do things such as go on outings to historical sites, cooking classes, English lessons, poetry club and movie nights, just to name a few. Also, there's the IWAI (International Women's Association of Izmir), which hosts coffee mornings, dinners, and other events," recommended one expat in Izmir.
"Istanbul is a great expat post in many ways - it has the diversity of an active cosmopolitan city but also has a very nice group of expat population. There are associations here such as IWI (Intl. Women of Istanbul), AWI(American women), French group, Latino group, Die Brucke (Germans), Italian group and many others," said an expat living in Istanbul.
Treatment of Women in Turkey
"Domestic violence is fairly normal in Turkey. Seeing a man hit his wife in the face, and seeing no one come to help her, was very upsetting. Turkish men frequently have the perception of Western woman as being sexually promiscuous. I have blonde hair and fair skin, and I was regularly referred to in Turkish by the word for prostitute. I even had men ask me how much I cost. Another concern is that the men have no compunction about following a woman, even when she tells them she is uninterested. I was followed by a man for over an hour on the streets of Istanbul over the course of several kilometers (even onto public transit and ferries). Rejection in Turkey means "try harder," and situations that we would view as stalking in Europe/USA are ways that some Turkish men try to prove themselves to you. If you are a pale, blonde Western woman, expect to be sexually objectified. I really, really would not recommend that any woman go out alone (especially not in the Asian side of Istanbul or in a rural area) without at least a female friend (or better yet, a man). This is especially true if you don't speak Turkish well. Do not trust groups of men, even police officers. If you need help, find a Turkish woman to help you," advised one expat woman in Istanbul.
Culture Shock in Turkey
"Izmir is a lovely city and I feel very blessed to live here. But the adjustment was a bit bumpy. I realized what the problem was. In Istanbul where I worked I knew many expats (Americans and Canadians), but after moving to Izmir the number of expat coworkers reduced to 1 (and she's not there everyday). Because I don't get the daily dose of expat conversation and jokes and talk of things that we all can relate to or have an interest in the culture shock really hit. It's no longer only having a Turkish environment in the evenings after work and on weekends, it is now 24/7. I was missing having some expat association. It's nice to talk about a book, a poem or the latest album of some admired music group. Of course, I talk about these things on Skype with friends back in the States, however, it's nice to talk about these with people here, face-to-face," said one expat living in Izmir.
"You have to get used to the Turkish way of living. The "problem yok" (no problem) philosophy, where everything is ok, never seeing problems, is sometimes comforting and sometimes frustrating. Things are slower than in Europe or USA. You will need patience and adaptation to their culture and way of living," explained one expat in Antalya.
Expat Compound or Turkish Neighborhood
"Look around the city before deciding on where you want to live. Some people are more comfortable in compounds and others want to live in Turkish neighborhoods. Since the rents vary so much, even within a given area, it is important to take your time in finding a place if possible," suggested one expat living in Istanbul. Another said, "we live in a middle-class Turkish neighborhood. It's mostly apartments in our area. There are very, very few expats in this part of town." Yet another advised, "3 bed modern Apartment, centrally located on a compound. Most expats go for compound living as all the facilities are there (swimming pools, shops, tennis etc.) and also because it is an easier enviornment to make friends. There are many compounds that have villas also with the same facilities."
Housing in Turkey
"We live in an apartment ('daire' as they say in Turkish) which is of a good size for us (open kitchen and a decent size living room, one bathroom, two bedrooms and a balcony). I have met a few expats and they all have similar housing," said one person who moved to Turkey.
Another expat explained, "housing costs vary widely here. We don't live in a compound, so we pay much less in rent. Our rent for a 3 bedroom 1-1/2 bath flat with a Bosphorus view and within walking distance of shopping and the ferryboat is $400 US." An expat living in a compound said, "housing costs in Istanbul are expensive compared to the UK - even compared to London. The average cost of, for example, a 3 bed apartment on a compound would probably be approximately US$ 3,000 per month. Villas on similar compounds can be rented for anything between US$ 4,500 - 10,000 per month."
What to Bring to Turkey
"My first suggestion is, like many others, to sell or store your belongings and buy new in Turkiye. Save the troubles of import fees and transporting things there. take what you must in your luggage. Turkiye has everything the rest of the world has. Appliances need to work on their electric and are pricey as are the newer beds. BUT many household items are cheaper and you can make many new acquaintances by buying local to where you will be moving," advised one expat.
Diversity in Turkey
"Turkey is mostly islamic, but very open to other cultures, religions, ways of life, etc. And the west of Turkey even more. Antalya, as touristic city full of europeans and russians visiting, has accepted other cultures and other beleifs, and is very open and welcoming to foreigners. They love people coming from abroad that come to visit their country. For example, in Antalya not many women wear headscarves, and they are not discriminated wether they wear it or not. But, speaking with many turkish friends and strangers, there is one thing that I reckon happens in all Turkey. They are quite homophobic, so, if you are gay, do not show it, unless you know the people and you trust them," advised one expat living in Antalya.
"The city is definitely very diverse, people from all backgrounds and also different religions. In general, the Turkish people are very open and kind to foreigners and guests and even if language may be sometimes a hindrance they will go out of their way to help a mom with kids for example," explained another expat in Istanbul.
Employment Opportunities in Turkey
"Turkey is big in textile production so this is a good field. IT sector is also growing. As the population is young and dynamic fast consumer good indsutries are growing as well. Most people would find jobs through newspapers, employment websites and employment agencies. Word of mouth is also widely used, people ask each other," said one expat in Istanbul. "Most job opportunities come from Tourism. Hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, rent a car... apart from that, there is not much industry," said another expat in Antalya.
An expat spouse who has experience looking for work said, "try your husband's employer first. I didn't and I regret it. It's not unusual in Turkey for couples to be at the same company. It is actually quite common - many Turkish companies, private or public, are like clans of family members, friends, etc. Your request wouldn't surprise anyone. Besides, working in the same company will give both of you a chance to give each other a double measure of support. Believe me, you'd both appreciatem no matter how independent from each other you like to be."
"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," advised on expat in Istanbul.
International Schools in Turkey
Expats on Expat Exchange have submitted reviews for a number of international schools in Turkey. From Istanbul International Community School to MEF International School in Izmir and MEF International School in Istanbul.