Expats that live in Istanbul, Turkey enjoy a transcontinental gateway city that is both rich in culture and history. Here are some tips and important considerations for relocating to Istanbul, Turkey.
Expats Should Visit Istanbul Before Relocating
One expat advised that others should visit Istanbul "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."
Istanbul Offers What Other "International" Cities Offer
Istanbul is a great expat post in many ways - it has the diversity of an active cosmopolitan city but also has a very nice 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.
However, there are significant concerns for women. One expat woman reported about safety that "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.
Expats in Istanbul Recommend Using A Relocation Company
Expats find that relocation companies can ease the transition to life in Istanbul. One expat wrote: "I absolutely recommend contacting a specialist company, as we did. They made the whole process of finding a home, moving and settling in a fun process - rather than a stressful experience!"
Housing Requires Important Choices For Expats In Istanbul
One expat reporting about Housing in Istanbul said that expats should "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.
He added that they "narrowed down the area we wanted to live in and went to a local real estate agent and gave him the list of what we wanted in an apartment." He also reported that "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 $400 US."
Another expat pointed out that "housing costs in Istanbul are expensive compared to the UK - even compared to London. The average cost of, for example, a 3 bed apartment on a compound would probably be approx. US$ 3,000 per month. Villas on similar compounds can be rented for anything between US$ 4,500 - 10,000 per month (remember pricing varies over time!).
So deciding where you want to live will have a huge impact on what you pay for housing!
Don't Let Istanbul Sneak Up On You!
One expat wrote that "I didnt find Istanbul to be a difficult place to adapt to. 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!"
So once you are in Istanbul, take the time to assess how you are managing life there and move quickly to eliminate stress where you can and/or find a way to cope with what you cannot change. You just need to monitor how you are feeling and take the time to take care of yourself!