Expat Exchange

Izmir, Turkey

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Allianz Care International Health Insurance
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By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Izmir, Turkey. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

What do I need to know about living in Izmir?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Izmir, they said:

"If a friend of mine was thinking of moving here I would be delighted! I think it's a great city. I would advise them to learn some Turkish beforehand (it'll make things a little smoother) and not to forget their winter stuff (even though Izmir is on the Aegean and has hot summers it gets cold here in the winter)," explained one expat living in Izmir, Turkey.

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What do I need to know before moving to Izmir?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Izmir, they said:

"I know an expat who moved her stuff from abroad to Izmir by boat and that was costly. I would suggest just buying furniture here there's lot of designs and styles. Bring what you can from home in your suitcases and even if you have to pay an $50 bucks for an extra suitcase, it's worth it if the contents mean a lot to you. Find a neighborhood that feels comfortable and pleasant to you. It's important to like what you see when you look out the window and walk down the street. I like how all the apartments in my area are different architecturally and it's pleasing to the eye. The streets are tree-lined and it's not very noisy. So, make sure you feel good about the place you're in," said another expat in Izmir.

How do I find a place to live in Izmir?

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We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I recently married a lovely Turkish man and he already has his own home in a very nice neighborhood of Karsiyaka. It's a 10 min. walk to the seaside and parks and there are ample corner markets, bakeries, pharmacies and grocery stores nearby. The post office isn't far away either, so we are in a good location," said another expat in Izmir.

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Izmir?

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"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," added another expat who made the move to Izmir.

What is the average cost of housing in Izmir?

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If you are thinking about moving to Izmir, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Lower--because in the States I paid rent. My husband had his own home so there's no rent. Yay! However, even if we did pay rent it would be cheaper than back in the US. A person can find a nice apt. for anywhere between 450 to 600 Turkish lira. But 500 TL seems to be more of the average in our neighborhood," mentioned another expat in Izmir.

How do I meet people in Izmir?

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When we asked people living in Izmir about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"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," added another expat who made the move to Izmir.

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Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What should I bring when moving to Izmir?

Live in Izmir? Answer this Question

People living in Izmir were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"At the moment, the only things I wish I would have brought with me are a nice tin of baking cocoa, some good quality slippers in a size 10 for ladies and my collection of dvds," added another expat in Izmir.

Will I be able to find a job in Izmir?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Izmir, they reponded:

"Teaching English at various language schools, private schools, or universities is an option. There are employees of NATO here. And there are people who work for foreign companies," said another expat in Izmir.

"The main industries in the area are textile industries. Career opportunities in Izmir for Expatriate are really weak. Most of the expatriates come for the H/O based abroad," added another expat who made the move to Izmir.

What is life like in Izmir?

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When we asked people living in Izmir what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"In my opinion people focus mainly on work and family (with family comes the socializing). My strata is mainly with folks in their 30's and 40's and so they work (life requires it) and then want to spend time with their family and friends. Many Turks work long hours unfortunately so when they have free time they want to socialize. I'm not sure about the college folks etc. They probably have a whole different scene," said another expat in Izmir.

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What do expats in Izmir appreciate most about the local culture?

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"I really like how everyone is so hospitable and they love to tell you about Turkey. Everyone wants to present a good image of their country. The healthcare is wonderful and so is the food (both which are cheaper than in the US). I love the historical sites and the greenery. The pace of life is much more relaxed here in Izmir than in Istanbul and that is really a blessing. Everyone loves to sing and some people will just break out in song (almost feel like I'm in a Hindi film sometimes :-)," mentioned another expat in Izmir.

What do expats find most challenging?

Live in Izmir? Answer this Question

"I like Turkish culture, but I guess the challenging aspect would be dealing with people who are completely opposite me in personality at the workplace. And that's not really a culture issue. I could experience that back in the US. Another thing would be not being able to express myself completely since I'm not fluent in Turkish," said another expat in Izmir.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Izmir accepting of differences?

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"The city receives a lot of tourists from all over especially in the summer so I think people have to be aware of differences and somewhat accepting. There are expats and retirees from abroad living here too, so that makes it diverse a little. The city is modern and has a cosmopolitan feel. You certainly don't feel like you're in a Turkish village somewhere in Anatolia," said another expat in Izmir.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What are the schools in Izmir like?

Live in Izmir? Answer this Question

"Our children are so happy to make friends from all world over, they learn English so quick, academics strong, our family are very pleased with everything," added another expat with kids at MEF International School - Izmir (2011) in Izmir.

"This expat website was very useful to me when moving to Turkey. But the reviews are not dated and I now know that some of the other reviews about the school are outdated and no longer accurate. I think the expat exchange website should have a section on this form for the date when a review is submitted. My best advice to parents is take a look at the school website. It has much information and is current. Ask for copies of school documents - school communication is one of its strongest points. The atmosphere at the school was always nice, it has a community "feel". Teachers and administration were responsive when contacted or when meeting with them. In one of the other reviews a parent who left the school mentioned how much their children missed the school and it was one of the best they had ever attended. I am in agreement. We have only fond memories of both the school and Izmir," commented one expat when asked about MEF International School - Izmir in Izmir .

"I would advise any parent to queiry the qualifications of several teachers, particularly the sport, esl teacher, and turkish and if possible discuss the behavour policy as some higher teachers and male teachers like to bully like the science and maths and I think computer. Definatly ask about resources as I know people who were told there is a big amount of money spent on books i.e but actually very limited in books which is main thing for learning nr=ew topics. if possible go to Isakent, its turkish but teaches in English and is half price for the same level of education and this year are teaching cambridge so is the same and I believe the mef esl teacher has left and gone there too," remarked another expat living in Izmir with children attending MEF International School Izmir.

"I would say arrange a tour of the school with as many questions as you would like answering. I searched high and low to find a pre school like this for my son in Izmir, I feel comftable knowing he is there in an English speaking enviroment with native speakers, and knowing it is like a 2nd home for him. i am very delighted with what the pre school offers. The contact number is 0090 232 369 50 50," said another expat in Izmir with children at Sevgi Dunyas Anaokulu .

"We strongly recommand MEF school in Izmir and regret that our children had to relocate after 3 years. Today after 3 months we keep keep benchmarking our new school with MEF and continously MEF outperforms in all aspects," remarked another parent with kids at MEF in Izmir.

"We were very happy with the school throughout our four years in Izmir (2005 - 2009). Although the school offers a cambridge program our daughter did not have any problems comming back home to the IS with the IB program. She was one of the best students at MEF Izmir and she is one of the best students now at home. Techers at MEF were very good and very dedicated as well as the rest of the school staff. International school MEF Izmir is a very good choice for your children," explained one expat living in Izmir, Turkey.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats IzmirExpats in Izmir

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Izmir.

Turkey Index Izmir Index
An index of all of our site's Izmir information.

Turkey Forum Turkey Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Turkey on our Turkey forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Turkey Network Contribute
Help others in Turkey by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Turkey.

Expat Healthcare Advice in TurkeyHealthcare & Health Insurance in Turkey

Expats in Turkey offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Turkey.

Real Estate in TurkeyReal Estate in Turkey

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Turkey.

Pros Cons of Living in TurkeyPros & Cons of Living in Turkey

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Turkey.

Moving-to-TurkeyMoving to Turkey

If you're moving to Turkey, read this guide to get advice from expats living in Turkey about making the move.

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