Izmir, Turkey

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By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 30, 2021

Summary: Izmir, Turkey: Everything you need to know about living in Izmir, Turkey: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People 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)," remarked another expat in Izmir.

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," added another person living in Izmir.

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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.

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We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search rental properties in Turkey.

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," said another expat in 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," said another person in Izmir.

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Need a rental in Turkey? We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search for Rentals in Turkey

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," said another person in Izmir.

What to Bring When Moving to Izmir (and what to leave behind)

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When we asked expats living in Turkey what they wish they had brought when moving to Turkey and what they wish they had left at home, they replied:

"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," remarked 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," remarked another 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," explained one expat.

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 person in Izmir.

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 :-)," remarked another expat in Izmir.

What do expats find most challenging?

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"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," explained one expat.

What are the schools in Izmir like?

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"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," commented one expat when asked about 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," explained one expat in Izmir , Turkey with kids at MEF International School - 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," wrote an 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 one commented one expat when asked about Sevgi Dunyas Anaokulu in Izmir.

"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," mentioned one expat living in Izmir, Turkey.

"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 when asked about MEF International School Izmir in Izmir.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Izmir, TurkeyGuide to Living in Izmir, Turkey

Izmir, Turkey: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Izmir

Turkey Forum Turkey Forum
Join our Turkey forum to meet other people living in Izmir, Turkey.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Izmir.

Healthcare in TurkeyHealthcare in Turkey

An overview of healthcare in Turkey. Topics include: health insurance requirement for residence permit, hospitals in Turkey, quality of medical care and more.

Izmir, TurkeyMoving to Izmir, Turkey

Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Izmir: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

Izmir, TurkeyExpats Talk about Living in Izmir

Expats talk about what it's like living in Izmir, Turkey: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What Newcomers to Izmir Should Know

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