We hope that by writing an expat guide to living in Turkey, all our customers who have plans to move to the country will have a useful system to follow. However, while we have many hints, tips and bucket loads of advice, it is worth mentioning that some characteristics will stand you in good stead during the first year.
They are to take each day as it comes, be flexible, patient, keep an open mind and be willing to adapt. Also known as the settling in period, this time of adjustment is crucial. During this period, you will adopt a new routine, encounter situations that you’ve never been in before and will need to break out of your comfort zone. By all means, make plans but be flexible in the moments when things go wrong.
Learn the language, but don’t get frustrated when you come across a Turk with a heavy regional account that speaks 100% hardcore slang and you can’t understand them. Thoroughly soak up the self-indulgent lifestyle that Turkey eagerly promotes, but don’t neglect duties like house maintenance. Aside from that, let’s dig into practical matters and their solutions.
Expat Guide to Living in Turkey
Where is the Best Place to Live in Turkey?
If you are not moving for work, you have a massive amount of destinations to choose from. Although you might have a dream to live in the remote and scenic Kackar Mountains, Turks residing there rarely sell to foreigners and the East, with its entirely different culture, and lack of seaside resorts receives little attention from foreigners.
For these reasons, most expats move to Istanbul or the seaside resorts of the Aegean and Mediterranean. In recent years, Middle-Eastern nationalities buying property in places like Bursa, Yalova and Trabzon has increased while European nationalities prefer the more cosmopolitan resorts like Fethiye, Bodrum and Antalya. Read more about Popular places for expats in Turkey.
Learn from the People Who Have Already Done It
One of the biggest strength of expat communities in Turkey is that they are a thorough source of information, especially for people moving here. Many regional Facebook groups exist, and within towns, local expats meet up to discuss latest developments for foreigners, as well as offer advice and help.
You don’t have to go it alone, and many sources of information help you to plan and keep yourself on track. Here are some interviews with expats on what the moving process is like.
- Cynthia moved to Fethiye
- Useful things to know before moving to Turkey
- Pros and Cons of living in Turkey
Settling in and Budgeting
Once you’ve made a move, don’t think you can head straight to the poolside because there is red tape to navigate and this is also an excellent time to set in place a money management system. Unfortunately, we have heard a few stories of expats that have lived beyond their means and run out of money, so start effectively managing your finances, especially if you are still have a property back home or receive a monthly pension in a foreign currency.
Other things to consider include…
- Getting a residency permit
- Setting up internet access
- Making sure you are covered for healthcare
- Know the rules for bringing a car into Turkey
- Navigating the Turkish language barrier
Re-inventing Your Social Life and Making Friends
A challenging thing to do when moving is leaving friends and family behind. Promises that they will come out and see you just can’t match up to the closeness of living nearby. So, this is a time, to make new friends and find activities to keep you occupied during the day.
The good news is that Turkey’s climates promote an outdoor lifestyle, so you have plenty of opportunities to reinvent your social life and tailor it to your likes and dislikes. Whether you choose to give back to your new community by doing charity work or share your already existing skills and passion by starting hobby groups, there is no need to feel lonely.
Working in Turkey as a Foreigner
This is where things can get difficult because Turkey is not a country that you can walk straight into and take up a job. In the past, many foreigners worked illegally and got away with it, but in recent years, the Turkish government has tightened up, and a work permit is a definite must, to avoid fines and deportation. Potential employers must adhere to strict rules to get foreigners work permits approved.
- Options for people who want to work in Turkey
- How to get a Turkish work permit
- Guide to Turkish culture in the workplace
In our expat guide to living in Turkey, we’ve left the most important advice till last. You’ve decided where to live, bought a home and have made the move. You have dreams of lounging poolside and dining al fresco style every evening. Life is going to be great, and for a majority of the time it will be but be ready for those unexpected events. It is easy to label the country as a hidden utopia but life is life, and on occasions, things can and do go wrong. Being prepared to deal with them, ensures the problem will be sorted quicker and easier than if you go in blind.
- 17 Ways to deal with homesickness
- Culture shock. What no-one tells you about
- Awkward things about living in Turkey
- Expat challenges and how to overcome them
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