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Expat Challenges in Turkey and How to Overcome Them

Ah! The dream of living in Turkey fills many people with hope for the future. They imagine a life by the beach, with gorgeous weather and a stunning home. They think of their perfect utopia, and it is what motivates to wake up and get through the day.

Unfortunately, while there is nothing wrong with this dream, it rarely goes so smoothly. Moving to a different country can be a stressful experience in itself and if you are not prepared for the expat challenges that accompany a life in Turkey, your carefree lifestyle could spend a lot of time waiting backstage. The good news is that for every problem, there is a solution and it just involves a fresh style of thinking.

6 Expat Challenges in Turkey


1: Language Barrier

Every expat moving to Turkey starts off with good intentions to learn Turkish, but only a few become fluent. The truth is that many expats, especially along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts don’t learn Turkish because locals speak English and it is easy to navigate day to day situations. Having said that if you do want to learn and are struggling, language hacking is a skill you need and you can find out how in this article.


Learning Turkish takes perservance but can be a lot of fun.


2: Home Sickness

This expat challenge often rears its ugly head when people miss their children and grandchildren back home. Some expats often fly back to get a fix of the family love, while others rely on instant communication apps like Skype to keep in touch.

Relax though, because the feeling of missing home doesn’t stay around forever. As soon as you adapt to your new home, it does go away, making occasions when you do meet up, even more special. Perseverance is a character trait that will serve you well during these times.

Quality time with the whole family.


3: Too Much Time on Your Hands

Don’t laugh because many expats experience this challenge, especially after the first year when their surroundings are no longer strange but now a familiar aspect of their life. This challenge also occurs in people who had an active working life and enjoyed their job. They miss the banter and feeling of being part of a social group.

However expats in Turkey, have endless opportunities to fill their time and enjoy themselves, whether it is a new hobby, helping charities or bettering your life skills. It just involves having a sense of adventure and curiosity. Here are some ideas on how to enjoy your time.

Golf is one of the many hobbies to be enjoyed in Turkey


4: Navigating Turkish Bureaucracy

This is the biggest and annoying challenge to overcome. It often annoys Brits the most because they come from a country, with streamlined processes and communications, no matter where you are. In Turkey, bureaucracy is long-winded, at times seems pointless and communications between departments are haphazard at the best of times.

Our first instinct is to get angry, and this achieves absolutely nothing. What is needed is patience. Whether you want to renew your residency or buy a car, search through the wealth of information in expat groups on how to do it. Alternatively, you can also use our concierge service.

Turkish bureacracy can be taxing but take a deep breath.

5: Unrealistic Expectations

While living as an expat in Turkey, things will still occasionally go wrong, and you will have bad days. You are going to meet people that you don’t like and on the odd occasion, encounter some cultural differences to that of your neighbours.  Believing otherwise is to have unrealistic expectations of your new life.

If Turkey were such a utopia, everybody would be living here. So how do you deal with those days? Be flexible, open-minded and culturally sensitive. Tomorrow is always another day, you don’t have to agree with everyone, and it is possible to avoid people you don’t like.

You are not going to get on with everyone you meet in Turkey

6: Repercussions of Bad Financial Management

Upon first arriving in Turkey, many expats take advantage of the lower prices. Unfortunately, those without a budget tend to spend beyond their means and end up having to break into their net worth or in extreme circumstances, have had to sell up or downgrade.

An ever-changing exchange rate, as well as handling finances in two countries, can lead even the best money manager to get in a fuddle. For people that struggle with financial management, know your assets and net worth, give yourself a budget and track your spending. This can be done using the good old-fashioned pen and paper, or the Money Spire App is a useful tool to use.

Be sure to plan your finances when moving to Turkey

More Tips on Overcoming Expat Challenges in Turkey

We’ve talked about good personality traits to have that will help you overcome any expat challenges swiftly and quickly without disruption. They include patience, perseverance, flexibility and a sense of curiosity.

If you still find yourself struggling, it is worth checking in on your self-esteem because this is a major decider on whether we can deal with the tough times. Also, check your thinking styles. Being an idealist when you are making a significant life change like moving countries, is destructive, not helpful.

Lastly, check in on your locus of control. Established in the 1950s, phycologists say a person with an external locus of control believes their lives are determined by luck or fate. A person with an internal locus of control, believes they are in control of events influencing their life. Having the latter is a crucial trait to overcoming any expat challenges in Turkey.

Check in on your locus of control.


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