Some may accuse us of being biased, but we think moving to Turkey is a good idea. The land of beautiful beaches, ancient ruins and delicious food, a world away from the rest of Europe and Asia makes the perfect base for a fantastic lifestyle. From the Bosphorus strait to the Anatolia plains, 81 provinces form an incredibly diverse country with much to offer any foreigner who wants to live here. Indeed, sitting on two continents, Turkey easily matches other countries as an ideal place to live in the world. As home to roughly 82 million people around Turkey, many places to settle, from the coasts to the big cities, are home to delightful treasures found no-where else. However, as with any lifestyle move, preparation is vital for a more streamlined and stress-free experience. So, as a team, we put together our list of things we wish we had known before moving here.
5 Tips for Moving to Turkey
1: The Language and Turkish People
Language is not just a way of communicating but also helps when integrating yourself into the culture, the environment, and society. Learning Turkish stimulates the brain, and is easier to learn when living where it is spoken everywhere. Being able to speak Turkish, not only impresses the Turks but will make your life easier. When you dedicate time to learning Turkish (hopefully), be brave and put yourself out there. Practise with neighbours, local store owners, or a colleague. Turkish people have a very friendly nature, and being on good terms with neighbours is invaluable. Turkish friends have a fantastic knowledge of hidden gems, from quirky restaurants and cafes to gorgeous places to visit that guidebooks or the internet do not feature. Befriending locals brings numerous benefits, and you can also learn about Turkish history, culture, and real Turkey, away from touristic sites.
2: Homesickness and Expat Syndrome
Homesickness, an almost inevitable event sometimes makes foreigners resent their new home. No-one knows when it can happen and how to curb irrational anger towards your new home. However, knowing it is a temporary will help. Getting frustrated at the language barrier, missing friends, and family, and becoming tired of the food are all common factors that build up over time. Keep in contact with friends and family back home regularly and have a solid circle of people to rely on in Turkey. Organising get-togethers with other ex-pats helps gives a taste of home to get through homesickness—more about home sicknesses and dealing with it.
3: Immerse Yourself in Turkish Culture
Many foreigners associate Turks with the Ottoman era, yet the culture goes far deeper than that. From the Mediterranean and Aegean to Istanbul to the Black sea, regional traditions collectively form one diverse country that is impossible to stereotype. For example, some newcomers who know Turkey is a Muslim country are surprised to see Turks drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating pork in western resorts, yet head inland to find the most conservative areas. A Turk living in western Izmir has a far different upbringing and cultural heritage than a Turk living in the Kackar mountains. The best way to get to know about the Turkish culture is to travel as much as possible. By visiting various places, towns, and cities in Turkey, you learn more about their food and history and why the country’s culture cannot be stereotyped.
4: Savvy Money Management
Now is not the time to be haphazard with your financial status. The Turkish economy is up and down like a yo-yo, and if receiving an income in a foreign currency, the Turkish lira exchange rate can also go down long term and up. As well as the daily cost of living, some ex-pats also forget to factor in costs like residency visas, savings for a rainy day, and tickets back home. Let us not forget yearly inflation and that every year, the cost of drinking and smoking goes up. Before you step foot on the plane, have an exact picture of your financial status and how to manage it over the next 12 months.
5: Expectations – Keep an Open Mind
Out of all the expats we meet living in Turkey, the most unhappy foreigner arrives expecting utopia. It is a nice dream, but unfortunately, things will go wrong simply because life is like that. Don’t have a rigid idea of what to expect because you can’t spend every day acting like a tourist. Winters will be vastly different from summers, and yes, you will need to put the heating on at some stage. Keeping an open mind also helps to deal with frustrating moments like red tape and when things go wrong around the house. Read about the cons of living in Turkey.
Where to Live in Turkey
If you haven’t yet decided where to live, put a smile on your face because you have plenty of towns, cities and seaside resorts to choose from. Popular places for expat living include Aegean-sea destinations like Bodrum, Kusadasi and Altinkum, and Turquoise coast hubs like Fethiye, Marmaris and Antalya. Meanwhile, working foreigners tend to gravitate to the big cities in Turkey like Istanbul, coastline Izmir and Ankara because it increases their career potential. Our article about popular places to live in Turkey talks more about destinations.
Useful Expat Guide
When you move to Turkey, many daily occurrences will need careful navigation. Our expat guide discusses everything to know, including the residence permit process, Turkish Citizenship by Investment, Turkish society, getting a work permit, people in Turkey, budgeting and more. Whether you want advice or just tips to living a more enjoyable life in the country, it lists it all.
We are Property Turkey, a real estate and investment specialist with offices all around the country, including Istanbul, Antalya, Bodrum, and Fethiye. When moving here, you may consider browsing apartments and villas on the housing market, in which case our property portfolio will be useful. Featuring homes in many cities, towns and seaside resorts, each listing contains everything to know, including price, location, photos, unique features and contact details to receive more information via email or arrange a viewing. Alternatively, call us today and speak with an agent about buying property when moving to Turkey permanently.
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