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Top Tips every Expat should know

27th October 2013

Moving to a new country can be an exciting and challenging experience. And whether you have moved here for a new life or a new love or just stopping temporarily, there are a few tips every Expat should know:-

General Tips before moving to turkey

1. Try to learn the language – I know it’s not easy, but even a basic understanding will help you and you’ll be surprised how far a few words of broken Turkish can get you!

2. Not come here to retire? Then ensure you have enough money set aside that can sustain you until you find work.

3. Try not to treat life here as a permanent holiday – as to make it work, you need stability and a regular life.

4. Although extremely difficult, try to refrain from making cultural comparisons from your old culture to your new one.

5. Don’t compare currency all the time and instead become used to the Lira and its worth.                                                Your'll soon realize that '3.whatever' to the pound means nothing when your money is Turkish lira.

What to Bring to Turkey

My advice is to bring only what you need and buy everything new in Turkey. Transporting items such as electrical goods or furniture can be extremely expensive and sometimes very slow to import. It is far better to save the expensive of import fees and hassle of paperwork and take only what you must in your luggage.
After all Turkey has everything the rest of the world has.

Employment Opportunities in Turkey

The most common industries for working Expats include; tourism, hotels, restaurants, computing and teaching. The salaries are low compared to most of Europe, however wages here are sufficient enough for the cost of living.
Essential: Having legal permission to work in Turkey is a must and for those choosing to work without a work permit will run the risk of being deported or imprisoned.

Medical Care in Turkey

Medical care is considered very good in Turkey and private medical care is much cheaper compared to the UK or Europe.
The Turkish hospitals use state of the art equipment and have English speaking doctors and departments. Also, many Turkish doctors trained in either Europe or the USA and are very highly trained and skilled.
Health Insurance: It is advisable to join a health scheme if living permanently in Turkey and the government health care scheme, known as SGK, is a good option. There are also other alternative private health care schemes you can join.

Turkey: Do’s and Dont's

1. Turkey is predominately a Muslim country and some Turks regardless of whether they practice Islam, refuse to drink alcohol or eat pork.
So when inviting your Turkish friends over for an evening meal, you may have to readjust a little. Perhaps offer lamb, chicken or fish, until you know more about their preferences.

2. Hospitality is a very important part of Turkish culture and some Expats are shocked to discover the boundaries regarding personal space can easily be crossed. It is essential that you try to discover a balance between being hospitable without enabling friends or neighbors to invade your own personal space.

3. When making conversations with casual acquaintances, try not to talk about sensitive political issues like; the relationship with Cyprus or the Armenian and Kurdish minorities. As for many Turkish people these are quite sensitive topics.


I’m pretty sure any experienced driver who has braved the roads in Turkey will agree that the preferred driving style is rather chaotic. When driving on Turkish roads you should definitely proceed with caution until you have acclimated to local traffic.

Be aware of the following when driving in Turkey:

1. Pay attention to everything around you when driving in Turkey!

2. Be aware that you may be passed on the right and even passed while passing someone else!

3. Constant ‘tooting’ of the horn, being tailgated and having lights flashed at you for no apparent reason is part of the experience of driving in Turkey.

4. Pay attention to drivers simply stopping (without warning) at the side of the road to drop off or pick someone up.

5. When driving in the rural countryside, you may be met by herds of animals (mainly goats) crossing the road.

6. Tractors, bicycles, horse drawn carts and even whole family members crammed on a motorbike, are not uncommon sights on Turkish roads.

The only way is Turkey

Some things you may encounter:

1. Generally tradesmen are not as reliable or punctual as they are in the UK. Making an arrangement for ‘tomorrow morning at 9’ is more likely to be another day at 9. Try to see it as more of a guideline.

2. Surprisingly, Turks don’t seem to notice barking dogs (even when they bark all night), The general attitude seems to be ‘dogs bark’ and its just a part of life here.

3. Health & safety is definitely not like it is back home and in some ways this can be refreshing to see and gives you a real sense of ‘freedom’ 
However, on other occasions it makes you just want to close your eyes.

4. Unlike most other countries, Pedestrians do NOT have the right-of-way. So remember to stop for cars and buses.

Diversity in Turkey

What I love about Turkey is although people are mostly Islamic; they are very open to other cultures, religions and ways of life etc. (This is especially so in the west of Turkey) and they are generally very open and welcoming to foreigners and love people visiting their country – Turkish people are very patriotic

Turkey truly is a wonderful country to live in and although it can sometimes be very difficult, in my opinion, the good points far out way any problems you may encounter. 

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