Moving to Turkey: Advice, Pros and Cons, and Reasons to Do It
People who think about moving to Turkey often fall into one of two camps. The first one has no ties, no financial obligations and eagerly get on a plane to live overseas without a second thought. The second group often has many questions, hesitations, need to know, and look for advice from friends and family.
They wonder if they will miss the grandkids or, for those of a younger age, if they can live and work in Turkey all year round. They question if the cultural gap is too big and whether they will miss everything from their home country including TV shows, cuisine and friends.
We understand that for some it is a more significant life decision to make than for others, but as the age old saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way.
Moving to Turkey: Reasons People Do It
From speaking to customers who have already upped sticks and made a move, varied reasons arose as to why they did it. While some credited a multicultural relationship, others wanted to join family members who were already here. However, two main reasons stood out above all others.
1: Value for Money: Money ranked as the number one reason people moved to Turkey, especially those who live in the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resorts like Alanya, Fethiye, Didim, Kusadasi, Antalya, Marmaris, Bodrum, Hisaronu and Ovacik. A large number of foreign residents agree that compared to western countries, the cost of living is far cheaper.
2: Laidback Lifestyle: While we know Turks can sometimes be too laid-back, this is, in fact, a great lure for foreigners. The stress of a modern lifestyle is also minimised thanks to the Turkish hospitality which often ranks as the most welcoming in the world, and the result is that no-one feels alone.
An ideal weather climate all year round, in the west and south encourages outdoor living, and despite a rise in fast and frozen food, Turkish cuisine has stayed true to its roots with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. People say both contribute towards their stress-free life, well-being and health in ways that their home country cannot match.
Two Cons of Living in Turkey
Life is always a delicate balance of good and bad, no matter what situation we are in. Often, fulfilling our lifelong dreams come with sacrifices. When making a move, it’s important to keep an open mind, and while we recommend making the most of the good times, don’t assume your new life will be like a God-given utopia. You will meet difficulties that may wretch at your heartstrings and patience.
1: Language Barrier: Many people say they find it difficult to learn the language, often citing an inability to remember words and master pronunciation as the reasons. For people living in the coastal holiday resorts, it isn’t a big problem for day-to-day living because many locals speak English thanks to the tourism trade.
However, when finding workers to do odd jobs or navigating the red tape in official offices, the language barrier becomes a problem. The good news is that many Turkish friends are always willing to help and for official documentation, you need to use a certified translator, anyway. Our article about easy ways to learn Turkish gives hints, tips and advice to navigating the language barrier.
2: Expat Syndrome: It’s hard to believe that anyone living a delightful life in the sun, without a care in the world could fall foul of mental illness, but the unofficial expat syndrome is real. Often, striking after a person gets a sense of having settled into their new life, the primary causes are too much time and a lack of structure in daily routines.
We’ve all heard the stories of people who move here and gain a big beer belly because they choose the pub as the first place to cure their boredom. Make sure exercise is a daily routine and take up hobbies like photography, golfing, walking or helping local charity groups.
Advice and 3 Things to Know Before Making the Move
All experts agree that for moving countries, certain personality traits will make the difference as to whether your new life is a complete flop or the best lifestyle decision you ever made.
1: Be Open to New Experiences: This is not the time to be steadfast of how you think life should be. You’ll encounter people from different walks of life and find yourself in situations that have never occurred before. Curiosity and a willingness to learn are key.
2: Financial Management: Converting between the currency of your home country and the Turkish lira can be difficult when the exchange rate changes from day to day. Owning more than one home in different countries evokes a strong need for fiscal management skills. Know your finances, outgoing and spending to make sure you don’t get caught out. If you plan to be one of many foreigners in Turkey who use lucrative monthly savings interest rates to live off, shop around to get the best deal.
3: The Big Picture: There will be sad days, and moments when you miss friends and family back home. Occasionally, you’ll find your patience stretched by Turkish bureaucracy and red tape. On other times, cultural disagreements with Turkish neighbours will happen. When these things happen, remember not to sweat the small stuff and keep in mind, the reasons you moved to Turkey. A keen sense of self-awareness will help you look at the good side of life instead of the bad.
Useful Apps for Living in Turkey: From managing money to making friends and keeping in touch with people back home, these apps make it all so easy.
How to Get a Turkish Residency Permit: When moving to Turkey, your top priority should get residency permits, and this article details how.