A Norwegian Expat Married To A Turkish Man – About Her Expat Life in Alanya
Read an Interview with a Norwegian expat woman married to a Turkish man living in Turkey, Alanya. How is it to be an expat in Turkey? What are her takes on healthcare and school system, what she would change and does she feel accepted as an expat in Turkey?
Here is what she says about herself:
Where do you live in Turkey and when did you move?
I moved to Alanya in April 2011.
How did you discover Turkey? What made you decide to come and live here?
Came on holiday, met a boy and fell in love.
Was it hard to get residency permit? How did you manage all the paperwork? Some advice for the ones who are yet to get a residency permit in Turkey?
I thought it was easy. I did everything myself with my husband. We went to the immigration office and got a list of all the papers we needed. Used 3-4 hours to collect the paper and then went back. My best advice is to just accept the way things are working in Turkey, and contact with the immigration office about what papers you need. It may not be the same as your friend give one or two months earlier.
Do you have some tips on moving to Turkey? How to deal with cultural differences, what to expect?
I think the most important thing to do is never to compare your old life with your new life. Turkey is different, and things are not working, as for me, in Norway. Accept that things take longer, don’t make drama about the small stuff and you will be ok. I have not had many cultural differences as I am living in Alanya. I have a family in-law from a village, and I accept that their way of living is very different from mine.
What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling in Turkey?
The biggest problem for me was how the system is working, and how long it takes with paperwork, and how many different answers you can get from the same office. I also don’t talk to men the same way I would in Norway, as they often tend to take it as flirting.
What do you enjoy most about Turkey?
I love the climate and the warm people.
What do you enjoy least about Turkey?
I will not answer that publicly.
Are your friends mostly expats or local people?
I only have Scandinavian friends, who are also living here.
Did you feel accepted by Turkish people? Do you have good relationship with your neighbors?
I feel accepted. I am also friendly with my neighbors and have no problem knocking on their doors if I need to borrow something. They bring desserts to everyone and are friendly.
As a foreigner married to a Turkish man, can you share a bit about your experience with your new Turkish family? Did they accept a foreign woman easily?
I am not sure what my mother in law really thought in the beginning. Maybe she was hoping it was just a phase. But I have never felt any hostility from them. I have a good relationship with them and see most of them often. My biggest advice is to set the ground rule for visits early. I had a problem in the beginning with 10 people coming around 10pm, without calling first. And then staying far too late. I had a big blowout about this, demanding that they call first, and never too late. After that, we are mostly fine on things.
How do you spend your free time? Do you have some experience with how nightlife is in Turkey or you rather spend your free time in a different way?
I don’t like the nightlife much. But I love the nature around the mountains. I love taking road trips, visiting small villages in the mountains and going to places like Kapadokya. I have been to the big tourist spots in Istanbul, also I love Ankara. Ankara is a hidden gem in my opinion.
Generally, how do you feel in Turkey? Do you feel safe/unsafe, happy/unhappy? Would you change anything?
I feel safe and happy. I have a richer life here. I don’t know what I would change actually. The things I miss most other than family and friends are some food and our nature in Norway.
What do you think about the healthcare system in Turkey?
I am happy with the doctors, we have not had much to do with them. But I think they are giving out to much medicine to people. Children don’t need 5 different medicines when they have a cold. Also, they are giving out too many antibiotics. Luckily I don’t have to use what we are getting.
And about the school system? Are you happy with it?
I have my son in a private kindergarten. Mostly happy, but I hate the fact that they are almost not out. They are not so physically active, and I wish there were more outdoor activities. But other than that I am happy. He gets warm meals every day, and are learning a lot. He will start public school 2 years later. We can not afford private school. International school is not an option.
How did you find a job? Are you happy with the salary, employer, and your co-workers?
I got my job through a friend. I am not even close to happy about my salary, but I have a work permit and insurance. I work 50% and are mostly ok with my co-workers. Some problem, but it’s not possible to click with all people haha.
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