British Expat Living In Turkey – Interview with Faye Rogan from Dalyan
Faye Rogan, a British expat in Turkey, originally from Buxton, Derbyshire in the beautiful Peak District of England. Faye has lived in Turkey for the last fifteen years, initially working in an international school in Ankara and now leading a more relaxed life in Dalyan. She immerses herself in Turkish culture and enjoys an authentic life in a traditional village. Living the dream in this little piece of paradise. She published her first novel, ‘Seeing the Truth’ last year which can be found on Amazon as a Kindle e-book or in paperback.
She is currently writing posts for her blog and planning her next book.
Where do you live in Turkey and when did you move?
I moved to Ankara in August 2001 and have lived in Turkey 15 years and 6 months.
How did you discover Turkey? What made you decide to come and live here?
I came here on holiday, fell in love with the country, met a gorgeous Turkish man and 2 years later decided to move here. You can read about it all in my book, ‘Seeing the Truth‘.
Was it hard to get a residency permit in Turkey?
For the first 12 years of being here, I got a work permit through the school I worked in. When I left work in 2013, I had to do all the necessary form-filling, etc. on my own which I found to be a nightmare. However, now that the application system is online and they’ve worked out the glitches, it’s much easier.
How to deal with cultural differences as an expat in Turkey? What to expect when moving to Turkey?
When I was recruiting international teachers for the school I worked in, I was amazed at the questions I was asked about living in Turkey re: being covered, camels(!) desert(?) the weather. So, my advice is to Google the place where you will be living as the climate, culture and way of life can be different depending on which area of Turkey you live. If there is no induction process with your job/university, I suggest joining the many Facebook pages where you will be able to ask questions and look at previous discussions. Plus, ex-pat websites like this one! In case you’re coming here to marry, make sure your man is not already married! My experiences were the basis for my book.
What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling in Turkey? Did you have some kind of culture shock experiences and what kind?
This didn’t apply to me as I learnt Turkish before I came, but many people experience problems with every day situations (taking a taxi, shopping) because they don’t speak Turkish. Even the basics are a real help and Turks appreciate you trying to speak their language. I didn’t have any culture shock as had lived in Cyprus for 5 years and the culture is very similar.
What do you enjoy most about Turkey?
The friendliness of the people, feeling safe and the climate where I live now.
What you enjoy least about Turkey?
I find some of the bureaucracy frustrating – the endless form filling and need for multiple signatures to do a simple clerical task at government offices.
Is it easy to make friends as an expat in Turkey? Are your friends mostly expats or local people?
Absolutely, I have made lifelong friends here. Most of my friends at work were Turks, as the international teachers moved on after a few years. Where I live now, I have a mix of ex-pat and Turkish friends.
Do you feel accepted by Turkish people as an expat in Turkey? Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors?
Definitely. I suppose it helps that I speak Turkish but my neighbors who don’t are treated with the same respect and affection. It is not uncommon to find a bad of lemons, tomatoes, pomegranates left by neighbors on my doorstep!
Some experience with nightlife in Turkey? How do you spend your free time? What about museums in Turkey?
It depends on where you live. In Ankara, there are many places to go at night from small bars to large meyhanes which cover a range of music and tastes. For classical music lovers, there is the opera, regular concerts by several symphony orchestras and tours by global stars. I belonged to a good ex-pat choir, ‘Ankara A Cappella’, which was a good way to meet new people but also perform at interesting venues around the city. There are some excellent museums and art galleries, e.g The Museum of Anatolian Civilisation, Ethnographical Museum, Cer Modern. I would highly recommend a visit to Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum too. Where I live now, the nightlife from April to October is buzzing, as we welcome holiday makers and tourists. There are a few local festivals and arts events but on the whole, it is a much quieter art scene than if you lived in a big city.
How do you feel in Turkey generally speaking? Do you feel safe?
I love Turkey and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I feel much safer here than in the UK. The only thing I miss about living in the UK is being able to find clothes that fit! Turkish women are slender and their sizes come up small so I find clothes’ shopping here a challenge. Luckily I go to the UK twice a year so get stocked up while I’m there.
What do you think about the healthcare system in Turkey?
The healthcare system in Turkey is impressive. I had private health insurance with my job and when I became seriously ill had two hospital stays over the years. I had private rooms, more like a 5-star hotel suites and couldn’t fault the treatment I received. I can highly recommend the Guven Hospital in Kavaklidere and the Acibadem Hospital in Cankaya. More recently I have switched to the Turkish national health insurance system and as I have a chronic illness, am regularly visiting a hospital for check ups. I never have to wait for an appointment to see my consultant, can get all tests, X-rays, procedures and results done within one day. Plus, they pay for all my medication. The UK National Health Service could learn a lot from the system here!
What is your take on the school system in Turkey?
I worked at Bilkent Laboratory & International School, which is a bilingual, International Baccalaureate school. This school is the perfect place for children of Turkish/International parents as it offers a broad balanced curriculum and a global education in both Turkish and English. However, it doesn’t come cheap. I think a child’s education is more than just schooling. If a parent provides exciting, educational opportunities (visits to museums, sports and creative activities, holidays to other countries, love of books/reading) outside of school, a mediocre education in an average school can be sufficiently supplemented. My main criticism of state schools is their reliance on politically driven textbooks and their obsession with homework!
How did you find a job in Turkey? Were you happy with the salary?
I found my job in the ‘Overseas Section’ of the Times Educational Supplement. The salary was low but enhanced by free flights, accommodation, free health care, moving costs and the fact that the cost of living is much lower here than in the UK. LinkedIn is a good place to have a profile. I have been offered quite a few jobs on there.
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