Lina is an Indonesian expat in Turkey who’s lived in Istanbul for over 15 years. She came to Turkey to work and planned to go back to Indonesia, but in her own words “faith spoke something else” and she stayed in Turkey. Read some amazing insights about Turkish culture from the experienced expat woman in Turkey.
Here is what she says about herself:
I’m from Indonesia. My husband is Turkish. We have one son. I’ve been working in foreign trade business since 2000. Besides the full-time work, I was teaching yoga until I had a baby. Then I stopped teaching yoga, continue my own practice and working full time in the foreign trade business job.
When did you move to Turkey and where in Turkey you live?
How did you discover Turkey? What made you decide to come and live here?
The paperwork was terrible and so hard back in 2001. But now I heard it got easier and much organized. I won’t be able to give good advice since I didn’t deal with residence permit anymore after 2008.
Istanbul is no the one of world’s know city, is a modern yet still conservative place. You can google anything you want to know before you come. But Anatolian culture and traditions are very special and some of them hard to explain. It’s a treasure in this modern world. You have to live it by yourself to understand, for that you need to know and speak the language. Turks welcome and behave very well to foreigners. It’s not a scary muslim country at all.
One was about the hospitality. Since I was married to a Turkish man, I had to learn about the hospitality culture, how to treat guests who come to your house, how to behave and talk. I was very surprised that my husband told me I must never look at the watch when we have a guest in our house and when the guests finally want to leave, we must tell them to stay longer even though it’s already midnight or even later. In Indonesia, no guests would dare to sit in your house after 9 pm.
The hospitality. Yes, it’s very tough for me to learn but it’s the culture I love most. The beautiful Mediterranean sea, climate, and food.
1.Driving in Istanbul.
2. people don’t want to get in the queue.
3.people often break basic rules (like throwing rubbish to the streets, skip the queue)
Because of their hospitality culture, it’s easy to make friends with Turkish people. They really welcome foreigners. Turkish people are very curious and easy talking too when you can speak Turkish. Also, there’re expat communities you can join where you can find expat friends.
I feel safe and happy because I never faced any racism or religion pressure even though I’m not a Muslim who married to a Muslim family.
Do you feel accepted by Turkish people? Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors? Tell us more about it.
Yes. All because of their hospitality that comes from Anatolian culture. In big cities like Istanbul, neighbourships are not easy to build unless you’ve lived in the same neighborhood since your childhood. It’s not related with foreigners, it’s just because the lifestyle in a big city has changed.
I gave birth and happy with the service. There’re a lot of modern hospitals here. As long as your husband has social security, you can get free medical service in any public hospitals in anywhere. And by paying discounted fee, you can get medical service from many private hospitals too.
It depends on your economic situation. Private schools are expensive if you’re earning local people’s salary. If you can afford, I think it’s best to send to private schools. But my son is going to public primary school right now and so far we are happy with the school. The only difference is the kids don’t have enough English course in public schools.
Expats need to find a job before coming to Turkey because foreigners are not allowed to work without working permit. It’s hard and expensive for a company to apply. So most companies don’t hire a foreign worker unless the worker is very qualified.
Turkey is more expensive compared to Indonesia, but maybe cheaper from some European countries.