Interview With A Russian Expat Living In Turkey – From Corporate Career To Being A Fulfilled Yoga Teacher In A Foreign Country
Ksenia is a Russian expat in Turkey who’s lived in Ankara for over 3 years and she is a yoga teacher. Before Turkey, she was building a corporate career in finance, traveled all over the world and had a very successful and active social life. One day in Moscow in a Russian-Turkish wedding party she met a Turkish guy and now they are happily married and have a wonderful son. But, as she says, a family is only one part of a person’s life. Friends, job, hobbies, personal development are needed to live a balanced life and yoga helps her have it.
In this interview, she shares, among other things, how she succeeded in having a wonderful expat experience in Turkey despite many challenges that motherhood in a foreign country brings.
Here is what she says about herself:
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?
Was it hard to get the resident permit in Turkey?
What are your tips for someone who will relocate to Turkey?
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?
What do you enjoy most about Turkey?
What you enjoy least about Turkey?
Was it easy to make friends?
Turkish language – how did you learn it, was it easy/hard and what is your advice for the future Turkish language learners?
Do you have some experience with how nightlife in Turkey is or you can give us some advice about museums in Ankara?
As I am a mother of a little kid and we don’t have a babysitter I can only guess what the nightlife in Ankara looks like ☺ But what I can do is guiding you through some good museums for kids. So if you have a kid, my top recommendation will be Natural History Museum (MTA Tabiat Tarihi Müzesi). My boy is a big fan and doesn’t want to go to any other museum but this one.
Do you feel safe in Turkey?
Do you feel accepted by Turkish people? Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors? Tell us more about it.
Were you accepted as a foreign woman in your husband’s family? Do you have some advice for the ones who are yet to walk the same path you did?
What is your take on the healthcare system in Turkey? Do you have some experiences to share with the readers?
What about the schooling system in Turkey? Do you prefer sending your kids to the government, private, Turkish or international school?
Do you have some experience with studying in Turkey?
I’d like to share my experience of taking my yoga teacher training course. There are a few options in Ankara for taking yoga teacher training. All of them are in Turkish and some of them are approved by Yoga Alliance (it means that your certificate will be valid all over the world). I took my training in Yogaşala and there you can ask for English notes for yourself as a foreigner. Basics of Turkish and English notes will be the same but every year teachers develop new programs, add some extra materials mostly just in Turkish. That’s why your English notes most likely won’t be up-to-date, please be ready for this. So, if you don’t understand Turkish well enough you have to work harder and do your best self-studying.
What do you miss most from your home country?
I miss Moscow’s parks most of all. They are amazing, well-organized, beautiful and always full of entertainment (many of them even free of charge).
If you would have a chance to choose again, would you come to live in Turkey again?
Yes, definitely I would come to Turkey if I had to choose again. I have a wonderful husband, he even dedicated his book to me and our son (Evliliğin sayıları, Özer Fırat). I found new friends here and a new profession which makes me happy.
When you compare the cost of living in Turkey with Russia, are the prices higher or not? Cost of living in Turkey in general, is it expensive or not?
Ankara is cheaper than Moscow in every aspect. Yet, on the other hand, the salaries for locals are significantly lower than in Moscow.
What is your advice for future expats in Turkey?
Can you tell us more about your yoga practice and how it changed your life?
How can people reach you? Do you do private yoga classes?
As I mentioned before, my website www.behappy.yoga will go live quite soon. In fall 2017. I am starting giving classes in LUNA (LUNA-Bilge Kadınların Yaşam Döngüleri) in GOP. I think that expats know this place and personally the founder – Gizem Onay. I invite everyone to practice yoga with me. That will be hard work and fun, I promise! My goal is to continue my yoga path sharing all the knowledge I have with my students, bringing more happiness into our lives by practicing yoga. Looking forward to seeing you on the mat soon.
I also have yoga group classes in Kent Dans studio in Umitkoy, Ankara. I give private yoga lessons too and for any kind of questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (539) 560 20 75. My goal is to continue my yoga path sharing all the knowledge I have with my students, bringing more happiness into our lives by practicing yoga. Looking forward to seeing you on the mat soon.