Living In Turkey As A Foreigner
Today I want to talk about how it is to live in Turkey as a foreigner. I’ve been living as an expat in Turkey for six years and recently I moved to a village in Turkey where many foreigners live full-time or they spend several months a year here. The foreigners living in this Turkish village are mostly from England, Germany and Russia, but there are also Jamaicans, Sweedish and one Serb, me. 🙂
So, obviously, I will talk from my point of view about the expat life in Turkey.
Living in Turkey as a foreigner is quite easy, I would say. Easy, as much as it can be, living in a foreign country that is. There are many things I like about Turkish people, but one of the things that I like the most is how acceptive and welcoming they are. It’s like it doesn’t matter where you come from and what is your skin color. And for them, it truly isn’t. This wonderful thing comes partly from Islam religion where the nationality and race are not important. And it became part of their nature. It is just not important where you come from, as long as you behave ok and you respect the country, tradition and the people.
Sometimes it may be important for some people that I come from Serbia, which was in the war with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the ’90s, so they sometimes, but very very rarely, have some prejudice over me. It’s mostly educated people over 45 years old, I would say. Because of the war, Serbia has a bad reputation and it’s not only here.
As a foreigner in Turkey, you can be a subject of getting higher prices for certain goods, but that is something universal in the world, I would say. I know also in Serbia taxi drivers try to fool the tourists sometimes, so I don’t obviously agree with that. But I can live with it and I would always ask for help, usually from my husband to finish or buy some things for me. If you have some big thing to buy, like a house, I would always ask a Turkish friend for help. You can not go wrong with that. Just be cautious with who you do business and buy things from.
The village I live in now is a village with amazing nature around, at the bottom of the Olympos mountain, just 15 minutes by car from the beach. Just this morning I had a famous Turkish breakfast with a woman from the village, that I buy goat milk from. It is what makes this village life so nice. All my neighbors are just 5 minutes away from me, on the way you meet people and of course, everyone is curious about who are you, where do you come from, where do you stay…
For some people that can be a problem, because Turkish people are generally curious (especially in the villages) and want to know things about you. I don’t have a problem with that and I believe it is healthy to express your curiosity, especially in a small community as a village is. I understood also it has something to do with a security because people want to know about their neighbors and want to feel safe with them.
In the cities this is lost, we live in skyscrapers, but we don’t know our neighbors, we don’t greet each other or invite our neighbors for tea or a meal. We are humans, social beings and I believe interaction with other people is very important and healthy.
So if you get bothered by your Turkish neighbors being curious about who you are, think about that next time they ask you – What did you buy in a store? 🙂
Tell me in the comments about your experience living as a foreigner in Turkey? Are you bothered by the curiosity or you are fine with that?
I observed other foreigners living in Turkey and it’s very different how people get this curiosity. Some are ok with that, while others don’t like sharing their info with people they don’t know well and that is totally fine too. We all come from different places of the world and cultures are different. It is what makes this world such a wonderful place – different cultures, traditions, beliefs.