Post # 1
(i can’t fix the formatting no matter what i try, i’m sorry)
My husband is at a job fair and has been offered positions in:
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Beijing, China (where we currently live)
somewhere in Kuwait?
He’s really stoked about the position in Turkey. The school has a good reputation, it has high potential for savings (about equal to Beijing, a couple grand better) and they are willing to give him IB training which makes him a much more attractive candidate next time he applies for jobs. I have some concerns. The director gave me a couple employee’s emails to contact with questions and he is going to skype with me later today. The questions I asked via email are below.
<div>How long have you been with the school/in Tarsus? Do you feel that life in the area has improved or declined in quality since you’ve arrived?</div>
<div>Our main concern is obviously safety; The instability in the government does not inspire confidence. Do you feel safe day to day in town and traveling throughout Turkey? As a woman do you find that you are treated with respect in daily interactions?</div>
<div>What is the housing arrangement? I understand that it is provided by the school, but no other details have been provided. </div>
<div>How is the social scene? </div>
<div>Is it feasible to be vegetarian/vegan?</div>
<div>What access do you have to international items?</div>
<div>What do you wish you knew before moving to Tarsus?</div>
<div>Do you have any recommendations about other questions I should ask the director when we skype?</div>
Post # 2
Ru skyping with foreigners working there or with local teachers? I’d suggest u try to find out from both sides of things. Perhaps ask about how easy to learn the local language and is English a widely spoken language? Also find out about healthcare system and services, and places to live, transportation system, potential for you as his wife to work and if you have children, schools..
I’ve got an indian friend residing in kuwait with her family. She was born there since her parents moved there to work. She seems happy there though she did mention eventually you’d have to leave that country.
All the best! Xxx
Post # 3
Just adding that I worked in an IB school and I 100% the program, but it is usually a little more work for the teachers than other typical privates.
Post # 4
KatzeB : i’ve emailed two foreign teachers (women) who currently teach at the school. both replies were positive, though one was definitely more useful in terms of providing information. the housing is provided by the school which is nice because apartment hurting is a chore when you need a translator. we don’t have any children so luckily that isnt a concern. i am also a certified teacher, but am not looking for a job at the moment. If i were to work I would need to apply with the same school. There isn’t anywhere else nearby that would need a foriegn teacher. English is not widely spoken (outside of the school) but we are both pretty accustomed to that. i know we get health insurance but i will inquire about the quality of the healthcare system and access to english speaking doctors. thank you for pointing that out, i don’t know how i missed it!
Post # 5
I think you’re doing the right thing reaching out to other teachers there.
What are your hobbies? How easy is it to transplant them? How do you exercise? Will that be possible there?
Post # 6
sensoda : i crochet, watch movies/youtube, read…i don’t really leave the house except for grocery shopping. i know there is a gym on campus that my husband can use, unclear about me but one of the ladies i spoke with said she likes her gym a lot (it sounded like it was not the school gym). i know there aren’t any local yoga classes which is a bummer but hardly a dealbreaker.
Post # 7
tinneranne2 : You are aware of the ongoing internal and external political upheavals, I assume. I personally wouldn’t go to Turkey in the current(political) climate there. You’d have to be prepared for instability (Erdogan Protests, arrests of journalists and foreigners and current attacks on the Syria/ Kurds) All of this does not make the country attractive to me personally.
Post # 8
Hi, I live in Turkey! And can maybe answer some of your questions/ease your concerns.
As far as safety: I feel 100% safe here, and I live in a smaller more religiously conservative place. I came to Turkey as a single woman and even then I felt safe – both on a local level (like walking around and going to places on my own) and on a governmental level. Yes, the government is unstable, but America honestly feels pretty similar to that at the moment. I think western media and people who have never traveled here tend to paint the middle east as super scary, but it’s never felt like that to me.
If you have any quetions, I’m happy to answer!
Post # 9
tinneranne2 : I had a close friend who lived in Turkey for years and loved it. I mean, she loved it so much she wanted to move there permanently. But the concerns raised by Shesaidyes : are on my mind.
The U.S. government (for what it’s worth right now, which might be nothing) says to reconsider travel to Turkey right now (note: there was fighting back and forth started by the US under Trump)
Australian gov agrees
The NYT asked a senior intelligence analyst:
But although Turkey does have a continued threat of terrorism, it shouldn’t be an off-limits destination, said Jim Duck, a senior intelligence analyst for iJet International, a travel intelligence firm based in Annapolis, Md. “If you already have a visa or are otherwise eligible to visit Turkey, the country is largely safe and poses no greater risk than travel to many other parts of the world,” he said. However, Mr. Duck added that Turkey’s southeastern provinces, especially those along the Turkey-Syria border, should be avoided because of significant security concerns.
Post # 10
sarahbah : you obviously have a much better feel for thesitustion than I do, so it’s great you chimed in. For perspective: I live in Germany, not in the states and the political instability (not even considering the Syrian issue) is something we talk of often. The upraisings two summers ago are still very fresh in everyone’s mind. I do think it may be a very different thing to be living in your own country where you are a citizen during political instability rather than in a foreign country where you may not speak the language or have connections. Also, again you would understand the complex political situation in Turkey better than I but I am still a little shocked that you would compare a real and actual government putsch aattempt with the current situation in the US. (Which is thankfully still far from a group of leaders trying to remove a president forcefully from his office whether deserved or not)
ETA: I do think Turkey is an amazing place to live and visit. This is in no way a critism of the country or culture , rather my point is it is there are some sgnificant security concerns. My perspective is not that of a westerner with an outdated and fantastical view of the Middle East. On the contrary Germany, as you probably know has very intimate (though politically challenging) ties with Turkey. I am not trying to be an alarmist. I am just cautious and critical.
Post # 11
tinneranne2 : since you don’t have children, one less worry. Perhaps adding learning local language as part of your chores? Homemaker has the most work to do! I salute you! Guess my two main questions tend to surround the roof over my head and healthcare system. And safety. But nowhere in 100% safe so yeah.. tarsus sounds like an interesting place to live. Keep us updated! X
Post # 12
tinneranne2 : I don’t have anything to add to what pp’s have covered but can maybe add about the vegetarian/vegan question. I didn’t find it any harder than China to find vegetarian food. Whilst the Turks love their meat, they also love their vegies. You just need to be aware of hidden meat (like stocks) but that is the same in any country. For example the lentil soup is most often made with meat stock.
At times it was hard, especially out of major cities but not impossible at all and I had more issues avoiding sugar (T1 diabetic) whilst trying to be polite to the overwhelming hospitality from locals. It really is a great place and definitely one of the favourite places I have visited.
Here is a website I found doing a quick google search which has some key words for being vego.
Post # 13
Shesaidyes : Turkey would not have been my first choice (i wanted South Korea or Japan) but the career opportunity is a good one. I asked the director of the school what the plans were in place if the country were to become unsafe. the resulting conversation made me feel a bit more secure, because it was clearly something they put great thought into – and they have never had cause to use it.
sarahbah : you make a good point in terms of how both the US and Turkey are viewed internationally as unstable at the moment. It pains me what is happening to my country. My concern is safety, followed by convenience. I do not mind dressing modestly or covering my hair if it is the local custom. I am happy to learn the local language, but probably not to the point of fluency. As a westerner in China i am accustomed to odd looks, sometimes intrusive curiousity, and other-ing that can happen. These things are all part of looking obviously foriegn. I just don’t want to feel unsafe walking through town alone. My husband was offered a job in the Dominican Republic and we were told “just act like it is new york city. you wouldn’t walk around at night if you don’t want to get mugged”. Not cool.
My questions are…
– What do you wish you’d brought with you or known before you moved to Turkey?
– What have you found to be most useful in terms of integrating into the local culture?
– What advice do you have?
Thank you, I appreciate you letting me pick your brain. 🙂 🙂
BalletParker : thank you for those resources. basically all my friends are treating me like we are moving into a cave in the desert with ISIS as our landlords. I admit I am apprehensive about the move, but cautiously optimistic the more i speak with the people in Tarsus.
KatzeB : i have learned that the housing is 2br and has a dishwasher. this is a big deal for me, as i haven’t even had an oven since moving to China much less a dishwasher. two of our apartments didn’t even have a stove. lol
also the healthcare seems good, though English speaking medical staff is rare so the school sends someone with us to translate. i’ve dealt with this set up before. its not ideal, bc sometimes you have to say things like ‘please let the doctor know that i have had explosive diarrhea for the past 24 hours’ which is kinda embarrassing but whatever.
j_jaye : i learned one of the ladies i spoke with is a vegan, so i plan to mine as much information from her as possible in terms of vegan hacks in Turkey. hidden meat is so real. where i am now you can order a tofu dish and it comes out covered in pork floss – surprise!
Post # 14
– Things I normally bring to TK: books or a kindle, cooking spices like pumpkin pie blend, garlic and onion powder, and chili powder, underwear and bras, any holiday decorations
-Things I wished I’d known: figuring out how to do life without the little conviences in America, like not having a clothes dryer or garbage disposal, no recycling. My husband and I don’t have a car, so having to take the bus to get groceries. It sounds like you’re pretty familiar with this while living in China, so it may not be a big transition for you.
– As far as integrating into the culture, Turks especially in the south are super warm and hospitable. This means that they will probably come up to you and ask you lots of questions about yourself. You’ll find yourself invited for tea right away. What I know about people in the Tarsus area is that most are “secular” meaning not quite as religious as some areas. This helps when it comes to being a foreigner as they are generally more open. There also tons of expat online forums, maybe you’ve already looked into them, that will answer lots of questions too (MerhabaForums is one).
-Other advice: I asked my husband this question (he’s Iranian) and his advice was to bargain for everything when shopping – every price is negotiable 😉 . My advice would be to continue to do your research and talk with people who are living in Turkey. It will help ease any understandable concerns you may have. Turkish culture is so warm and hospitable. I really, really enjoy it here. It is a beautiful country with lots of amazing history.
Post # 15
Shesaidyes : Sorry, yes, to compare Turkey’s government to America’s was a big jump. I think I just get frustrated when people (like relatives and some friends) see Turkey as some crazy, unstable place with bombs going off on every street corner – especially when America seems to be experiencing things like school shootings every few days (and other crazy happenings). Turkey really is a beautiful country with a rich culture and history. I wish more people could see that. I didn’t at all intend for my comment to be directly related to yours. I apprecaiate your insight as well.