Foreigner’s Guide to Living in Turkey

So – you’re thinking of coming to Turkey?

Moving to a foreign country can be a rattling decision at best. From the people, to the facilities to the culture: there’s a lot you need to consider before making the final decision. For those of you with your sights set on Turkey, in today’s post we’ve got you covered. From the delicious food to the unique work opportunities, read on to find out all you need to know before setting foot on the land of the Turks.


Turkey, formally known as the Republic of Turkey, is a vibrant country located partly in Asia and partly in Europe. It has served as both bridge and barrier between the continents for eons. The capital of the country is Ankara and the major religion is Islam. The Republic of Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk (known as their founding father) after winning the country’s liberation war in 1923.

Turkey is a land of color. It is a dazzling mix of cultures influenced heavily by the Ottoman Empire, the Greeks and the West. The people are extremely friendly and guests are welcomed with open arms. The beautiful destination welcomes 25 million tourists into the land every year.

Photo by Kirill Sobolev from Pixabay

People and Culture

The Turkish consider a stranger arriving on their doorstep as a guest from God – this small act itself is witness to the people’s incredible hospitality. Visitors and expats who live there easily find themselves making Turkish friends and experience warm hospitality from the locals. 

In terms of religion Turkey is a fiercely secular state. The predominant religion among the people however is Islam. All Islamic traditions such as fasting in the holy month of Ramadan and Eid-ul-fitr are celebrated there. It is customary to greet people with a firm handshake when meeting; friends and family are greeted with one or two kisses on the cheek.

Photo by Samuele Schirò from Pixabay

Working in Turkey

Many visitors have gone to Turkey to spend a single summer and have returned with an all-consuming desire to return there. Fortunately, the Turkish government has become more welcoming towards foreigners over the years and many people are being able to gain legal work permits in the beautiful country.

Generally, foreigners can’t work in places like hospitals, legal offices, trades, etc. However, there are still numerous options in terms of work:

  • Teaching English: Private institutions all over the country (but mainly in Istanbul and Ankara) offer considerable rewards for foreign English teachers. You will need a qualification in TEFL or TESOL for this job and will undertake a teaching course of approximately 100 hours if selected.
  • Freelancing: This is the ideal nomad traveler’s job. Armed with a laptop and a stable internet connection, you can gain an amazing income by writing, website designing, graphic designing, video making, and by selling a thousand other services besides. All you’ll need is an account on a freelancing website like Upwork or Fiverr to get started.
  • Holiday Jobs: You can work for a holiday company as an airport rep or in a summer hotel. Many of these jobs come with free accommodation which is a bonus. This is a great job for travelers – you’ll be able to visit all the amazing attractions in Turkey while on the job.

Turkey is an extraordinary country to live in. Whether you’re going there to work, or simply going to visit, one thing is for sure: your heart will be set on coming back time and time again.

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2 thoughts on “Foreigner’s Guide to Living in Turkey”

  1. Why can’t foreigners work in hospitals or medicine department…. I mean this is totally unfair.!
    The only advantage goes to those who have set up yheir own business.

    1. Actually you can work in those fields. But you need to pass the required exams in Turkey and have a equivalency certificate for the field that you want to work in. I know it sounds a bit stupid since you already have your diploma in medicine and work experience in your country, but it’s the same for most countries. For the field of medicine I think you need to pass a Turkish exam called TUS (Tıpta Uzmanlık Sınavı) meaning “Expertise in Medicine”. I will be sure to make a research on this topic and make a detailed article on the next update 😉

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