Don’t worry that a move to Turkey will leave you isolated. Plenty of others have already made the trip and they’re out there living the good life and waiting to become your new BFF. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Social media has made it so easy for the international community to connect across borders. Out here in Turkey we are all friends – British, French, German, Scandinavian, Russian, American and, of course, Turkish.
Alighting into a community is the relatively simple bit, but how do you break out of the four walls of your beautiful new home and begin to build a concrete base of friendship?
Local markets are a good way of connecting. Take a seat in the café, stick a smile on your face and start chatting.
First stop probably will be groups on Facebook that are local to your area and have common interests, or just general interest groups that seek to make life a little easier. For example, check out your local town community groups on Facebook, like places of interest or restaurants and get a ‘feel’ for the place.
If there are real groups – such as charitable, voluntary or interest pursuits, such as walking clubs – then you could do a lot worse than plunge in with both feet and establish yourself as the “new kid on the block”.
Don’t be surprised to find that most fellow expats will help you along the way of integrating; they were in your place once themselves (and hopefully you’ll be as welcoming to others in the future).
Before you can start to make friends in Turkey you need to know how to negotiate for your dream property there! Download our guide: How to Negotiate Abroad.
If you hate Facebook, don’t panic. Local markets are a good way of connecting. Take a seat in the café, stick a smile on your face and start chatting. You’ll soon find yourself in conversation. Ask for recommendations, such as bars and restaurants, that may be an outlet to socialise and build friends.
Don’t just get stuck in the expat world, seriously look at learning Turkish. Classes are available everywhere and you will usually find expats wanting to learn from each other and develop their language skills.
You can just head to the nearest bar, but Turkey isn’t so much of a drinking culture as western Europe, so other alternatives would be a local spa, gym or tennis club. You’ll soon find that you don’t need the social lubricant of alcohol to make friends. Charity events and car boot sales really draw in the foreign community for deals and social gatherings.
Grab a local newspaper, Turkish or foreign language, and see if you can spot any local gatherings that could help you break into the local community. With Google translate you can easily access local websites.
Don’t be shy about asking people how things work, in the supermarket aisles or the local dolmus (taxi) queue – most will be flattered and pleased to help
Usually overlooked are the public holiday festivals, including those at Christmas and New Year (lower key than in the UK, but still a festive time nonetheless). These holidays are a great way to see the Turks getting out and about. There will always be a few expats around that you can join in with and compare notes on social etiquette! Shared bewilderment and a bit of the Dunkirk spirit is a great way to make friends.
Indeed, any public place is an opportunity to ask for an opinion, or the way to somewhere. Don’t be shy about asking people how things work, in the supermarket aisles or the local dolmus (taxi) queue – most will be flattered and pleased to help.
Don’t forget to break in with your neighbours who will more than likely be Turkish. Using local words, offering them food and generally having a smile on your face means to them that you can communicative and will be a good ‘neighbour’.
The Turkey Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to: