Vicky Harris has been teaching Business Studies in Istanbul for almost a whole school year now. She has answered some of the important questions about what the area and the school is like. Have a read if you are considering taking up a position in Turkey and want to know more!
Where are you teaching and what’s your school like?
I am working at The Koc School, Istanbul, Türkiye. I absolutely love it!
What is the city like? Is there an active expat scene? What do you do in your free time?
Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities, rich in its history and culture. I don’t mix with the expat scene in Istanbul, but international teachers are well looked after at Koc. We are quite spoilt and we liveout in the beautiful countryside. However, there is an expat community in Istanbul which looks very fun.
Which tourist sites or must-visit places are nearby?
All the sites in Istanbul are incredible…from Hagia Sophia, to Topaki Palace, Underground Cistern, the beautiful Bosphorus and many more sites to see just in Istanbul. However, the rest of Turkiye has many beautiful sites to see too.
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What is the climate like? Is there any extreme weather? If so, how do you deal with it?
It is lovely. This year, we experienced one snow day in Istanbul. We have central heating in the winter. Summers are very hot and you have a choice to have air conditioning installed at your cost.
What’s the cost of living like? Are you able to save money?
Definitely, we are paid in USD. On campus your housing costs are included in your package. Your power and water is minimal. You get a winter gas allowance for heating which you never go over. Your internet is free. We are quite isolated on campus but the school organises transport for shopping after school and day trips in the weekend. Food is very cheap.
What is the food like? Is international food available? Have you tried any unusual local dishes?
The Turkish cuisine is cok guzel (beautiful). Istanbul has international cuisine but not that readily available. The most unusual dish I have tried is tripe soup or cokorec (bbq intestines, served with bread). They also served stuffed rice in mussels which is also quite nice.
How is the culture different from your home culture? Have you experienced any culture shock?
Not particularly, Turkish culture is very similar to my culture as I am New Zealand Maori. They are very family oriented, passionate, friendly and fun loving people.
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What’s the best thing about living and teaching in your chosen city? What have been your highlights so far?
The students, the school, seeing the sites in beautiful Istanbul and living in Turkey and being able to fly anywhere in Europe for a quick weekend away.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of coming to live and work in your current location?
Live life to the fullest and experience all the opportunities. Life is too short!