2 September 2016

Kerry Arslan - Expat in Antalya, Turkey

Kerry Arslan - Expat in Antalya, Turkey

We’ve had the chance to talk to Kerry Arslan, 35, a British expat who has moved to Antalya with her family. Mrs. Arslan who has been living there for six years now works as a housewife and blogger.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Scotland


Q: What made you move out of Scotland? 

A: I move to live with my Turkish Husband.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: We are currently living in Demre, Antalya, Turkey.


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence? 

A: Because my husband is Turkish and a teacher, so it made more sense for me to relocate.  We first lived in Sakarya, Turkey but have just moved this year to Demre, which is more famously known as the home of St. Nicholas.


Q: How long have you been living in Turkey?

A: 2015 will be my 5th year living in Turkey.


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in Turkey?

A: It is most defiantly the language, I was never good with languages at school and this has been my biggest issue. However, a smile and a lot of sign language and good translator/dictionary go a long way.


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance were particularly difficult in Turkey? What was your experience with these? 

A: No, not in my experience. I have been through my citizenship for Turkey as well and though it was a long drawn out procedure and the interview was nerve racking it was a fairly simple.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: Yes I am living with my family, which is just my husband who of course this is his country and our little boy who was born here so it just me who is the expat.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Turkey? How did you manage to find a social circle in Turkey?

A: I don't think it’s particularly easy, but I am not a very outgoing person at times. However, my first neighbours really took my under their wings and made me very welcome and helped me through my first pregnancy this made a huge difference to my life here and again we have been lucky since moving and have some very lovely neighbours who have already helped me out once or twice. I think in general Turks are very friendly and have a great sense of community and will help when they can.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: Demre, is a lovely place we are right on the Lycian Way and everywhere you turn is a bit of history, in Demre itself I would recommend visiting the Church of St. Nicholas the ancient city of Myra and the Roman Theatre which is one of the best I have seen in the area.  There are also the two beautiful towns of Kas and Kalkan with their own history and of course the area sits on the Mediterranean Sea and has a beautiful coastal area. 


Q: How does the cost of living in Turkey compared to your home?


  • How much is a cup of coffee?

A: A cup of Turkish coffee is about 2 to 5 lira about 50p to a £1

  • How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: You can eat cheaply in Turkey and well you can get a bowl of soup and pide (Turkish pizza) and pay about 6 to 8 lira around £2

  • How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: That's a big range, you could look to spend anywhere upwards of £30

  • How much is a bottle of wine?

A: £5

  • How about a pack of cigarettes?

 A: I don't smoke.


Q: What do you think about the locals? 

A: In general Turks a very friendly and always happy to help. They are always very welcoming as they take pride in hospitality. But as with anywhere in the world, always be careful.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Turkey?

A: A more relaxed lifestyle and certainly the family friendly and community culture, they love kids and they are always welcome in restaurants. The negative is probably the unstable political situation and Turkey is still an emerging country and at times you feel standards in health care, health and safety and road safety need improving. But overall I don't really feel these impacts on life hugely. 


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Yes, of course you do.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I think the internet was created just for the expats, Facebook, Skype, email all the various social medias and chats, mean you can keep in touch so much easier and family and friends don't seem so far away. It is harder on days when bad things happen to say someone dies or is sick it’s not so easy to get home and you feel it then.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Not at the moment, perhaps maybe we will move back to the UK but the visa and settlement visa issues in the UK at the moment make it very hard for us to consider moving to the UK.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far? 

A: Apart from the language, it was probably settling in to live with my husband and dealing with both our differences in culture and finding a balance between them both. It certainly caused a few arguments, but we have now found balance. One other would be the first place we lived when we came here, we didn't have a choice as my husband was transferred to a school in Sakarya but neither of us liked the area and that made us fairly unsettled.


Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Which brings me to on a tip, when moving to another country go and live in the area you want to settle for a few weeks and if it’s a summer resort place try in in the winter, it can make a big difference living in a resort area out of season. My next would be, learn the language. And my best tip is to keep an open mind and don't compare lives, things will be better and worse in Scotland and your new country. But if you keep a closed mind and constantly compare you will just end up miserable.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Turkey? 

A: Well there mine! But I love Turkey's for Life, they are based in Fethyie my ideal home, but travel around the country and blog about their adventures, then the best travel blog for Turkey is Turkish Travel Blog, written by Natalie Sayin, not matter if you are planning a holiday or to stay here she gives a great insight to life here turkishtravelblog.com.

I have a list of blogs on my own blog which is some of the best blogs from around Turkey but these are my top two.