Living in Turkey?
Accommodation and Education in Turkey
Finding a Place to Live
Before renting an apartment or house, you should know that rents vary strongly depending on the location and facilities. Especially in larger cities, rents can be rather high for expats. The average rent for a 4-bedroom apartment in Ankara, for instance, ranges from around 1,200 TRY to 2,000 TRY and more, but Istanbul can easily be much more expensive.
Most apartments in Turkey come with a living room, three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Generally speaking, these are unfurnished. Furnished rooms are rather simple with only basic equipment and furniture included. As a foreigner, you may be asked to pay your rent in USD or EUR. Advance payments of 6 to 12 months’ rent are normal.
Good sources for finding housing are the Internet and the classified sections of local newspapers. Daily newspapers such as Hürriyet, Zaman or Milliyet are a great place to start. If your Turkish language skills are not fluent, you may want to hire a real estate agent instead. Contact other expats in Istanbul and Ankara for a referral.
Use Water Wisely
The electricity supply in Izmir, Ankara and most districts of Istanbul has a voltage of 220 Volts to 50 Hertz. The biggest parts of these three cities are also connected to gas supplies.
Turkey’s water supply has improved in availability and quality in recent years. Major cities however, may still experience a water shortage in the hottest summer months. Vendors often sell water in large bottles to make up for this shortage. However, this water does not always adhere to strict hygiene standards. To avoid getting sick, make sure to boil it before you drink it.
The Turkish Education System
School is obligatory for all children from age 6 to 14. While attending primary school, Turkish children usually wear school uniforms.
As part of the school reforms in 1997, compulsory education was extended from 5 to 8 years. In this way, children receive three more years of compulsory schooling at public institutions. Public primary schools are free of charge for all children.
Private schools, which may require tuition payments, are an exception to this rule. However, many of these private schools cater to the needs of certain minorities (Greek, Jewish, Armenian) or to the children of expat families. After attending primary school for 8 years, students receive a diploma. They may then choose which type of secondary school to attend.
Choosing a Secondary School
There are different kinds of secondary schools in Turkey, which your children might attend:
- General schools with a branch focusing on social sciences or natural sciences
- Secondary schools with a focus on athletics
- Vocational secondary schools
Vocational schools concentrate on a particular field or occupation such as finance, tourism, or trade. Students are prepped to work in this field after graduating. Some of them are Imam-Hatip secondary schools. These have an Islamic curriculum, preparing their students for a career with a religious focus.
Private secondary schools are under the control of the Ministry of National Education. Many of them — such as IB World Schools in Turkey — are, however, founded and run by independent institutions or foreign investors.
After secondary school, most children move on to university or begin to work in the occupation they have been prepared for.
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