By: IOM United Kingdom

“I was twenty when I left England to migrate to a very conservative, small town in Turkey.  I was very lucky to see the traditional life in Turkey, something that is not seen in the large expat communities in urban Turkey.  With both learning the language and the culture, I was thrown in the deep end and I learned very quickly.”

“I worked hard to learn the language and culture for two reasons. Firstly, as a sign of respect. I’m married to a Turkish man now and I wanted to make sure I was really a part of his family.  Secondly, it is so important to integrate. How can you feel at home in a new country without knowing the language or understanding the differences of culture?”

“The hardest thing about adjusting to life in Turkey? It’s not one specific thing – it is the combination of all the little things. On their own, none of the obstacles seem like a big deal.  Balancing your new life with where you came from, as well as missing your family, friends and native culture – that’s the difficult part.  When everything seems to occur at once, that is what makes it challenging.” 

“I think I was very open to most of differences of living in Turkey… until I had my child. In general, I was very happy to go along with most of the customs and cultures in my new life.  But when I had my child, I knew I wanted to raise her more like the way I was raised and that caused the first few moments of tension in my family.  The last few years since my daughter was born were harder than all the previous years because I am less willing to take advice from relatives and friends.  In-laws can sometimes be challenging even when you are both from the same country.  Add another culture to the mix and it is a delicate situation to try to avoid those clashes.”