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Why Teach in Vietnam?

Turkey

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Why Teach in Turkey?
 

Teaching in Turkey allows you the rare opportunity to live and work at the crossroads of two continents: Europe and Asia. This meeting of East and West will be experienced in as well as out of the classroom.

 

From the more modern European style crisscross maze of narrow streets combined with public transport in Istanbul. To the more traditionally Eastern call to prayer resounding through streets filled with unique and meticulously maintained shops- you will be surrounded by pleasurable contrasts in culture.

Not to mention incredible food, fascinating ancient cultural sites and a kaleidoscope of everything modern and traditional in daily Turkish life. Most people may not think of Turkey as an open-minded country, but there are cities in Turkey, such as Izmir, that pride themselves on their liberal views.

The culture may seem miles away from the Western mindset, and in many wonderful ways it is, however it manages to mix ancient civilization and history with a fresh, modern outlook that reaches into the future.

As a teacher, you have the opportunity to make a living wage and integrate into your community both at school and throughout the city. 

Come see what teaching in Turkey is about...

International Schools vs. Private Language Centers vs. K-12 Koleji

 

What's the difference?

 

 

 If you're a licensed and experienced teacher who is happy to teach kids and young adults, you will find better pay, longer holidays and more tempting benefit packages at international schools! You will need at least a B.A. in your area of expertise, a teaching certificate is definitely preferred and a TEFL/CELTA never hurts. If you've got most of that and a couple of years of teaching experience under your belt- you should be able to get your foot in the door at a higher tier job like this.

Perks

​ Teachers are guaranteed school holidays in the summer and national holidays throughout the year

If you really look around you can find some nice schools with adequate salary and benefit packages

 

Pitfalls

Teachers are expected to attend after school and parent meetings on evenings and weekends a couple of times a month.

 

 

 

These after-school centers or all-day language academies privately offer classes to younger children on through adults. There are a variety of different schools serving different types of students i.e. Prep schools for specific tests, business English schools, etc.

Being that there are hundreds of language schools throughout Turkey they have the highest level of demand for teachers. Therefore, these language schools are the easiest places to find work. On the other hand, they are not strictly regulated and so, you will see a wide range of salaries and working conditions. Be on your toes, know your rights as a worker and know that you can (and should) negotiate your pay and terms of employment before signing your contract.

Perks

​These are the easiest institutions to get yourself into and could be a good way to start teaching in Turkey ASAP as they hire year round.

 

Many teachers that don’t have advanced degrees may take these jobs for a year and move on to something better later.

 

Pitfalls

You must be careful to ask very specific questions about what the job will entail and what exactly benefits are provided. Often times language centers can be greedy and will think nothing but their bottom line.

 

 

Don’t be confused by the name because these Koleji (or "colleges") are private primary and secondary schools- not Universities for young adults.  

 

Koleji are usually equipped with more amenities for students such as gyms, cafeterias, and an array of subjects to learn. Since they are privately run, it is the more well-off students who attend these schools and have parents that can afford to pay a hefty yearly tuition.

 

Turkish Koleji cater to students from as young as 5 (kindergarten) to as old as 18 (senior year in high school). Some may even have kindergarten programs for teachers specializing in early education. Colleges or Koleji are the best teaching deal across the board and provide the most attractive benefits and vacation time for teachers.

 

Perks

More often than not, Koleji can be the best teaching job in Turkey in terms of pay and benefits- particularly when compared to the other teaching options.

 

Pitfalls

Teachers are expected to attend after school and parent meetings on evenings and weekends a couple of times a month.

As is the case with job searches in general, you’ll need to spend an adequate amount of time searching for schools and make sure that they meet your expectations. These are private schools and the salary and benefits provided will vary so wheel and deal to find the best fit for you!

International Schools in Turkey

Private Language Centers in Turkey

K-12 Koleji 

Qualifications to Teach in Turkey
 

The following are the official qualifications- as far as the Ministry of Education is concerned- in order for a foreigner (that's us) to "officially" teach in Turkey. However, there is always a little wiggle room for negotiation and there's always a loophole.

For example, you'll find that one large requirement (and pain in the ass) is that, in order for the Ministry of Education to approve your Bachelors Degree or Teaching License, it must be submitted in a translated version- a Turkish Language version.

 

The translation process is expensive and daunting. 

The Teaching License is likely to be approved.

The bachelors degree...might be approved.

A TEFL degree won't be approved. 

So how do you get around this big mess?

My friend, who works at a Koleji along with some other foreign teachers, doesn't have a teaching License or a translated degree. Therefore, they are on the schools record as "staff" rather than "teacher"- but otherwise hold the role of teacher in the school. Sneaky maneuver, eh?

Anyways...as far as qualifying in the school's eyes, here is what to expect...

 

Bachelor’s Degree: Required

Master’s Degree: Beneficial

TEFL Certificate, CELTA Degree or Equivalent: Required

Teaching Experience: Preferred

Criminal Background Check: Required

Health Check: Required

Citizenship of English Speaking Country: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, and the United States

 

Bachelor’s Degree: Officially Required*

Master’s Degree: Not required

TEFL Certificate, CELTA Degree or Equivalent: Officially Required*

Teaching Experience: Not required

Criminal Background Check: Officially Required*

Health Check: Officially Required*

Citizenship of English Speaking Country: Officially Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, and the United States BUT some employers have been known to hire English speakers from other countries.

 

*Note: When I wrote “Officially Required” these are regulations that should be followed by both you and your employer but sometimes they are shirked by employers (to cut costs, etc.) but also by employees (in order to get paid under the table)

Some private language center employers in Turkey will basically hire anyone who is a foreigner that can speak English. While some hopeful teachers may take this route in order to get a job, they should be aware that this technically (but not likely) puts them at risk of fines, legal action from the government and/or deportation. Be careful out there, kids!

 

 

 

 

Bachelor’s Degree: Required

Master’s Degree: Beneficial

TEFL Certificate, CELTA Degree or Equivalent: Required

Teaching Experience: Highly preferred

Criminal Background Check: Required

Health Check: Required

Citizenship of English Speaking Country: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, and the United States

International Schools 

Private Language Centers

K-12 Koleji

Don't have a TEFL yet? We can fix that.

If you want to get your TEFL quickly via the clearest course online, iTTT TEFL is the way to go.

A TEFL degree is your golden ticket to getting hired in Turkey.​

You can finish in as quickly as 4 weeks.

Not only will a TEFL degree open doors for you in Turkey, but also the rest of Asia. Most ESL countries require a TEFL degree and every country favors a TEFL degree.

  • Increase your chances of getting hired

  • Increase your value as a teacher and thus increase your pay

  • Allow you to land a job in practically every country in Asia

Use our link and get a 10% discount off of your online course or a 10% discount off a 4-week TEFL course elsewhere.

 
How to Find a Job in Turkey
 
 
Visas for Teachers in Turkey

Here are a couple of different tactics for a successful job search in Turkey. 

 

As with most modern jobs searches the best place to start is by brewing up a strong cup of coffee and jumping into a lengthy Google search session. Here's a bit of a head start with some links...

 

 

The best option and most likely way to land a job if you have the start-up cash to do it!

 

Do a bit of research on schools or Kolejis that you think might be a good fit, then hop on a flight and check them out in person.

Show up to the schools in your best teaching outfit with your resume/CV in hand and these schools will at least be tempted  give you an interview and might just take the opportunity to snap you up on the spot!

 

 

If you have minimal teaching experience or lack a teaching certificate, take a TEFL/TESOL certification course in Turkey which sets you up with a teaching job after you complete your training.

Not only will this give you a taste of classroom life, but you’ll also learn a great deal about how to be an awesome teacher. Check out this link for certification opportunities!

 

Option 2: Go to Turkey and Hunt

Option 3: Take a TEFL Course and Get Hooked Up with a Job

Option 1: Search Online

 

Your school should take care of your work permit and visa but be aware that some, especially private language centers, may ask you to cover the cost of these documents as part of the terms of employment.

 

A lot of schools will employ teachers who enter on a tourist visa, and then sponsor them for a work permit. As well, some schools allow teachers to work tourist visas. This is, in fact, quite common but still illegal and deportation is a possible repercussion if you are found to be doing so.

 

TIP: If you come to search for a job in Turkey you can apply for your Turkish tourist E-visa online here. The process should only take a few minutes and it will be issued when you arrive. The visa will be valid for multiple stays up to a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period. That being said, you should have ample time to find the right place for you!

 

ESL teachers with their eye on Turkey must be citizens from the following countries: United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.

 

 

 

What to expect...

  • You will most likely arrive on a tourist visa and your employer will help you switch it to a residency visa and also assist you in applying for a work permit.

 

  •  The documents you’ll need will be: Your bachelor’s degree (and any other relevant degrees), TEFL certs, and a medical check performed at a Turkish hospital.

 

  • These documents will need to be translated into Turkish and then notarized in order to make them official.

 

  • If you don’t or can't get your degree translate into Turkish and notarized, you may be put down as “staff” instead of “teacher” on your work permit which may lead to future headaches.

 

  • Translation is pricey in Turkey and can run you $25 a page. If you want the job, you have to swallow the cost and know that you’ll more than make up for it with your first pay check.

 

  • Check the list of other required documents, gather them up, go to the immigration office and fill out the required forms and you should be on your way!

 

These are the documents for both your Work Visa/Work Permit Applications:

(Keep in mind that it is important to check with the Turkish embassy/consulate in your country prior to departure as variations in the required documents occur)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Some teachers may choose to enter Turkey on a tourist visa, however others who have secured positions before moving to the country should apply for their work visa before arriving.

 

The work visa is a single entry visa required when entering Turkey for employment. It must be done at an embassy or consulate in your home country.

 

The process to obtain this initial visa is very similar to obtaining one on Turkey. The only thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have to communicate well with your future employer and have them send any documents that may be required for you to complete the paperwork in your home country.

A Note on Residence Permits

 

 

The days of quick and easy visa runs across the border are gone and teachers planning to stay in Turkey for more than the 90 days within a 180-day period must obtain a Turkish residence permit. Again, this process should be taken care of by your employer.

 

Just gather the following documents and your employer can guide you through the application process.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Getting Your Visa

Documents Required for a Visa 

- Passport (valid for at least three months longer than the expiry date of the requested work visa)

- A completed work visa application form

- 1 passport-sized photo

- A copy of your work contract

- A notarized Turkish translation of the passport

- A notarized Turkish translation of diplomas, degree and/or certificates

- A residence permit or previously-issued work permits if applying from within Turkey

How to Apply for a Visa from Home/Outside Turkey

Documents Required for Residence Permit Application

- Completed residence permit application form

- Original copy and photocopy of passport

- Four photos

- Notification regarding sufficient and sustainable resources for the duration of stay

- Valid health insurance

- Upon request by administration, information and document relevant to place of accommodation and travel plan

 
What's Included in the Job
 

For teachers in Turkey, it seems to be norm to negotiate and discuss the details of all benefits directly with your potential employer.

 

Internet searches for jobs will often ask you to contact the school through email and then they will give you the full details of the job. Again, don’t be shy to ask for what should be required (work visas, etc,) and don’t settle for less than you are worth. Below are some guidelines for what you can expect but of course confirm the benefits given by your employer before committing to a contract.

 

Average Monthly Income: 3000TL – 6000TL ($790-1600 USD)

Housing: Usually included or allowance given

Flights: Reimbursement (full or partial) sometimes given

Medical Insurance: Provided 

End of the Year Pension: Depends on the school

End of the Year Bonus: Depends on the school

Vacation Time: About 3 months summer vacation and national holidays

Contract Commitment: 1 Year

 

 

Average Monthly Income: 2000 TL – 4000 TL(appx. $530-1050 USD)

Housing: Often Not Provided

Flights:  Often Not Provided

Medical Insurance: Sometimes Provided

End of the Year Pension: Depends on the school

End of the Year Bonus: Depends on the school

Vacation Time: Varies but on average 10 days holiday plus national holidays throughout the school year

Contract Commitment: 1 year

Average Monthly Income: 3000TL – 6000TL ($790-1600 USD)

Housing: Usually included or allowance given

Flights: Reimbursement (full or partial) sometimes given- 

depends on the school

Medical Insurance: Provided 

End of the Year Pension or Bonus: Depends on the school

Vacation Time: About 3 months summer vacation and national holidays

Contract Commitment: 1 Year

K-12 Koleji

Private Language Centers

International Schools

Cost of Living in Turkey
 

The cost of living in Turkey is comparable as to that of Thailand. Of course, it can be expensive in more metropolitan areas but there are ways to keep costs down. Living away from the city center, eating local and budgeting what you spend in general will help. Keep in mind that Istanbul will be more expensive than Izmir and resort cities in the south and southwest will be more expensive than eastern cities.

 

Istanbul

$560.98 per month total

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre - $ 460.88

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre -$252.86

 

Ankara 

 $440.59 per month total

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre - $257.78

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre- $153.13

 

 Bodrum

$483.73 per month total

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre - $404.82

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre- $325.61

 

Izmir 

$433.99 per month total

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre - $278.23

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre - $177.36

 

 

​​

Taxi (1km): $0.55

Gasoline (1 Liter): $1.35

Cinema- International Release (1 Ticket): $5.28

 

Milk (1 Liter): $0.77

Chicken Breast (1kg): $3.64

Loaf of Fresh White Bread: $0.46

Draft Beer (pint): $3.17

Restaurant Meal (average restaurant): $5.28

McDonald’s Combo Meal: $3.96

Overall Cost of Living Range by City

Day to Day

 
The Low Down on Turkey
 

Language: Turkish

Currency: Turkish Lira; (TRY rate here)

Type of Government: Parliamentary Representative Democracy

Crime: Moderate. Check out the data here.

Safety Concerns: Growing unrest in the bordering countries should not deter you from going but always keep your wits about you.

Public Transportation: In most cities and especially in Istanbul the public transport is great, runs well and is relatively cheap. Istanbul can be quite crowded and long commutes are common.

Gay Friendly: In the larger cities there is commonly a more liberal attitude but discretion in public is advised.

 
What's it like Living in...
 

Istanbul

The most metropolitan, international and by far the largest city in Turkey. For this reason, it also has the biggest slice of the cake when it comes to teaching jobs. However, you’ll have to deal with more crowds and traffic but public transportation options are improving. In spite of the hustle and bustle of the big city you’ll never lack sightseeing opportunities, other expats from around the world or great food here!

Ankara

The quieter, more organized sister to Istanbul and the seat of political power in the country is the capitol city of Ankara. If second cities are your thing Ankara might be for you but there is definitely less variety when it comes to nightlife, restaurant choices and cultural activities. A definite plus is how green it is compared to Istanbul and it can be a nice jumping off point for seeing more of the countryside.  

 

Bodrum

 

A port city in the southwest Aegean region of Turkey. Being one of the more popular vacation destinations in the country and, in the past, home to a range of historical artists, writers and thinkers may be a draw to some potential teachers. If you enjoy nightlife and a range of culinary treats head towards the waterfront where there’s definitely an abundance of choices. There’s plenty of history to learn about as you wander through town, where fragments of ancient buildings still survive, as well as more modern touches such as boat tours, diving and shopping near the yacht center. All of these choices and perks make it a great place to stay if not a bit more expensive than other coastal cities.

 

Izmir

The third largest, seaside city of Izmir is nestled on the west coast along the Aegean Sea. Mild weather, day trips to resort towns outside the city, cheap public transportation and waterfront strolls all add up to a pretty sweet spot to live. Izmir also seems to be a bit more liberal than some other parts of the country. Expats have reported feeling very comfortable living here and for those that choose to call it home Izmir finds a special place in their hearts.

Diyarbakir

 

Definitely off the beaten path compared to the other cities mentioned here, Diyarbakir is the largest city in southeastern Anatolia. It has a Kurdish influence and a real sense of history. The old part of Diyarbakir is very much like a village transplanted within the city. With geese running free, elderly couples having tea in front of their homes and kids (who will scream the English phrases they know… and beg for money) In contrast, the city center is completely different from other Turkish cities. It runs at a different pace than the rest of the country.

 

*Remember to dress modestly as this is not a sultry beach town like in the southwest. Diyarbakir is situated in the southeast of the country puts the city close to the Syrian border.

 
What's to Love about Turkey?
 

Turkish people are traditionally very hospitable to guests

There are a variety of different cultures in every region

Travel is easy here and transport is relatively cheap

There are places to hike, picturesque seas to swim in, ancient ruins to take in, ancient Christian and Islamic historical sites to see. You won’t be at a loss for day trips to take.

 
What's to Dislike about Turkey?
 

Police can stop you in the street and ask for documentation

 

One of the biggest hidden costs is the required resident visa, which is not always covered by your employer.

 

Larger cities such as Istanbul, which touts a formidable population of 15 million, can be congested and a hassle to commute in.

Content by Jared Zehm