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Working And Salary Info. In Istanbul For A Canadian


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#1 Goldiea

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:51 PM

Hi forum:)I am a girl from Vancouver, Canada and have thought about the idea of moving/working in Istanbul next year. I am a librarian with a Master's Degree and I also have a teaching English TEFL Certificate from a Canadian college and some experience in teaching English. I love the Turkish culture and people and want to have the change to live there not only as a cultural enlightement but also as a chance to work. I'd like to feedback and advice from anyone who's worked in IStanbul either teaching English or doing anything else. I am fluent in English, Spanish and Persian and trying to learn some basic Turkish right now:)Am interested in finding out what the average salary in Istanbul is? I'd like to have a simple but comfortable life and have to worry about living paycheque to paycheque. I have a good salary here in Vancouver as a librarian but realize that living cost may be much cheaper in Turkey.What has your experience of teaching English been there? How is the private tutoring business in Istanbul?Any info. such as salary, cost of housing, etc would be immensely appreciated.Thanks so much :bye1[1]:

#2 Abi

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:41 PM

Hi Goldiea and welcome to our friendly forum. Whilst I live in Turkey I don't teach so can't help you but we do have members who are teachers, some have had good experiences and some have had bad ones as you would expect. It may take a few days to get an answer but they will be along to help you out. :bye1[1]: :bye1[1]:

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#3 Cukurbagli

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 06:38 AM

Hi Goldiea, welcome to Turkey Central. You're going to find a whole range of answers to this question, I can't help with the teaching but as fas as the cost of living goes yes it is lower here but then so are wages/salaries. Accommodation in Istanbul is quite expensive too. There are lots of problems getting a work permit here and problems in other areas too. Why don't you come for a long holiday and see what you think. The culture here is very different to Canada, yes I know that's obvious but you have to be here for a while to appreciate just how much different it is. Whatever you decide I hope it all goes well for you.

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#4 Fil

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:21 AM

People often ask me this question and I always say go for it, you'll never know until you try it. As a teacher you should earn enough to get by if you share a flat, but you won't have a lot spare for travelling at first. You are likely to earn about 2000TL at the start, with two or three reliable private students that you will find in time you can earn another 1000TL a month, which will leave you with some spare to enjoy yourself. There are three types of job, language school, private primary or high school, university prep school. In a language school you are likely to find colleagues and students you can have a lot of fun with, but you will need to be very patient with the management, usually a small businessman who tends to make eccentric, irrational or autocratic decisions. There are a few well-managed language schools in Istanbul but it is difficult to get a job in those places. The kids private schools provide reliable pay but the students are often extremely badly behaved, some colleagues will not be supportive and the management is likely to be unfriendly. You will need a thick skin to work in these places, but with hard work, patience and imagination it can be done. The university prep school is the best situation, and of course the hardest to get in to. The good ones recruit in the spring and early summer, you are too late for this year, although the less desirable may still have vacancies. The students at the university prep schools will be similar to the ones at the private schools but a bit older, although not necessarily any more mature. Pay, management and colleagues are similar to private schools too.Daves esl cafe will give you a pretty good impression of the situation, there are some very helpful comments there and a lot of silly ones.You may be able to use a teaching job as a springboard into jobs that use the other skills you have. If you don't like it, you will have gained valuable experience that should benefit your career back home as a librarian. Oh, and knowing Persian will help you a lot with a whole range of Turkish vocabulary, and you should be able to pick up Turkish a lot quicker than those of us who only know European languages.So I say good luck and go for it.
Mr Fil

#5 benhalterci

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:54 AM

Hi, I've been living in Istanbul for two years and not had very good experiences here with teaching I'm afraid. Fil has been in turkey a long time but I don't know when he last worked in Istanbul since things have changed for the worse here. I also don't know where he gets his figures from. Certainly about 5 years ago teachers earned more because they were more scarce. Now the world and his dog are teaching english in istanbul and now many are going to Izmir since here is so saturated but that is a much smaller place so i don't know how many jobs are going.I taught for five schools and to say the owners were eccentric is an understatement. The last school, one of the biggest in turkey, didn't pay me after I had worked a lot of hours and so i decided not to teach in schools any more after that.Private teaching is difficult to get and doesn't pay as it used to as there are too many teachers here. Again, I don't know how where Fil gets his figures for earning expectations re private teaching. This was so a few years back but everything changed post-credit crunch and the number of would-be teachers increased due to the job situation in North America particularly.I have met, talked to and worked with quite a few native English teachers here and most live from hand to mouth and with the long hours and miserly pay don't have much time to enjoy this city. It is much dearer than the US and even the UK in central istanbul.My advice is if you insist on teaching go to a town in central Anatolia where they are desperate for teachers and it really is cheap to live.The last ad I saw looking for fixed contract teachers was for 105 hours per month for 1,200 tl, no work pemit or accommodation offered. This is the reality here.Cukur's post was the best. Come for a months holiday and see how you like it. Moreover, you'll need to pay for an exoensive residence permit because the old visa run system most teachers use looks to be in threat.Please give this some serious thought. Five days ago I bumped into a nice Canadian girl who has given up trying to find decent work here, both from a professional and remuneration point of view. Nowhere is fun if you're tired and living on a tight budget.

#6 Fil

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:10 AM

Hello again Goldiea, contrary to the impression benhalterci creates, I am not some doddery old fool who doesn

Edited by Fil, 24 August 2010 - 09:10 AM.

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#7 Goldiea

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:49 AM

Thanks all of you for your honest repsonses! Benhalterti, I am now slightly concerned about the sides you have brought up here but I also agree with Fil as well in regards to qualifications and attitude. Seems both negative and positive can happen very easily in Istanbul:)Cukurbagli, your idea of visiting Istanbul to see how I like it is great! I actually decided on visitin Turkey for a month earlier to see how I think about it, I travelled to Turkey last summer but it was just an initial tourist visit. You're right i think staying in Istanbul for a few weeks and get a better sense of reality will do me some good.Of course, I am not new to moving and living abroad and have my share of horror and good stories; that is why if I moved to Turkey, i want to be wise about it. And definitely don't want to live from mouth to hand cause that is not very fun :bye1[1]: On talking to some of my Turkish friends, it seems one has to make at least 2000 turkish lira a month to have an efficient income right? The other thing i didn't mention is that i'm also a professional bellydancer so was thinking of making some money from that on the side but it's a thought at this point.

Edited by Goldiea, 24 August 2010 - 09:52 AM.


#8 Fil

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 10:10 AM

Wow, when I said 'You may be able to use a teaching job as a springboard into jobs that use the other skills you have' I had no idea that could include belly dancing! Sadly I can't offer advice on employment in dancing, but teaching is a good springboard into many things!A first job in istanbul is rarely the best you can find, but can be a starting point. You are right, look for a job offering 2000TL or 1500USD, there seem to be plenty around like that. And keep track of daves.Good luck, I'm sure you'll do great.
Mr Fil

#9 benhalterci

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 12:54 PM

Fil, 'doddery old fool' are your words and certainly not mine:) Sorry if that's how my criticism of your advice made you seem; I didn't mean it. But I still haven't seen jobs offering 2,000 TL for an English teacher. If you have then please share:)As regards bellydancing, Goldiea would be well advised not to do this because although the government turns a blind eye to the thousands of native English teachers illegally working in the language schools, someone working in a bar, estate agent, club, restaurant or supermarket for example, would be at great risk of being caught and deported. I also have a fitness qualification but cannot teach in a gym here for just that reason. This is also another reason why nearly all foreigners here teach English - because it is the only way they can make money and because it's near impossible to get a work permit doing anything else and very difficult getting one to teach English unless your employer school is responsible and has a track record of obtaining permits for their teachers.Of course Fil is right that you can survive teaching English here but I've yet to meet an English teacher who lives well or even very comfortably. There again I like clothes and cosmetics etc so probably my idea of living simply isn't the same as the average teacher:)Of course there are always pluses and minuses wherever you go and the only way is to come here for an extended period of time to try it out. Most people I've met who come here to teach get fed up after a year and go home unless they find a boyfriend/girlfriend or they really like their job. I know Fil and the others think I just want to pour cold water on people's ambitions and aspirations but I am quite sincerely talking about my recent experience and that of friends and acquaintances. Good luck!

#10 Fil

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 04:08 PM

Fil, 'doddery old fool' are your words and certainly not mine:) Sorry if that's how my criticism of your advice made you seem; I didn't mean it.


I know, I know, just a little hyperbole halters. No offence taken really. But if I do start doddering I'll let you know.


Mr Fil