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Moving to Istanbul in a Year

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Hi all, there is a backstory to this, but long story short I would like to join my fiancee in Istanbul in about a year or a year and a half. The main reason for the wait is that I am finishing my Bachelor's (4-year) degree. I am a young American born woman and my fiancee is Arab but lives with extended family in Istanbul now.

So, that being said, I am starting my research now and trying to get ahead, so that I can try to line things up and do the right stuff (as much as possible) to ensure a better planned transition down the road when I head to Istanbul. I do NOT plan on giving up my US citizenship by permanently immigrating. Instead, I would like to work there for a few years and try to stay on some kind of Work Visa or other Visa.

If anyone would be kind enough to give me their advice on what I can do now, and for the coming year or so, I would be overjoyed to hear from you.

Currently I am learning Turkish on my own, about half an hour to a full hour every day. How long before I speak enough Turkish to go over there and work/live? How much Turkish do I need to live and work there? I am planning on looking for a job teaching English.

Also I am saving up so that I have some starting money, or in other words two months of living costs (rent, food, utilities, tram fare, etc.) for two people, plus enough to buy a few basic things like a toaster for my apartment, a mattress, and some other small basic living items. How much should I plan on saving for all of this in Lira?

What kind of monthly cost of living should I be prepared for? I know this is dependent on lifestyle. My fiancee and I are both in our 20's, looking to get a decent one bedroom apartment somewhere in the general area of Istanbul (doesn't have to be the center of the city, just somewhere safe). We would both be taking public transportation, and like to have internet in our home and a cell phone for each of us. My boy friend is a smoker however that is the only extra cost we would have. As far as groceries, rent, utilities, cell phone/internet, transportation, and all other basic living costs go (occasional new clothing, going out to eat occasionally, etc.) what would we need to live comfortably for the two of us?

If anyone has thoughts on anything I can start doing now (besides learning Turkish and saving money) please let me know! :)

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