Ankara, Turkey Report of what it's like to live there - 06/09/15

Personal Experiences from Ankara, Turkey

Ankara, Turkey 06/09/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

USA. Usually fly Ankara - Munich - Dulles.

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3. How long have you lived here?

1 year

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Department of State.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Scattered housing. Park Vadi is close to the Embassy. Some people walk from there. Housing in GOP allows for a little further walk, but most people drive. Park Oran is farthest from the embassy. About 30 minute commute.

I'm in GOP. Family of 3 in a 4BR, 3.5 BA 250 sq meter apartment. Kitchen is a good size, US. .appliances. Laundry room. Balcony. Small fenced yard (embassy owned, guard out front, 3 apartments in the building). 2 bedrooms have en-suite baths, the other 2 have shared bath. Large living room, library, dining to, office.

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2. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not a lot of insect problems. Mosquitoes are mild. Some bugs get indoors occasionally, but not often.

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Daily Life:

1. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes. Unsure of costs.

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2. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. It is very hilly and not a lot of wheelchair accessible ramps on the sidewalks.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Avoid protests. Watch the news and keep up with RSO notices. If you stay aware of your surroundings you'll be ok.

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2. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Not bad in the summer. Moderately polluted in winter (coal burning).

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3. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It is very similar to the DC area. A little colder in the winter.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

DoDDS school is easy to get into. Oasis is a good school and should have no problems registering. Bilkemt requires testing. The British school has a waiting list so register early.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Very little. Possible for very mild disabilities. We had our teenager in boarding school in the U.S. since post could not meet his needs. Mental health services are scant.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Limited. Soccer, softball, some sports at Oasis and DoDDS.

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Expat Life:

1. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Very good city for families and couples. I don't know much about the single scene. Turks love children.

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2. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Mildly. Turkey is still behind the times on LGBT rights.

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3. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not any that I've noticed.

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4. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Travel - Istanbul, Ephesus, 7 churches, Pamukkale, Mediterranean, Black Sea, Cappadocia. It's amazingly beautiful here.

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5. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Ulus area (Ankara Kalesi, good museums, etc). Plenty of malls. Lots of cafes.

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6. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Lots of history and travel available. Prices are a little lower than U.S. on all but electronics. People are very friendly. Can get almost anything here that you can get in the U.S. Good food, Safe and virtually crime-free.

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