Just moved to Samsun, Turkey

Samsun BeachLong time since I posted anything on here. A wordpress upgrade broke the old “Options” theme I was using, and I’ve been fiddling with making the blog presentable again since then, on and off. Mosty off as I was spending a lot of time job seeking, then getting ready to move, and finally moving from Minneapolis to Samsun.

Samsun is a small city on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey – friendly, middle class, full of observant Muslims, and a bit dull. I’m teaching English at a private girl’s school outside town, and my husband is doing the same at a boy’s school under the same management. People are friendly, the food is *great*, there’s nothing to spend money on, and a year here should let us recover economically from the debacles we’ve had to deal with since leaving Moscow.

I’m going to be posting a lot more travel writing and catching up on older photographic work, so do want to find a good way to present all this material… which I guess means fussing with WordPress more.  I’ll try to post more often, anyway.

UPDATE 2014: I only spent one year in Samsun, it was a nice, safe, dull place and we worked through the school year and left in the spring. I’m not there, I can’t meet you, and I’ve been gone so long I can’t really recommend any work options either. Sorry!

17 comments

  1. Hi Miss Kira. Did you remember me? I saw your photos and i love them. Thats so profetionel… Congratulations!

  2. Hi Miss Kira. Did you remember me? I saw your photos and i love them. Thats so profetionel… Congratulations!

  3. Kira, my husband was just offered a job in Samsun…well, his current company wants to relocate him…and we need to decide what to tell them. My biggest concern is that online I am not finding a single english/american international school for my children. Is there one? Can you give me some information? I'm going to spy on your website to see what else you have written about Samsun…thanks for blogging 🙂

    1. Hi Amber, there are currently only 7 expats from English speaking countries in Samsun (that I know of), and five of us are leaving when the school year’s done – there is no international school. Maybe 5% of people in Samsun speak some English; it’s very much an immersion environment for Turkish, which is not an easy language. The city is sort of like a cross between small town America in 1950 and a Turkish village; people are friendly, the food is good (though at this point I’m sick of it, since only Turkish food is available and there’s only so much yogurt and eggplant you can eat), there are chickens everywhere, it’s very socially conservative, and there is almost nothing to do…

      Anyway, there are international schools in Ankara and Istanbul, and Samsun does have some good private schools where lessons are in Turkish… but it would be difficult to be here with kids. Internet access is pretty good, which helps a lot. Mail is okay, takes 2 or 3 weeks from the US. Taxes are ridiculous on mail order things from overseas, though – over 50%. There’s a bookstore that stocks Time and Newsweek, but almost no English books are available. Also, though there is slightly more going on in the city center, the air there in winter is atrocious – everyone burns coal to heat their homes and sometimes from the hill over town you can’t see the Black Sea 2 km away the smoke is so thick.

      That said, it’s a very safe and stable city. Kids here are mostly happy and healthy, if bored. Their general attitude is VERY small town though. Anyway, feel free to contact me if you’ve got any other questions. -Kira

  4. Hi Amber, there are currently only 7 expats from English speaking countries in Samsun (that I know of), and five of us are leaving when the school year's done – there is no international school. Maybe 5% of people in Samsun speak some English; it's very much an immersion environment for Turkish, which is not an easy language. The city is sort of like a cross between small town America in 1950 and a Turkish village; people are friendly, the food is good (though at this point I'm sick of it, since only Turkish food is available and there's only so much yogurt and eggplant you can eat), there are chickens everywhere, it's very socially conservative, and there is almost nothing to do…

    Anyway, there are international schools in Ankara and Istanbul, and Samsun does have some good private schools where lessons are in Turkish… but it would be difficult to be here with kids. Internet access is pretty good, which helps a lot. Mail is okay, takes 2 or 3 weeks from the US. Taxes are ridiculous on mail order things from overseas, though – over 50%. There's a bookstore that stocks Time and Newsweek, but almost no English books are available. Also, though there is slightly more going on in the city center, the air there in winter is atrocious – everyone burns coal to heat their homes and sometimes from the hill over town you can't see the Black Sea 2 km away the smoke is so thick.

    That said, it's a very safe and stable city. Kids here are mostly happy and healthy, if bored. Their general attitude is VERY small town though. Anyway, feel free to contact me if you've got any other questions. -Kira

  5. Hi Kira,

    My name is Naz, I currently live in UK and I have my fiance who lives in Turkey, Samsun. I was hoping to move to Samsun and he has said that jobs in teaching English are queit available, espically in private organisations who provide the service. I have always been interested in teaching English but I do not have any qualifications such as a teching degree, although I am planning on doing a TEFL online course which is a teaching english for other languages. Any inforamtion on how the teaching works would be much appreciated.

    many thanks
    Naz

    1. Hi Naz, sorry about he slow reply. I’d recommend getting TEFL certified, but you should know the online courses are not highly regarded. You really want one that has about 100 hours of classroom time with practice teaching.

      Teaching in Samsun, if you want to work in a school (I worked at Feza Berk, which was sometimes odd as it’s a private Muslim girl’s school, but overall pleasant) you’ll probably be providing a speaking and reading component to balance local teachers working on grammar and vocabulary. The teachers in my school were not very fluent in English, and hardly anyone in Samsun is. There are almost no native English foreigners; btw – I knew of 8 when I was there, in a city of 500,000. It’s a nice, safe town but very dull. Good luck!

  6. Hi miss kira,

    Iam just asking is there anyway to get a job in samsun – turkia , iam speaking English very good have (management master degree) ( drawing on AutoCad) Hope u can help me. Iam ready to work anything coz now I have very bad financial conditions and I need to learn turkey by time … Restaurant, mall, office, or in my certificate any job will be great.

    Please need ur advice.
    Omar hatem,
    05370185868

    1. Hi, as I emailed you, I left Samsun in 2010 and haven’t been back. I believe the people I worked with have mostly moved on and I don’t have any current information on jobs there. Good luck!

  7. I’m going to Samsun in September… I have a friend who I know, but I want to meet more people..we should get a community together. Let’s do things and meet each other!

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I just came here a few days ago from İstanbul and was looking some friends, expats to do some activities together. It seems,gonna stay here for some time. Lets meet somewhere.

      face: arif ayluctarhan

  8. Hi kira,
    Are you still in Samsun, I came here 8 months ago and would be nice to meet if u got some time

    Hala

    1. Hi Hala,
      I just came here a few days ago from İstanbul and was looking some friends, expats to do some activities together. It seems,gonna stay here for some time. Lets meet somewhere.

      face: arif ayluctarhan

      1. Good luck, hope you can connect with someone. Check out couchsurfing.org, too; Samsun had an active group when I lived there.

  9. Sorry, I left Samsun in 2010 and have mostly been working in Moscow since then. Good luck with your time there!

  10. Hi Kira, you mentioned Moscow. Do you speak Russian? Are there Russian speakers in Samsun? If I can find Russian speakers, I will be ok without English. Thanks!

    1. Yes, I speak Russian, but I am not in Samsun anymore! I’ve been in Moscow since 2010 now. There are some Russian speakers, though, mostly women who have married Turkish husbands. You can find them at the big bazaar by the harbour. A fair bit of Russian oil business goes through Samsun so you might meet people in that field as well. Good luck!

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