Mini Freak Out

With just a handful of days left in my gorgeous, gorgeous state and country, I’ve realized how little I’ve learned about this country I’ll be spending the next year of my life in. Whether it be about dating, culture, work, tourism, you name, I’m still fairly ignorant about it. This all came about because I am truly worried that my uni will try and pull a fast one on me. I know I’m hyper sensitive from my bout with the Russian/Nigerian scam from June, but still…

Here’s my deal, I’m freaking out that what a supervisor from the uni told me isn’t true. She said all I need is “my tourist visa and I can enter Turkey. I can ask any questions at my interview. we can file for your work permit here.” That all sounds horribly odd peculiar to me. How is it that I can work on a tourist visa and that I can get a work visa in a country I have no roots to? Well I did my fair share of massive googling and found this gem. I’m mostly concerned with “Experienced Teachers” comment from April 19, 2012. Here’s what he or she has said:

“There is an awful lot of incorrect information on this website. It would be a great pity if anyone decides not to work in Turkey because of comments such as those above. There are thousands of foreign English teachers working in Turkey and enjoying themselves here. The experiences related above are a tiny proportion of the teachers who are here and working happily. There are bad employers, as there are bad teachers, but most teachers manage not to get ripped off. 

Teachers can do a lot to protect themselves from bad employers. The main thing is to find out as much as possible about a potential employer by searching the web, by making contact with current or past teachers of the school, or by visiting the school (if possible). The schools that do not pay properly are well known in a given area, so it should not be too difficult to get the low-down on what goes on. If a school doesn’t pay you, or treats you in an unacceptable way, then be ready to move on, there are always lots of other opportunities around. 

Trying to get everything agreed in writing before arriving provides little protection, as a school will easily be able to find a way out if they want to. Demanding written guarantees over and above the job offer letter may sour relations with a decent employer and signing them will not worry a dishonest employer one little bit. 

To correct some of the misinformation above, teachers coming to work in Turkey should know:
1. It is not possible to arrive with a work permit, because the work permit has to be applied for by the employer after the teacher has started work. 
2. It is possible to arrive with a work visa, but it is not necessary, and in fact it is currently virtually unheard of. Almost all teachers arrive on a tourist visa, get a residence permit and the work permit comes much later on, it takes weeks if not months to come through. Arriving with a work visa cannot speed up the process. 

In order to work happily and successfully in Turkey teachers need good qualifications, flexibility and determination. That is probably true for teaching everywhere. Determination is the most important. The teacher needs to be focused on what they want to get out of the experience- fun and travel, professional development, money or whatever. Many things will happen to blow you off course and stop you achieiving your goals: annoying managers, silly students, other teachers who will wind you up and maket he situation feel worse than it really is.”

This wonderfully summed up comment along with the following reply, from wander&teach, to my comment on Dave’s ESL Cafe:

 

“You are from the U.S. so hop on the plane, pick up your 90 day visa at the arrivals terminal for $20.00 U.S. (bring a greenback) and you are on your way; standard operating procedure. Visa runs are no longer allowed in Turkey and you are now allowed 90 days entry within a 180 days. After your arrival you will fill out reams of paperwork, take a visit to the local Foreign Police Office to register, get fingerprinted and photographed and your resident/work permits will miraculously appear minutes before your visa expires Laughing If you are at a large Uni. it will be much sooner.”

Yeeeah..much appreciation to the pair of them. I’m certainly feeling more relaxed at the moment.

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