Where to Teach English Istanbul-Teaching English Istanbul

**DISCLAIMER**–this list was created more than a year ago! I’ve gotten several messages about why certain schools are on the blacklist. I haven’t been in Istanbul in more than a year, so many practices/management, etc. may or may not still be occurring at these establishments. This list is not meant to be a one stop or exhaustive.**— Ashley (May 27,2015)

I’ve been unemployed now for nearly a month. Since I had such a terrible experience with my last employer, I’m being extra cautious this time around. However, This time around, I’ve set my sights on Istanbul and only language schools. Now, If I do well on my Bogazici exam, if I even take it, I might except their offer. I’m not at al interested in teaching at universities here again. So here is a list I’ve heard about of employers that get the green ‘pass’ light and those that have been blacklisted, or yellow (haven’t heard anything); the good and the bad of Istanbul.

**NOTE**–These are in no particular order and many on this list are located on the European side; the ones on the Asian side are just as good (or not) but I’m not interested in living on that side at the moment. Also, I have interviewed/ viewed the facilities of numbers 1,4,5. Since some schools have several branches, you might be required to go to several of them in a week. Lastly, some of these language schools have several branches across the city and nation and not every single one is a shithole. You MUST do your own research in the specific area or school you want. This is a general list of decent or pieces of shit places and females need to be careful because some of the male owners/staff will try and take you to bed. 


Language schools

  1. Rennert Istanbul
  2. Speak Up
  3. British Side (This school is located right next the one listed above)
  4. EFINST-International House Istanbul
  5. Horizon International College
  6. Red Cross/Red Crescent English summer camp (a friend did this and loved it)
  7. Keystone International School

**Any of the schools with the words ‘time’, ‘just’, or ‘culture’ in them. i.e.-british time, american culture, just english, etc.**

  1. English TIme (These people are absolute trash at many locations)
  2. Just English
  3. Amerikan Kultur
  4. British Kultur
  5. Yeditepe University (I’ve only read that the work culture and students is a nightmare.
  6. Teach to Travel (TTT)- Leeds (Teachers in Turkey)-absolutely terrible!
  7. Discover English
  8. Nişantaşı University
  9. Bilfen
  10. Early Steps in Kadikoy
  11. Dilko (I’ve read different things about this place. Depends which branch)
  12. Ihlas Koleji in Yenibosna
  13. Fatih Koleji in Cobancesme (Supposedly connected with Fetuallah Gulen-a man with notoriety here and not in a good way…
  14. Play to Learn preschool in Etiler
  15. Doga Koleji (The worst!)
  16. Kultur2000 Koleji
  17. Aci Koleji
  18. New York Studios Dil Okullari (Berlitz)
  19. Oxford as Academy Language School
  20. Liberty English
  21. Oxford House

Yellow list

  1. Small Hands Pre-school (rumelihisarustu)
  2. Marmara
  3. Bogazici (I can only speculate that it’s good since it’s the top university in the country…)
  4. TEOL sisli
  5. Kent English
  6. Kocaeli English
  7. Wall Street English
  8. Usukadar American Academy (I’ve heard mixed reviews on this place)

Okay. That’s it for now. Let me know if some of these should be moved around, taken off, or some new ones added. Again, this is not an exhaustive list.


16 thoughts on “Where to Teach English Istanbul-Teaching English Istanbul

  1. I have just been offered by the New York Studio. Can you tell me why it was red lighted? What are some of your concerns or issues you have had.

    • Hi, Orion-

      Thanks for stopping by. My first question is which NYS have you been hired to? There are tons throughout Turkey and they’re not all the same. I never worked for any of the branches so I can’t give you first hand info on it all. It’s been said that the company has a high turnover rate, doesn’t pay on time or holds pay, as well as crooked management and works their teachers into the ground. Again, any information you’ve read about them may or may not be about your specific branch or management/teacher team. If check up on not of I were you.

    • Thanks for your response. I answered a similar question from Orion not too long ago. If you have the time, check out response and if you’d still like some more information, just hit me back. 🙂

  2. Hello! Which Dilko English have you heard good things about? I have an interview with both Kadikoy and Mecediyekoy branches. Thanks 🙂

    • Hello-

      Well, when I was there, the Mecediyeköy branch was not doing so well. However, I left Ist. nearly nine months ago so perhaps ask to have a few e-mail addresses of some teachers currently teaching there. Kadiköy is kind of far from the “action” so to speak so I can’t tell you much about the Asian side. Good luck on your interviews and I hope they offer you what you need.

  3. Hello there. I am set to interview with Doga but now I am rather terrified 🙂 Would it be possible to hear from you why they are the worst? Please let me know.


    • Hi, Kristy-

      From what I’ve heard (I didn’t interview with them because I too was scared!), they’re late on payment, if at all; the management works you like a dog and it’s just a language “mill”, if you catch my drift. Basically, anything you can think of that you wouldn’t want from an employer, they’re going to do to you there. I don’t mean to scare you, but it’s best to keep looking. If you’re a native speaker, you can get on at any place. If you have some experience you could even teach at Bogazici in RumeliHisarustu. I interviewed with Rennert, near Taksim and was well impressed. British Side is also pretty good. In EFINST is. Perhaps you can send them your resume/CV as well. Best of luck to you!

  4. Hi, I have just been offered by Amerikan Kultur Umraniye Branch. Why is Amerikan Kultur blacklisted? Thank you!

    • Fabian, your chosen school is pretty far outside of the central part of Istanbul, which is where the majority of the teachers would be teaching at, so you might be fine. I don’t have any knowledge about your chosen branch. Sorry. I can tell you that in general, most of the schools are on the so called ‘blacklist’ for one or more of the following reasons:
      unpaid (underpaid) wages, unexplained firings, and shoddy management. You also need to make sure that your company will give you a work visa because it is 100% illegal for them not to and you can be kicked out of the country if they do not. Good luck to you!

    • Hi, Lejla. If my memory serves me correctly, you’ve been living in Turkey for some time now and are apart of a few of the online green/blacklist groups, am I right? It would be better to check with them as my list was made more than a year ago now and this school/program may no longer be sucking. Also, since you’re/were a member of the group, you know the common theme with schools in Istanbul; that’s why it landed itself in this list. I’d advise you to start with the facebook groups, if you haven’t already. Best of luck to you and do let me know if they turn out to not be awful anymore.

    • Pure Musician, I have no idea about salaries at this point as I’ve been out of Turkey and disconnected from the overseas ESL/EFL world for some time now. Good luck in your search. There were a few thriving Facebook groups that would probably be of assistance to you if you don’t already use them. I can’t remember the full name of one (Istanbul Greenlight…), but they helped me.

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