|Sebnem and me, Turkey|
It is easy for expats, especially in a country that speaks another language, to form friendships with other expats. While they can be enormously supportive and fun, it is also important to befriend locals in your host country.
|Nur and me, Turkey|
I feel indebted to my Turkish friends for their help during my time in Turkey, especially at the beginning. I was young when I first fell in love with the country and not only was I pretty naïve, but I was clueless about Turkish culture and knew nothing of the language.
|Ferhat and me, Turkey|
I have always believed that if you can communicate with people everything you want to do can be achieved more easily. My Turkish friends were not only encouraging when I embarked upon my mission to learn Turkish, they were endlessly patient as I butchered their language with my dodgy pronunciation and sometime dreadful mistakes. They did nothing but gently correct me and laugh with me about whatever terrible declaration I had made.
|Elif, Ahmet and their little girl, Turkey|
My friend Sebnem refers to me as the Turkish-English girl on account of my passion for the place and accumulation over time of various Turkish habits. Elif, Ahmet and I shared a passion for scuba diving. Ferhat warns his friends that I understand Turkish (so goodness knows what they normally talk about). My friend Nur and her children also speak French so we have fun communicating in a mixture of mostly Turkish and French. Eko enjoys laughing at my mistakes (and then correcting them).
|Eko and Matt spin some discs, Turkey|
Were it not for these friends of mine and several others I am sure I would be less capable in Turkish and therefore also feel less at home in Turkey. Of course, I also had lots of friends who were expats themselves and they played a huge role in my life there too, but it is my Turkish friends who I have to thank for encouraging me to learn their language, appreciate their culture and ultimately love their country.
Who made a difference to your experiences overseas?