Who are you?
Tara Lutman Agacayak
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
In 2002 I married my Turkish husband and moved to Turkey to be with him.
What challenges did you face during the move?
My biggest challenges were not knowing Turkish and not having a support network to help me through the culture shock. There were no other foreigners in the small town where we first ended up living so I didn’t have anyone to talk with who I could relate to. But slowly as my Turkish improved and as I made friends with other expats, I began to find my place and feel settle in.
Are you employed or self-employed? What challenges did you face in either finding employment or running your own business?
My challenges in finding work led me to being self-employed. As I mentioned we moved to a small town so the 8 years of experience I had as a database designer and data specialist with the Department of Defense did not translate into a job when I moved. At the time eBay was just becoming mainstream and I started selling pashminas from the Grand Bazaar through eBay auctions. After attending the Women Leaders for the World program put on by the Global Women’s Leadership Network I decided to add a socially responsible facet to my online business and focused on locally handmade products. As my network of artists and designers grew, a friend and I started offering shopping trips to visit their showrooms and ateliers in order to highlight authentic Turkish art, design and culture. With all the experience I’ve gained running businesses online I also helm a project design business called Turquoise Poppy for self-based creative business owners...
Read more: www.expatfocus.com/expatriate-turkey-experiences-istanbul-tara-lutman-agacayak