Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Bucharest vs. Istanbul to live in

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Romania
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Dancebiscuits



Joined: 03 Dec 2012
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:36 pm    Post subject: Bucharest vs. Istanbul to live in Reply with quote

Hello all,
I've been offered one job in Bucharest and one in Istanbul. Both are fine for salary and accommodation and Ts&Cs so I wanted to ask your opinions on which is likely to suit me more to live in. I've been to Istanbul a few times for the weekend and love it, never to Romania.

My interests are, I suppose:
Vegetarian food - good markets and food shops and restaurants
A language that won't take me centuries to learn
Religious kitsch, flea markets, affordable and interesting clothes shopping (designer is way off the cards)
Cemeteries, crypts, bazaars and pubs
Castles, mountains, seaside, forests and modern art
Affordable motoring
Gigs in pubs and clubs - live music, dance performance, DJs and so on.

I'll also need affordable language lessons and I guess an English-speaking expat scene of some sort would be nice too, especially while I'm new

It's a toughie isn't it? Opinions welcome and thank you in advance. I'll be pearoasting this on the other relevant forums. Oh yeah, I'm British, female, no kids.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mike_2007



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 344
Location: Bucharest, Romania

PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:35 am    Post subject: Re: Bucharest vs. Istanbul to live in Reply with quote

Hi,

I worked in Istanbul for 5 years and I've been here in Bucharest for the last 9, so I'm reasonably well placed to make a comparison, with the proviso that my experiences in Istanbul are a little out of date and might not reflect the reality now.

Vegetarian food - good markets and food shops and restaurants

I found Turkish food very meat-based, certainly the stuff in restaurants. Turkish home cooking is more veggie-friendly, and the markets have a lot of fresh fruit and veg and very seasonal. Things might have changed since I lived there, but I often found it almost impossible to get ingredients that weren't used in Turkish recipes. The markets were excellent though - vibrant, interesting and diverse (within the scope of Turkish cuisine). Back then, there were few non-Turkish restaurants and those which existed weren't that good - that might have changed. However, it was very easy to stop at a local eatery and get a cheap tasty plate of food.

Bucharest has a few good markets which sell seasonal fruit and veg and much better prices (and better quality) than the supermarkets, which are expensive by local standards. They sell a pretty diverse range of fruit and veg, but again, mostly local favourites. The larger supermarkets sell (at a price) exotic fruit and veg. Throughout the year there are several periods of fasting called 'post' during which time religious Romanians adhere to what is more or less a vegan diet. As a result, things like soya, tofu, veggie sausages and so are readily available.

A language that won't take me centuries to learn

Romanian, being a Latin-based language, is a lot easier to pick up than Turkish. If you've ever studied Italian or French (or Spanish) you'll find learning Romanian pretty easy. Turkish is an interesting language, but you'll be starting from zero. I would say I reached the same level of competency in Romanian in two years that it took me four years to reach in Turkish.

Religious kitsch, flea markets, affordable and interesting clothes shopping (designer is way off the cards)

Istanbul wins hands down on flea markets and so on. There are, from time to time, a few antique markets in Bucharest, but the items they sell, although interesting, are pretty expensive. Istanbul has (or had) loads of permanent markets selling second0hand stuff, bric-a-brac and kitsch.

Cemeteries, crypts, bazaars and pubs

Both have cemeteries obviously, although the Ottoman tombs are maybe more architecturally interesting, and Istanbul has it on the bazaars too. Pubs, probably about the same with the Centrul Veche in Bucharest probably being roughly comparable to Beyoglu in Istanbul (although the later is more establish and perhaps more varied).

Castles, mountains, seaside, forests and modern art

Transylvania abounds with castles, you have the Carpathian mountain range, and plenty of forest. You have vast tracts of unspoilt wilderness, bears, wolves, lynx, bird life, the Danube Delta and so on. For seaside, the slightly grubby Romanian Black Sea coast has nothing on the extensive Turkish coastline. I'm not especially into modern art, so can't comment on that.

Affordable motoring

I never drove in Turkey and only rent cars when needed here in Romania. Romanians are careless drivers who drive at unsuitable speeds for the road conditions, but look like paranoid old biddies in comparison to Turkish drivers. Petrol is cheaper here.

Driving around Bucharest in a nightmare - few parking spaces, crowded streets, impatient drivers, honking, pushing, light-jumping. Public transport is comprehensive and cheap, however, which is why I don't own a car and just rent one when I want to get out of town for a while.

Gigs in pubs and clubs - live music, dance performance, DJs and so on.

I'd say it WAS better in Turkey. More venues and more young people starting up bands. Quite a lot of big bands come to Bucharest nowadays and there are plenty of fancy clubs in town, but my clubbing days are behind me, so I can't comment on their quality.

I'll also need affordable language lessons and I guess an English-speaking expat scene of some sort would be nice too, especially while I'm new

You can probably get Romanian lessons from a local (1-2-1) for about 10-15 Euro for a two-hour lessons. There are lots of students in Bucharest who'll happily practice with you for a reasonable price. There are also numerous language schools offering Romanian for foreigners as quite a few foreigners come to study in Romania and need to pass a language test first.

Istanbul, being the huge city that it is, obviously has many more expats than Bucharest, so a stronger expat scene and a greater chance of finding expats into the same things as you. There are a few expat clubs in Bucharest who get together for drinks from time to time. I've never really looked into it as I've mostly had Romanian friends from the start when there were very few expats in town. Most young Romanians speak English quite well so making friends shouldn't be a problem.

One thing I have found is that it's easier to make friends here in Istanbul. The Turks are much friendlier, much more hospitable, but I always felt like I was a foreigner there, even after so many years and even when I could speak to them in their own language. I feel that in Romania I'm treated more just like a regular guy, who happens to be of foreign origin. Even after knowing people for several years in Istanbul, they would rarely let me pay for my own beer - great, sure, very nice of them, but it would just underline the fact that they still regarded me as a guest rather than just another one of the lads.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mike_2007



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 344
Location: Bucharest, Romania

PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:35 am    Post subject: Re: Bucharest vs. Istanbul to live in Reply with quote

double post

Last edited by Mike_2007 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:36 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Dancebiscuits



Joined: 03 Dec 2012
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for taking the time to post all that information for me, really helpful and much appreciated. I'm leaning towards Turkey at the moment but am thinking I might visit Bucharest for a weekend soon so I can at least have visited them both before I decide. Interesting to read about the ready availability of meat substitutes in Bucharest though, never thought that would be the case.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Romania All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC