From Izmir SEV

Dylan Netter, Teacher at İzmir SEVDylan Netter, Teacher at İzmir SEV

Every day I come to work I feel grateful. I have found the school and city that fits me. I am a veteran teacher who has been living abroad for 6 years and I feel like I have finally arrived home. The experience that I imagined and dreamed of when leaving the USA is now my life.

Turkey is a beautiful and diverse country. There are big cities, small beach towns, mountain villages and everything in between. Better yet, the access to these places is easy, efficient, and affordable. There are boats, planes, trains, busses, and trails that can get you from place to place with ease. Spend a weekend on a Greek Island, no problem. Ride a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, not even a challenge. Or maybe your thing is the Opera. Well, there are opera houses in Izmir and Istanbul.

But maybe you are active and into outdoor adventure and want to work in a city and explore the outdoors. A fifteen minute bike ride from the school followed by a 3 km hike will get you into wilderness with world class views and vistas. You can explore single track on a bicycle or trail run for hours. It’s as good as it gets and best yet, when you are done, you come home to a city with all the amenities you would ever need or want.

I find Izmir to really be the mix between the affordability of Asia and personality of Europe. There is rock climbing, sailing, windsurfing, yoga, salsa dancing and everything in between.

Those are the best things to do but it’s not the best part. The best part is the warmth and hospitality of the people. If you are open to a new culture and accepting that certain things are different, the Turkish culture embraces all.


Liz Brouwer, Librarian at İzmir SEV

Liz Brouwer, Librarian at İzmir SEV

Having lived in other cities in Turkey, I can honestly say that there is no other place quite like it. İzmir is a modern, exciting city. The ease of getting around İzmir regularly surprises me. City buses, minibuses, a metro system, a tramway in the works and, my favourite, a ferry ride across the bay. You won’t have trouble finding your way around. Cycling can be...thrilling! Most teachers here have bicycles and good stories to tellJ There is a beautiful park all along the water with people running, cycling, hanging out (we play volleyball there sometimes!) and loads of bars and restaurants to choose from. It ‘s also really easy to get out of the city and find some beautiful natural places that will blow your mind! İzmir is a good transit hub too . With an airport and an incredible bus system: you can easily get to any other city in Turkey – and make sure you travel. Turkey is a country with wonderfully hospitable people, incredibly diverse foods, a beautiful language, ancient history and breath-taking landscapes. The school itself has an incredible group of teachers and administrators. A very supportive team atmosphere and a multitude of resources. I work as the Librarian and I am continually amazed by our access to resources here.

Most of the students have been learning English since Grade 1 and are fairly good communicators. The fun part of being an ESL teacher is finding ways to get students excited about learning English. And the collaborative planning and access to resources certainly helps. Our school celebrates many different holidays (Local and International) and tries to instill a sense of international-mindedness in our students.


Jennifer Lamarsh, Teacher at İzmir SEVJennifer Lamarsh ,Teacher at İzmir SEV

Hi! I’m Jennifer. I’ve lived in Turkey since 2008. I worked in Istanbul for several years before moving to Istanbul with my growing family. Our move to Izmir was motivated by a desire to be closer to nature and my husband’s family, who live right down the street. We live in Alsancak, which is minutes from the seaside and a quick walk to “fuar,” a large park in the middle of the city. On the weekends, we take advantage of the short drive to the crystal clear waters of Cesme, as most Izmir families do. Other weekend activities we enjoy are eating fresh fish for dinner (raki balik - as it’s called), shopping at the outdoor fruit and vegetable market, riding our bikes by the Aegean Sea, and music class at Maria Rita Ipek for our two children. On school breaks, we have enjoyed our proximity to Europe by taking short trips to the Greek Islands, Italy, and Spain.
When I visited SEV, I arrived with a perspective as both a parent and a teacher. I immediately fell in love with the library; It is one of a kind for Turkey. SEV makes a firm commitment to literacy as evidenced by their ever-expanding collection of children’s literature. This was a selling point for me as a parent because my children are native speakers of English and I want them to have the opportunity to read extensively in English, as they would if we were living in the U.S. and frequently visiting a public library. As a teacher, I believe in a workshop approach to reading and writing and want to be at a school that can support learners at all levels of literacy. The library at SEV allows me to do just that, as all the readers in my Grade 4 class can find ‘just right books’ at their fingertips. My Grade 4 Class is launching a Narrative Writing Unit and I was impressed that the library could support my teaching with a stack of narrative writing mentor texts.
My family and I call two places home: Izmir and New York. We enjoy the space between two worlds, where we can be both Turkish and American, at the same time. We like to think that we are gifting our children with two languages, diverse perspectives, and a cultural richness that will serve them well as they become adults in this ever-changing world.

Shawn J. Ward, Teacher at İzmir SEV Shawn J. Ward, Teacher at İzmir SEV

Living and working in a city that provides so much is priceless.  Now that I have lived here, in Izmir, for over 6 years, I can honestly say that each year has come with plenty of fond memories of good friends, great eats, ancient ruins and sunsets on countless beaches. 
The school, a short walk from my front door, is nestled in a calm and peaceful neighborhood which offers one of the greenest campuses that could be found inside of a city.  The campus is set apart from others in the city by having a good internet and IT infrastructures along with a greenhouse with its very own hydroponic system.  Besides the greenness of the campus and the structure, coming to work has been a real pleasure because of the chance to meet, make, and work with some colleagues who I’m proud to say are my friends
Izmır has all of the cultural aspects of bigger cities but also has the slow placed life you would expect to see in a small Mediterranean town.  Furthermore, it offers numerous affordable direct international travel locatıons from the local airport.  These are just some of the reasons why I chose to stay here in Izmir over New York and make ıt my home. Also the view of the Izmir Bay from my balcony would be hard to trade in.