Expat round up: The city’s top events for foreigners

LEYLA YVONNE ERGIL
Published 12.11.2014 00:37
Expat round up: The city’s top events for foreigners

As summer comes to a close and winter begins to set in, this is the perfect time to rekindle your expat connections. Listed below are a wide variety of expat-geared events and activities to embark on this fall

InterNations, the first and largest international online community for people who live and work abroad, is hosting their Istanbul November mixer at Sortie's Club Niwa this Wednesday, Nov. 12. The meet-up begins at 6:30 p.m. and will turn into a dance party from 10:30 p.m. onwards in what will be a great opportunity to network in a spectacular setting overlooking the Bosporus.

Couchsurfing is an international organization that allows members to offer their couches to "surfers" (travelers) in an effort to promote hospitality and cultural understanding that has coalesced into an active worldwide community. In Istanbul, Couchsurfing hosts regular weekly meetings that interchange between the European and Asian sides of the city and are the organization's largest member meetings in the world, bringing together fellow foreigners to share travel adventures. On Wednesday, Nov. 12, Couchsurfing will be holding its 306th regular weekly Istanbul meet-up in Taksim from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Beat's open-air roof terrace. The 307th regular weekly meeting will then be held on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 9:30 p.m. at Shine Beer Café in Kadıköy. Couchsurfing also hosts a Friday night international party and meet-up, which starts with a more intimate dinner at 8:00 p.m. and then a larger gathering at 9:30 p.m. held at Tasca's Tapas in Beyoğlu.

There are a number of foreign language conversation groups that meet throughout the city as well that provide an opportunity to socialize while practicing language skills in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Every Thursday night, the Turkish & English Conversation Group meets at Giuseppe Donizetti Coffee in Kadıköy from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Every Wednesday from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., a Turkish-German speaking meet-up is held at Café Setup in Kabataş. Les Stambouliotes also holds Turkish and French meet-ups for people to practice their language skills twice a week at 9:00 p.m.: Mondays at Mila Café in Kadıköy and Thursdays at Laterne Café in Beyoğlu.

There are also a number of musical events geared towards expats in the city this week. The XXF-Very, Very French Festival, organized by Institute Français, will be playing French dance music including the stylings of Club Cheval and Yuksek at the Roxy on Thursday, and on Friday, Forabandit will perform at Moda Sahnesi.

Berlİstanbul #25: Underground, a festival held in honor of Berlin and Istanbul celebrating the 25-year anniversary of their city partnership, will be hosting film screenings and performances at venues such as SALT Galata, Wake-Up Call, and KargArt from Nov. 12-15.

Check out some of the city's best musicians that happen to be expats at a number of upcoming shows. Allen Hulsey, who hails from New York and rocks out in Turkish and English, will perform at Wolf Junior this Thursday and Saturday. Also performing on Nov. 15 is Ray Rizzo (Ferryman), a performer, martial artist and yoga master from New York who will be joined by the beautiful vocal stylings of Aussie expat Aysu Çöğür. Another exciting musical event is a series of performances by expat member-heavy bands Direc-T, Medical Phalanx of Space and Spent Ex at the Roxy on Thursday, Nov. 13. This event, in the expat hot-zone of Cihangir, is also free.

There are a number of other events geared towards discovering the city's newest and hippest spots, such as Pub Crawlerz Istanbul, which meets up every Thursday, Friday and Saturday to discover four new venues on İstiklal all while competing in fun challenges along the way. The Istanbul Foodie Club also holds regular gatherings to get a taste of the city's fine cuisine, and will be meeting next on Nov. 22 for an Indian Feast at Dubb.

For a more academic environment, the second night in the "Food, Spirits and Gastronomic Traditions in the Eastern Mediterranean" lecture series will be held on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Sismanoglio Megaro in Beyoğlu starting at 7:00 p.m. Learn about how taverns operated in the 16th and 17th centuries and about viticulture in Turkey in a lecture series organized by the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul in collaboration with the National Hellenic Research Institute.

Toastmasters, first founded in 1924, is an international club for people who want to practice and improve their public speaking and communication skills. Combine socializing as you fine-tune your speech delivery technique at this unique club's twice monthly meetings, held every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at Gönen Hotel in Taksim. Meetings have recently become more weekly due to high demand. In addition, Spoken Word Istanbul is a popular open mic event among expats that meets once every three weeks. Check out their Facebook page for information on their next event.

Bond over books, art or shopping at the 33rd International Istanbul Book Fair and the 24th International Istanbul Art Fair at TÜYAP, which comes to a close on Nov. 16. For a more intimate shopping affair, peruse vintage and handmade items at the Souq monthly pop-up market that will be held this weekend, Nov. 15-16, at the Külah Karaköy performance and art space.

Perhaps one of the best ways to get out and create rich experiences with others is through physical activities such as taking part in the 36th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon. There are three races; a 42-kilometer, a 15-kilometer and a 10-kilometer one, which are being held on Sunday, Nov. 16 and an 8-kilometer fun walk option. The marathon starts at 9:00 a.m. in Üsküdar and will end at Sultanahmet Square. Share the unique experience of crossing the Bosporus Bridge on foot with the masses that come out to take part in this very special marathon.

Another great way to make new friends in an outdoor environment is to join in on a pick-up game of ultimate Frisbee. Istanbultimate has a lively community of expats and Turks that meet regularly to toss a Frisbee in what is fast becoming one of the most popular team sports.

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