Meet a millennial who moved from Turkey to the Netherlands for better job opportunities: 'At least I can go and earn some money when I am still young'

Meet a millennial who moved from Turkey to the Netherlands for better job opportunities: 'At least I can go and earn some money when I am still young'
Bengisu Yildiz.Courtesy of Bengisu Yildiz
  • Bengisu Yildiz, 30, moved from Turkey to the Netherlands last year.
  • She decided to move after feeling "powerless" in her home country's struggling economy.

This story is part of a series called "Millennial World," which seeks to examine the state of the generation around the globe.

Bengisu Yildiz, 30, decided to move from Turkey to the Netherlands last year, in part to experience a new lifestyle — and in part for a new job opportunity.

"Right now I feel lucky," Yildiz told Insider. "I am financially all right. Living in a nice city, in a nice apartment. The situation was not the same when I was in Istanbul. And that's why I moved."

Turkey's inflation has been sky-high — 43.68% in April compared to 5.2% in the Netherlands. The unemployment rate in Turkey was 10% in March.

One reason people move to the Netherlands is for a better work-life balance. The country ranks high on a list measuring happiness from the World Happiness Report. Amsterdam also ranked No. 9 in the EIU's Global Liveability Index in 2022. At the start of last year, more than 2 million people in the Netherlands were foreign-born.


"There's so many people coming from different countries, whether within Europe or outside of Europe, for better life standards," Yildiz said. "I guess it became a normal thing now. For example, Amsterdam has such an expat culture. You keep hearing English everywhere."

She said she appreciates the international vibes.

"We are not sharing our country of origin, but maybe we are sharing more in common," she added.

She used to live in Amsterdam before moving to another city with her boyfriend, but she still sometimes commutes to Amsterdam for work.

Yildiz shared with Insider what her job is like on a hybrid schedule, her future goals, and what she misses about Turkey.


"I love Turkey, it is a beautiful country with great people," Yildiz said. "But currently the economy and politics are in a really sad situation. I felt powerless to change what is happening, and then I said, 'OK, maybe at least I can go and earn some money when I am still young.'"

Work-life balance in the Netherlands

Yildiz currently works as a service designer, where she focuses on "certain services or products and people's experience" with them.

She said she has experience in a few different fields, including urban farming, where she gave workshops and tours and maintained a garden that was on top of a shopping mall.

"I'm kind of a person that likes to try a bunch of stuff rather than having one stable route," she said.

When approaching her 30s, she reevaluated her job. She said that around this age "you start thinking more about the financial parts of your life." She said she didn't necessarily want to say goodbye to Turkey, but she also knew she had work experience and an education in design that she could use to find a job elsewhere.


She had job offers in both London and Amsterdam. Because she had a close friend there and knew Amsterdam would be a smaller, less busy city than London, she decided to make the move to the Netherlands in early 2022. She said the job she landed wasn't the right fit, but she's happy with her new job — "not because of the job description or the company name, but because of the team," adding that "it's a really international team."

Her team has chosen to follow a hybrid-work schedule. She said she takes an hour-long train to Amsterdam on days she works in the office.

"I really enjoy those days seeing people face-to-face and getting in touch with them," she said.

She added she thinks human interaction is "definitely needed." Otherwise, she "would feel very isolated."

She does a lot of user research in this position. Her role can consist of doing interviews and "distilling some insights from what I hear."


"I like it because it is about asking the right questions, which is to me more fun than the answers itself," she said.

She said she tries to protect her work-life balance. When she's done for the day, she likes to go to the gym a few days a week. On other days, she may go on a walk after eating.

"I have really strict definitions on work and out of work. I don't let them intertwine at all," she said.

She misses the food and the 'collectivist' feeling in Turkey

Yildiz does miss some parts of living in Turkey, saying she finds the country "less individualistic" and "more collectivist." She also misses the food.

"When I say food, I'm not only meaning what I put in my mouth," she said. "There's a culture around it — gathering together, cooking together."


Yildiz said she feels like her move to pursue more opportunity for herself is "a little selfish," but she said that "after gaining some financial power and more know-how," she's "hoping to go back to Turkey and create some good things there."

"Maybe I can open an urban farm there to facilitate some job opportunities for young people like me who are interested with the topic," she said. "I don't know, I'm not clear on that dream yet, but it's a thought."