Have you met Expat Harem ladies? by Ela Erozan Gürsel

Have you met Expat Harem ladies?Expat+Harem is online community of foreign women writers living in Turkey. Originally from Berkeley, California, the founder, Anastasia M. Ashman is a global nomad who has lived in Rome, Kuala Lumpur and Istanbul for the past 14 years. Ashman describes herself as ‘an author, creative entrepreneur for the global soul, editor and international bestseller.’ She has a backgound in the media and entertainment sector in LA. Since 2003 the year she got married to a Turk and moved to Istanbul, she has been the producer of the Near East’s 1st Global Nomad Salon in association with Janera Soerel of Janera.com . The Economist calls this worldwide series of intellectual dinner parties “jetsetters with a conscience.”

In order to get more acquainted with Ashman’s literary work and views on being an expat in Istanbul, you can access some of her essays online.

The co-founder of Expat+Harem, Jennifer Gökmen, is currently the development officer at Istanbul International Community School. Gökmen and Ashman worked together as editors to compile the stories of expatriate literature Tales from the Expat Harem. These tales came from 14 different foreign women who call Turkey their new home. They are intimate portrayals of everyday life of expatriates living in Turkey. These tales show that there is not one expat story but so many different ways for foreigners to experience life in Turkey. Amazingly %95 of these stories have one thing in common: a very positive tone. These two bright writers shared their Turkish experience, current and upcoming projects on The Crossroads with Martin Anthony. They continue being connected to the expat community, voicing their opinion on the Turkish image in the global arena and sharing their unique adventures on their blog .

As a Turk living in Singapore, I understand the culture shock and constraints attached to being an expatriate. The inspiring thing is to overcome these challenges and turn them into advantages just like the Expat Harem ladies. I applaud these innovative ladies who found a very smart way of utilizing their writing skills in order to share their exciting experience of living in a culture rich foreign country.


elaerozangurselEla Erozan Gürsel writes a weekly column named “Değişim Yelpazesi ” on global business trends for Dünya Gazetesi on behalf of Datassist for almost two years. Her feature topics include: green energy; climate change; impacts of financial crisis on companies, sectors and regions; innovative technologies in sciences, human resources and management; social networks transforming business and politics; changing dynamics of marketing and branding.

She also writes articles for international magazines published in Singapore.

Prior to her writing career, she worked at Datassist as a Project Manager in a project that combines human resources and mobile communications with the aim to connect blue-collar workers and employers through mobile phones. Before engaging in this exciting project, she was in pharmaceutical sales working for a multinational company. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC, majoring in International Studies with a concentration on International Business and Europe. She worked in Washington D.C. as an Account Manager at a boutique telemarketing firm that specializes in fund raising and publication renewals. She speaks Turkish, English, French, and Spanish. She currently resides in Singapore with her husband.



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