It is quite challenging to adapt to a new city. We had a conversation with Samantha Johnson, the British sports speaker of TRT World, who has been living in Istanbul for the last three years, on her life and career.
You have been in sports broadcasting for a long time. How did you come to reside in Istanbul?
A former colleague recommended me to TRT World, and I was ready for a new challenge in my life. I had outgrown the UK and I knew I wanted more for my life. And when I saw pictures of Istanbul, I fell in love. I had to take my chance. I initially said I’d stay for a year… three years later, I’m still here and I’m so happy. It was difficult for me to settle in at first, but once I made the decision to dedicate myself to the city and the country, I became a lot happier. As a woman, I think it’s hard for us to find the right balance between career and lifestyle. I feel like I finally have that in Istanbul.
In an industry dominated by men, what sorts of challenges did you have to face when making a name for yourself?
I am aware that I am the only female member on the sports team, but the only thing I can do is prove my worth through my work and my work ethic. It gets difficult sometimes as I miss – and sometimes crave – female energy. But I am surrounded by amazing strong women, not only in Turkey, but I have a fantastic network of women worldwide in the sports industry.
You have been living in Istanbul for over three years now. What do you like about the city the most and which are your favorite places?
Istanbul is fascinating and full of surprises. Just when you think you explored it all, you hit another hidden treasure. I really like my life here. I’m generally at the office to shoot the program. When I get the chance, I end up at Nisantasi for coffee break and dinner. It is so fun to stroll around in those streets; it’s quite a lively place. My sports and exercise program is crucial in my routine. The people at the gym have literally become my family, they are key to making me feel at home in Istanbul. Well, I can’t do without going on walks by the Bosphorus and jogging in the Maçka park, of course…