Expat in Romania: Tayfun Öneş (Turkey) - Here the people are more relaxed and more on the joy side of life
We're inviting our readers to share their stories and tell the world what they love about Romania. Tayfun Öneş joined our campaign and filled in this questionnaire. Below you can read more about what he loves about the country.
Tayfun Öneş, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Romania, has been living in the country since 2014. From the very start, he was astonished by the similarities he found with his own culture and the warm welcome he received. He also found an environment tolerant of differences and has compiled his observations and experiences of business and private life in Romania in a book soon to be released. While he has noticed, during his stay here, a tendency towards increased consumption and the pace of daily life becoming faster in big cities, he appreciates the peaceful environment he found here and the unspoiled natural landscapes, among others.
More about his experience in Romania in the Q&A below.
What is your name and where are you from, originally?
Tayfun Öneş. I am from Istanbul, Turkey.
How long have you been in Romania and what brought you here? What is your main activity here?
I have been here since 2014. I was appointed by Daimler AG as the CEO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services - Romania.
We are a captive finance company supporting our customers and dealers by financing and insuring all kinds of Mercedes-Benz new & used vehicles.
Please describe your first encounter with Romania.
I came at the end of 2013 and was astonished by the similarities of its culture with my country and also the people's warm welcoming me as a foreigner.
What was your main challenge when arriving in Romania? How did you overcome it?
My main challenge was to change some things in the company and colleagues' habits in doing business. In order to overcome this challenge first I had to understand the culture and the mindsets of the Romanian people. Therefore I spent time with all my colleagues individually. For example, I had breakfasts with each of them separately and asked questions also about their private lives. Thankfully, they were all open and transparent in sharing their thoughts and life details which helped me understand their values and behaviors faster.
What has Romania brought to your life?
Peace and diversity. I am coming from a stressful environment where everybody has to rush every day. Here the people are more relaxed and more on the joy side of life. They give me the impression that almost all of them have the life motto of "enjoy the life instead of struggling with it". They also complain a lot too, but they complain when they feel or believe that they are missing the joy of life due to some circumstances they are forced to face.
And here they have more respect for the differences of others. I learned to care less about people unlike me. I am more tolerant of differences since I came here.
And last but not least, seven years in this beautiful country brought me a book of mine. I just finished writing a book about my observations and experiences both in business and private life here. It will be published in multi-language (Turkish/Romanian/English) soon.
How has Romania changed since you first arrived?
In seven years, I observe an increase in the tendency to consume more. Every year more and more people are undertaking large debts to buy a house or a car that they wouldn't have dared to a few years ago.
Also, I observe speed. The people here have also started to be in a rush. At least in big cities. When I arrived at the end of 2013, I was positively surprised to hear almost no car horns in traffic unless there was something serious. However, nowadays, I hear them honking every few minutes or even shouting out from the window to the other cars or even pedestrians. I see that the people are losing their patience. Is this due to the increase in the speed of life, or due to the heavier traffic? I don't know. But is this something better compared to a few years ago? Certainly not.
What are the three things you like most about Romania and why?
Peaceful environment. I feel like I am not getting older here due to much less stress than in my country.
The untouched nature outside the cities and the warmth of people there.
The balance in the relationship between females and males, which is not the case in Turkey.
What don't you like in Romania?
Bureaucracy. Although the IT infrastructure and software development here is one of the best in the region, there is still a lot of paperwork in public affairs. I hope this pandemic period will help improve the situation and force digitalization to hit bureaucracy earlier than expected.
And also the road conditions. Although I loved riding my motorbike in this beautiful country, the big holes everywhere on the roads and the bad conditions made riding even riskier; therefore, I even decided to sell my bike. This country deserves much better roads for its people and for its economic development.
What is your favorite place in Romania and why?
Herăstrău. Because I feel like at home there.
I love the park and the lake. If you ask me, it is the best in the world with its size and everything... with the tennis courts, bars, and restaurants there.
What is your favorite Romanian food?
As a Turk, sarmale, of course! :-)
(Photo courtesy of Tayfun Öneş)