**The following excerpt has been taken from Akbar Khan’s blog, who is an international student at Bilkent University. You can read the full post here**
The name Real is already synonymous with all associated with Bilkent. Arguably the easiest supermarket where any student can buy anything that he or she is in need off. To give my own account; in my first year, I lived with my brother in the same dormitory room and we bought all our necessities from under one roof: Real. Ranging from school supplies such as pens or notebooks to toiletries, cutlery, crockery, kitchen utensils and hangers for the dorm cupboards. No matter how inconsequential the item may seem, Real has you covered. The supermarket has a food court as well as other great restaurants situated in Bilkent Station, which borders with Real. These restaurants include Pizza il Forno, Quick China and Duble Doner that satisfy your taste buds and fill your stomachs before or after a grocery shopping session. Furthermore, these are located in the same vicinity as Bilkent Prestige Cinema, which caters well to all your theatrical pop culture desires. Bilkent Center is annexed with the Ankuva Mall which has a few decent shops and restaurants but the write-home factor is the Roll House bowling alley in the basement. Students always enjoy a good bowling session with friends over the weekend.
I’ve mentioned all the plus points, but now a quick overview of the cons surrounding Bilkent Center. The walk from Real to the Nizamiye (entrance) bus stop, seems to be a daunting task if one is carrying heavy grocery bags as the return path tends to be inclined uphill. I once ended up hurting my back whilst carrying a pack of 6 liters worth of fuse tea and other beverages in both hands. Therefore, for such cases it would be advisable to either go grocery shopping with a few friends so as to share the weight, or take a cab if suitable. Moreover, students must also coordinate their journey according to the bus schedules that take them from the Nizamiye to the dormitories or else they might have to wait longer than usual. The restaurants in Bilkent Station might rank in the slightly higher price range so frequenting them every time you buy your groceries is not exactly an economical decision (this depends on each individual’s personal budget of course). Furthermore, the animated films at Bilkent Prestige Cinema tend to be dubbed in Turkish, which might be disappointing for international students who are not fluent in the language. Lastly, Ankuva does not offer much variety in terms of shopping and most students tend to visit the place mainly due its bowling alley, gaming zone or to visit one of the banks located in the mall.