Cesme and Ephesus Trip 2017

Cesme

 

By

Alisa Hyat Khan

The Bilkent International House kicked off October with a flavorful weekend trip to to the Aegean Sea Coast of Turkey (6th-8th October). 46 students of various nationalities boarded the large Bilkent bus on Friday night prepared for what was expected to be a gruelling 9 hour journey, however the ample rest-stops and positive morale of the travellers made it anything but monotonous.

The journey included a small birthday celebration on the bus, various games being played across the vehicle and of course, given the time, plenty of sleeping. At around 8:00 am on Saturday morning we reached a remote town 3 km from the better known Ephesus region where a lavish Turkish breakfast was arranged complete with cheeses, breads, condiments, çay, etc.

Straight afterwards the group visited the ancient Greek ruins of Ephesus; the natural aesthetic beauty and continual great weather followed us through the entire two hour walk amongst the statues and stone amphitheaters. Apart from taking a variety of photographs, we splurged on ice-creams and a plethora of fridge magnets before getting back on the bus to continue the journey onward to Çeşme.

We reached the five star Boyalik Beach Hotel and Spa at midday and checked-in smoothly. Whatever lethargy one had expected to experience vanished as the remainder of the day was spent on the beach or in the crystal clear turquoise water.

Dinner was at the hotel; a buffet complete with steaks, salads, desserts, various drinks and a view of the well-lit pool. At 8 pm, we departed once more towards Alaçatı, a quaint, charming town twenty minutes from Çeşme. We roamed the cobbled streets, maneuvered through lively cafés and pubs, witnessed an elaborate proposal complete with fireworks thus making our own experience all the more magical.

After evading a distant, looming thunderstorm all day, we fell at the mercy of the clouds at midnight when the majority of the travellers were tucked away in their rooms or relaxing on balconies at the hotel.
The rain served as a fitting finale for the eventful weekend as we made our way back to Ankara the following afternoon.

We reached Bilkent at 10:30 pm, happily exhausted and fully satisfied with the entire trip.

Off-Campus Food Options

by

Nausherwan Aziz

After arriving on campus and enjoying the awesome food options available within Bilkent, you probably would want to try something different or might just simply be confused by the plethora of options available on Yemeksepeti, Turkey’s biggest food delivery service. Hence to help solve this problem, we thought it would be a good idea to give freshmen a comprehensive list of the best food options available off-campus, to make sure you can easily discover the best that Ankara has to offer.

Desert and Ice Cream:

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Elizinn

Elizinn is one of those cafés that instantly resonate with every foodie; they offer a vast array of delectable cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits and Turkish deserts with a lot of savoury food options as well. It is definitely one of the best and most popular places to have some desert while enjoying the hustle and bustle of Tunali Street. A cup of coffee and a slice of their best selling puff pastry cake with strawberries (çilekli milföy pasta) will cost around 20 TL.

Tint

Tint is a restaurant serving a wide array of tantalising dishes and cuisines but we highly recommend their waffles and their fries. The waffles will cost you around 20 TL and the fries are a large bucket with an assortment of sauces for around 15 TL. For waffle enthusiasts, this is one of your best options in the city.

Kahve Dunyasi (branches all over Ankara)

Kahve Dunyasi is a chain of coffee shops all over Turkey, they have a great selection of ice cream (costs around 4 TL per scoop) and coffee along with a wide array of chocolate, cakes and pastries.

Mado (branches all over Ankara)

Mado is a similar chain to Kahve Dunyasi but is arguably more reknown for its ice cream than Kahve Dunyasi (the former has a stronger reputation for coffee and chocolate). Mado also has a stellar selection for coffee, desert and ice cream (their baklava is a must have as well).

Bonapple

Bonapple is a cozy patisserie which offers a delicious array of deserts such as cinnamon cookies, cheesecakes, apple strudel, Boston cream pie, etc. The apple strudel is one of the highly recommended deserts to try at Bonapple. A slice of the apple strudel with tea would cost around 20 TL.

Savoury Options:

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The Bigos (multiple branches in Ankara)

The Bigos is one of those few places that not only offer a great selection of food but also have a stellar ambiance to go with it, and for this reason is usually close to being full. Offering a wide array of options including burgers, fajitas, fried chicken and much more, the Bigos is also not very expensive (15-20 TL per person). Hence it offers great value for money and is undoubtedly one of those places that you will tend to visit frequently during your time in Ankara.

Misir (multiple branches in Ankara)

Misir, while being similar to Bigos in terms of it being a crowd favourite, has a couple of notable differences, it has nargile (sheesha or water pipe) and a facility for screening of football matches. Misir offers an appetising selection of main courses (the five cheese ravioli is a must have) and desserts as well (do try the fried ice cream).

Oncu and Antakya durum

Oncu and Antakya durum (a dürüm is a wrap that is usually filled with typical döner kebab ingredients) remain two of the most favourite durum choices of students at Bilkent, Oncu is 6 TL for Tavuk (Chicken) Durum and Antakya would set you back around 9 TL. Antakya is on Esat Caddesi (close to the Tunus bus stop by walk) and Oncu has multiple branches in the city including one in Kizilay.

Hosta

Hosta is a fast food chain of freshly made Turkish food with doner being their speciality, any of the doner options are bound to be of a very good standard and the prices vary between 10-20 TL for a meal usually including fries and a drink as well. Their iskender kebab is also a very enjoyable and fulfilling meal.

Frites

Frites is an amazing place for anyone and everyone who loves french fries, since they serve an amazing quality of fries with an amazing selection of sauces that are bound to tantalise your taste buds! Definitely a must try option especially for those who like fries.

Otantik

Otantik is a chain of kumpir (a dish similar to a baked potato but you get to choose your fillings, is a very popular and tasty Turkish dish) outlets spread throughout Ankara. The mexican kumpir comes highly recommended and the price for a kumpir varies between 15-20 TL depending upon the amount of fillings you add.

Big Bang Burger

Big Bang Burger is a favourite of the student and burger loving community of Ankara, they have a great choice in burgers (price ranges between 13-20 TL) and also serve amazing side orders such as Mozzarella sticks and their loaded Gringo fries. As a bonus if you choose to eat at the outlet you also get bottomless soft drink refills as well.

Simit Sarayi

Simit Sarayi is a chain of places that serve simit (bread) and has a great selection of sandwiches, toasts, wraps and is a very popular choice for students especially for breakfast. The prices are between 10-20 TL depending on what you order.

HD Iskender

HD Iskender just as the name suggests is a chain of restaurants serving Iskender kebab, you’ll find HD Iskender in many places and almost every food court of any major mall in Ankara (or Turkey for that matter), the Iskender kebab is delicious and served in a signature style that’s unique to the franchise, hence it’s a must have and usually becomes a frequent destination for students in the mood for Iskender kebab.

Nusr-et Steakhouse

Nusr-et is not only home to the iconic Salt Bae Nusret himself but it also offers steaks and other meat dishes that taste as good as they look! Make no mistake, this is an expensive and luxurious option (around 150 TL per person), but is also something that a student should try at least once during the stay in Ankara, since it is basically nirvana on a plate for meat eaters (their baklava with vanilla ice cream is also absolutely outstanding).

Pizza and other delivery options

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There are multiple pizza options to get delivered to the comfort of your home, and a lot of these have amazing deals as well:
-Papa John’s has an amazing deal for a large pepperoni pizza for around 28 TL which is a very popular option availed by students especially for large gatherings, their cheese pizza is also to be recommended.
-Pizza Hut and Domino’s both keep changing their deals on offer but usually have special promotions for campus so keep an eye for both the options to be able to get a good deal from time to time.
-Sun Brothers is another option for pizza fanatics which is very popular on campus, and like other pizza places we would recommend keeping a look out for promotions which will help to make sure that the pizza tastes just a little bit better.
-Zadegan is another great option for ordering food on campus, it costs around 20 TL but the food is very good and is one of the best options for ordering Turkish food on campus.
-There are multiple other options which you can browse through using the Yemeksepeti app (click here for IOS and here for Android) which is Turkey’s only major home delivery service with a wide variety of restaurants available to choose from.

A day trip to Eskisehir

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by Sabuhi Osmanov

Apart from enjoying the campus life at Bilkent and living in Ankara, it is a must to start traveling around Turkey during your student life here. Mostly populated with students and young people, Eskisehir is one of most beautiful destinations to visit in Turkey thanks to its natural beauty and diverse cuisine. You may click here to have more idea about the uniqueness of the city.

Eskisehir is located around 235 km from Ankara, which allows you to reach by car or by bus in less than 3 hours, however purchasing online tickets and taking the high-speed train which arrives at the downtown in 1.5 hours maximum is the best option time-wise, especially if you are traveling with a group of friends.

It would be a good idea to take the earliest train possible in the morning to Eskisehir and latest train possible back to Ankara. Upon arrival, also recommended is to follow the tramway lines and walk to Odunpazarı station, and to take dolmuş no. 17 from there to Sazova Park, where you can spend time in the so-called Disneyland and visit the Sazova Aquiarium. After coming back to Odunpazarı in the afternoon, it is suggested to have traditional çibörek for lunch at Kırım Tatar Kültür Çibörek Evi, and then start going through places such as Balmumu Museum, Contemporary Glass Art Museum, and many other museums. Afterwards, it is better to pass through Aladdin Park located in front of Odunpazarı, walk besides the tramway lines and see the city municipality, and then continue to Adalar located near the Porsuk River. It is possible to take a boat tour, and then have dinner at Travelers’ Cafe, with the option to have nargile in one of the cafes, or just sit by the river on the grass area. After enjoying the active city life, it is almost a must to take either dolmuş no. 1 or a taxi or to walk from Aladdin Park in order to check out the view of Eskisehir from above and have tea or Turkish coffee at Şelale Park. Before taking the train back to Ankara, you may want to go to Barlar sokağı or sit in Varuna Gezgin cafe, being one of unique cafes in Eskisehir.

There are actually a lot more to do in Eskisehir, and one never gets bored of visiting this beautiful and unique place of Turkey.

 

International Festival 2017

By

Nausherwan Aziz

On Sunday, 23rd April 2017, Bilkent International House (BIH) and South Asian Cultural Club(SACC) co-hosted this year’s International festival. The festival was a vibrant event, with an amazing display of cultures by 22 nations from the Bilkent student community. The international festival has grown into one of the most anticipated events on campus and this year’s edition served up a mesmerizing array of performances by extremely talented members of our multi-cultural student community.

The cultural melange featured extravagantly decorated stalls made by students which were showcasing their respective country’s culture while some of the stalls also featured delicious food which added an extra bit of oomph to the already brilliant set-up by the countries. It was also heartening for the Host clubs and participants alike to see so many members of Ankara’s diplomatic community (including members from Embassy of Ghana, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan
And Taipei Economic and Cultural Mission) in attendance to support their students and enjoy the festival as well. There were some extremely lively and mesmerizing performances by the participating countries, which were primarily a mixture of cultural songs and dance performances.

Each performance had its own unique style but all of them captivated the audience with equal style and vigour. The performances included soul stirring singing performances from representatives of Azerbaijan, Turkey, South Korea, Kyrgyz Republic and Pakistan. These were mixed and matched with dance performances that were not only brilliantly choreographed but also carried with them an infectious energy that created an electric atmosphere. Albania, Azerbaijan and Pakistan worked extremely hard to perform multiple great dance performances and kept the crowd thoroughly entertained as a result of their efforts. Overall this was a highly enjoyable event for everyone in attendance and was a stellar representation of the ever-growing multicultural student community at Bilkent.
Some glimpses of the International festival can be seen on our facebook page here

Kapadokya Trip 2017

-by Nausherwan Aziz

On 11th and 12th of March, Bilkent International House hosted a quick getaway to Kapadokya in collaboration with Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Bilkent. The trip was extremely thorough in terms of the number of sites that all those who were in the group managed to see in the short duration of the trip. It was also an extremely enjoyable holiday, the highlight of it definitely being the memorable and riveting Turkish night.

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The trip started with a quick stop at the beautiful Salt Lake for breakfast, which was then followed by a guided tour of the mesmerising Kaymaklı underground city in Nevşehir. After the tour of the underground city, there was lunch at the famous Uranos restaurant, which served a scrumptious four course meal within a charming atmosphere with beautiful live music, which was perfect to tie the whole package together. After the lunch, we proceeded towards the hotel for some much needed R&R and catch some Z’s. After resting for a while, the entourage moved towards Yaşar Baba Restaurant for the Turkish night, which was full of incredible food, brilliant Turkish cultural medleys, and traditional dances and performances. The night lasted until 11 but the buzz created by it carried on until much later.

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The next morning we began a guided tour of the city which started with the colourful and enchanting Pigeon Valley. After taking a few photos the next stop was close to the Uçhisar Castle, which was another fantastic place to buy souvenirs and take breath-taking photos, while also managing to take in some of the roaring wind that was blowing around that area. The trip then proceeded towards the Open Air Museum in Göreme, which had picturesque, boutique sized churches made within caves and some underground structures.

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These paintings despite being thousands of years old, held a great charm and gave deep insight into the religious customs of Christianity in that era (some of the caves even had skeletons from ancient graves). After the Churches, everyone proceeded to Han Restaurant for a delicious lunch with a wide variety of dishes being served at the buffet. The last two stops for the trip was a pottery shop where the pottery maker, using an archaic kick wheel technique, produced magnificent pieces of pottery which were part of a 200 year old family tradition, and Turasan winery that is famous in the region, where our group had the great pleasure of tasting different wines.

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Alas, all good things must come to an end and this trip was sadly not an exception to this rule. The two enthralling days no doubt created memories that all those who were on the trip will cherish forever.

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BIH TALK: How To Change Your Destiny

-by Minahil Hussain Malik

On March 8th, in a warm lit seminar room, Ziyad Hasanen gave a motivational speech based on the book “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins. The speech was well organized, starting with the main argument of how one can, by developing his/her ideas, change their destiny. Ziyad futher explained how setting goals in life is an essential step towards altering your destiny. If you prioritize your ambitions and become sure of which aims you want to pursue in life, there is a smaller chance of being led astray. As a result of this act of ‘sorting’ out your ideas, one can be more successful in achieving his/her goals.

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Ziyad Hasanen

 

 

Our speaker with his exuberant manner was extremely convincing in the propositions he made. He connected the speech and himself to the audience by taking it to a personal level, and giving examples from his own life.

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Before signing off I would like to add a little bit regarding Ziyad’s book choice. The book is quite inspiring and encourages its readers to broaden the way that they think. The writer advises us to be clear in our decisions and not to be scared of taking bold steps. According to him, making decisions is something that should be enjoyed. I would definitely recommend this to anyone feeling discouraged during the semester, or feeling like their decision-making ability is a mess. Hope you guys check this out!

BIH FIFA17 Tournament

 

-By Nausherwan Aziz

Bilkent International House held its historic first ever Fifa tournament on Saturday 25th February at Playstation Game House on Bestekar street. The tournament had 44 participants from all around the Bilkent community and the players had selected teams from across the top European leagues in their quest for glory.

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The tournament started off with 3 knockout rounds, each more intense than the last, and quickly managed to create a riveting atmosphere resembling the intensity of a real life football tournament. Elation, despair, shock, and awe had all gripped the venue as matches varied from 7-1 drubbings to closely fought matches decided via the ever cruel penalty shoot-out.

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Some of the early favourites lost within these knockout rounds, hence the playing field was very much open going into the group stage. It was in the group stages that 6 of the best remaining players played valiantly in an effort to make it to the semi-finals. Ultimately, after the two nail biting semi-finals, it came down to Shahan Khan’s FC Barcelona vs Sarp Köksal’s Real Madrid in a fitting El-Classico rivalry to conclude the tournament.

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The final had an intense aura surrounding it, not only due to the pressure of the final itself, but also due to the vocal support of those cheering on both Sarp and Shahan. Ultimately, Shahan Khan emerged victorious with a 1-0 score line to be crowned the inaugural champion of the BIH Fifa tournament.

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Sarp Köksal – Runner Up

 

Having seen the quality of the players and the skills showcased throughout the tournament, the level of competition will only be strengthened in future installments of this tournament. Many members of Bilkent’s avid Fifa community will be lying in wait for the second edition of the tournament to be able to claim the title of Bilkent’s best Fifa player for themselves.

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Shahan Khan – Winner