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
-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
-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.
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.
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!
-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shahan Khan – Winner
-by Sanan Isayev
We conducted a trip to Konya on 17th December. Konya is a city in Central Anatolia in Turkey which has protected its name for centuries. Legend says that Perseus killed a dragon that had been ravaging the town. The people set up a special monument to honor him, a stone obelisk with an icon of Perseus carved in it. This event gave the city its name, Ikonyon, Ikonyum, Iconium.
We started our journey at the dormitories’ bus station on the main campus at 5:00 am. Our route was from Bilkent to Salt Lake (Tuz gölü) and afterwards to Konya. In total, the route was nearly 330 kilometers.
At 8:00 am we arrived at Salt Lake. When we reached there the weather was freezing, it was near -11C. Salt lake is the second largest lake in Turkey with its 1,665 km2 surface area and one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world. After resting and enjoying the majestic scenery for 30 minutes, we left for Konya.
Our first destination in Konya was Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden. It is the biggest butterfly museum in Europe. They have more than 19 kinds of butterflies from 5 different countries. The guide in Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden was 15 minutes. It was both educational and delightful tour.
After the guide, we were hungry and we went to eat etli ekmek. Etli ekmek is a pizza-like dish which originated in Konya in Turkey. “Etli ekmek” means “bread with meat” in Turkish. It is very common in cities in the central part of Turkey.
After resting for a while in the restaurant we left for the Mevlana Museum. It is the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian Sufi mystic also known as Mevlâna or Rumi. It was a privilege to get to know about the mystic part of Islam, founded or guided by Mevlana Jalauddin Rumi. The shrine of Rumi was there, and some other memories and relics. Even though it was crowded because of şeb-i arus (death day of Rumi) it was an enlightening and enjoyable experience.
Later, we left for visiting Alaeddin Hill, which is located in the city center though we did not stay there for long. We took photos, rested and went to have dinner at 6:30 pm at Kuzucu Ali where we had a specific type of kebab called ‘tandir kebab’. After dinner approximately at 8:00 pm we left Konya and arrived Bilkent at midnight.
On Thursday, October 27th BIH conducted a trip to Trabzon. Our interest was to learn about different aspects of Turkish culture, while exploring a new city. Since, Trabzon is one of the most scenic cities in Turkey and it is famous for its diverse culture in terms of- food, dances and music- it was a perfect spot for our purpose.
On Thursday, as planned we gathered at the dormitories’ bus station at 10:30 pm and left campus by 11:00 pm. We traveled 767 km in 12 hours, with 3 short stops. Our first and second stops were near grocery stores and gas stations with restrooms hence the stop did not last long. However, when we stopped for the third time at approximately 9:00 am, it was breakfast time and we were just an hour and half away from Trabzon. As a result, we stopped for breakfast at a restaurant. The view was spectacular and a Turkish-style breakfast was served to those who chose to eat.
At around 11:00 we arrived in Yılkaça at the Tirebolu hotel and checked-in. After resting for an hour we left the hotel for lunch at Angelique Café and Restaurant. It was an open buffet with a variety of delicious main dishes, salads and desserts.
At 1:30 pm we left for the Hagia Sophia Museum, after which we visited the Atatürk mansion. We explored the museums and took pictures in the magnificent historical areas. By 6:30 PM we returned to our hotel, rested for a while and had dinner in the dining area. Afterwards, at night, we went on a visit to a mountain-top area that has a view of the entire city. We stayed there until 11 pm and then returned to the hotel.
Trabzon by night
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, then checked-out to travel to Uzungöl . Uzungöl is a lake situated to the south of the city of Trabzon. Uzungöl is also the name of the village on the lake’s coast. Over the years, the picturesque lake, its village and the surrounding valley have become a popular tourist attraction. The lake is at a distance of 99 km from Trabzon’s city center. We had around 5 hours to spend at Uzungöl. There were a lot of things to do there including paddle boating, souvenir shopping, eating, cycling, and most importantly taking pictures with the most breathtaking views.
BIH at Uzungol
We departed from Uzungöl at around 5:30PM and directly hit the road back to Bilkent. The ride back lasted 12 hours and we finally reached Bilkent by 6AM.
Bilkent International House conducted its 2nd ever Think Pink Campaign, geared towards spreading awareness regarding Breast Cancer. The campaign took place on the 20th and 21st of October and included several Turkish and international students.
The campaign is the first ever Breast Cancer Awareness project at Bilkent University and was an initiative of Bilkent International House’s Forum members last year. This year the campaign spanned over 2 days and on the first day of the event a BIH stall was set up in front of A building. BIH members at the stall organized and conducted a quiz game to create awareness regarding the disease in an interesting and informative manner.
The quiz game allowed participants to answer questions regarding Breast Cancer and, in the case of successful answers, win a mini cupcake. Additionally, a social media activity required students to post pictures of themselves with the Breast Cancer Awareness photo frame on Instagram with the #ThinkPinkBilkent hashtag and win a candy floss as the prize. All interested students visiting the stall were handed informative flyers to help further raise awareness. The events were organized such that they created direct awareness through sharing of information as well as on a larger platform as Bilkent students learnt about the on-campus campaign through various social media outlets.
The second day comprised of a flash mob as students clad mainly in pink gathered outside the FF Building to form a pink human ribbon, so as to symbolize solidarity with Breast Cancer. A video was filmed on day two, that captured the efforts behind this idea as well as its completion. Participating students were also eligible to receive GE 250/251 points for the second event.
For further information and details, please view Bilkent International House’s official Facebook and Instagram pages, so as to be better acquainted with the visuals of the campaign. Bilkent International House aims to continue with raising awareness in its community through such socially responsible projects. Students with relevant ideas are welcomed to contact the club to put their plans into action.