Bilkent is one of the wealthier, more liberal schools in Turkiye. But aside from the architecture, and the marble everywhere - there is marble in the library, marble in the business and science faculty buildings, marble in the gym - one of the largest difference between this campus and home is the distribution of eating spaces. There are small, apparently privately-owned cantinas serving a variety of foods - döner, hamburgers, çay, cola, and the traditional yogurt drink ayran - all over campus, in the dorms either side of the street from mine. Near the library lies Marmara, a cafeteria-style eatery where lunch with either of two entree options is 5.50 Lira at most.
Hamburgers are a perfect example of the subtler differences. At the cantina nextdoor, the patties are thin, and burgers are served with tomato slices and something resembling coleslaw in a bun grilled panini-style. The first bite was both surprising and surprisingly good, as i discovered peas in the mysterious condiment.
A short walk away from Yurt 72 lies the "Oğrençi Yurtlar Spor Salonu", or student dormitories fitness center. Here again, the contrast of familiar and foreign was a jarring one. The fitness machines are the same make as in the Student Rec Center back home, save a generation or two older. I could use them in my sleep. But on my first visit, i was informed that muscle shirts or tank tops - anything less than a full tişört - are prohibited, and nearly asked to leave.