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Redefining study abroad, Formula racing style RIT worldwide

While RIT expands its study abroad programs, there are many international experiences RIT students participate in that have little to do with classrooms, but everything to do with learning opportunities.

This month, the RIT Formula Racing Team set off for Germany for its final competition of the season. The team gears up for three major events, two stateside, one international, all of them against some of the best teams from around the globe. And, just for the record, RIT is considered one of those best teams. RIT Formula has a great history, having won on the international stage from Australia to Great Britain.

I’ve had the pleasure of covering the team, news-wise, but with all the emphasis on study abroad for RIT’s students, I started to look at the competitions in a different light. Consider the team’s experiences: the locations, like Germany this year, Australia in the past, are places some people only dream about going to and the tracks the team competes on are often the same used for professional race teams.

All 76 teams from around the world lineup before the opening events of the Formula Student Germany competition. Photo by FSG

And the students who compete in Formula competitions, all speak essentially the same language—engineering and cars. From there, they can pretty much figure out the rest. But off the track, it seems that there is time to see a different slice of the world. Here’s an excerpt from one of the RIT Formula Team profile pages about their experiences in Germany:

“With testing at Ramstein finished, the team was able to enjoy a few days of sightseeing. On Monday the team visited Heidelberg Castle located outside of Mannheim, a castle dating back to the 1500s, which proved to be enormous and impressive. Tuesday the team ventured to the Deutches Museum, which chronicled all things imaginable, including aerospace, Internal Combustion engines, Medicine, Mining, Outer space, and numerous other genres. The museum was enormous and enlightening to our group comprised predominantly of engineers. The following day the team decided to venture to the BMW Museum, which proved to hold fascinating displays and beautiful cars.”

This is study abroad too.

Many Formula student-competitors become employed by racecar sponsors, such as Toyota, Moog, Polaris or Bosch, so the chances of interacting or working with a friendly competitor are possible. If ever there was a statement about the benefits of an international education, well, this is it.

RIT Formula team 2010

Connect with the team if you get a chance; talk to them about their competitions and big wins this year, and ask about their travels. The world became their classroom and the racetrack turned out to be the start of some very interesting lessons and conversations.

Read news story about RIT’s placement in the Formula Student Germany competition.

  1. Pete
    Aug 31

    What an eye opening article. I knew the team raced nationally in the US but never knew they had opportunities to race internationally. Michelle is right about the depth of the travel abroad experience. To experience those lands some of us only dream of visiting gives these students a better understanding of their opportunities and the choices they may make along the way. This incredibly shrinking world is still a really big place with more than a lifetime of experiences waiting to be explored. Congrats to the RIT Formula Team on a successful season of racing and learning. We couldn't be more proud of the students that represent RIT here in our home town, across the nation, and of course across the globe. GO TIGERS!

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