Students Gearing Up for the Mongol Rally

June 06, 2012

This July, a team of three SFU international studies students will stuff themselves into a small car and travel from Prague, Czechoslovakia, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, as part of the Mongol Rally, 2012. The Mighty Yaks, as they call themselves, are hoping for a smooth trip, but given the length of the journey—13 countries and 16,000 km—they can’t be sure.

“Our biggest concern is that the car will malfunction and that a mechanic won’t be able to fix it,” says Alli Cano, who returns to SFU this fall to complete her BA in international studies. “We just don’t know what to expect, but that’s kind of the fun part, too. We’re all really set on finishing and making it to Mongol, so not finishing would be a big disappointment.”

The trip takes the Yaks through the Middle East, including Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, and they won’t have any help from the organizers— they’ll have to rely on their own problem-solving skills and assistance from locals in order to finish the journey.

“The whole idea started at a monthly international studies dinner,” recalls Alli. “We all knew someone who had done it and we talked about how interesting it would be. Eventually, someone suggested we do it!”

Despite having to travel through politically volatile regions, Alli says they’re looking forward to all of it.

“We’re all getting really excited,” she says with enthusiasm. “Even our professors are excited for us! The SFU community has been really supportive and we couldn’t have raised all the funds without the support of the student’s union and FASS.”

The annual Mongol Rally is part adventure, part charity fundraiser. Teams have to raise £1,000, half of which goes towards the official Mongol Rally charity, which changes annually. This year, the money will go towards the Lotus Childrens’ Centre, a Mongolian charity that helps care for orphaned or abandoned children. The other half will go towards a charity of the team’s own choosing: Schools Building Schools.

The Mongol Rally starts on July 16th and the team will be making regular blog posts. Read about their adventure here or follow them on Twitter.

Note: Unfortunately, Jacob Lennheden is unable to make the journey, so Alli Cano, Kaisa Hartikainen, and Reid Standish will make the journey as a trio.


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