Roanoke students studying in Palau receive warm welcome from U.S. Embassy

Pictures from Alex DeLaricheliere's blog detailing Roanoke students' May Term trip to Palau.

Pictures from Alex DeLaricheliere's blog detailing Roanoke students' May Term trip to Palau.

The U.S. Embassy of Palau recognized 15 Roanoke College students this week who are studying in the North Pacific Island through the end of May.

A picture of the group, along with Roanoke professor Dr. Chad Morris and anthropologist Kelly Duke, is featured on the embassy's website.

The Roanoke student group will conduct research on globalization and health issues in Palau as part of one of the College's May Term Intensive Learning courses. Their long term goals include creating programs designed to reduce disease rates and increase nutrition and food security.

Morris will return to Palau at the beginning of next year to present the group's findings to Palau's Minister of Health, Dr. Stevenson Kuartei.

Alex DeLaricheliere, a junior at Roanoke and a sociology major on this trip, is blogging about her group's role in Palau. This week she wrote:

"We don't just want to come in, do our thing, tell them what to do, and then leave. We want to do work that will help us create meaningful solutions that the Palauans themselves will actually want to implement. That's the only way we'll change the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases that plague so many Palauans."

DeLaricheliere also details in her blog the group's extensive traveling and daily experiences.  After close to 20 hours in-flight with connections in Atlanta and Tokyo, Japan, the group landed in the capital city of Koror earlier this week.

Aside from spending time at the Palau Community College during class, the group has visited other areas of the island chain, such as Ngerchelong. Ngerchelong, a state located at the northern tip of Babeldaob, an island, is one of the study sites where the students are conducting research, according to DeLaricheliere's blog.

Despite its relatively small population of 21,000, Palau sees as many as 150,000 tourists coming into the country each year. So far, the Roanoke group has visited Peleliu, one of the bloodiest and frequently forgotten battle sites of World War II.

To read more about the students' adventures in Palau, visit DeLaricheliere's blog.

--By Lauren Kennedy

Posted May 18, 2012