SALEM, Va. – In the midst of historic peace talks between North and South Korea, a group of Roanoke College students is traveling to Seoul to be a part of the history.
"I realized this is such an important time for those that are North Korean that traveled down to South Korea in search of the freedom that they weren't able to get," Roanoke College student Tesa Ingram said.
Their three-week-long research project will focus on North Korean refugees in South Korea.
"Helping them to get adjusted to free, democratic South Korean society, it's not as easy as many people had hoped for," associate history professor Stella Xu said.
"Learn how South Korea is preparing and acclimating the North Korean refugees to their culture, to their business force, and just how are they able to become part of their society better," Ingram said.
Roanoke College is one of only eight schools awarded the more than $40,000 grant for the project. The process started back in August.
"The situation was so bad that I had to ask students, ‘Go back, talk to your parents, see if they are OK with it just in case we have the chance to go to South Korea.’ They all came back and said, ‘We're fine and we still want to do it,’" Xu said.
With the eyes of the world on the Korean peninsula, the timing couldn't be better.
"I feel very safe going at this time especially with the whole peace treaty going on. I never felt an ounce of fear, just excitement," Ingram said.
The group leaves on its trip Thursday.