North Korea’s International University

A trail of thirtyish couples with coffees in hand floated on the streets this morning, like wood planks and barrels from a wreck at sea. Gradually their density increased as I approached a hulking shape looming through the fog, which turned out to be an elementary school releasing parents with free coffees as they returned to their now-childless homes.

It’s back-to-school season in America.

North and South Korea both operate on different school calendars; for them, the school year begins in spring. When I taught English in South Korea, the school year ended in December and started again in early March. North Korean schools start about a month later at the beginning of April.

The difference is probably hard to imagine for most Americans; it conflicts with our whole concept of summer as a time of vacation, of idleness and play, of long days to fill with things other than school.

But for all the difference, going back to school is pretty much the same in spirit everywhere. Kids still have that anxious, excited energy to them and haven’t yet rediscovered the boredom of regular school days. And parents still want to take photos with their darlings before leaving them.

Parents take photos with their children on the first day of school at Pyongyang Middle School No. 1 on April 2, 2012. (Photo credit AP Photo / Jon Chol Jin). 

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MOU Overseas Student Correspondent 2012 Application

The Ministry of Unification is pleased to announce the Overseas Student Correspondent Program which offers motivated undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work as student correspondents for our Ministry.

This is an opportunity for students to interact and dialogue with North Korean defectors, South Korean college students, South Korean government officials, and other professionals involved in various aspects of the North Korean defectors’ resettlement process in the Republic of Korea.

Students will also be given the opportunity to produce creative videos on unification and participate in the Youth Leaders for Unification Camp.
Currently, we are looking for suitable candidates.

Interested students are requested to submit their resume, application form, cover letter, 1 passport-sized photo, and short writing sample (1 page max)  to by Friday, March 30th, 2012.

Selected applicants will be notified by email by April 3rd to schedule for a phone interview. The interviews will take place on April 4th – 6th.  All applicants must state the name of the internship in the subject line of the email.

Program Description 2012

Ministry of Unification Overseas Correspondents Application Form