Study in North Korea

Do you want to study in a country where all the citizens are literate? North Korea is a country where 100% of the population is literate. This means that all the people of this country can at least read, write and communicate with people. This is a country where you have more than 10,000 schools. If you wish to study in a country where you will have no problem with the availability of drinking water, then this country is one of the plausible choices. Find out more about studying in North Korea in the following sections.

Although Korea was there before the but the birth of North Korea took place in the year 1948. This country has slowly has been to totalitarian policies of its leaders. So there has been an uproar about exploitation of human beings in this country. The current leader of this country is Kim Jong-un. He became the leader of North Korea in succession to his father Kim Jong-il. Kim Jong-il died in 2011 due to a heart attack. When Kim Jong-un became the leader, he executed various officers that were appointed during his father's leadership. He even executed his own uncle Jang Song-thaek for alleged planning and plotting to overthrow the government. Under Kim Jong-un's rule a lot of nuclear testing has been done. But he did sign a pact to stop launching any further missiles. Nonetheless, he continued missile launching just two months after he signed the pact. So as you may understand that governance of North Korea is not one where you can settle down and raise a family. In my suggestion, it is better not to think of settling down in this country. You can pursue education in North Korea. You should pursue jobs in India or any European country after pursuing higher studies from North Korea. It will not be an ideal country for citizenship.

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About North Korea

  • Geography and Locales-Unlike many other countries, the country of North Korea has a demilitarized zone. It protects North Korea from the forces of South Korea and other countries. It creates a barrier between the highly militarized belt of North Korea from other countries, like South Korea. Inside the demilitarized zone, there is a joint security area. It is the area where most of the settlements that are for the future benefit of North Korea were negotiated. If we come to the country of North Korea, then it is combined of mountains and valleys. The construct of this country is kind of beneficial for the military. The highest peak of this country is known as Paektu-san. This peak is situated on a volcanic mountain is known as Baekdu.
  • History-When North Korea was a part of Korea and Korea was undivided, the Japanese ruled this country. A lot of development was seen at that time. The Japanese built the hydroelectric dams and many other technologically advanced devices. The industrial sector saw huge progress during that time. It is said that this sector will suffer a decline in the coming 2-3 years. It was after the end of the Second World War, that Japan surrendered. After that, the rule of Japan on Korea ended. The country was divided into two parts. Initially United States ruled the souther part and Soviet Union ruled the Northern part. Finally, the reign of this country came under the Kim dynasty. Kim II Sung was the first leader of this Kim dynasty and belonged to the mount Paektu bloodline. Kim Jong-un is the current descendant and leader of North Korea.
  • Myths& Beliefs-It is believed that every hotel of North Korea is rigged with cameras. The hallways and rooms also have cameras. This is to monitor whether the people are planning something anti-government. That is why even tourists fear to say something in for or against the government even inside the hotel rooms. Some tourists have said that there was no hidden camera inside their rooms. Some still believe that the entire hotel was rigged with cameras. The actual truth is still unknown. Another widely believed myth is that you are not allowed to take photos in North Korea. This is not true, otherwise, you could have seen the beautiful locales of North Korea in the social media pages of the users. The tourists are allowed to take photographs of the locales they visit. Lastly, it was believed by many people that, the people of North Korea are allowed to have haircuts stipulated by the government. The government has given a list of haircuts from which the citizens can select their most appropriate haircut. Keeping any other haircut that is not given in the list is a punishable offence. But this is completely untrue. The citizens of this country have themselves confirmed that they can keep any haircut they want. No government restriction on them as such.
  • Economy-The economy of this country is not in a good shape. The economic failure is mainly due to the strict and despotic military rule in this country. When even developing countries have turned towards liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, North Korea is much behind. There is no organised government policy for privatisation. The agricultural sector, investment sector (especially the amount of private investments) and the service sector is suffering losses. There is lack of interest in private investments. There is almost no government patronage for this.

    Quick Facts

    • The official name of North Korea is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
    • The citizens of this county don't use Georgian calendar. They use something known as the Jusche calendar. This calendar was created with respect to the date of birth of the founder and leader of the Kim dynasty.
    • If your birthday is on 8th of July or 17th of December, and you are currently staying in North Korea, then you cannot celebrate that day. This is because these are the death days of the leaders of the Kim dyansty. So if you are a student in North Korea, then you have to strictly follow this rule that you shouldn't celebrate your birthday, if it coincides with these two dates.
    • It is already mentioned that the country suffers from a poor economy. The reason is, somewhat the autocratic rule prevailing there and the miscalculations done in the governance. That is why most people of this country suffer from hunger and poverty. So if you wish to study in North Korea, choose a subject that is rarely found in our country. Many languages and management classes are rarely found in India. You can think of studying them in North Korea.

    Admission Process in North Korea

    • Firstly, you must pay the application fee and fill up the application form. You must fill all the areas. No field should be kept blank. The admission fee is non-refundable. Once you transfer the fee to the account of the university, you will not get it reimbursed, if you are not selected.
    • You must submit the photocopies of the mark sheets and certificates of class 10,12, graduation/ master's degree as applicable. For example, if you are applying for an undergraduate course, then the mark sheets and pass certificates of class 10 and 12 will suffice. You must also submit a proof of your birth certificate.
    • You must submit a photocopy of your passport. The photocopy should show the date of issuance and the validity period. The passport must have a remaining validity of more than six months.
    • Some universities require a statement of purpose and a cover letter signed by the candidate. The cover letter will contain the course that you wish to take admission in and the statement of purpose describes why you have chosen that university and why you need to study the subject you have chosen.
    • You must clear either TOEFL, IELTS to prove your proficiency in speaking and writing English. This will be required by those courses which requires communication or proficiency in English Language.
    • You need to submit either a copy of your blood reports or a fit certificate signed by your house physician. This medical certificate should certify that you don't possess any physical or mental disease.
    • Last but not the least, you must submit a copy of the proof of your bank balance. Many universities check if the candidate has the financial potential to complete the course in their university. You need to submit the front page of your passbook (containing your name and address). Along with this, you must submit the photocopy of the final page of your passbook.

    Student Visa Application Process

    Whether you come to North Korea for six months (to participate in a student exchange program) or for a month (to participate in summer or winter schools), or for five case of higher education), you will require a student visa. When you want to study in North Korea, you will require D-2 visa. This same visa is applicable whether you are coming to this country for a summer school or a workshop or a 6 year long doctoral program. There is a separate D-4 type of visa. This is applicable to those students who are applying for Korean Language in a language school of North Korea. But if you are willing to do a six month internship in this country, then D2 visa is not applicable for you. A D2 visa is also not applicable for those students who are in their final years of their undergraduate or postgraduate courses and have applied for internships in North Korea for the final lap of their course.


    The lifestyle of a student in this country is dependent on what the leader thinks or wills. Quite a few citizens of North Korea have shared this point.Kim Jong-un is very brutal as a leader. As already mentioned before, right after he became the leader, he executed many of his officials. So if you enroll for a course in North Korea, you will be in for quite some dictatorship. He has made it quite impossible for the citizens of North Korea to cross its border and escape to other countries. The border securities are pretty tough. This country is very strict about those who speak against the governance. The citizens are not even allowed to criticize the government at home. There is even a strict vigilance on the movies and television channels the citizens watch. The international students will experience the same kind of vigilance too.
    North Korea will not disappoint in the matter of food. Dis you know that there are certain dishes that are cooked in petrol? North Korean clams are one of these kinds. The clams are dipped in 500 ml bottles of petrol, and they are sent on fire to be roasted. The same is done by putting the clams on concrete slabs and setting them on fire.The petrol helps in cooking the clams. No other kind of oil is used. If you have been to Northe Korea earlier for a pleasure trip, then you must have eaten such clams. If you don't have any restriction regarding the non-vegetarian food items, then you can think of having a North Korean meal with your friends during the lunchtime. This is a wholesome dish and you can think of sharing one meal with one or two friends. One of the main ingredients in this dish is beef rib soup. This is just like a very light chicken curry with vegetables like radish, carrot. You can create your own Indian version of it by replacing beef ribs with chicken ribs and adding other vegetables to the soup. If you are not allergic to seafood, then you can cook rice and a traditional North Korean Kimchi at home and take it with you for lunch. A North Korean Kimchi consists of cabbage, raddish, ginger etc. Along with that, seafood is added. Again, you can make your Indian version of the Kimchi by replacing seafood with something else. However, according to the citizens of North Korea, the seafood makes this dish so tasty. This is a wholesome side dish to go with rice.
    The tuition fees of the courses in North Korea are quite moderate. The fee for higher education like PhD. courses start from Rs.2,50,000. This fee could vary based on the university you are applying. The best thing about many of the higher education institutes of North Korea is that they provide scholarships to students. Some institutes have the provision of full scholarship that means, a full waiver on the tuition fee of the course. If you think of studying Korean Languages or any other foreign language for a short term in North Korea, then the fee required will be even lesser. The course fee for such classes is around 800-1000 US dollars for a month. You will be able to learn many new languages in such institutes. Many such languages are not taught in India.

    Cost of Living for Students

    Accommodation-It is said that the hostels of North Korea are good with lots of comforts. You will get Wi-Fi connection, cleaning staff in the morning and some provide complementary breakfast in the morning. The cost of the hostel starts from 10,000 North Korean won. The cost may rise depending on the extra utilities available in the hostel. You can also get some private rooms that will cost you on per day basis. These are applicable for those candidates whose parents come to visit them once in a year or twice a year. The cost of the private rooms are quite moderate. This starts from around 3500 won per day. Although you can get private rooms for as high as 1,00,000 won.
    Food-If you think of eating out most of the times, then you should set aside around Rs.10,000 per month. You will not find most of the popular restaurants or food giants like KFC in North Korea. Nonetheless, many food giants are thinking of opening new outlets in this country. However, the restaurants of North Korea very tasty food. The food quality is good and it is quite cheap. Within Rs.70 you will get a wholesome meal in a standard restaurant of North Korea. If you are sharing a flat with few roommates, then you should cook at home to cut further down on the costs. In case of hostels, sometimes the breakfast and dinner are provided and some additional costs are charged. You can also think of having lunch in the university canteen. In some universities, the cost of lunch is included in the tuition fee. In some cases, you will have to pay some addition fee for the lunch.
    TransportationYou can buy monthly passes for around Rs.3000. This would be better for you, rather than buying tickets on everyday basis. There are buses and taxis available for daily transport. Keep taxis for emergency purpose only. Trains are also available for communication. You can board trains only if you are taking a long journey. No local trains available for going to universities near your locality. So if you want to go to colleges and universities near your locality keep buses as the first priority and taxis as the second priority.

    Documents for University Admissions in North Korea

    1. First of all, you have to fill up the visa application for. Either fill it up online and then take a print out or fill it up after you take a print out.
    2. You require the original acceptance or invitation letter signed by the president of the Korean University. Unless you receive this invitation or acceptance letter you will not be eligible to apply to any Korean University.
    3. You would have to submit a proof of your birth certificate.
    4. The validity of your passport must remain for at least for six more months and at least one of the visa pages must remain empty.
    5. You need one recent 2 * 2 passport size photographs. The face should be clearly visible. There should not be any headgear or veil in the photograph. Such things will onlye be allowed if it is a religious compulsion. The photograph should be colored. There is no restriction regarding the background of the photograph. The only thing is that the background should be of light color.
    6. You may have to submit the copy of your air ticket. This serves as a proof of your stay period in North Korea. The date of starting your flight, flight number, date of entry in North Korea is required by the visa office. If you don't possess the return ticket while applying for the visa, the stay period or the course duration should be clearly mentioned in the acceptance letter.
    7. You have to submit a proof that you did not have any criminal record in the past.
    8. You will have to submit the blood test reports for a few contagious diseases. All the reports should be negative in order to prove that you don't contain any contagious disease. Few of the tests include a test for tuberculosis, HIV, etc.
    9. You need to show that your bank balance is more than either 3000 US dollars or 10000 US dollars. Former is the case where a student applies for a certificate course of 6-8 months. The latter is the case where a student applies for a degree or a master's course. The front page and the final page of the passbook of your bank account will suffice for this.

As a child or in the primary and secondary schools a student learns the different aspects of communism. Learning communism is one part of the curriculum in schools. Along with this, the other regular subjects like Mathematics, Physics, etc. are there. The students are taught about the evolution of communism and the ideology behind communism. These schools (either primary or secondary) fall under the General School System of Korea. The primary level of education is continued for four years and then the secondary education continues for six years. Here higher education means enrolling in a university. Let us look at the list of universities in North Korea and the subjects they offer.

The following is a list of North Korean universities and colleges, and the subjects offered in those universities or colleges.

  1. Korea University-Subjects taught-Architectural Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, Environment, Global and International Studies and much more. My suggestion would be choose this university, if you want to pursue a career in East Asian Studies or Public Administration. This university contains an elaborate curriculum in these two subjects. There are few other subjects like Psychology, Sociology, Humanities, etc. which are also available in most institutes of India. Therefore, it will not be fruitful for your career, if you go to North Korea to study these subjects. Again, subjects like Journalism, Political Science, etc. are taught from a different perspective in this university. So if you wish have an international outlook in these subjects or you wish to become an international reporter or a leader, then you should come to study either Journalism or History or Political Science in this university. You can also think of enrolling in a student exchange program after you study for one year in this university. Under this program you will be transferred to an institute in some other country to study your subject. You have to spend a minimum of six months in a university, in a country, which are affiliated under the student exchange program with Korea University. You will be given a few assignments or a few assignments which are to be covered in the foreign university. Almost all the resources of that university will be accessible to you. You will be able to attend classes of the most renowned scholars and teacher of that university and study new topics. So Korea University is one of the best choices to study in North Korea.
  2. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology-Subjects taught-This institute is famous for various engineering disciplines, for example, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, etc. There are also various subjects under management and finance categories. This university has a high number of students and faculties. The faculty to student ratio is 12:1. So the students get a better grasp of the subject. They get more time of the faculties. This university has very scientifically built educational facility. There is a facility to research in most of the master's courses. The master's courses are designed in a way that students can learn and innovate. The research courses include the facility of independent research and thesis research. These courses also include internship programs. An internship program could be paid or unpaid. In either case, you will be called for a period of 2-6 months in any company or academic organization. You will be given some duties that the company or organization performs in its day-to-day curriculum. You will have to record data and do other jobs assigned to you. Based on your performance, you will given some scores that will be added to your final result.
  3. Pohang University of Science and Technology-Subjects taught-This is an ideal university for those Indian students who have passed M.Tech and looking for a PhD. course. My suggestion is that, apply for an integrated MS and PhD. course in your relevant discipline over here. Once you complete the MS course, you will be automatically eligible for the PhD. course. Sometimes, there could be a criterion for some cut-off marks. If the final marks obtained in MS is more than the cut-off set by the university, you will be selected for the PhD. course. You will get MS in a lot of advanced subjects like Material Science and Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, etc.
  4. Yonsei University-Subjects taught-You can study East Asian and Korean Studies in this university. These are the main subjects that are pursued by many international students. This university organizes for summer schools. Many new topics are taught in a span of 6-8 weeks to the students. Professors of various subjects, who are experts in multiple disciplines, are called from various universities. Once you are a student of this university, you might get a discount on the fee of the summer schools. There are winter schools and student exchange programs offered by this university. These can be opted by any international student. One interesting thing about these winter schools is that, the students of this university will get a chance to study in a South Korea university. The topics to be taught will be jointly decided by both the universities of the two countries. Although unlike in the case of student exchange programs, you will not be able to access all the resources of the university. Few of the resourses are restricted from student access. Generally the library resources, university journals, etc. aren't given to students who enroll for a winter school program. Such students get the access to the laboratory related to their winter school though.

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