North Korea seeking short-term English teachers - for a fee

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The new apartment buildings on Changjon Street in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, home to the most elite residents of the city. The city looks "just like Dubai" in the words of one government-appointed minder.   Anna Fifield/The Washington Post
From Stripes.com
The new apartment buildings on Changjon Street in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, home to the most elite residents of the city. The city looks "just like Dubai" in the words of one government-appointed minder. Anna Fifield/The Washington Post

North Korea seeking short-term English teachers - for a fee

by: Ashley Rowland | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: January 27, 2015

SEOUL, South Korea — Looking to beef up your teaching resume? Like to get off the beaten path? North Korea, one of the most reclusive countries in the world, might be just the answer.

London-based Juche Travel Services, which arranges travel packages to the North, is now offering volunteers one-month stints teaching English and tourism management and development at the Pyongyang Tourism College.

Even though the North isn’t exactly known as a travel hotspot, Juche Travel’s David Thompson told the Mirror newspaper that the country wants to expand its tourism services in coming years and needs more foreign-language skills and travel expertise to do so.

The company hopes to run the program in May and November.

Volunteers will visit “scenic places of interest” across the country on weekends, according to Juche’s website, but Thompson said they will not be allowed to move freely. Previous visitors to the country have been tightly controlled by government minders and prevented from interacting with locals, and have reported having their cell phones confiscated. Many said they suspected their computers and hotel rooms were bugged.

But Thompson said that “by building bridges and engaging with the country, you are helping to break down mistrust and preconceptions that have persisted for the past 60-odd years. That can only be a good thing."

While the program is being run on a non-profit basis, volunteers must pay an “arrangement fee” of 1,000 euros, or approximately $1,117, to cover the costs of their stay.

rowland.ashley@stripes.com

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