A North Korea Q&A

Last month Ann Loseva, a fellow teacher in Moscow, asked me to answer some questions from one of her students about North Korea. She asked me because I visited the country in 2010 and had written about it for the travel website Global Grasshopper. She had used the article with her student who wanted to know more, so together they made a list of questions and sent them over to me.

I’m certainly no expert, but since I’ve been there, I did my best to answer the questions. I decided to answer the questions in a video, and since I’d gone to the effort of making it, I thought I’d might as well share it with you. Hopefully some of you will find something useful in it.

The questions I answered:

1. What do people do when they take rest?
2. Where do people travel?
3. What programs are shown on TV?
4. What is daily routine of people?
5. What are the main subjects at school?
6. What is the level of healthcare?
7. Who do children want to be?

If you do find a use for it, let me know, I’d love to see what you do with it.


4 thoughts on “A North Korea Q&A

  1. Hi James!

    Yet another interesting idea on your blog – bravo to you, Ann and Anna! I loved Anna's questions and it was so interesting to hear your answers. It sounds like such a great experience, even though much different from what we live here in Europe or elsewhere. The beauty of travelling, right? Why don't you do it with other countries you have been to? Our students can pose questions to you!

    I am thinking of using this in my classes. Will let you know how it goes!

  2. Hi Vicky, thanks for your comment and suggestion. If you have students who want to ask me any questions, I'm happy to make a video for you. And be sure to let me know how the lesson goes with this video.

  3. Hi James. Only just discovered this today. I haven't been to North Korea, although I came close when I also stayed in the South. I wasn't too surprised by your answers, which were thoughtful and considered, seemingly based entirely on memories of the trip. Read the travel website post, too, and your fascination about this secretive state came across well. Clearly no-one would go there for the nightlife or the food (although I quite like Kimchi as a side dish). I'm currently jobhunting again and North-East China (e.g. Dalian, Changchun) is one possible destination for me. So, who knows, if I have a spare grand, I might yet end up in the DPRK although I am probably more likely to pop back to Seoul rather than Pyongyang. That last photo, by the way, of the baby in that bare room is incredibly powerful. Nice to see you've settled in Costa Rica, which I read the other day was the “greenest and happiest place in live in the world”. Stark contrast to the DRPK, then. Phil.

  4. Hi James,
    Sounds like a very interesting trip indeed, almost like a trip back in time to the old East German state (went to Berlin on holidays and learned lots about what life was like in the GDR). Must have been a very strange atmosphere. How did you manage to get permission to travel in North Korea? Could you just do what you pleased or did you have to have a guide with you all the time so you only saw the good stuff? I thought the country was pretty much off limits to travelers!

    I'm teaching a few tourism classes this semester and thanks to the video, just may have them do a module on visiting North Korea (which will definitely be a change from the typical “visiting London” or “visiting New York”!) I'm sure they'd appreciate hearing your perspective on it!

    Great idea to do a video response though–good ideas, as always 🙂

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