The Guardian has a three-part series of stories on life in North Korea (originally from NKNews), with this one focusing on young adult life — military service and university education — for the country’s young adults.
This bit struck me:
About a sixth of the population does go to university, which is a high proportion for a country with such a low standard of living. Of course, universities have their own hierarchy.
The most prestigious institution is the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (Pust), which was created by Kim Jong-il and has some strange traditions.
All courses are taught in English by professors who are all foreigners. Any foreigner who is not a citizen of South Korea is welcome – regardless of qualifications – to become a professor. However, given that professors are not allowed to leave campus without permission, are not paid a salary, are not compensated for their trip to North Korea and are fed badly, very few people volunteer.
The majority of North Korea’s Number One university professors are Christian fundamentalists, whose trips are sponsored by their church. Still, it is one of the few places in North Korea where you may talk to a foreigner and learn something about the outside world, and is considered very prestigious.
Of course, with two masters degrees (one from Georgetown University), I could easily teach a foreign language or something akin to Middle East studies (if such things are allowed) at PUST. It might be an interesting way to spend a year.
So, is this my next job? Because something about this really, really intrigues me…