Teaching English In North Korea

The people in North Korea need English teachers badly. The very name of the state seems to indicate a misunderstanding of the English language, after all, its called the Democratic Republic of North Korea, and not much goes on there that even mimics democracy.

North Korean Propaganda PosterThe North Koreans have a love-hate relationship with the USA.

Entering North Korea though, is quite a challenge. We have heard stories around the campfire about rogue TEFL teachers who have crossed no-man’s land into the North to teach English. When they managed to escape back out they we’re swiftly met by men in black who bundled them off for a friendly chat at Guantanamo Bay. It’s true, my brother worked with a woman who knew one of these guys.

But if your heart is set on adventure, we salute you, and will offer you all the information we can.

  • Most TEFL locations thrive on tourism of business that requires a high level of English. This niche does not exist in North Korea, as it is a Communist country and all business other than the sale of missiles and nuclear technology are banned by the government. Many other theoretical positions don’t exist because of UN, US, or UK sanctions.
  • Vacancies in ESL schools, should they exist, would be plentiful. There are few native English speakers in the country, and those who are are probably POWs from the Korean War. If you manage to make contact with one of them, do what you can to bring them to safety!
North Korean Military Parade

  • On the bright side, if North Korea manages to invade the USA, they would probably need a number of soldiers and military operatives to speak a high level of English. So you might be able to exploit that market.
  • The average salary is not a strong point in the North Korean employment scene. The North Korean currency Won is banned outside of North Korea, and even if you manage to get a Won or two from a generous employer, your probably won’t be able to buy much.
  • Workers rights should be well protected in this communist state, however given that your employer would probably be the state itself, speaking out against your employer could result in reeducation in a forced labour camp. The rights of anyone, or anything, might be a bit bellow your standards.
  • On the plus side, you’re guaranteed to get plenty of “unique and challenging” experiences which will be amaze your cellmates for years to come. And once you get out of jail, we’d love to get an interview with you!

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