We are ungrateful sons of biscuits. Yes, all of us. Some are obviously daughters, but whatever. You may be wondering why you are dedicating some of your precious time to read this article but all I do is insulting you. Firstly, it wasn’t even that offensive. Secondly, you should be thankful, because I`m trying to open your eyes here.
We don’t realize that things which we consider to be our simple daily routine can be strictly forbidden in some other country. We never think that we are practically blessed with an opportunity to say our thoughts out loud and in a free manner.
You wake up one morning and you are already in a bad mood. Simply because you had no intention to wake that early, but your cat thought otherwise. So, you being completely mad at the universe, at yourself, but never at a cat (obviously because that fluffy bastard purrs in the cutest way possible). You decide to post some really mean tweet about anything that annoys you right at this moment. Government, society, coffee suppliers.
It`s called freedom of speech. Or stupidity, depending on what exactly you said in that tweet. In some parallel universe that is called simply North Korea students have none of it. NONE of it. Maybe just a cat among Twitter, democracy, and freedom of speech. What is it like not to be able to say what is really on your mind? I`m going to give you a heads up: North Korean students do believe with every piece of their heart in superiority and omnipotence of their country. They are not forced to think in a certain way. They are just mentally broken since the very birth.
A Little Sneak Peek from Abroad
Honestly, I had no idea that you could pull such a trick, but a foreigner can study a term or two in North Korea. Anyone who is considered to be “worthy” by Pyongyang government may get an “honorary” chance to get to know this mysterious and (let`s be honest) terrifying country from inside.
Some students who were either brave or crazy enough to go through this experience reported that at first North Koreans seem just like any youngsters from all over the world. They are laughing and joking on their way to university, they are chatting about problems, which probably any person in their early twenties have.
The inexplicable happens when they pass by huge 22-meter tall monuments of two former North Korean Leaders – Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. I bet none of you have pronounced their names right because there is only one Kim in our hearts and this is Kardashian. I wonder do all Kims build a cult of personality around themselves?
So, when the students pass by those statues, they go completely silent, they stop talking or laughing, they salute their leaders, fathers, gods or whoever they are to each of them. British students who were there to witness this said that it looked mesmerizingly scary. They looked like zombies. The craziest thing is that they were doing this not because governmental police were watching them, but because this is what they truly believe in.
Spill Your Guts
According to foreigners who studied in North Korea for some time, all youngsters can be divided into two categories: those who were eager to know what`s going on abroad and whose who didn`t give a rat`s tail about it. They were raised with the only thought in their mind: there is no better country than The Democratic People`s Republic of Korea. See? Now you know the real name of this state. Way to show off at geography class!
There is a long-lived misconception about people`s lifestyle in North Korea. No, they don`t walk every day like they are on a military parade, no, they are not forbidden from any fun activities, but yes, you can go to prison for pretty much anything.
Students there play football, basketball, chess, drink beer, watch movies. Workaholism is their distinguishing feature. They study so much and sleep so little that it seems like Western students` lifestyle is basically Hawaiian vacation.
Don`t Let Me Go
One of the cultural aspects which shocked Europeans the most is that North Korean students are never alone. You may think that it doesn`t sound that bad, but it is actually very intimidating. Just imagine being surrounded by people every minute of your life. Now New Yorkers be like: “Argh, what`s wrong with that?” Chill out, guys. North Koreans are not just surrounded by people, they walk together, eat together, study together, do sports together, go to the sauna, yes, you guessed it right, together. All the time.
Foreigners found it really exhausting. You never have a moment just for yourself there. They are probably raised that way so they wouldn`t have an opportunity to think by themselves. What if they start having some doubts about their government? Staying in a pack is their lifestyle.
No Trespassing? More Like “Yes, Trespassing!”
Another misconception about North Korea is that they have absolutely no imported goods. This statement was relevant about 5 years ago, but some things have changed since then. A lot of students in that country have electronic devices, movies, books, cosmetics from China. Also, you will see a lot of Chinese people there.
DPRK and China have pretty tight diplomatic and trade relations. Their student exchange programs are more than common, so no surprise that omnipresent Chinese goods made their way through such a severe border.
When students from other countries were studying in North Korea, they noticed that those young people never talked to foreigners about their political system. Even when Europeans wanted to have an open discussion about it, Koreans would just avoid the topic. Maybe there is no point of disputing over this point, because each of the sides will have to agree to disagree.