I can’t remember how exactly I stumbled upon this, but apparently this is a brand new language learning course for college students (undergrad and graduate) wanting to learn Korean. North Korean, that is.
Although students live on a Chinese University campus for ten weeks for the duration of the program (I suppose living in North Korea would be a little too much to ask, although I’m not sure if you’d want to do it), the classes are taught by North Korean instructors and the course includes multiple excursions into North Korea for sightseeing and language practice. And worshipping the Dear Leader from time to time, of course.
I tried to get some of my friends’ opinions about the course. Reactions were generally mixed, ranging from “that’s pretty damn awesome” to “you just want to say you went to North Korea, not really worth it” to “if you do it you will die.” Perhaps the coolness of factor of telling-off my fellow classmates who are planning to study abroad in lame countries like Germany and Spain that I was in Mother-Fucking-North-Korea is playing a role here, but I must say I’m genuinely interested.
Think about it—the chance to learn a language that you literally would not be able to learn anywhere else. Yeah, North Korean is mostly just a dialect of the Korean in south Korea, but it’s not like I can just pick up a textbook and go study North Korean, or go online and find a North Korean speaking buddy (unless my speaking buddy wants to risk his very life to say “hello” to me via Skype). The usefulness of the program is questionable—I certainly can’t say I want to learn the language because I want to travel to North Korea (that’s not exactly a viable option), but it’s not like it’s a completely different language from what is used in South Korea.
But in the end, it’s an experience (at a $4,600 price tag) that isn’t exactly easy to forge by yourself. As good as you think you are at self-studying, I’m willing to bet there’s no other way to learn how to speak like someone from North Korea without this course, unless you’re able to find work that somehow involves interacting with people from North Korea. Perhaps International Spy is on your dream job list…?