October 04, 2023

Pyongyang Chronicles: A modern-day Judas at Kim Il Sung University

An early friendship ends with betrayal, demonstrating how the North Korean system begets hypocrisy and doublethink

The three semesters I spent as a foreign student at Kim Il Sung University were a bittersweet period in my life. Even before North Korean agents arrested me, I had mixed emotions about the country.

Foreign residents in the DPRK live under stifling surveillance and a veil of suspicion. I was unable to overcome the intense system of social control, which blocks the way at every turn to prevent real, meaningful connections between foreigners and local people.