The people in North Korea need English teachers badly. The very name of the state indicates a gross misunderstanding of the English language, after all, it's called the Democratic Republic of North Korea, yet not much goes on there that even mimics democracy.
Getting in without a parachute and getting out alive
Entering North Korea to teach English is quite a challenge. We have heard stories about rogue TEFL teachers who have crossed no-man's land into the North to teach English and were never seen again.
Others were seen again, but on CNN, being paraded by the North Korean government after having been put on trial for spying.
Others, like David Sneddon made it in, but never made it out. In fact he didn't´t even try to get in, he was actually kidnapped by the Nprth Koreans to be a personal English tutor to their president. This demonstrates that the North Korean president takes English lessons seriously.
English language teaching does take place outside of the presidential compound, like in the high profile Pyongyang University of Science and Technology for example.
These ESL teaching positions are assigned to Evangelical Christians who co-operate in the running of the University, permitted by North Koreas glorious leader as they're less likely to be spies.
If you're really not a Western spy trying to infiltrate North Korea and bring it down from within and you have a master’s degree in English with 3 years or more of teaching experience in a higher education setting, you can contact these guys.
Teaching business English and science in North Korea
Most TEFL locations thrive on tourism from English speaking countries. This market does not exist in North Korea which is a real shame since satellite reconnaissance imagery shows some wonderful locations of stunning natural beauty.
Being a Communist country all business other than the sale of missiles and nuclear technology are banned by the government. This removes the need for business English classes.
As an alternative niche, teaching English science classes holds a great importance in the DPRK as documentation for constructing nuclear weapons and their delivery systems tends to be written in either Russian or English.
With new Health and Safety regulations stipulating that the instructions for a nuclear weapon should be fully read before deployment, the demand for Russian and English science teachers is booming.
Salary and working conditions in North Korea
Salary is no motivation for following an ESL career path to North Korean which has a GDP of around 1500USD per capita. The positive side of this is the low cost of living which is great especially if you turn up with a few greenbacks tucked away in some hard to inspect orifice. Since the North Korean Won is banned outside of the country, saving up to repay loans and credit cards at home is really not an option.
If your plan was to bank some cash to repay your travel loans then maybe consider South Korea where the GDP is closer to 30,000USD. Check out our articles on how teaching English in South Korea can help you stay a good capitalist by clicking here.
Workers rights should be well protected in this communist state since communism looks after the workers above all else. It's true, I read it in a book by Marx.
Meet the boss, Kim Jong-Un
Educated in Switzerland as a boy, Kim Jong-Un is the worlds youngest head of state.
Known to his subjects as 'The Shining Sun', 'The Great Successor' and 'Dear Leader' he was actually referred to as 'Fat Boy Kim' whilst at school, part of the bullying which triggered his conversion from the podgy kid with glasses who wasn't very good at sports to global tyrant. That journey appears to have arced from torturing small animals to torturing whole families of human beings.
Like a Bondesque Mini-Me clone of his father he seems to have inherited a weakness for chain smoking, hard drinking and eating rather too well which has reportedly lead to diabetes and obesity which will probably leave his post of "supreme Leader" vacant pretty soon.
When he's not playing with toy soldiers, listening to Michael Jackson or waddling around a basket ball court, the North Korean head of state enjoys the company of women. A reported womaniser, Cuddley Kims boyish charm and 'ambitious' haircut have propelled him to sex symbol status, recently adding 'sexiest man alive' to his list of titles.
Promising to lead his country in to the 21st century, Kim has begun to put a focus on education and technology, with 200,000 people currently in re-education camps and dial up internet being made publicly available to most government offices in the capital.
With this forward looking attitude we should all keep an eye on North Korea as a future TEFL destination.
North Korea, still an option for thrill seekers
If your determined to teach English in North Korea you're guaranteed to get plenty of "unique and challenging" experiences which will be amaze your cellmates for years to come. And remember, once you get out of jail, we'd love to get an interview with you!