Many North Koreans who have resettled have gone on to do some amazing things like starting businesses, writing memoirs, and becoming activists, but these successes do not come without inevitable challenges that their lives in North Korea did not prepare them for.
These challenges vary from person to person, but one that comes up again and again is finding and obtaining rewarding careers. In fact, one study by the Korea Institute for National Unification found that 48% of North Korean refugees polled said that career development was one of their most pressing issues.
A college education can pave the way for better jobs and a higher salary, but as of 2012, there were approximately only 1,000 North Korean students attending 4-year colleges in South Korea, a small number compared to the population of resettled North Koreans as a whole.
And for resettled North Korean students who do attend university, many lack knowledge about available majors—often relying on the Internet or word of mouth from their community—so they tend to choose from a limited selection.
“I need more people who can mentor and give me good advice especially for my career since I am going to graduate from college and start looking for a job in the near future.” – Hye Won
Resettled North Koreans can overcome these challenges with the right support and access to resources, eventually becoming doctors, business owners, engineers, and even authors.
After resettling in 2007, Young Joo attended an alternative school for North Korean defectors. With an educational grant provided by LiNK, she was able to focus her energy on her studies and was accepted into university in 2009. Two years later she was chosen for a highly competitive internship with an international bank and in 2013 began working at one of the largest companies in South Korea.
Because of this crucial need for education and guidance to empower these students, we are excited to announce the addition of a new empowerment program—the Young Leaders Program (YLP)!
We are honored to be joined in this effort by Paul & Mark, an educational consulting company based in South Korea. Paul & Mark provides education programs to bring change and growth to its international clients, including companies (such as Yahoo and Samsung), governments, and universities in more than 10 countries. Together, we will work to empower resettled North Korean college students to fulfill their potential.
Resettled North Koreans have the potential to do amazing things. YLP will provide valuable resources, tools and opportunities to 12 high-potential North Korean-born college students to help them reach success in their studies, choose fulfilling career paths, and realize their dreams.
YLP FELLOWS ATTEND 10 FULL-DAY WORKSHOPS OVER SIX MONTHS, WHICH COVER THE FOLLOWING TOPICS:
Emotional self awareness, personality and self-assessment (strengths and limitations), self confidence (self worth and capabilities), and personal values
Life and Professional Skills Development
Stress management, social skills, time management, problem solving, communication, networking, motivation, critical thinking, presentation skills, and study skills
YLP FELLOWS WILL ALSO RECEIVE THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS: