North Korea Special Winter Delegation: Language and Sports Exchange Tour
From 22 to 29 December 2015, Eastern Vision has successfully led a special winter delegation to North Korea. With vast experiences in North Korea tours, Eastern Vision has built a long-term trusting relationship with North Korean authorities and is privileged to partner with Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies (PUFS) to engage extensively with North Korean students and society.
Language Exchange Session
We were granted rare access to the high school section of PUFS and were greeted warmly by the senior students. Contrary to our participants’ beliefs, North Korean students are regularly exposed to foreign languages, including English. Most students are trilingual, and are fluent in Mandarin, English and Korean. Through cultural exchange, our participants learnt about the study environment and study routine of secondary school students. Our participants were astounded by the students’ language capability and enthusiasm for learning.
After that, we had a free interacting session with final-year university students at PUFS, an invaluable opportunity to learn about North Korean student life and understand social issues from their perspectives. Some participants found it interesting to learn about the students’ career prospects, and some were surprised that North Korean university students also have bright career aspirations, ranging from diplomats to translators and tour guides.
An exciting and unprecedented ice-skating session wrapped up the day of cultural and language exchange. We were thrilled to skate in the newly constructed building, and more importantly, had a blast with our new met friends. The indoor ice-skating rink was not furnished with glamorous decors, but was modern and more than enough for North Koreans to get together to enjoy some winter fun.
Mass Dance Celebration
With a continental climate, North Korea has the signature bitter cold winters. Harsh winter days, however, do not thwart North Korean celebrations. While 24 December marks the beginning of one of the most significant holiday seasons in Christianity, North Korea celebrates Kim Jong-suk’s birthday. Wrapped in warm and traditional clothing, enthusiastic North Koreans flock to the streets to pay tribute to their national heroine. We joined the celebration rally to witness the impressive festive atmosphere, and we were delighted to dance with the locals and share their joy. Before the trip, some participants perceived North Koreans as cold and disciplined, but during the celebrations, they were able to feel the warm and genuine side of the residents.
We were invited to a film studio in Mansudae Street, Pyongyang for the first time. The studio was built under the leadership of former leader Kim Jong Il, who was a passionate director. Much to our surprise, the studio is home to a number of film sets, ranging from ancient Korea to Korea under Japanese rule to European settings. Apart from learning about the filming industry and culture in North Korea, participants could also dress in film costumes. It was definitely a brand new experience for both our participants and our tour mentor.
The itinerary is meticulously designed to introduce us to Tibetan politics, religion and culture. It enables us to very critically reflect upon the current situation of Tibet.
It wasn't merely a trip but a mini course introducing the cultural, social and political issues about Tibet. From the pre-trip reading materials to the mini-lectures delivered on coach, I saw and felt the hard work and passion of EV in preparing this tour.
I guess the most important thing is to have good travel buddies who are all interested in exploring Tibet, and Eastern Vision serves as a platform for all of us to meet. Most of us signed up without knowing anyone else on the trip but it was easy to make new friends as we are all university students/ fresh grads.
The places that we travelled were well-selected. Not only are they stunningly beautiful, they also have rich cultural deposits, long-standing history and strong ethnic character.
They really did a nice job showing us the problems and situations Tibetan society is currently facing, and the conflicts between Tibetans, Han people and the PRC government you probably can't see if you go there with mainstream travel agency or on your own.
On top of the uniqueness and excellent planning and arrangements offered by Eastern Vision, the DRPK tour provided us the opportunity to experience the country and interact with the locals and even exchange students studying in North Korea.
I had a great time exploring DPRK with eastern vision. After the trip, I realized some media coverage about DPRK was hampered by the lack of information. As a result, some reports are based on unproven claims. This trip brings me a new perspective on DPRK.
Incredible experience with Eastern Vision which allow us to go to the DPRK, not just for the sake of going but to learn and grow from it. Everything was well-planned and we even had the opportunities to see some of our own requests fulfilled. Excellent from beginning to end!
A well organized and thought-provoking trip with many good moments that we could interact with the local DPRK people.
Fantastic organisation which provides travelers with an opportunity to do so much more than just sight seeing. Tours are planned to provide insights into the lives of local people, and the staff are quick to provide advice and guidance. I would definitely advise travelling with Eastern Vision.