Knowledge is power. Living all their life in a state which stops them from obtaining worthwhile information about the outside world, North Korean defectors lack knowledge in some domains compared to the South Korean people.
In order for them to live their life to the fullest, we organize education programs not only in order to teach North Korean defectors English,
but also how to take control of their own lives again. We have a number of different approaches:
In our 1:1 mentoring project we make use of our extensive network of volunteer tutors and working professionals in Seoul and match them with North Korean defectors seeking to develop their English language skills, math and essay writing skills as well as their knowledge of cultural norms and practices around the world. Our program helps defectors adjust to the South Korean education system and enhances their abilities to communicate and convey their ideas in a range of situations, both interpersonal and at the workplace.
The students in our program have different backgrounds, are from different age groups, and have different skill levels. Since each defector may have different learning goals, each tutor-defector pair negotiates goals and timelines on their own according to the individual needs of the students in order to achieve the desired level of education. Ultimately, the goal of the 1:1 mentoring program is to enhance defectors' abilities to negotiate better educational and employment opportunities for themselves.
PSCORE supports the 1:1 tutoring program by matching North Korean students with foreigners or locals based on their specific needs.
Students and tutors usually meet in cafes or other public places twice a week in two-hour sessions. But of course, this can be adjusted depending on both student and tutor's schedules as well as the individual learning goals and timelines set up initially.
Our English language classes, which are at the moment taking place on Wednesday evenings, are an extension of our 1:1 mentoring program. Again, we are bringing together teachers and North Korean defectors, who would like to improve their English grammar, speaking and pronunciation skills. PSCORE provides English language textbooks for free. The classes provide an alternative learning forum and offer defectors the ability to work collaboratively in a group environment by practicing their English language skills with a larger group of students and teachers.
The weekly session also functions as an intercultural communication class allowing students to explore different cultures around the world and how different groups communicate with each other.
The Wednesday English class starts at 6:30pm and ends at 8pm at the Seodaemun Police station (meeting room on the 2nd floor) but everybody usually meets at 6pm to share some snacks.
To come, get off at Seodaemun station (서대문역) on line 5 and exit at gate number 7.
Once a month, PSCORE organizes excursions for South Koreans, North Korean defectors and foreigners to meet and participate in cultural activities together. These excursions provide participants the opportunity to meet in a social environment and experience the South Korean culture. Thus, it gives them the chance to make new friends and broaden their social network. These activities are fundamental for defectors as they promote better social skills among North Korean students by encouraging them to mingle within large groups of people.