Hello, world citizens. I am Joe Dirkse and originally I come from a town near Miami, USA. I am 23 years old and while I finish up my graduate degree this spring, I am also interning at PSCORE’s office in Seoul from January to April.
I first became interested in Korean issues while spending a semester studying abroad at Yonsei University back in 2012. After somewhat falling in love with the country of South Korea, I continued to explore options that would bring me back in touch with its culture and people. By the end of my search, I reached a turning point at which I realized that there was another country that could perhaps shed some new light on the Korean psyche: North Korea.
While some think of it as unethical, I personally felt that making a trip to the DPRK was the best possible way to further my own understanding of Korea as a whole. Thus, in August of 2013, I embarked on a ten day trip throughout the country with a nonprofit organization called the Pyongyang Project. There, many of my preconceived opinions of the country were reaffirmed but more importantly I left with a new found understanding and compassion for the North Korean people.
In 2014, I returned to South Korea once again to study at Korea University and determined I have no plans to leave this country any time soon. With that much decided, and with a strong desire to be actively involved in North Korean affairs, I eventually stumbled upon PSCORE and knew that its mission was one that I could adopt as my own. Having previously interned with Amnesty International in Chicago, I am excited to renew my involvement with human rights advocacy. I have now just officially begun my PSCORE internship and while I am still figuring out what I can bring to PSCORE as my own unique contribution, I am beginning by working on my own original campaign proposals while building up PSCORE’s future branding strategy.
I truly look forward to these next few months of activism.