North Korean refugees of all ages come to South Korea. It has always been an interest of mine to know about the youngest of refugees. I wonder how they are educated, how they adapt, how they perceive South Korean society.

My inquiries were answered when I was introduced to a rather large school which houses young North Korean refugees. This boarding school offers North Korean refugee children with the opportunity to be educated and learn more about how to live in South Korea.

The Mulmangcho School is located in a small area in Yeoju, South Korea. It is an educational facility housing students from elementary to high school ages and levels offering them all the aspects of a regular public school education here in South Korea.

The Mulmangcho School offers language programs in Korean, Chinese, and English as well as courses in life skill development for the purposes of adapting well to South Korean society and all of its increasing diversity. Moreover, it offers art, music, and athletic courses making the institute on par with South Korean public school education.

The school is always looking for volunteers and donations. “Friends of Mulmangcho” work together with the school to develop custom designed study abroad programs for the students; typically North Korean refugees in high school as well as university students. Through a network of Western and U.S. based colleges and universities, North Korean refugees have had the opportunity to travel and study abroad gaining a global perspective in education as well as in life.

Donations and volunteer efforts help support the cost of tuition, books and supplies, as well as travel and other related expenses. North Korean refugee students have already and continue education efforts at popular schools such as the University of California Berkeley!

To become a “Friend of Mulmangcho” there are many ways to get involved:

1)      Assist students in locating internships and career opportunities – Not unlike our experience while in high school and college, internships are always a great stepping stone to building interest in career opportunities. Making connections with the North Korean refugee students at the school will help you gauge their needs and interests and perhaps make a match to opportunities you know of at your college or university.

2)      Host a student – Finding a safe and secure place to live while in America as an exchange student can be difficult and often times stressful. Hosting a North Korean refugee in your home country or matching them with a friend or relative is a great way to help a North Korean refugee in this stressful time.

3)      Become an academic tutor – Are you a leader in your field? Do you have vast experience or knowledge in a subject? Maybe you are a student in a teacher’s college looking for some extra training? Or maybe you just have some free time on your hands and would like to help! These are all great reasons to become an academic tutor with the Mulmangcho School. Whatever your academic background, your experience in Western schools can be relayed to students and help them as they prepare for studying abroad.

4)      Become a mentor – Being a mentor to a North Korean refugee is a great way to make friends and help refugees understand Western culture and living in a diverse environment. What a great way to make an impact on a life!

 Kychele Boone

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