Sunday, May 13, 2007

North Korean Teenage Defectors' Troubles

According to a 2006 study conducted by the Korean Institute of Criminal Justice Policy, about 47 percent of 210 North Korean defectors interviewed [in South Korea] were experiencing difficulties adapting to life in South Korea. Only one out of 10 respondents reported no difficulties at all.

Another study by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights in 2005 used a sample of 460 North Korean teenagers. Only one out of four respondents had a regular job. The rest had an insecure employment status, as irregular workers or day-laborers.

Over half had trouble studying in South Korea, because the subjects taught in school were too difficult, and also because the subjects and material they had studied in North Korea proved useless. The North Korean teenagers had trouble making friends in the South and some of them had no hope of finding adequate jobs after graduation.

On Feb. 9, 2007, Prof. Kim Hye Ran of Seoul National University's Department of Social Welfare announced the results of a survey based on a questionnaire answered by 65 teenage North Korean defectors. According to the survey, one-third of the subjects missed life in the North. Also, while about one-third of respondents still thought of themselves as North Korean.

The National Institute of the Korean Language found that it commonly takes defectors up to three years to overcome language differences in the South.

[Radio Free Asia]

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