The Pyongyang Summer Language Program 2018


Would you like to study in North Korea? You can, with Tongil Tours. Tongil Tours is one of the first agencies to offer concentrated language study in North Korea, at a local university, and we continue this important tradition with the 2018 Pyongyang Summer Language School. As an academically-focused travel agency, we are committed to making sure that our language program meets the highest standards.

Applications are now open for all international students.


The 2018 Pyongyang Summer Language Program is a rigorous, intensive three week immersion experience that will help Korean language learners move to the next level in their language skills. The focus is on conversation with native language speakers. The program caters to all levels from beginner and intermediate to advanced. Beginning Korean language learners are welcome. The course is intended for serious language learners who are committed to focusing on their studies every day. Upon acceptance, you will be part of an elite group: among some of the first westerners to ever study at a DPRK university. Upon finishing, you will be issued with an official certificate of completion from the university.

By Application Only

Optimal candidates will:

  • Have an academic interest in focused Korean language study;
  • Be committed to devoting their full attention to making the most of the course;
  • Share with us the motivation to help foster friendship and understanding through academic exchange;
  • Be ready to have an amazing experience studying abroad

Key Program Dynamics

Almost-total immersion
All intermediate and advanced students will be required to sign a document pledging to only use only Korean. The beginner class will have more flexibility. Professors and coaches will communicate the language rules at time of orientation. Additionally, students will be allowed to speak their language of choice at at least one weeknight activity (see below).

Highly practical, conversation focus
Get daily conversational practice with a North Korean language coach.

Built-in comprehensive tourist agenda
Visit key sites in Pyongyang, while every weekend travel to places outside Pyongyang on Saturday and Sunday, staying overnight. By the end of your three week course you will have visited many fascinating sites of interest both in Pyongyang and other DPRK locations, all the while practicing and strengthening your Korean language skills.

Learn from North Koreans
Your professors, instructors, and coaches will be North Korean. Outside of sensitive political themes, you can chat about anything and really build friendships.

World-class instruction
The program will be held at either Kim Hyong Jik University of Education (김형직사범대학) or Kim Il Sung University (김일성종합대학). Host university will be announced October 2017.

Overview of Daily Study in North Korea (Monday-Friday)

Please note that minor changes in daily schedule and overall itinerary are possible due to circumstances beyond the control of Tongil Tours. Trips to areas outside of Pyongyang will be held on the weekends.

9:30 – 13:15 CLASSES– 3 classes of 1 hr 15 minutes each. 3rd class is focused on conversation practice.

13:45 – 14:45 Lunch
14:45 – 16:00 Study Lab
16:00 – 18:00 Sightseeing & language practice with coach

18:30 – 19:30 Dinner
19:30 – rest, homework, and periodic nightly activities, including pub crawl, karaoke, and others

Photos From 2016 Program

Former Student Testimonial

Thanks to Tongil Tours for making this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity happen; based on my experiences there, it seems that they will be able to open even more doors in the near future. Studying in the DPRK enables you to learn more than just the language – it opens your eyes to the realities of daily life in a country that very few understand. For me, it even shed new light on the world I come from. Your perceptions and experience will certainly be revised, if not altered.”
—Travis Jeppesen
lecturer in Critical Writing in Art and Design at the Royal College of Art, London, UK


Included in Tuition:

  • Lodging, board, and transportation while in DPRK
  • 3 hours 45 minutes of class per day (3x 1 hr 15 min classes), for 5 days a week for 3 weeks
  • Afternoon and weekend sightseeing
  • Transportation to and from Beijing (return train trip)
  • All materials, books, and resources for study
  • Language coaching outside of class

Not Included in Tuition:

  • Chinese double-entry visa
  • Lodging in Beijing prior to commencement of program
  • Incidental expenses throughout, such as souvenirs, personal items, extra food/drink etc.
  • DPRK visa (EUR 65)
  • Some excursion fees (5-35 euros), special meals (~5-10 Euros). Further details with pre-departure email
  • Tips for the guides and drivers


  • One-way plane ticket– €335 extra — those who’d rather not spend a night on the train can take the plane in or out
  • Optional final weekend trip– €500 extra– go on an extra weekend trip to the beautiful Kumgang Mountains before wrapping up the program! Stay three extra nights (two in Mount Kumgang Resort) and depart on Tuesday the 24th of July 2018

In the news

Huffington Post blog post by Tongil Tours founding partner and program participant Alek Sigley on being the first Australian to study in a North Korean university:

NKnews interview with Tongil Tours about the program:

Tongil Tours blog: the inaugural 2016 program:

Pyongyang Summer Language Program 2017 video:

Sample Itineraries

Afternoon Pyongyang city tour itinerary will be decided with input from group members. See below for weekend trip sample itineraries.


AM – Breakfast at hotel

Mount Myohyang – one of the most famous mountains in the Korean peninsula. It is known for its scenic beauty and as a sacred place with various myths and legends associated with it. Mount Myohyang Manpok Hiking Trail – A mildly strenuous hiking trail that follows graceful mountain streams and waterfalls up through lush pine forests to several successive viewing platforms. Popular among local hikers. Sangwon Hermitage – First founded as early as the 10th century, the present structures that make up this picturesque Buddhist hermitage date from the 16th century. International Friendship Exhibition – This complex is where gifts from foreigners to North Korea’s leaders are stored and exhibited, including gifts from Dennis Rodman.

Dinner and overnight at Chongchon Hotel in the mountains.


AM – Breakfast at hotel

Ryongmun Caves – An expansive cave network located near Mount Myohyang in North Pyongan Province.

Drive back to Pyongyang (approx. two hours).


AM – Breakfast at hotel

The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) at Panmunjom and the Joint Security Area (JSA).

Here tourists can visit the Armistice Talks Hall, the Armistice Signing Hall and Panmunjom Peace Village from the northern side.

LUNCH – For lunch, we head to Kaesong to enjoy a meal of local specialties said to have been the cuisine of royalty. Optional meal upgrade: traditional stuffed chicken hot pot with ginseng and pomegranate. (EUR 30) Koryo History Museum – This museum is dedicated to Kaesong’s past as capital of Koryo Dynasty Korea (which lasted from 919 to 1394 AD). Sonjuk Bridge – Constructed in 1290, Sonjuk Bridge is a Koryo dynasty stone bridge located in central Kaesong City. Tomb of King Kongmin – Completed in 1372, this is the tomb of King Kongmin, 31st king of the Koryo Dynasty and his wife, Mongolian princess and later Korean queen, Queen Noguk. Drive to Sariwon, halfway between Kaesong and Pyongyang.Sariwon Folk Village – A folk culture-themed thoroughfare in downtown Sariwon adorned with traditional style gates, ponds and pavilions.

Return to Pyongyang (1.5 hrs)