North Korean Defector on U.S. Ivy League Education: ‘Even North Korea Was Not This Nuts’

Yeonmi Park / Facebook

Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector and human rights activist, says some aspects of the increasingly woke culture at elite universities in the U.S. are more “nuts” than the totalitarian education in her homeland.

Park fled North Korea to China in 2007 and later moved to South Korea in 2009. In 2014, she took classes at Barnard College and later enrolled at Columbia University in 2016. Her 2015 memoir In Order to Live provides an eye-opening account of her escape from North Korea into eventually the West.

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park told Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Park stated that the intense focus on gender issues, such as preferred pronouns, in nearly every class left her confused.

“English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes still say ‘he’ or ‘she’ by mistake, and now they are going to ask me to call them ‘they’? How the heck do I incorporate that into my sentences?” she said. “It was chaos. It felt like the regression in civilization.”

“Even North Korea is not this nuts,” she added. “North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”

Park also warned that U.S. education institutions are hindering students’ abilities to think for themselves.

“In North Korea I literally believed that my Dear Leader [Kim Jong-un] was starving,” Park recounted “He’s the fattest guy; how can anyone believe that? And then somebody showed me a photo and said, ‘Look at him, he’s the fattest guy. Other people are all thin.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?’ Because I never learned how to think critically.”

“That is what is happening in America,” she added. “People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”

Editor’s Note: This article originally stated that Park “enrolled” at Barnard College. A representative for the school tells Breitbart News: “While Yeonmi Park did take some classes at Barnard College, she was never officially enrolled as a student here.” We have updated the language to conform to Barnard’s characterization of her involvement.


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