You can now send your kid to summer camp in North Korea.
Songdowon International Children’s Camp, which has been operational for nearly 30 years, was originally intended mainly to deepen relations with friendly countries in the Communist or non-aligned world. But officials say they are willing to accept youth from anywhere — even the United States.
The camp is located in Wonsan, east from Pyongyang on the coast of the Sea of Japan. It’s a popular beach destination among North Koreans, with clear water and sandy beaches.
After some guidance from North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, and a major face lift, the camp reopened Tuesday for this year’s flock of foreign campers — more than 300 young children and teenagers from Russia, China, Vietnam, Ireland and Tanzania.
At the camp, kids spend eight days doing typical camp activities, like cooking, swimming, boating and mingling. The camp offers a unique opportunity for kids of other nationalities to interact with their North Korean peers. The country’s citizens are not prohibited from speaking to tourists who visit the country, but conversations between foreigners and locals are rare, according to several visitors.
Though heavily subsidized by the government, the camp — plus a tour of Pyongyang — costs about $270 per child from outside North Korea.
The camp gives the participants an opportunity to see a country that remains a mystery to most outsiders, and North Korea a chance to show off the best it can offer: sleeping in air-conditioned rooms with TVs and video games is a luxury most North Korean children can’t normally experience.
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