In order to truly understand how different lifestyles are around the world, all that needs to be done is to hear stories from people of different nations. Yeonmi Park, a former North Korean inhabitant is a good example of how to do this.
Once a citizen of North Korea, Park began to grow disillusioned with the country’s society as she grew older and began seeing exactly how brutal and oppressive the regime could be. According to Yeonmi Park herself, she said on a Youtube video she had no idea what freedom was or even that the concept existed and that basic things such as food were all the happiness she needed. Regardless, her and her family decided to leave the country in 2007 and begin a new life in another country, having to fend off starvation, abuse and possible death many times along their journey. The North Korean government itself has listened to Yeonmi Park‘s story and has even painted Park and her family in a very negative light, with Park stating that she feels that Kim Jong-Un, the current ruler, is not a fan of her at all.
Park’s own personal story began in Hyesan of North Korea, where she lived for much of her life, her father working as a civil servant and her mother as a nurse for the North Korean Army. Though her family was considered to be privileged in her youth, the family began encountering struggles in the later years, particularly when her father was imprisoned for illegal insider trading. This, on top of seeing a glimpse of the outside world, was what prompted her and her family to flee the country. In early 2007, the family began taking steps to leave North Korea and flee into China, enlisting the help of Christian missionaries and human traffickers along the way. Hardships were endured for the family, including the death of Park’s father from colon cancer, but the family was able to lay low in Mongolia for some time before eventually making their way to South Korea. There, they began building a new life and the act of telling the world their stories.