Michelle Joyce shares her experiences of the world's most secretive state with SBS Radio Korean Program.
Michelle Joyce had traveled to North Korea four times more since her first visit in 2013.
The first time she entered North Korea was in 2013 September, with a group mainly consisting of students from the Australian National University. The Arrange Mass Games were the main event. They also visited Pyongyang, Sariwon, Kaesong, the DMZ and Panmunjom, Hamhung and Wonsan.
The second time she went to North Korea was when she was working for a North Korean refugee newsletter in 2015. She became further interested in North Korea so she decided to visit again in May. This trip mainly explored parts of Pyongyang and a cooperative farm in Chilgol. They had a hand in farming rice.
The third time, she was invited to her colleague’s wedding. He was on exchange in North Korea and held his wedding in Pyongyang. She was there for about two weeks, touring all of the above, but also the city of Sinuiju and Dongrim. She also climbed Mount Keumkang.
The fourth time, she went as a guide. For three weeks the group attended the Pyongyang Language School. They were in Pyongyang most of the time. She said she was enjoying the views of Mount Keumkang and Keumkang Sea at the time.
The fifth time, she also went there as a guide. The group stayed in Pyongyang most of time but they also spent a night at Kaesong. She went to the Masikryong Ski resort for the first time. At that time, the Arirang Mass Games (now called the Sparkling Nation Mass Games) were held for the first time in 5 years.
Since 2013 Michelle Joyce has been engaging with North Korea, both inside the country and with refugees, in areas such as tourism, human rights, and academic research.
She is finishing her Law degree at UTS and planning to continue her research in North Korea and advocacy for human rights.