North Koreans' Lives in the United States

미국으로 간 탈북자들의 정착과 적응에 관한 질적 연구

  • Received : 2012.07.30
  • Accepted : 2012.10.07
  • Published : 2012.11.30


Since the U.S. government officially accepted North Korean(NK) as refugees starting in 2006, about 120 North Koreans have come to and been living in the United States. However, little is known in regard to what the North Korean refugees need for a qualify life. This study aims to explore the essential experiences of North Korean defectors who have settled in the United States after escaping North Korea. Research inquiries are why North Korean refugees have chosen the United States for their settlement, and how they are living in the United States. Data were collected from in-depth interviews with eight NK refugees. For data analysis, grounded theory approach by Strauss and Corbin(1998) was employed. The data analysis identified the central phenomenon, protective and risk factors, and core actions and consequences of NK refugees' adjustment in the U.S. The central phenomenon was "voluntary choose to come to the U.S." The core action and consequences in the process of their adjustment were 'searching for the meaning of life,' and 'achieving acculturation.' The findings may provide deeper understanding on the situation of North Korean refugees in the U.S. and implications for how to help them adjust well in the society.


Supported by : 한국연구재단