The university was split off from Kim Il-sung University in 1964. North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency gives its foundation date as 1949. It does not have as high a reputation as those of Kim Il-sung University's foreign languages division, which trains members of the political elite; most graduates go on to become working-level diplomats or work in the intelligence service.
The university has separate colleges for students of English, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese; the so-called "Ethnic Languages College" offers instruction in a further 18 languages, including French, Spanish, Arabic, Thai, Urdu, Khmer, and, as of July 2007, Polish and Italian. Kim Il-sung University has been split into 3 different schools.The original Kim Il-sung University, The Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies, and the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. According to Chris Lawrence, an English teacher in Pyongyang, North Korea has shifted lots of their language to English from Chinese and Russian. Lawrence also states that, “none of the students felt the need to include in their answers to me the usual rhetoric of ‘studying for the glory of the party and the dear and great leaders.’” This is because the students are being watched every second of their lives and need to be careful of what they say. North Korea is so globally different from South Korea there will be so many problems for the citizens in South Korea if they do decide to become alliances. Korea will need to spend more money on building on the Northern side and that may cause many problems globally, especially economically.