North Korean defectors are struggling to cope in Seoul as the cultural and educational gap between their two countries remains wide.
The world's most fortified military border divides the two Koreas and across each side of the fence lays a stark contrast.
Seoul is home to one of the Asia's top performing economies, while Pyongyang continues to face food shortages and dictatorial rule.
Despite escaping the reported poverty and cruelty of North Korea's government, the new environment of Seoul is also harsh for the refugees.
Kim Seog-ju from Seoul National University says many North Korean students don't understand why they are treated differently by people in South Korea.
"North Korean defectors feel that they're the same race, so they feel like they're unfairly discriminated against, asking questions like 'we are clearly the same race, so why are they treating us like foreigners?'," he said.
Studies show that in the last decade the number of North Koreans fleeing to South Korea has increased seven-fold.
In addition to overcoming their stereotype, young North Korean defectors in Seoul also face the challenges of a high pressure society.
Students spend hours pursuing private lessons, hoping to land well-paid jobs.
North Korean defectors generally lag behind, making on average about half the income of ordinary South Koreans.
Ko Eun-ji, a university student defector, says her life is still difficult in South Korea.
"Some people are happy when they have a lot of money, others are happy in being admired by many people - I'd be happy just living an ordinary life, but being ordinary isn't easy," she said.
Seoul hopes to close the gap for the young defectors, allowing North Koreans to bypass the exhaustive university entrance exam.
However, experts suggest the current educational model is flawed as a large number of defectors still drop out.
Some defectors have found refuge in alternate vocational schools outside the capital, such as Park Sang-young's 3.4 School, to pursue careers not requiring university education.
"Rather than Seoul we sought out a small, self-sustainable city to train and practice the free market economy and nurture specialised skills which were already learned in North Korea," he said.
For these defectors, new cultural experiences and a rural city serving as a reminder of home help them cross not just the physical border but an educational one also.