The start of a new school year is quickly approaching in South Korea and with the new semester comes new classes, new students, and another round of club recruitment for university organizations and clubs. At most universities, international students are welcomed and encouraged to join student organizations to better mingle and get the true Korean college experience. And while some students may not be looking forward to going back to classes and schoolwork, club members are certainly excited to attend another MT.

So what can you expect if you want to sign up and what is this MT everyone keeps talking about?

Click the titles below to jump directly to that section:

  1. Clubs & Bi-Annual Fairs
  2. Membership Training (MT)
  3. University Drinking Culture 
  4. School Festivals
  5. Sports Meets
  6. University Areas

Are you planning to join an exchange student program in Korea? Here’s the ultimate list of essential things exchange students in Korea should prepare before arriving in Korea. Get ready for an enriching semester abroad in Korea next year!

1. Clubs & Bi-Annual Club Fair

Club fairs are often held on campus bi-annually at the university shortly after classes begin. They offer a chance for students to meet some of the club members and for clubs to appeal to new potential members. These club fairs host a wide variety of student organizations from sports clubs like archery, golf, and basketball, to academics such as debate teams and hobbies like dance, magic, tea ceremonies, and more.

Most clubs have a membership fee starting around 30,000won for all members that goes towards club meetings, maintaining the club space, and holding events.

2. Membership Training (MT)

Membership Training or MT (엠티) for short, is an overnight trip off-campus held by each club as an opportunity for new & old members to bond. Typically clubs will use a portion of their membership dues to cover trip expenses, but they may also charge attendees a small fee to cover food and lodging.  Club members often meet at a nearby bus or subway station in the afternoon and travel together to their MT location where they will spend the night before returning the next day. 

To escape the city, most students will travel to the countryside for MT. The most common destination is Daeseongri Station in Gapyeong, which is about 2 hours outside of Seoul and has even gained the nickname of ‘MT Village’ for its popularity among students. 

Check out these other activities to do while in Gapyeong!

MT usually involves a variety of recreational activities, dinner, and drinks. Depending on the number of attendees, you may be divided into groups to compete in different team games and earn the right to the best ingredients at dinner. Some MTs even include talent shows, skits, or sporting competitions. 

After some delicious Korean BBQ, MT activities often move inside for the night as the group begins the final rounds of drinking and games. Games are played both in teams and individually and are often taught in practice rounds by the senior students in the group. These games will continue into the night until almost everyone has found themselves in a corner of the shared guesthouse to sleep. In the morning, students will often share ramyeon for breakfast and clean up before heading back to Seoul.  

Want to learn your games before you go? Check out the video below!

3. Drinking Culture

Like with many universities across the world, drinking culture forms a big aspect of Korean university life. Alcohol can be found at almost every school event, including freshman orientation, sports meets, festivals, and MTs.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jinro Australia (@jinro_aus)

Other than the basic popular alcoholic beverages you can find on the shelf of any local convenience store such as soju, beer, or makgeolli, there are many types of creative Korean concoctions. Here are just a few of them:

a. Somaek (Soju + Maekju [Beer])

Somaek is probably the most popular mixed alcoholic drink in Korea. In a glass of beer, a shot of soju is added (the proportion varies very much up to personal preference but typically follows a 1 to 3 ratio). Soju typically ranges around 18 to 21% abv depending on the brand and the type, while beer is about 6%. The mixture is therefore rather potent due to mixing spirits and the high alcoholic content of about 12%.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jinro Australia (@jinro_aus)

b. Yo-So (Yakult + Soju)

This is a mixture of the popular probiotic drink Yakult and soju. Adding the unique taste and sweetness of Yakult to the already sweet soju. This is a very popular combo, especially among female students.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by YOJU (@sipyoju)

c. So-Mak-Sa

So-Mak-Sa is a mix of soju (so), makgeolli (mak) and Sprite or cider (sa). This is a drink that adds the sweetness and carbonation from soju and cider to makgeolli (the base drink).


Bekyk hierdie plasing op Instagram


‘n Plasing gedeel deur Wonder Pig K-BBQ (@wonderpig.ny)

d. Col-So 

Yup, you’ve probably guessed this one; Col-So is a mixture of cola and soju. Again, the sweet concoction is very popular among those who don’t like the bitter taste of alcohol. Instead, the unique carbonated flavor of Coke mixes very well with the base alcohol of soju to create a delicious cocktail.

In addition to all these different types of drinks, there are many events as well as games that are inherently linked to alcohol: drinking games, student-organized bars, and MTs.

Koreans love drinking games. At every social event that involves alcohol, you can hear people playing games. These games vary widely according to university – even the names of the rules may differ greatly. Yonsei University for example, even has a drinking game named after their cheerleading club, Blue Knights.

Want to experience Korean drinking culture for yourself? Check out these nightlife experiences: 

4. Festivals

Every year in the spring and fall, colleges across Korea will hold festivals for current and past students. Some of the most famous college festivals take place at Yonsei University (Akaraka), Korea University (Ipsilenti), or Hongik University. Almost all universities have their own festivals, but the scale and popularity can vary greatly.

While festivals typically last a couple of days, each next will offer short performances by a wide list of A-list Korean celebrities including IU, Uhm Jung-hwa, IVE, WINNER, Jay Park, Psy, (G)I-DLE, and more.

These festivals aren’t just about celebrities, however, as many student clubs and societies also get a chance to showcase their efforts throughout the year at these festivals. Many bands, orchestras, and dance societies will perform, and many students will come to support their friends or just enjoy the performances. The highlight of these is often performances led by the student cheering team. Typically they will lead students through cheers and songs usually performed at sporting events to help build a sense of community among the student body.

5. Sports Meets

Much like American college football in the US, Korean universities have soccer, baseball, and basketball leagues, amongst others. Many of the athletes from these college leagues get scouted to professional teams. But almost even more popular than the sports & athletes themselves, is the spirit of competition and joy of cheering for your team.

The most famous and largest sports event of them all is the annual Yonsei-Korea Games (KoYeon Jeon) held at Jamsil Stadium. Its scale matches those of Oxford-Cambridge or Harvard-Yale games, and the usual tension and rivalry between the two schools are quite high and strong.


A large part of the games is about the sports itself, but another important aspect is the cheering culture. Each school’s cheerleading squad Yonsei’s “Akaraka” and Korea’s “Ipsilenti”, lead the school population to cheer for their school teams.  The games receive nationwide attention, with wide media coverage across various platforms. It is often common for the celebrations to pour over into the streets surrounding campus well into the night, alternating university neighborhoods each year.

6. Different University Areas

There are very obvious connections between the presence of a university in an area and the vibrant, dynamic youthful community around it. Each area has its own unique atmosphere, some of the most famous university areas in Seoul are:

a. Anam

Anam is in a rather isolated location compared to the rest of Seoul. However, because the Anam area is predominantly occupied by Korea University students, the atmosphere feels much more student-focused compared to other areas. Things like food and drinks are relatively cheaper and local pubs & restaurants are typically packed full during lunch and Friday night dinner hours.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by o n e + (@1seok_d)

b. Sinchon

Closer to central Seoul, Sinchon is much busier as it’s surrounded by 3 major universities. The area is filled with places to shop, eat, and drink and while prices are still lower than in other parts of Seoul such as Gangnam, Sinchon isn’t the cheapest place you can find.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by shadie (@beccawalla)

Looking for more activities in Sinchon? 

c. Hongdae

Hongdae is a very popular area for all young Seoulites (and tourists). This neighborhood is famous for its unique food, clothing shops as well as clubs. It’s also home to many Hongik University students, whose design focus is to thank for much of Hongdae’s artsy vibes.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by DEF 戴夫 (@def_7.9)

Looking for more to do in Hongdae? Check out our blog here for things to do based on your personality!

d. Hyehwa/Daehakro

Hyehwa/Daehakro is traditionally known for its art scene. Theatres and performances are littered across the streets of Hyehwa. Concert-goers from all across Seoul flock here to catch the latest shows. It’s also close to Sungkyunkwan University and Seoul National University, which adds to the youthful vibrance of the area.

Looking for more activities near Hyehwa /Daehakro? Try these!

Check out our helpful blogs for exchange students in Korea!

Book your essentials in advance via Trazy!

Find out more SIM Card/WiFi/eSIM options & hassle-free services for your life in Korea via Trazy!

What club would you want to join and go on MT with? Let us know below and make sure to check out, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, for more essential tips and information for exchange students in South Korea! Also, don’t forget to enjoy Welcome Discounts for the 2024 Spring Semester in Korea!

If you are interested in learning the Korean language and culture in Seoul, check out Korean Language Summer Camp (July 8~26), Korean Summer Camp at SeoulTech (July 1~19) or K-pop Summer Camp (Aug 5~23) as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.