Korean University Culture

South Korean university culture usually focuses on a network. There are many different ways and events to getting to know each other. You can naturally build a network in university. I will introduce networks in Korean universities.

<Before the semester begins>

Saenaegi Baeumteo 새내기 배움터

Before the semester begins, the freshmen of the year participate in an event called ‘Saenaegi Baeumteo(새내기배움터)’, a.k.a. Saeteo(새터), a newbie learning MT. Saeteo is a preliminary program for freshmen to learn university cultures before the new semester begins. Usually, it is held for 2 days, 1 night. During the daytime, freshmen learn overall university life. In the evening, freshmen split into groups and have events with each group, and you make friendships with Seonbae(선배) and classmates. Seonbae(선배) in Korea means a friend who is a few years ahead of you in university. In this case, you are Hubae(후배). The expression-Seonbae and Hubae- is used in various fields like university, society, and the workplace. Also, you can grasp the vibe of the department. Saeteo is important because you mainly have university lives with the classmates you met in the Saeteo group. 

<After the semester begins>

Gae-gang Party 개강파티

The Gae-gang party is an event held by the department to celebrate the start of the semester. It is usually held in the restaurant in front of the university.  Most events in the university don’t force you to participate. So, you just give RSVP to the host before the Gae-gang party. Even at the end of the semester, a similar event held as the ‘Jong-gang Party(종강파티)’, which celebrates the end of the semester.

Bapyak 밥약

Bapyak(밥약)is short for 'Bap Yaksok(밥 약속)', which means the plan for lunch or dinner with 선배. Bapyak goes like this. In Korea, if Hubae wants to have lunch with Seonbae, Seonbae will treat Hubae. And then, Hubae treats Seonbae a cup of coffee or lunch later as a thanks. Usually, it is one-to-one, but there are some cases that have 밥약 with many people depending on personal preference. You can eat at a restaurant in front of the university and can get close to Seonbae. Also, you can get general tips about university life from Seonbae, such as foodie tour recommendations around the university, academic life, and lecture recommendations.

Also, you can meet senior graduates during Homecoming Day and get advice about career and life from them.

MT(Membership Training)

MT is usually held in March~May, or October after the semester starts, and the purpose of this is to get to know each other. They usually go to places in Gyeonggido, such as Daeseong-ri, Gapyeong, and Cheongpyeong which are called ‘MT chon’, meaning MT village. These places are famous because first, it has good accessibility. It is close to Seoul, so you can reach there by buses, subways, and trains. Second, there are greens and water like valleys nearby. Since it is an event to encourage friendship, we eat barbecue in the evening and play games after that.

Old Rivalry: Yonkojeon

There is a famous rivalry called ‘Yonkojeon’, between Yonsei University and Korea University. This is similar to Oxford-Cambridge Rivalry. It is held every September~October, and the two universities take turns to host the event. The title of Yonkojeon changes according to the host university. When it is hosted by Korea University, the name changes to ‘Koyonjeon’. When students of Korea University talk about this event, they say Koyeonjeon rather than Yonkojeon. Because the event is named after Yon, Ko is from their university’s name. Sports games such as baseball, basketball, and ice hockey are held, and all community members participate, and even professors cheer for their university.

Although it is a sports event, there are many things to see because the surroundings of the university are festive at this time. They also diss each other’s university through banners .

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