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MT – Korea’s answer to the good old fashioned outing (엠티)

Membership Training. 엠티.

What exactly are you training for? Not sure, but bring an iron stomach because things could get a little drunk crazy.

Essentially, what we have is the time-honored Korean tradition of building strength and unity within a particular group. Typically, a company or university major will go on MTs to become closer and improve relationships within the group.

Keep in mind that Korea, like other parts of Asia, operates by thinking that the group is paramount. Generally speaking, the individual is of lower importance. This isn’t to say that one person is not important; rather one person when viewed outside of a group is of little concern. Suffice it to say that the group is more valued than the member.

Any group looking to have some fun, play some games, escape the city and get completely plastered make some great memories will go on an MT. One or more members within the group plan the event including booking a place to stay, organizing games, purchasing unGodly amounts of alcohol and snacks, and booking travel arrangements. Then, depending on the group’s budget (if there even is one) each member will pay equal amounts of the total bill. Many organizations already have this ‘equal pay’ system long before the MT is planned. The fund is used for any such group outing including MTs.

Typically an MT takes place away from the company or university in place like the mountains or a rural area. The idea is to get away and have some fun. It’s a time to be unplugged from one’s computer, unburdened by the daily minutia of work or study, and just to kick back and relax with coworkers and colleagues. Team building exercises help to further make the group one solid entity. All that from doing a whole lot of nothing in the mountains.

KC101 MT 엠티 relax

Ultimately when it’s all said and done, the group returns to the work place or university with a new common experience in which to feel a warm, fuzzy attachment. The group now has more in common with each other than other departments and majors. This solidarity is not unlike soldiers serving together in the same unit – no matter where they go, they will share the experience and still consider themselves part of that group once upon a time.

Keep in mind that business loyalty is much more pronounced in Korea than in America. To work at one single company throughout one’s career is a sign of devotion and respect in Korea. While it is certainly admirable in the States, it’s not frowned upon if one person has worked for several different companies throughout his or her life. In fact, it’s kind of expected.

Anyways, the whole experience is enjoyable and harkens back to time when companies would spend their own money to develop loyalty within the company. Like a team-building exercise, these outings were not vital to the day-to-day operations but ironed out some wrinkles within the company. It’s kind of hard to complain to HR that you got docked for 3 minutes if they put you up in the mountains for a weekend for fun and food.

Now, if you’re a long-time reader of the KC101 Blog, you already know that our very own Emily (holdfast) has already posted a first-hand account of an MT in America and her post deserves a read. Also, In regards to alcohol consumption, check out why Koreans get crazy drunk on the regular and why you feel left out if you’re sober.