Membership training or MT was a new concept that was introduced to me last semester. After our midterms our entire class drove out to a nearby resort for our weekend at MT. This is basically an event for a group (classmates, co-workers, etc.) to get together and do some social activities and escape the barriers that work or school might present. Membership training is not really common in the US; sure we will have the occasional Christmas or office party. Sometimes we will have office retreats, but they seemed to be more focused on an individual event and aren’t as common. Normally, if you go on a work retreat it is mostly for business or just to do some activities to get to know your co-workers better. I personally prefer the Korean version that involves a bit more drinking and socializing instead of doing trust falls. Regardless of which style you prefer, it is important to have some relationships with your co-workers in order to maintain a good office atmosphere. Work or school doesn’t have to be dreadful, especially if you make good friends with your co-workers or classmates.
Membership Training in my opinion is a great idea. It is full of drinking and eating with a few activities thrown into the mix. Our group enjoyed playing some soccer and relaxing at the spa and swimming pool. The activities obviously vary from group to group, but MT seems to always involve an abundance of food and drinking. Hiking also seems to be one of the popular events in general and for MT.
This weekend our group headed to Dabeach Resort, which is about an hour away from Gwangju. The place makes a perfect spot for MT since there are some activities to do there, you can enjoy the beach, start a game of basketball/soccer, or just relax at the sauna. The area is also famous for green tea; so if you make it out there make sure to try some. Our membership training begun with eating and drinking some Samgyeopsal and Whiskey. This was shortly followed by a friendly game of soccer. The weather wasn’t ideal since it was drizzling, but it didn’t bother us and was a great way to come together outside of the classroom.
The weekend made a perfect escape from a week of midterms and I look forward to our next MT session. It is great experiencing more about Korean culture during membership training and I think other countries can make MT successful at their work or organization. Throughout the weekend you truly learn more about others and get a great chance to share your culture with everyone. It is a mutual event that certainly creates better relationships in the office or classroom. I personally learned a lot about my fellow classmates and am glad they were so eager to learn more about American culture. Both of my membership training weekends have been extremely enjoyable and I hope all foreigners have some opportunity to experience MT.
What are your experiences with Membership Training? Share your stories in the comment section below.