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The latest episode of "Lovely Runner" highlights the "real" infamous Korean college acceptance, MT!

The latest episode from tvN's romance/time travel drama Lovely Runner brings the fun back to college days, but also reminds us of the dangers many Korean college students face when first entering university! We explain why this is an important issue and why you need to be aware if you plan to come to South Korea to study!


Episode 9 of Lovely Runner brings the laughs and inner child of most adults during their adolescent years as Im Sol (Kim Hye Yoon Cleaning Up 2022) tries to save Ryu Sun Jae (Byeon Woo Seok Strong Girl Nam-Soon 2023) again, but this time during their first year in college. As the Mass Communications majors go on their yearly "MT" (membership training), Im Sol plans to save Sun Jae by making sure that he is far from harm. But through a series of hilarious instances, Sun Jae rescues Im Sol from harm!

What is "MT" and why is it important to Korean university students?

"MT" stands for "membership training" or "orientation". If you didn't know, Koreans are very "us" and "we" focused. For most freshman (first-year) university students, adapting to a new school and as newly appointed "adults" can be quite challenging. Therefore, Korean university culture encourages students to go for "MT" with their fellow major classmates to "bond" and get to know each other as well as to be "accepted" into friend circles. These unofficial school events are usually held by upperclassmen, who are to be respected, like a hierarchy.

Why are "MTs" taboo?

So what did you do while you were in college to make new friends and have a good time? Well, party! MTs are more social than "educational". Since they are not supported by the universities (most upperclassmen are in charge of payment of food, drinks, lodging, and transportation), students are practically free to do anything they want, unsupervised. Drinking games are the main feature of MT, and if you're not good at drinking, you'll have a long night since many upperclassmen "force" underclassmen to drink.

As in episode 9 when Im Sol pretends to be drunk when her classmates enter the lodging, she is caught awake and is forced to drink by her upperclassman. Although these drinking and camaraderie games are fun, it has become a subject of scrutiny by many Korean university students who believe being forced to overdrink is a problem in Korean university culture.

Alcohol is the "social lubricant" of Korean society

Unfortunately, Koreans turn to alcohol to relax and "let their hair down". Regardless of age and occupation, from university students to office workers, Koreans love alcohol! It isn't uncommon for your university professor to invite the whole class for "hoesik" (회식), which I experienced personally while I was a university student in Korea. Hoesik involves alcohol, of course, and food that the most senior person enjoys. Although it may be fun for most people when forced to drink with people you don't want to be around (such as classmates and/or co-workers) it can be seen as a waste of time and energy.

MTs are fun and a great way to make new friends!

That being said, MTs are usually fun and harmless when you drink responsibly. We hope that this article helps you understand the latest episode of Lovely Runner and a little bit about Korean drinking culture! Remember to drink responsibly and let us know your thoughts on this amazing drama!


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