University Festivals in Korea

K-pop: Odebak and fatdoo

Picture this – sitting along a street, eating and drinking in a tent using a cardboard box as a table. The air is thick with the sound of merriment and the smell of hot, freshly made street food. Behind you, many others are also gathered around cardboard boxes, talking and laughing with their friends.

This is a typical university school festival in Korea, also known as ‘대동제’ (Daedongjae).

For a few days at the end of May, the campuses of universities in Korea are transformed into a festival ground – with numerous stores set up by student clubs selling anything from mixed cocktails to street food and festival t-shirts.

The festivals are a way for students to celebrate after completing their mid-term examinations, as well as an outlet for them to let off stress before the final examinations coming up in June.

At Yonsei University, where I was an exchange student for the spring semester, the main road – Yonsei-ro – was transformed into a festival ground, with numerous tents lining the sides.

Throughout the day, there were performances at different areas of the campus.

As the day progresses, the festival activities get increasingly more lively. After sunset, more and more people gather at the festival grounds, sitting inside tents eating and drinking on cardboard boxes.

The university festival in Yonsei usually goes on for 3 days – and it ends with AKARAKA, a concert which showcases Yonsei school spirit and school pride.

<This is a video a student filmed of Akaraka  where you can see how Yonsei university students enjoy the festival :)>

However, due to the Sewol ferry tragedy, this year’s AKARAKA was not held directly after the May festival but postponed to the end of June.

On the day that AKARAKA was held, the school’s amphitheater was filled with students donning shirts in varied shades of blue (Yonsei’s school colour) in the late afternoon. The atmosphere in the air was electric, and I, along with my friends, were on our feet throughout the concert, dancing and cheering along to the school cheers the entire time!

As for the concert portion of AKARAKA, Kpop artistes were invited to perform, and everyone in the amphitheater was enthusiastically singing along to all the songs. It was a great experience and one that I really treasure as an exchange student in Korea.

Are there any similar school festivals in your home country? Do leave a comment below and let me know!


The school pride and spirit present in Korean universities are really infectious and despite being an exchange student that has only spent a semester at Yonsei University, I really feel that I am part of the school.

Are there any similar school festivals in your home country? Do leave a comment below and let me know!

 This blog post is written by our new intern, Clarisse.
If you liked the post, let her know by leaving a comment!  


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[Ask Hyojin] University Life in Korea University festivals sure sound fun! Unfortunately, though, there are also not-so-fun parts of university life in Korea. Learn more about university life in Korea with this episode of Ask Hyojin! 🙂 [Ask Hyojin] University Life in Korea


University Festivals in Korea
  • Zhannat Bissen


  • 안녕!!! A lot of places in Korea undergo transformations each day. For example, outside exit 2 of Sinchon station–during the day it’s just really busy, but at night there are a bunch of performers in the streets. It’s amazing!

    • Seokjin Jin

      Oh, I didn’t know that there are also street performers in Sinshon area. Wow, it is awesome.

  • Cihad KUBAT

    Hi Classie,
    First of all,thank you for uploading the festival in Yonsei University. Yonsei is one of my favourite to tell the truth. In Turkey, every university has their own festival and their time vary but they are usually at the end of the spring semester after finals. It is not a one day event. In my university,at Hacettepe, we have 4 days for festival. The most important thing about the festival is the singers. Big universities compete to get the best singers and if they do, students will be happy.
    Note: Please make more videos about university and university life in Korea because many students including me want to go to a university in Korea. Take care!

    • ble tolife

      wow good that your university has party am a foreigner studying in izmir but ours it just for 3 or 4 hours !! lol me too i want to go there !!!!

  • Dimdansum

    Yonsei 😀 I was there during the spring semester this year too! Stayed for Arakaka

  • Amazing photos! This looks so much more interesting than I had expected it to be!
    I’ve never been here, but I’m so putting that on the calendar now!
    I suggest that you also try the Mud Festival in Boryeong City.
    It’s a whole lot of fun to be there!