One of the highlights of my exchange in Yonsei University.
Yonkojeon is a sport and cheering festival between two huge rival schools in Korea, Yonsei University and Korea University (KU) that happens every September, usually after Chuseok holiday. Some of my Korean friends told me that the rivalry between the schools is so strong that even in the workplace, Yonsei and KU alumni still talk about the rivalry. In fact, in KU, Yonkojeon is called Koyeonjeon.
How to Participate, What to Expect & Why You SHOULD Go
Every year, the schools compete in 5 sports: Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Rugby and Soccer, within 2 days usually Friday and Saturday. Basketball and Ice Hockey are the only matches that you will need to get tickets for while the other 3 sports do not require a ticket for entry.
This year, all games were either held at Jamsil Stadium (Baseball and Basketball) or Mokdong Stadium (Ice Hockey, Rugby and Soccer). Baseball, Basketball and Ice Hockey were held on the first day at 11AM, 3PM and 5PM respectively while Rugby and Soccer was on the second day at 11AM & 1.30PM respectively. For this year’s games, you had to either choose between Basketball and Ice Hockey as the venues were far away from each other.
Something that is quite surprising was that there were still lessons going on in Yonsei on the friday of Yonkojeon. So if you’re planning to watch Yonkojeon in the fall semester here, you can either plan your timetable in a way that your Friday is free or just be prepared to skip lessons. Some of my friends actually just skipped, I think the professors for the exchange classes would understand.
If you do not know how to get to the stadium, Mentors Club will usually do pickups either at the Main Gate of Yonsei or at the nearest subway station. More announcements were given through our Mentors Club Kakao chat room. If you are not part of Mentors Club, you can still just join them as long as you know when and where to meet – just ask another exchange student who is in Mentors Club. (If you have no idea what Mentors Club is, I will share more about it in another post).
During the games, the cheering will be non-stop. Like even before the games start, the head cheerleader will already start getting people to cheer all the way till the end of the game. Sometimes it gets frustrating because you can’t really watch the game but I think most people just ignore the cheerleaders when the game gets hot, especially for the fast-paced ones like Ice Hockey.
All that being said, I think Yonkojeon is definitely worth going if you are an exchange student. Try to sit with some local students if you can and you experience will definitely be more amazing. They will drag you into cheering and dancing with them and you won’t regret it. The school pride and spirit is pretty amazing during the games. Yonkojeon will definitely be one of the highlights of my short semester here.
How to Get Tickets for Ice Hockey & Basketball
When I first heard about Yonkojeon, I knew I wanted to watch Ice Hockey the most since I’ve never actually seen an Ice Hockey match. But then I found out that Ice Hockey is the most popular game to watch amongst the Yonsei students as Yonsei’s Ice Hockey team is known to be good. On the other hand, Basketball is the more popular amongst KU students. It was pretty hard to get the ice hockey tickets but luckily, with the help from a very kind Korean friend, we managed to get it! YAY.
There are several aways you could get tickets:
- Mentors Club
This is probably the easiest way to get it. On the week of Yonkojeon, you’ll get an email from the International Office saying that Tickets will be given out through Mentors Club exclusively for Exchange Students. They will give the exact time and date of the giveaway. Tickets are free and best part is, they give free Yonsei Yonkojeon accessories too. You just need your student ID for this giveaway.
TIP: Go way earlier than the start time ESPECIALLY if you want to get Ice Hockey tickets. This year, the ticket collection place was really hard to find and because they only had 17 (yes that’s right) Ice Hockey tickets, the tickets ran out in an instant. If you want to get a Basketball ticket, it will be much easier since I think they had close to 100 tickets for Basketball this year.
I was unfortunately still in Japan when Mentors Club did their giveaway so I could not get my tickets from here.
- Collabo or Faculty Ticket Giveaways
Collabo is Yonsei’s Student Council group. They also get some tickets to giveaway to students for Yonkojeon. This one is more of a lucky draw. You have to fill up a google form and they will pick winners by random. If you get selected, you can go to their office at the Student Union Building on the day of collection. This year they gave out 188 Basketball and 89 Ice Hockey tickets. The draw will be announced on their Facebook page on the week of Yonkojeon (This year it was the Monday of the week). The post will probably in Korean but you can use Google translate 😉
Faculties does giveaways too but you need to apply for it a few weeks before the week of the games. As an exchange student, you may not be able to participate in it so if you really want it, you can try getting a local friend who is not watching the games to get one for you.
- “Black Market”
This is the last resort used by desperate people to get tickets. While all the other 2 methods above gives you free tickets, going to the black market means that you’ll need to pay for the tickets. 2 of my friends who went for Ice Hockey with me got their tickets by paying 20000 KRW per ticket. It’s not really cheap but.. if you really really want to, there’s an option for you to do it (although it may not be legal LOL)
Tips if You’re Planning to Watch Yonkojeon
Do not panic if there seems to be no announcements anywhere about Yonkojeon because it’s pretty normal. Most announcements for Exchange Students regarding Yonkojeon only comes out on the week itself.
Also, since 99% the cheering songs are in Korean, it will be good if you can either go for the cheering rehearsal or listen to the cheers on Youtube (see links below).
The cheering rehearsal was held on Wednesday night of the week of the games in Yonsei’s Amphitheatre this year. It may be an alternate thing where next year it will be held at KU, but I’m not too sure about it. I knew about the cheering practice session because an email from the International Office was sent to us about the potential noise that could result from the cheering session. Maybe just look out for that email for more details 🙂
Here’s a list of (some) Yonsei cheering songs that may be useful for you to be familiar with if you want to sing your lungs off in Yonkojeon in the Fall Semester:
- Saranghanda Yonsei (사랑한다 연세)
- Oneul Bam Se (오늘밤새)
- Seosi (서시)
- Go Yonsei
- Won Si Rim (원시림) – This was the song they sung everytime Yonsei scored a point
- To Yo Il Eun Bam E Chua (토요일은 밤이 좋아)
- K O De (K O 대)
- Ko De Get out of the way
I really enjoyed Yonkojeon, I hope you do too!! 🙂