Both of the universities I’ve worked at are not heavy on the mandatory work social activities, thankfully. At my previous place, it was 4-5 times/semester, while my current one is once/semester, if that.
Anyway, my theory about interacting with the powers that be in Korean universities (although this could apply to almost any job in Korea I think):
Go to all social events
You should make an effort to go to everything, even optional parties. They’re usually fun and the food and adult beverages are free! Have a drink or two and enjoy yourself. Also attend the workshops which will definitely put you in the admin’s good books.
Avoid any negative interaction
NEVER complain to your bosses, international coordinator or English assistants. Have only positive contact such as volunteering to teach (paid) classes or camps. Offer helpful feedback when requested. Get your syllabus and grades in on time. Do not bother these people with trifling things like a dispute with a coworker, a missing printer in your office, or a student who is not happy about a grade. Get some self-initiative. ONLY POSITIVE! ALWAYS!
Make a good reputation for yourself among the students
There are teachers who are popular and fun and well-liked and those that are not. Be one of the well-liked ones because this reflects itself in student evaluations, which the powers that be see. And the word on the street about you gets back to them, I’m almost certain. Having a reputation as a stellar teacher will only get you good things in the future.
Minimize the coworker bitch sessions
This will only give you a negative attitude about a job that is actually pretty amazing. I’ve found that when I used to hang around certain people I work with, I’d start thinking my job is actually not that good. However, this is most definitely not the case and by not spending time with these people, it’s much easier to be thankful and happy about my situation here.
The Korea haters
Stay away from them.
Remember: work social activities=yes. Negative interactions=no!