Field Tripping for Vengeance

Back in my first year or two of teaching at ZUCC, there were several instances where I showed up to the classroom all prepared to teach “Spoken English” (invariably they were early morning classes), only to be stood up by the entire class. No one came. Why? It was their 春游–their yearly “Spring Outing.” The “class monitor” (班长) had neglected to inform me.

What are these “Spring Outings?” They’re a very Chinese way of enjoying life’s splendid reemergence in nature. They’re an opportunity for students to bond and further develop comraderie. They’re a means for Chinese citizens to rediscover the natural beauty of their motherland. But most importantly, they are a “get out of class free” card.

You see, when a Spring Outing comes up, all you have to do is tell the teacher “we have a Spring Outing,” and class is automatically canceled, no questions asked. Matters of curriculum are petty in comparison to this wondrous rite of Spring.

Well, this year, I finally get my turn. The international center of East China Normal University has arranged a Spring Outing for its foreign students: a three-day trip to Wuyuan (婺源), Jiangxi Province. It only costs 50 rmb per student–bus fare, hotel, and basic food included! I leave today at 7am and get back late Sunday. It might be an overly touristy experience, but at least I’ll get some time to meet some more people. Plus I haven’t gone on a trip in a while, and I’m overdue. I’ll probably pick up some tea for my girlfriend’s parents (I hear they like that). Anyway, all that is only secondary, because this time I’m getting out of class and going on a Spring Outing as payback. This time I’m… field tripping for vengeance!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. My school’s Spring Field Trip is next Wednesday.

  2. wooow, so cheap. as far as i know, the fee for a 5 day trip to Wuyuan is about 400 yuan.
    I should go there, maybe, my friend told me it’s really a paradise.

  3. Wow, that’s cheap! I’m going to take my summer vacation in China this year, for sure!

  4. Wow.. I don’t know you could take class off for the reason like SPRIONG OUT , at least we had to have spring out on weekends… But you got that cheap price ! I really envied you… when I was in uni, there was no compensation from school for our spring out. I often missed as I don’t like renao.

  5. About time!!! Work the system!

  6. Remember our forced march to the Huzhou Brush Writing Festival and back during our time at ZUCC? That sucked. Poor Greg was bayonetted by Chen Yao when he collapsed from exhaustion. Sad.

  7. Nothing beats our ZUCC paid visit to the National Historical Museum of sex. All those phalic symbols and Chen Yao’s laugh…it was a bit odd, but it was free.

  8. Mine is going to be on the 6th and 7th. We are going to Yangzhou. It’s also RMB 50 for everything.

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