If I recall, school field trips stopped after I was in elementary school. I went on a few educational field trips in high school but those were just for a specific class. We also went on college campus visits, but no one pretends those visits were super fun.
Not all Korean schools have money for this, but for this year school year, the students have gone on two field trips. One time they went camping and just recently they went to amusement parks. As I understand it, parents pay a fee at the beginning of the year and the school uses that money to plan sports day, the school festival, and field trips.
I could have stayed home and had a day off but I had never been to Lotte World and I thought it would be fun to just hang out with my students and co-workers instead of worrying about lesson planning and discipline.
Lotte World is an indoor amusement park in downtown Seoul. Even though it was inside, it was still cold and I was feeling sickly 😦
Lotte is a conglomerate that you might never have heard about before unlike Samsung or LG. Besides Lotte World, there are Lotte Marts, hotels, duty free shops, and pro baseball teams. Lotte World has a skating rink, parades, food courts, mini roller coasters, and just about anything else a typical amusement park has. The food, while not high quality, at least was not ridiculously expensive like most American theme parks.
I was surprised to learn that no parents go as chaperones on the field trip. The home room teacher is in charge of his or her class of 35 students but the students are given pretty free reign as long as they stay in the amusement park. Everyone has a cell phone so teachers could always call students if they didn’t make it back to the meeting place in time.
The teachers and students didn’t even eat together. Some students brought lunch from home and others ate at the food stalls. The teachers got to eat in a quiet, fancy, traditional Korean restaurant. We had delicious bibimbap.
I would like to go back in the summer but I’m honestly not the biggest theme park fan unless the rides are awesome. Most of the time, parks are so crowded and you end up waiting in lines all day. However, it was nice to see my students enjoy themselves and I basically got paid to go and have fun for a day.