This paper reports the results of a qualitative multiple case study of the fieldwork experiences of secondary Four (Year 10) students of five schools in Hong Kong. The study was an experientially-based one which aimed at understanding the fieldwork experiences of students and what meanings they had derived from such experiences. For most schools, there was an overt academic orientation to the objectives of the fieldwork undertaken. However, the study has revealed that fieldwork is, in particular, emotionally engaged learning because of students’ desire to be out-of-the-classroom, their expectation of fun and excitement, their undertaking of physical challenges and the development of new social relationships in the field. Based on these findings, an integrated model of experiential learning in postulated. It shows that intellectual, social and emotional experiences are inextricably integrated in the field. Finally, this paper proposes a few practical guidelines for fieldwork based on the need to go beyond intellectual and instrumental learning to heuristic, experiential learning. Copyright © 2000 Australian Geography Teachers’ Association.