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zhouhaochen

LTL Mandarin School with Chinese homestays

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zhouhaochen

you are most welcome and we will put the wireless information on our webpage, thanks for the advice.

Any other questions just let me know - either here or via email ([email protected])

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Friedrich

Been studying one on one with you guys now for a year and its a great school. Keep it up! :clap

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zhouhaochen

LTL was just recognised as Provider of Educational Holidays (Bildungsurlaub) by the German government.

I would love to claim that we went through a rigorous quality standard testing process and finally were recognised after living up the incredibly high expectations of the inspectors, however in reality it just involved us submitting a lot of paper work and I do not think they ever bothered to check if any of it was true nor did they visit our school or did any other indepth research it seemed to me.

However, it does mean that German's can get part of the cost of a course with LTL re-imbursed by the government (depending on which federal state you live in and if you fit the selection criteria) and I think that's good news.

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zhouhaochen

LTL programs, starting dates and prices for 2013 are online now.

We published all language programs, accommodation, starting dates and prices for 2013 on our website.

Same for the Chinese University Pathway Program

A new program we offer that combines studying in two very different cities (Beijing and Chengde) is the Two City Combo, available from summer 2012.

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zhouhaochen

An interview about LTL Mandarin School in the South China Morning Post from this Sunday.

Read either on the LTL Mandarin School Blog (story direct link) or on the SCMP site (you might be asked to purchase a subscription to the paper first).

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zhouhaochen

So after Benny Lewis came by the school for a language assesment, we have the 2nd "Polyglot" Richard Simcott now actually taking a Chinese couse with LTL (first via Skype and then full immersion study in Chengde and Beijing). Hopefully a bit less controversial than Benny, his aims are a quite realistic and achievable too I would say.

We put his first post also on our blog.

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zhongguo2020

I promised to write a review about my language study experience on another thread, but thought it might fit here better. I have been studying Chinese at LTL for a bit less than two months now.

Pre-arrival Process

I spent quite a lot of time planning my trip to China (with quite a lot of help from this forum - thanks everyone!) and talked to several language schools. A lot of the programs offered looked quite similar to me, in the end I chose LTL because they were very quick with their replies, friendly and I kind of "felt" comfortable with them. They required a 30% deposit, to book the course, which was a bit of a hassle to transfer and it seemed not all other schools required that. They were very helpful during the process, replied to questions quickly and helped me to sort out all the administrative stuff (visa, money etc.) very efficiently. They also speak good English which made things a bit easier for me. Overall quite a nice and painless experience.

Arrival

It was my first trip to China and while I had mentally prepared for it, the culture shock was quite big. I had never seen so many skyscrapers before. Never mind all the people. The school helped me a lot during the first two weeks. All the new students have breakfast together on Monday with the school manager, we went for dinner together as a group the next day and the school has a very "homely" atmosphere with great staff and a very nice, small student community. I made a lot of friends from very different backgrounds very quickly. It was my "home away from home" for the first few week. We went out together on the first weekend and it was very nice to have other people around you to experience China together. That became less important once I had settled in, but for the first few weeks I would not have wanted to miss that atmosphere. From an administrative perspective LTL sorted everything out, police registration etc. was all done quickly, which made things easy for me as I had plenty of other things to deal with at the beginning.

Classes

I never studied Chinese anywhere else, but I did study other languages before and worked as a teacher myself a few years ago. We have a small group of students (four currently), very committed teacher, clearly structured curriculum - I had actually not expected such high academic standards. While the characters give me a headache, I have the feeling I get ahead very quickly. I had thought about studying myself before coming to China, looking back I think it was the right choice not to, without a teacher explaining all of this to me, I don’t think I could have done it. We get homework and the course is challenging, but also quite fun, I look forward to class. Very impressive.

Accommodation

I booked a host family for the first two months and that was an experience. The first day was pretty tough, they (husband and wife in their 50s) were very nice and friendly, but we had no way to communicate as they do not speak a word of English. They brought me food, which was nice, but it took me a long time to figure out the air-con. I had an intro sheet from the school explaining me what to do and not to do in rather general terms. Those were nice pointers, but in the end you kind of have to figure it out yourself.

After a few days it was great though. Zhang Ayi makes fantastic food and I learned a lot of Chinese just talking over dinner and finally figuring out the air-con remote control. On the first weekend we went hiking, the next one we went to visit some uncles for a big family dinner and that’s how it went on. It feels a bit more like staying with some – very strange – relatives rather than a place where you pay to live. I have two more weeks left and will extend my stay there for at least another month. I would definitely recommend choosing to stay with a guest family. In class you can notice who lives with a family and who does not. Students in shared apartments and hotels seem to take longer with getting the conversations right. The apartment standard is good I would say, I have a single room and it is very clean, but the internet is a bit slow at times.

Location

LTL is in the Central Business District, Beijing’s modern downtown, which is not really the more “quiet” China I had imagined, but it is very happening, with a lot of restaurants, shopping and millions of people around. It takes me 20 minutes to walk to the school every day, which is very convenient. There are some bars in the area, but for going out we usually go to the sanlitun area, which is 5 subway stops away. I have to take a taxi home from there usually (the subway stops at 22:00!), which costs about 20-25 RMB.

Overall

I really enjoy studying here. The team is very nice and they seem to take a lot of pride in their work. From an organizational point everything worked out and they delivered on everything they had promised beforehand. My guest family is amazing, classmates are fun, the teacher very good – I am very happy I found this place.

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zhouhaochen

Christmas is our slow period every year, so for 2012 we decided to try to do something about it and are offering a 50% discount on all tuition for students studying from the 17th to 28th of December for all students who take a one month (or longer) full time course with us.

Details on http://www.livethelanguage.cn/winter-programs/ or email us on [email protected] for more information.

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zhouhaochen

For 2013 we decided to offer an alternative to government university semester programs. The length is the same as most semester programs at BLCU, BeiDa etc. what you get is:

- Small classes (maximum of 6 students)

- Government certified professional teachers. All LTL teachers graduated with a degree in "Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Langauge" (对外汉语).

- We are not small, but als not big. If you do not want to be a number among thousands of students, but combined with a professional curriculum, it might be worth sending us an email.

- Study in Beijing's CBD

- Full support, if you need help with registering with the police or tips on where to repaid yor iPhone cheaply, ask us.

- A very fun student community

- Accommodation in student apartments or Chinese homestay families

And all at a very attracive price. Details attached, email us with any questions.

Starting Dates: 2013.02.18 and 2013.09.16

Duration: 18 weeks

Tuition: 19,800 RMB/semester

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AucklandLove

I might be interested in the ltl semester program starting in February this year. Anyone on here has done it?

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zhouhaochen

in case you do not get any replies on here, if you want I can introduce you to some current or past students, just send me an email [email protected] or pm me on Chinese-Forums.

Which semester program starting date (28th of Feb or 16th of Sep for 2013) are you interested in? The standard (20h/week small group class) or the intensive (20h/week small group & 10h/week 1-on-1 class) version?

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driftman

@AucklandLove I have not studied the semester program at LTL, but have been studying Chinese with them for about two years, first intensively and later part-time. I met several semester program students at the school and from what they said it is basicaly the same course structure as other group classes they provide, just with only two starting dates per year and a fixed duration of the program and a discount on the whole package.

My experience with LTL has been very positive. The teacher I study with is very professional and takes her job clearly very seriously. She is very well prepared for class and teaches a clearly structured course. The team is very helpful and a nice bunch of people, if you need help with stuff in China, they are very supportive. I found them very trustworthy in what they promise/deliver, something that is not always a given in China. There seems to be a quite active social life amongst the international students at the school, though I am a bit old for that and never really joined that crowd.

If you decide to study there I would suggest to choose the homestay option, it is on thing they speciase in. I lived with an LTL family for the first few months and it was great, both for my language progress and as a cultural experience. I have heard similar feedback from classmates.

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zhouhaochen

A few updates from LTL:

  • Our new website is online, same Chinese programs, but hopefully even easier to navigate.
  • After a trial period in 2012 we now officially offer a second homestay option, called “Live & Teach” where students live with a Chinese family and teach 6h/week English to a family member (usually a child) starting from the year of the Snake. The rest of the time all communication is still in Chinese of course. Only available in Beijing and only for native speakers / learners with at least C1 level English. I personally still prefer our standard speak Chinese only homestays, as it is just better to only speak Chinese while studying and teaching English can interrupt the immersion process. However, with rental prices in China as high as they are today, it is a good option to save money, while still living with a Chinese family and practicing Chinese most of the time.

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AucklandLove

a few thoughts from me on LTL, as I have been studying there for about two months by now (will stay until summer):

- The classes are great. It is the first time I study Chinese, however I did learn French and Italian for quite some time, both at home and in-country. I find my course here much better taught than anything I experienced in either France or Italy. The teachers are well prepared for class, enjoy their job, are very good at explaining grammar/tones, and the classes are a lot of fun.

- The school organised for me to stay with a Chinese family and they are amazing. We went hiking on the Great Wall together, they showed me around the Forbidden City and for Qingmingjie they took me with them to visit their family grave. It kind of feels like they adopted me.

- The team at LTL is very nice, friendly, and helpful.

- The school is not very big, but I met the other international students quite quickly. It is a nice little social community which made settling into China a lot easier, especially in the beginning.

- The semester program I am studying here I find very good value.

I spent a lot of time researching options before I came to China and initially contacted LTL because of their reputation on the internet. While I was planning my trip they were the school that was the most helpful and quickest when it came to email replies with an ok price level, which is probably why I chose to study there. So far it has been a great experience with them being very helpful in solving the organisational problems (visa!) I encountered and I pretty much like everything about the course, but it is the Chinese family they organised for me that is definitely the highlight of the program.

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zhouhaochen

An update on LTL's holiday policy: We have a "never lose a day of class you paid for" policy. That means whenever there is a national holiday, all classes that would have taken place on that day will be made up for, either on the holiday or another day.

So for example for the upcoming dragon boat festival (12th of June, a Wednesday) LTL students will either be able to take classes on the holiday or take them later that week.

So whenever a student comes to study with us and paid for example for a 20 hours per week Chinese course, we guarantee that he/she will be able to study those 20 hours during that week - whatever holidays there might be.

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tysond

I have been studying with LTL and thought I'd share my experience, as it's a bit different to others posted.

I moved to Beijing 8 months ago for work (I'm in the IT industry) with my wife. I had roughly A2 level Chinese (well past pure beginner but not really able to tackle intermediate) and my wife could barely say NiHao. I found LTL via Benny Lewis's blog, but chose it because I thought the website was well designed and clear, and the packages and policies were clearly explained and were suitable for both my needs and my wifes.

My wife booked in for 3 weeks of intensive classes (6 hours a day), and it went very well. It ended up being a class of 2 and I was impressed that the school still went ahead with it. I'm sure some would have cancelled until they had more students. The teacher was flexible -- they both didn't want to learn characters so it wasn't taught, they wanted to do some excusions so they just took the teacher with them to the market sometimes. As they were more casual learners they kept it fun and engaging and my wife quickly got past survival level and could settle into Beijing well. Actually if she'd kept up this pace for 3 months perhaps she could be fluent in 3 months (just kidding).

For myself I got 1:1 lessons, 2 hours at a time, twice a week. At first the teacher came to our apartment after I got home from work, which was very convenient - now I do a mix of evenings and weekend lessons. I travel frequently bit so the policy of allowing some cancellations/changes (i think it's 30% max) was very helpful. So far I've had about 70 hours of lessons. I've made a lot of progress on my goals for the classes: conversational fluency and pronounciation.

I have had 3 different teachers in about 6 months (one got married and moved city, one changed company) but actually it's quite good to have a new teacher as it resets expectations a bit higher each time, and seems to stop them getting accustomed to your mistakes :-) . All have been good teachers with their own individual strengths. I requested them all to focus on pronounciation because I do a lot of self study on characters in my own time - and not focus textbook progress. They have generally been good at this, particularly my most recent teacher who is very good at correcting/explaining tounge and mouth positions, multiple tone patterns, etc. For me this is important because I could just find a language partner or pay a student for pure conversation - but I think they would be poor at this task compared to a teacher that has been trained to teach foreigners how to learn Chinese.

Logistics and communication has been smooth.

A teacher has only cancelled once (Beijings worst ever pollution day, fully understandable) and they are pretty much always exactly on time.

Overall I have been pleased and plan to continue being a customer.

I am considering doing the Chengde immersion trip sometime as this looks like an interesting concept.

They also have an executive package that looks interesting for those with crazy schedules that keep changing, it has a lot of flexibility on scheduling.

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yellowpower

Hi

Are there any courses that focus on "academic Chinese" for university studies (not talking about courses for passing HSK exams) Courses where the emphasis moves away from just language learning and vocabulary lists to proper choice and usage of vocabulary in context, learning and using technical jargon of different professions, differences in written language vs spoken, writing academic reports/research papers, etc.

Thanx

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