LTL Mandarin School Feedback?

Old Jan 27th, 2014, 02:26 PM
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LTL Mandarin School Feedback?

After plenty to of South East Asia, I decided to finally tackle China this summer. From what I hear it is possible to survive without English, but if I want to speak to the locals I need Mandarin. So I decided to spend the first three weeks in Beijing learning Mandarin to at least get the baiscs in.
I searched the internet and finally found LTL Mandarin School in Beijing. Their website looks professional, they are nice and helpful when replying to emails and I am very close to booking a course. However, I read on their page that they require a 30% pre-payment to book the course.
Now, I have never been to Beijing, nor to that school. Has anyone been there? Are they legit? If I pay them the money now, will they still be there later?

Also, in case anyone has done a course there, any thoughts on homestay/shared apartments or their Chengde option?

FullMetalJacket is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2014, 03:47 PM
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I did a course there for two months last year. To answer your questions

- I alsp pre-payed 30% and the school was there when I got there (they still want the other 70% off you after all). It is an established and quite popular school that has been around for some time, so I would not worry about them running with your money

- I would recommend the homestay option. I lived with one of their families for the whole trip and it was an awesome experience. The parents were both about 50, had one child (don't they all in China) and I learned a lot more about Chinese culture and society just by living with them. The food was good, the apartment nice and clean. It was about a 15 minute subway ride to the school. It helped me a lot with my language as well, as I got there as a complete beginner and it was good to be able to speak Mandarin at "home". I had asked for a family that can speak some English and my host mother could, which helped at the beginning when settling in. However, if I could do it again I would choose a non-English speaking family. It is a bit harder maybe at the beginning but it is good to be forced to speak Mandarin. If someone speaks English, there is always the risk of being lazy and just saying something in English instead.

- Do you mean the Beijing/Chengde combination? I only studied in Beijing, but went to Chengde for a weekend (it is only about three hours by car from Beijing). It is a nice city and I think you would get to see a very different part of China when living there, plus practice a lot of Mandarin. I didnt meet a single person who could speak English there. However, if you go, I would go to Beijing first, study there for a bit and then go to Chengde. I wish I had chosen a homestay family that could not speak English, because that would have helped with the language and I think I could have handled it at the beginning too. However being all out in Chengde without ANYONE who can speak English around you I think would be pretty scary if you just arrived.

LTL is a very good Chinese school, ask them for advice. They are very honest and reliable in making suggestions, at least in my experience. They had told me to get a non English speaking homestay at the beginning. I chose to not follow that advice - I wish I had.
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 04:31 PM
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FWIW, I tried the Pimsleur language lessons at home before going to China. I am NOT good at languages and I ran out of time, so I made it through only a few lessons. Even so, I was able to learn enough to share a few words with Mandarin speakers.

I agree that Chengde is a very pleasant place to spend a couple of days. But like Charging, I found far fewer English speakers in Chengde than in Beijing, and there is (of course) much more to see in Beijing.

I trust you are monitoring the pollution levels and planning appropriate precautions.
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 07:35 PM
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I did an internship in Shanghai with LTL and found them very trustworthy and reliable. I have not been to either to the Beijing or Chengde school, so cannot comment about that, but I would feel safe sending them a pre-payment, they are honest people.
Being there as an intern without studying Mandrin, I lived in a shared apartment in Shanghai, but if I come back to learn Mandarin properly I think I would go for the homestay too. The Chengde program also sounds quite interesting, could you post some feedback if you end up going?
ChrisAsia is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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Thanks for all the replies, the information was very helpful and sorry for only writing back now.
I sent them the pre-payment and all went well. Spent three weeks in Beijing learning Chinese there, because there was not enough time to go to Chengde. Good school, go for the homestay option.
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