Spend your gap year in China exploring the world’s oldest culture and learn Mandarin together with other young people from all over the world. No previous China or Mandarin language experience is required but anything you already know is of course welcome. If you want to become fluent in Mandarin, you can choose between a full immersion program or a Chinese language year. If you want to just learn basic Chinese and combine the course with gaining work experience during your year abroad, then the “Study and Intern” or “Chinese and English” gap year programs are perfect for you.

Whatever option you choose, you will not only get to experience China’s 5000 year old civilization first hand, but also experience the incredible pace and excitement of living in one of the world’s greatest (and safest) cities: Shanghai.

  • Become fluent in Mandarin
  • Explore China and it’s culture
  • Meet people from all over the world
  • Experience Shanghai’s incredible nightlife
  • 24/7 support, city trips, school events etc.
  • Learn Fluent Mandarin

    Learn Fluent Mandarin

    Complete Immersion or Chinese Language Year: become fluent in Mandarin
    Great classmates at LTL: study with other young and motivated students
    Enjoy your course: inter-active and fun classes and no rote memorization
    Great teachers: motivated Chinese tutors who enjoy teaching

  • Make friends

    Make friends

    The LTL family: a very tight community of foreigners living in Shanghai
    Connect: meet other students during school lunches, dinner, drinks etc.
    Social Activities: regular weekend trips, city tours and other fun stuff at LTL
    Students: people spending their gap year in China tend to be adventurous

  • Full support

    Full support

    24/7: our support team is there for you whenever you need us
    Advice: our tips on how to learn Chinese and truly experience China
    Visas: student visa invitations from LTL for the whole year
    Accommodation: shared apartments or homestays

  • LTL Mandarin School

    LTL Mandarin School

    Our Team: support from old China hands and young China enthusiasts
    Location: downtown Shanghai in the former French Concessions
    All inclusive: free WIFI, free soft drinks, free beer (after 5pm) etc.
    Experience: China’s most established private language school

The Full Immersion Gap Year

You start the first half of your year abroad in Shanghai with its amazing nightlife, international community and endless opportunities for doing pretty much anything you could possibly think of. After exploring this mega city, you will then spend the second half in China’s old summer capital Chengde (not to be confused with Chengdu) and experience the “real China”. No more expats, no international community, no English spoken, but only Chinese culture and Mandarin 24/7. While there is no better way to learn Chinese in China than complete immersion in the city Mandarin originally comes from, this is of course culturally a lot more challenging than living in an international city life Shanghai. While Shanghai is a bit of a “dream world” that is very different to the rest of China, in Chengde you will see and experience how real life in China actually happens today.

The city: Chengde

Chengde (not Chengdu) was the imperial summer capital during the Qing dynasty, is home to the original Qing summer palace, the eight temples, the world’s largest wooden Buddha and is today a UNESCO world heritage site. The city is located in the mountains North of Beijing, right next to the Great Wall and with 500,000 inhabitants pretty small – by Chinese standards at least. It is also the birthplace of modern Mandarin and standard Chinese pronunciation today is based on the language of school children in Chengde. The city has three universities, is very safe, easy to navigate and has a much slower pace of life than other larger cities in China. At the same time there are no foreigners living here, all classes are taught 1on1 (so you don’t speak English with your classmates), you will be living with a Mandarin only speaking family and be immersed into Chinese culture and language day and night. This is the real China.

Starting Dates
  • June 5, 2017
  • June 26, 2017
  • July 10, 2017
  • July 24, 2017
  • Aug 7, 2017
  • Aug 21, 2017
  • Sep 11, 2017
  • Oct 9, 2017
  • Oct 30, 2017
  • Nov. 20, 2017
  • Dec. 11, 2017
3 Months Full Immersion Program Prices
  • 6 weeks in Shanghai studying Chinese small group classes (20hrs/wk)
  • 6 weeks Chengde studying 1-on-1 classes (20hrs/wk)
  • Transport costs between the cities included
  • Shanghai and Chengde survival kit, including SIM card with data plan, maps, rental bike, bank account and much more.

Price = 32,377 CNY

Accommodation Prices

6 weeks in Shanghai in a shared apartment and 6 weeks in a Chengde homestay* = 18,368 CNY
6 weeks in a Shanghai homestay* and 6 weeks in a Chengde homestay* = 25,648 CNY
*All homestays include Breakfast and Dinner. Options for vegetarians, vegans and those with special dietary requirements like gluten free food can be provided.

6 Months Full Immersion Program Prices
  • 12 weeks in Shanghai studying Chinese small group classes (20hrs/wk)
  • 12 weeks in Chengde studying 1-on-1 classes (20hrs/wk)
  • Return train ticket from Shanghai to Chengde
  • Shanghai and Chengde survival kit including SIM card, maps, rental bike, bank account and much more.

Price = 61,453 CNY

Accommodation Prices

12 weeks in Shanghai in a shared apartment and 12 weeks in a Chengde homestay* = 33,739 CNY
12 weeks in a Shanghai homestay* and 12 weeks in a Chengde homestay* = 45,302 CNY
*All homestays include Breakfast and Dinner. Options for vegetarians, vegans and those with special dietary requirements can be provided.

For more information, have a look at our complete Chinese immersion program page.

Chinese Language Year

Study two semesters abroad in a small group class at LTL Shanghai and learn fluent Mandarin. Class sizes are always small, but have an average of three and guaranteed never more than six students per class. With 20 hours of class per week, each class lasts 55 minutes and a semester a full 18 weeks. Students can choose to live in an LTL shared apartment, homestay or organize their own accommodation. With fun classes and an inter-active teaching approach we make sure that our students not only progress quickly with their language abilities, but also enjoy studying.

No hidden charges or costs: When China closes down for one of it’s national holidays, your classes will be made up for and we will make sure that all classes you paid for (20 per week) will also offered. Prices already your course books are already included and there are no registration- or other charges.

Starting Dates

Semester 1: 13th of Feb 2017 to 16th of Jun 2017
Semester 2: 11th of Sept 2017 to January 12th 2018

Each semester consists of 18 weeks of 20hr week Chinese group classes.
(Totaling One Full Academic Year – 36 weeks)


Program with no accommodation: 46,512 CNY
+36weeks accommodation (Shared apartment – small room): 79,776 CNY

*Upgrades to large rooms or homestay can be provided at an extra cost.

Chinese and English Gap Year Program

You will first spend a month studying a Chinese course in Shanghai to get familiar with Chinese culture and get the basics of the language. After your first month you will spend another 18 weeks in a smaller city teaching English. This is an amazing opportunity to explore China on a budget during your year abroad and learn some basic Chinese at the same time.

While teaching English, the school will provide you with an apartment and 2000 CNY of spending money every month.

Starting Dates
  • May 15, 2017
  • June 5, 2017
  • June 26, 2017
  • July 10, 2017
  • July 24, 2017
  • August 7, 2017
  • August 21, 2017
  • September 11, 2017
  • October 9, 2017
  • October 30, 2017
  • November 20, 2017
  • December 11, 2017
  • Includes four weeks of small group classes and shared apartment accommodation in Shanghai
  • 18 weeks of English teaching experience in another city in China, including accommodation and 2000 CNY per month salary
  • Transportation from Shanghai to the school where you are to teach
  • 24/7 support, access to the LTL student and teacher community and airport pick up

Price = 15,000 CNY

Study & Intern Gap Year

Learn Chinese and get real work experience in Shanghai while discovering China and making new friends from all over the world. With the Study & Intern Gap Year Program you will first spend a semester studying  Mandarin at LTL Shanghai and then be placed in a company for an internship. Depending on your preferences your internship can be either in an English, Chinese or mixed language environment and we will choose the company based on your future career plans. The internship duration can be anything from two to six months and in combination with your new Chinese language skills will be a great addition to your CV.

This program is a great opportunity to spend a year in China, learn Mandarin and get work experience, while keeping costs down.

Starting Dates

11th of Sept 2017
18 weeks study, 18 weeks internship

Shorter or longer internship durations based on your preferences are also possible.


No accommodation = 30,756 CNY
+ 4wks accommodation* = 34,452 CNY

You can look for your own accommodation during the first four weeks and depending on what you find decide to extend your accommodation with LTL or move into your new place.

+ Full 36wks accommodation* = 64,020 CNY

*Based on stay in shared apartment small rooms. Large room or homestay upgrades are available.
NB. We can be flexible on durations of study so please contact us if you have a specific request.

What Our Student Says

Frequently Asked Questions

Will it be hard to meet other people?

No, not at all. You will be a full member of the LTL community from the first day onwards. We are a very tight knit community of young people from all over the world, Chinese teachers and long-time China residents and regularly go for dinners, after school/work drinks, organize weekend trips etc. together.

All the other students will be new to China too but have the same aim: to explore and discover this amazing country.

Will I be able to travel?

Yes absolutely. On weekends we regularly organize trips to cities close to Shanghai like Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou or Qingdao. At the same time Shanghai has one of the world’s largest airports with a lot of cheap and frequent flights. Especially to close destinations like Korea (South or North, though please ask us for some advice before going there first please), Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand it is very easy and affordable to organize trips to.

Can I go home for Christmas?

Christmas is not a holiday in China, which means that schools and offices operate normally. If you want to go home to see your family it is possible to make some adjustments to your program though so you can go back home for the holidays. Please make sure you let us know in advance though.

What are living costs in Shanghai like?

Except rent, life in Shanghai is actually quite affordable. A subway ride never costs more than one USD and lunch at our school usually three to four USD. Next to our school there are a lot of cheap student bars which often have specials like student or lady nights where you can get drinks either very cheaply or completely free.

At the same time however it is of course also possible to live the high life in Shanghai. The city has anything from world famous Michelin Star restaurants to incredible rooftop bars, but here costs are similar to comparable cities like New York, Tokyo or London.

I need more details, what should I do?

Contact us to let us know what you are looking for and we will help you to answer your questions and organize your China adventure together with you. Usually it is best to organize a Skype or WhatsApp call to discuss the different options, prices and programs together. We have been organizing all kinds of gap year programs in China for many years and will be able to guide you through the process.

Other Programs

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