Experience Immersion in China with LTL Mandarin School. Chengde will include no foreigners, no Starbucks and no English. Speak Mandarin 24/7.
EXPERIENCE 100% IMMERSION
Complete and full Chinese immersion in China is difficult to achieve.
To truly be fully immersed into a Chinese language environment one, has to take a few rather “extreme” steps.
Firstly, you cannot have any class mates or study in a school where other English speaking students are around.
Secondly, you have to live in an environment where there is no international community and local Chinese cannot speak English.
Thirdly, people need to speak standard Mandarin – not some local dialect – so you can understand what’s going on around you and become part of local culture.
Finally, the place needs to be interesting and fun so it is actually enjoyable to spend time there, Chengde is just that.
- Live with a Chinese family
- Make Chinese friends
- No foreigners
- No English
- Mandarin 24/7
And that is how extreme Chinese immersion works.No one does it like we do
Real immersion – stop speaking English completely
Local culture – don’t be a tourist and truly join Chinese culture
No foreigners – everyone else is Chinese
Guaranteed – never tempted to use English. Ever!
Soak Up The Culture
Live The Language – dream, speak and live Chinese every day
Chinese culture – join and become part of the local culture
Discover – live in a world that very few foreigners have explored
Real – this is the real China and how Chinese people live today
Quick – there is no faster way to study Chinese, fact
Speaking – your spoken Mandarin will progress very quickly
Pronunciation – you will pick up good habits from the natives
Local – from internet slang to memes – speak real Mandarin
Organized – you can fully focus on immersion and studying
Individual – all tailored for you, no other students in your program
Support – our local team help you settle & meet local friends
Safe – help is 24/7, in case of an emergency also in English
THE DIFFICULTIES OF IMMERSING YOURSELF
Real immersion is a passion and a commitment that is not easily achieved.
By the nature of it, at a Chinese language school other students studying with you will not be native Mandarin speakers. For that reason, the first people you will meet, study or go for lunch with in China will most likely be other foreigners.
Also, international students tend to very quickly create their own bubble, as we are culturally much more similar to each other than to local Chinese and all can speak English.
To make things worse, the Chinese who are used to dealing with foreigners, have an international outlook and whom it is relatively easy to make friends with, tend to speak pretty good English.
The same dynamic happens in pretty much all Chinese cities with foreign communities, independently of their size. While in Shanghai there are hundreds of thousands of foreigners to speak English with, in a city like Harbin or Guilin there might be much fewer.
However, as a result of being the only few foreigners in a very Chinese world, these smaller groups of foreigners studying abroad together tend to stick even closer to each other.
Having even just a single English speaker around you can destroy an immersion environment if you meet and speak to that person every day. And in a culture as different as China, going for dinner with a fellow international students and English speaker after a tiring day of studying Mandarin is a natural choice.
Also in many cities in China – especially the South like Kunming, Guilin or Guangzhou – people speak local dialects that are very different to text book Mandarin. Not understanding when locals speak with each other can make immersing yourself into local language and culture very difficult.
In many years of Chinese teaching, we have seen countless times that its exactly those dinners where you don’t practice your Mandarin, the possibility to speak English to get things done or hanging around with Chinese friends who want to practice their English are what holds students studying Mandarin in China back.
So we decided to change this
HOW TO ACHIEVE 100% IMMERSION
We believe in real and true immersion. That is why we created the LTL Chinese immersion program to offer a true immersion environment for students who study abroad and want to learn Mandarin quickly. It was a long and difficult process, but we got there. Let us tell you how:
First we found the perfect city to learn Mandarin in China: Chengde
Chengde (承德) is where Mandarin was codified in 1952 and people here are known to speak the most standard Mandarin in all of China.
At the same time very few people outside China know the city.
This might be partly because a lot of people confuse it with Chengdu (成都), which sounds similar in English but is a very different and much bigger city in Southwest China – famous mainly for being the home of the Pandas.
There are no international companies, no expat or international community in Chengde and you can stay there for years without even seeing a single other foreigner. Locals speak no English, as there is nobody to speak it with and one needs to use Mandarin to do anything here.
Second, we designed a course structure to free you from the temptation to speak English. All classes are taught individually and you will have no foreign class mates.
Classes do not take place in one location with other students together, but are taught in your home or a tea shop close by. This ensures you won’t be going for lunch with other students or speak English during breaks.
Homestays speak no English. Shared apartments are exclusively shared with Chinese flat mates.
Finally, we keep the program small to make sure we don’t flood the city with foreigners.
There are usually about three and never more than ten LTL students in Chengde, which is not much in a city of half a million people.
Third, we help you to settle into Chinese culture. Before you go we will have a pre-Chengde meeting with you, where you will tell us what you like to do in your free time.
We will then put you in touch with locals with similar interests. This can be anything from joining a local football team, signing in a choir or participating in a hiking group to introducing you to some of our local friends to have dinner together with (people in Chengde love to eat).
You will speak, listen, and live the language 24/7. And that is what we at LTL (Live The Language) are all about. People often ask us (and sometimes doubt) how we can get a complete beginner to HSK 6 within a year. Well, this is exactly how we do it. Real immersion works. Check out Anthea’s video about her journey with LTL from zero Chinese to HSK 6 within a year of study with us for a genuine example of fluency within a year.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I experience real immersion with a friend?
Unless your friend is a native Chinese speaker and knows no English, you cannot.
When you are together with a friend you will inevitably be speaking to each other and that means you are not in a real immersion environment anymore.
It is possible to organize a program for friends or families together in Chengde, however then it will be just exactly that: a Chinese language course in Chengde and not a complete immersion environment anymore.
I like the idea, but is it too fast for me?
Yes, going straight into a complete immersion environment after arriving in China is too fast.
This is why we combine studying in Chengde first with a more “standard” Chinese language course in Beijing or Shanghai for most students.
Can I jump straight into an extreme Mandarin environment?
If you are already an experienced China traveler, speak enough Mandarin and are up for the challenge then yes you can.
Please contact us for more details.
Extreme immersion sounds a bit scary. Is it for me?
Depends on what you are afraid of.
If you are worried of not meeting other international students, not being able to speak English or can’t live without familiar brand names then this program is not for you and you should not go.
If you are afraid of not being able to communicate, not knowing anyone or safety then there is no need to worry. In a complete immersion environment your Mandarin will improve very fast and you will quickly gain confidence in speaking in, simply because you will do it every day.
Also people in Chengde are very welcoming towards foreigners. So as long as you are willing to join them, it is easy to make friends. Finally, Chengde is an incredibly safe city.
For whom is Chinese immersion not suitable?
You should not sign up for the Chinese immersion program if you are not willing to completely immerse yourself into Chinese culture and language.
You need to be ready to leave all international and English contacts behind and dive deep down into what is a very different culture.
Big Chinese cities offer expat bubbles with plenty of support systems for foreigners struggling in China. Chengde does not. Don’t go if you are not ready for this.
What if I need help?
Complete Chinese immersion of course doesn’t mean you are on your own if you struggle with something.
We are always there for you and in case of an emergency also in English.
Our local Chengde teaching and support team is incredibly committed and hard working to make sure that our students not only learn Chinese quickly, but also enjoy their time here.
We are always available for questions, help or just a chat if you need one. If it is an emergency you can call and reach us 24/7.