Andreas Laimböck 周浩辰
Where are you from?
Austria and Germany.
What are your teaching qualifications?
I’m not a teacher, but I am a qualified HSK examiner.
How long have you been with LTL?
Since the first day LTL started in a little coffee shop in the CBD of Beijing.
We asked everyone to bring their favorite item, what item did you bring and why?
A football, because I am a big football fan and regularly watch Beijing Guo’an games, especially when we are playing against Shanghai.
Blue and yellow, as you can see from the school logo.
Favourite Chinese dish?
Málà xiāng guō 麻辣香锅. It is based on what Mongolian horsemen would eat when riding through the steppe. They hunted and gathered vegetables during the day and in the evening stir fry them all together in their helmets. It’s a bit more hygienic and sophisticated today, but the concept is still the same and tastes amazing.
Where is your favourite place to go in Beijing?
The little square between the Drum and the Bell Tower in Beijing old town after work when the tourists have left. Sitting on the steps of the Bell Tower with a cold beer. I enjoy watching the old women square dance, children skate and everyone else relax on the square after work while the sun is setting. This is an amazing moment.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Beijng of course. And so I did.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Sidney Rittenberg. He came to China as a US soldier in the 1940s and stayed until the 80s. I would love to hear his stories.
What is your top tip for people learning Chinese?
Speak, listen and experience Mandarin every day. Don’t speak English. Immerse yourself into a Chinese language environment. It can be a challenge sometimes but experiencing real China is an incredible adventure and your Mandarin skills will improve very quickly if you are truly immersed.
Also get your tones under control right at the beginning. Once you pick up bad pronunciation habits it is very difficult to change them later.
Tell me something about you that would surprise me!
I failed English and French in high school and had the lowest Mandarin scores of my class at university. Today I am a HSK examiner. Anyone can learn Mandarin.
What is your favorite place in China and why?
Pingyao 平遥. It was China’s financial capital during the Qing dynasty and today is an incredibly well preserved old Chinese town, about three hours by train West of Beijing. When walking along the city walls through the old town it can sometimes feel like as if a couple of ancient Confucian scholars or Manchu warriors might be just around the corner. It’s a magical place.