The school lives up to its name with a strong impetus on language immersion. The school is founded by an Austrian expat whose extended experience of studying Chinese in Beijing inspired him to create a more effective program to learn Chinese. Talking to the founder at his school in Beijing you can sense enthusiasm and personal quest for designing the optimal path to fluency. To this effect, LTL goes against the grain of many standard language programs with a focus on results and language immersion.
LTL offers language programs in Beijing, Taiwan, and Shanghai comparable to other private language schools with a range of small size class options to study all the way up from beginner Chinese to advanced, HSK and Chinese for heritage speakers. Students who study full-time at LTL can progress from beginner classes to passing HSK 5 in approximately 9 months. This is a much quicker rate of language acquisition than seen at typical university language programs due to LTLS’ smaller class sizes and the consistency in teaching standards. LTL only hires teachers that are certified and experienced at teaching Chinese as a foreign language, including two years of work experience, and has a very high retention rate of teachers.
- 1-on-1 classes
- Group classes
- China School Trip
- Internship program
- Teach in China
- Online classes
The unique feature of LTL is the Chengde program. With the Chengde program LTL students live with a Chinese family, study 1-on-1, and are fully immersed in a Chinese language and culture environment. That means no group classes or even studying together in the same building as other foreign students! This is to ensure you’re not tempted to speak English during class or lunch breaks. Classes are organized and planned individually in a location close to the student’s homestay. LTL strongly recommends that students study in Beijing or Shanghai first before combining the Chengde program to ensure they’ve comfortably settled into China. Students with advanced language standing and experience in China can be admitted directly into the Chengde program.
The school offers various accommodation options including shared housing, single accommodation and homestay. The school is better than most on the homestay front – in firstly offering this option and finding suitable families.
The LTL Beijing campus is conveniently located in the Central Business District (CBD) of Beijing and is a 5-minute walk from Dawanglu subway stop on Line 1. The campus is small but cosy and hosted inside a residential and business complex with gardens in between high rise buildings. The school has a nice balcony with a view of the local neighbourhood where students can sip coffee or have lunch together.
Chengde was the once imperial summer capital during the Qing dynasty and China’s emperors created an imperial mountain resort to spend their summers there. The city is two hours northeast of Beijing and is close to the Great Wall. LTL in Chengde is located in the middle of the old town, adjacent to the Imperial gardens and the old Summer Palace. With clean air, great hiking, and a generally slower pace of life, Chengde offers a very different environment to Beijing. Chengde is not well known by foreigners and there’s usually no other foreigners living there. The lack of outside influence and the fact that many locals are descendants of the extended imperial family make Chengde one of the best places in China to learn standard Mandarin.
LTL in Shanghai is located in the popular old French Concession in the middle of Shanghai. The school is housed in a modern office tower, within walking distance to the subway and bus stations. The school is a short walk from the famous Yongkang Lu Bar Street, as well as walking distance from Nanjing Road and major shopping areas.
While LTL is perhaps not as well known as some other larger private language schools or the language programs at the famous Chinese universities, the program is extremely well regarded by former students.
LTL is accredited by the Chinese, German and Swedish governments as a certified Chinese language school. The school is also the official Mandarin teaching center for Michigan State University in Beijing.
The school attracts students from all around the world with a high proportion from Europe and North America. Students tend to be highly motivated in learning Chinese but also very social and will eat lunch together, go out for dinners, and travel on weekends. LTL host a Monday welcome breakfast for new students and organise experiences such as eating Beijing duck and climbing the Great Wall. Most students enrolled in the program are 20-25 and there are also many young professionals. The Shanghai program tends to be slightly more social in terms of student activities and socialising outside of class.
The biggest opportunity we see of studying at LTL is the Chengde study option. This is a unique experience not offered by other language programs in China that we know of and could be an epic experience for students up for the challenge. As mentioned, internships programs are also available.
The Live the Language program is an extremely well thought out and organised program. For students looking to skip the university campus experience in order to hone in on their Chinese at a rapid pace then this is a great choice.
For students who want a bigger network of international classmates to drink with every night or who want more exposure to local Chinese students, the university programs might be a better option.