Overview

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: Interactive and fun classes and no rote memorisation
    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 where Mandarin originated, this is of course culturally a lot more challenging than living in an international city like 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

The imperial summer palace in Chengde.

The imperial summer palace in Chengde.

Chengde (not Chengdu) was where the emperor and his court went to escape the summer heat of the capital during the Qing dynasty. It’s home to the original Qing Summer Palace, eight temples and the world’s largest wooden Buddha. Today it’s recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site. The city is located in the mountains north of Beijing, right next to the Great Wall. With 500,000 inhabitants it’s pretty small – by Chinese standards at least. Chengde is also the birthplace of modern Mandarin, since the standard Chinese pronunciation we teach today was 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 and you will be living with a Mandarin-only homestay family – so you will be completely immersed into Chinese culture and language day and night. All classes are taught 1-on-1 too, to make sure you don’t speak English with your classmates. This is the real China!

Starting Dates
  • August 21, 2017
  • September 11, 2017
  • October 9, 2017
  • October 30, 2017
  • November 20, 2017
  • December 11, 2017
  • January 8, 2018
  • February 5, 2018
  • March 5, 2018
  • March 26, 2018
  • April 16, 2018
  • May 7, 2018
  • May 28, 2018
  • June 25, 2018
  • July 9, 2018
  • July 23, 2018
  • August 6, 2018
  • August 20, 2018
  • September 3, 2018
  • September 17, 2018
  • October 8, 2018
  • November 5, 2018
  • November 26, 2018
  • December 17, 2018
3 Months Full Immersion Program Prices
  • 6 weeks in Shanghai studying Chinese in a small group (20hrs/wk)
  • 6 weeks in Chengde studying Chinese 1-on-1 (20hrs/wk)
  • Transport costs between the cities included
  • Shanghai and Chengde survival kit, including airport pickup, 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 can be arranged.

6 Months Full Immersion Program Prices
  • 12 weeks in Shanghai studying Chinese in a small group (20hrs/wk)
  • 12 weeks in Chengde studying Chinese 1-on-1 (20hrs/wk)
  • Transport costs between the cities included
  • Shanghai and Chengde survival kit, including airport pickup, SIM card with data plan, 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 arranged.

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

Chinese Language Year

Learning Chinese at LTLStudy two semesters abroad in a small group class at LTL Shanghai and achieve fluency in Mandarin. Class sizes at LTL are always small, with an average of three and guaranteed never more than six students per class. You’ll have 20 hours of class per week for each 18 week semester. Students can choose to live in an LTL shared apartment, homestay or organise their own accommodation in the city. With fun classes and an interactive 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 its national holidays and our teachers return home, your class hours will be made up for. Your course books and materials are already included in the price and there are no hidden administrative charges.

Starting Dates


Semester 1: 11th of Sept 2017 to January 12th 2018
5th of Mar 2018 to 6th of Jul 2018
17th of Sep 2018 to 18th of Jan 2019

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

Prices

Program with no accommodation: 46,512 CNY
+36 weeks 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 grasp 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
  • August 21, 2017
  • September 11, 2017
  • October 9, 2017
  • October 30, 2017
  • November 20, 2017
  • December 11, 2017
  • January 8, 2018
  • February 5, 2018
  • March 5, 2018
  • March 26, 2018
  • April 16, 2018
  • May 7, 2018
  • May 28, 2018
  • June 25, 2018
  • July 9, 2018
  • July 23, 2018
  • August 6, 2018
  • August 20, 2018
  • September 3, 2018
  • September 17, 2018
  • October 8, 2018
  • November 5, 2018
  • November 26, 2018
  • December 17, 2018
Prices
  • Includes four weeks of small group classes and shared apartment (small room) accommodation in Shanghai
  • 18 weeks of English teaching experience in another city in China, including accommodation and 2000 CNY per month stipend
  • 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. In combination with your new Chinese language skills this work experience in China will be a great addition to your CV/Resume.

If you’re looking to keep costs down during your year in China, whilst still learning Mandarin and getting some work experience, then this is the perfect program for you.

Starting Dates

11th of Sept 2017 to January 12th 2018
5th of Mar 2018 to 6th of Jul 2018
17th of Sep 2018 to 18th of Jan 2019

18 weeks study, 18 weeks internship

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

Prices

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, then decide to extend your accommodation with LTL or move into your new place.

+ Full 36wks accommodation* = 64,020 CNY

*Based on staying in a small room in an LTL-organised shared apartment. 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

Sam V. Lau Testimony for LTL
Sam V. Lau
Luxembourg

I felt my teacher really understood me and my individual interests. For example, I really enjoy politics, and knowing that, the teacher personalized the course and content to this interest. It was truly tailored to what I know and how I learn.

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Sam V. Lau Testimony for LTL
Sam V. Lau
Luxembourg
Sheshan mountain in Shanghai

Sam at a daytrip to Sheshan Mountain in Shanghai

I’m Sam from Luxembourg. I wanted to come to China originally to learn Chinese, as part of my family is from China. In the past I visited Shanghai together with my family, and even studied some time in Beijing in a university program. Later, I found LTL through perusing on the website and got attracted to it. I found it appealing that it wasn’t a giagantic money making machine and big like some other schools I heard of. The fact that it was run by foreigners was also appealing to me, as I thought it less likely to be a scam then. I signed up for 3 months of classes to try it out, planning to continue with another 3 months if it’s good, which it was.

As I’ve been to China and specifically Shanghai before, I knew already my surroundings when I arrived and didn’t really have culture shock. I arrived to the school, met everyone and started classes. That Wednesday was my first school dinner, which start the whole social side of LTL and was the cornerstone of my stay there. I rarely missed a school event since.

Sam and Dannie learning Chinese at LTLDuring my studies, I had three teachers, all of whom were very good. One of them was definitely my favorite, as I felt she really understood me and my individual interests. For example, I really enjoy politics, and knowing that, the teacher personalized the course and content to this interest. It was truly tailored to what I know and how I learn. It wasn’t just practicing from the textbook. Later that teacher became one of my closest friends in Shanghai. In class, we were very professional and she helped me not to get sidetracked from the course, but outside of it, we were hanging out as friends.

Thanks to my relatively long duration at LTL, I was lucky enough to be surrounded with different students all the time, so I’m really happy about this. I would often get coffee with them in the morning, have lunch with them in the daytime, and then go out for drinks and food again in the evenings.
I really like Shanghai, and hope to work here in the future. I find it the most livable, being not as cold as Beijing in the Winter and not as hot as Hong Kong in the summer, two places which I’ve lived in. While it is not as cultural as Beijing is, I feel that Shanghai is more easily accessible in terms of walking around from place to place. I especially like walking around the roads of the Former French Concession, where the school is located.

Anthea Weinbrenner Testimony for LTL
Anthea Weinbrenner
Germany

My teachers were a nice mix of structured, by the book learning, and more easy going conversations with some modern slang here and there to better understand how people actually talk.

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Anthea Weinbrenner Testimony for LTL
Anthea Weinbrenner
Germany
Anthea in Beijing

Anthea in Beijing

I had LTL recommended by my relative Felix who studied in Beijing some time ago. I also looked LTL up on various agency websites and the reviews and comments all seemed good. In the end I spoke with my friend Felix’ parents and decided to sign up with LTL for the multi city gap year program, Beijing, Chengde and Shanghai.

Anthea in class

Anthea in class

I first went to Beijing. When I first arrived at the airport there was some confusion as I didn’t realize it was in fact my homestay father who picked me up at the airport. But my stay in Beijing was good, and I learnt to appreciate the Northern dialects. And I made a lot of friends at LTL, the social life was really good.

Chengde was fine albeit challenging as you are really forced to use whatever Chinese you have! It’s a great place to improve your Chinese level. It’s a much smaller city there is less going on, but there were also various events and trips organized. I also took snowboarding classes on my own.

Making new friends in Shanghai

Making new friends in Shanghai

Third was Shanghai, and Shanghai almost felt like a western city after Beijing, and especially Chengde. There was a lot going on, and the location of the school meant it was all within easy reach. Homestay in Shanghai was good as they quickly accepted me as part of the family. They did have a slight Shanghai accent though.

The classes in Shanghai were good. I had three different teachers in total. My teachers were a nice mix of structured, by the book learning, and more easy going conversations with some modern slang here and there to better understand how people actually talk.

All in all, I had a great experience at all three places and already I have decided I will go back to LTL Beijing for 4 months!

Monica Testimony for LTL
Monica
Emilia's Mother

It is the sign of a  quality company that the people working in it genuinely care about the students who study at it and it is clear that this is the case at LTL in Shanghai.

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Monica Testimony for LTL
Monica
Emilia's Mother

I would like to tell you how much we have appreciated how Alexander and Fu Lala have helped Emilia, and us, her parents, when we felt that she needed for health reasons to come home at very short notice. We are aware of the disruption this will have caused LTL and yet we were never made to feel bad.  Alexander was so understanding and helpful, even though he was travelling at the time and Fu Lala was also understanding when I spoke to her. They both took immediate action to facilitate Emila leaving. It is the sign of a  quality company that the people working in it genuinely care about the students who study at it and it is clear that this is the case at LTL in Shanghai. . As parents we would recommend LTL without hesitation as an organisation that supports it’s students in China.  Emilia really enjoyed her group classes and felt she learned a lot in the two to three weeks she was there. We and she intend that she resumes her studies as soon as she is properly well.

Note: Emila signed up for 6 month gap year program which unfortunately had to be cut short due to unforeseen circumstances.

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. We regularly go for dinners, after school/work drinks, organise weekend trips etc. together.

The majority of the other students will be new to China too, but all have the same aim: to explore and discover this amazing country.

Will I be able to travel?

Yes absolutely. On weekends we often organise 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. A good time to travel further afield is halfway through your year in China between the two semesters or parts of your program. It’s very easy and affordable to get to other Asian destinations like Korea (South or North, though please ask us for some advice before going there please), Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand etc.

Can I go home for Christmas?

Christmas is not a holiday in China, which means that schools and offices operate normally. However, if you want to go home to see your family it is possible to make some adjustments to your program, 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 for 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 ladies 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 everything 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 to answer your questions and organise your China adventure. Usually it is best to schedule a Skype or WhatsApp call to discuss the different options, prices and programs together. We have been organising all kinds of gap year programs in China for many years and will be able to guide you through the process.

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