Gap Year Shanghai

Join the Gap Year Shanghai Program today – Make your Gap Year a year to remember but coming to China and learning Chinese as you travel through this unique country.

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.

Gap Year Shanghai - Travel China with LTL

  • Gap Year Shanghai experience
  • 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.

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” 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.

  • 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

Visit the LTL YouTube Channel for more of these…

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

Three people eating dumplings with chopsticks

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!

When Can I Start?

Speak to us and we will find a date between us. If you have some knowledge of Mandarin already you can start on any Monday of the year!

3 Months Full Immersion Program Prices (Chinese Yuan)
  • 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 = 35,730 CNY

Accommodation Prices

6 weeks in Shanghai in a Shared Apartment (small room) and 6 weeks in a Chengde homestay* = 25,967 CNY
6 weeks in a Shanghai homestay* and 6 weeks in a Chengde homestay* = 31,054 CNY
* Homestays in Beijing include breakfast and dinner, and in Chengde include full board. Options for vegetarians, vegans and those with special dietary requirements can be arranged.

6 Months Full Immersion Program Prices (Chinese Yuan)
  • 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 = 67,830 CNY

Accommodation Prices

12 weeks in Shanghai in a shared apartment and 12 weeks in a Chengde homestay* = 47,160 CNY
12 weeks in a Shanghai homestay* and 12 weeks in a Chengde homestay* = 52,560 CNY
*Homestays in Beijing include breakfast and dinner, and in Chengde include full board. 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

Study 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.

When Can I Start?

Speak to us and we will find a date between us. If you have some knowledge of Mandarin already you can start on any Monday of the year!

Prices (Chinese Yuan)

Program with no accommodation: 53,488 CNY
+36 weeks accommodation (Standard shared apartment – small room): 111,088 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.

When Can I Start?

Speak to us and we will find a date between us. If you have some knowledge of Mandarin already you can start on any Monday of the year!

Prices (Chinese Yuan)
  • 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

Homestay Program: 16,000 CNY (homestay accommodation, half board)

Shared Apartment Program: 12,500 CNY (Large Room shared apartment accommodation, en suite bathroom, no board)

Registration fee: 500 CNY

Study & Intern Gap Year

Learn Chinese in Shanghai with LTL

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.

The program also includes our Standard Shanghai Survival Kit to get you settled when you first arrive.


No accommodation = 36,059 CNY
+ 4wks accommodation* = 42,849 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* = 93,659 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
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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.

Read More

Anthea Testimony for LTL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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. I had a great experience at all three places

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Monica Testimony for LTL
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. As parents we would recommend LTL without hesitation

Read More

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, Singapore 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.

Can I also study Chinese online with LTL?

Yes! LTL offers online Mandarin classes as well as online Shanghainese classes.

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Ask us a question!
  • LTL Avatar Johan Brandal
    Johan Brandal, Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Mandarin School!

    How can I help you?