The Chinese Immersion Program in Beijing is language immersion both at its best and most extreme.
To get ready you will spend the first half of your program studying at our language school in Beijing together with other international students.
However, the main aim of your time in Beijing is to get you ready for the most complete Mandarin language immersion China has to offer: Chengde (not Chengdu).
In Chengde there are no more expats, no international student community, nobody speaks English and you will be fully immersed in a Mandarin only environment.
The fastest way to learn Mandarin
Complete language immersion
No more English
No foreign brands in Chengde
No tourists in Chengde
Experience the real China
Traditional Chinese culture
Enjoy the beauty of Chengde
You will study Chinese individually, have no foreign class mates, live with a Chinese family and speak, hear, dream and live Mandarin 24/7.
Learn Mandarin Fast
Immersion – Live completely immersed in the Chinese language Great Teaching – Taught by professional Chinese tutors Enjoy it – We make classes fun, so you learn faster
Chengde: The Real China
Chengde – A UNESCO world heritage site Standard Mandarin – Most standard Mandarin in all of China Sights – Old Summer Palace, Putuo Temple and much more
No More Foreigners
No Expats – Zero expat community in Chengde Banish English – Nobody speaks English in Chengde No Foreign Classmates – All classes are 1 on 1
Service & Support
Beijing – Dinners, activities & great student community Chengde – We help you to join a local groups LTL Family – A group of like-minded people exploring real China
Chinese Immersion Program
Immersion works and there is no place better for learning Mandarin fast than the Qing dynasty’s old summer capital: Chengde.
However, a complete language immersion experience is also a big cultural and linguistic challenge.
While at LTL Beijing we have a very fun student community at our school, in Chengde we separate students on purpose to make sure they aren’t tempted to speak English with each other.
Most people in Chengde will have never met a foreigner before and there is very little western cultural influence here. That is why – unless you are already familiar with China and its culture – studying in Chengde can be quite a challenge and for a new arrival in China a bit too much. For this reason with the Mandarin Immersion Program you will spend the first half of your program in Beijing.
Here our language school is located in the heart of Beijing’s Central Business District. We have a very fun international student community, it is easy to make friends with other students, we do regular school trips, eat lunch together and you can choose to study in a small group or individually.
This will allow you to settle into China, improve your Mandarin and get familiar with the culture in more “protected” environment before moving on to complete Chinese language immersion in Chengde.
More Information About Chengde
Chengde (not Chengdu)
Chengde (承德) is located in the mountains North East of Beijing.
The 150km drive takes only about two hours, but the city could not be more different to China’s energetic capital. Since the Kangxi emperor built his summer palace – called避暑山庄 literally meaning “Heat Avoidance Villa” – in Chengde to enjoy the cooler summer temperatures there, the city has been the second home of the Qing court.
It was here that the Qing built the famous Putuo Temple, the world’s largest wooden Buddha statue and the enormous imperial gardens in which the emperors were rumoured to tend to a small vegetable plot by themselves.
When the Xiangfeng emperor had to leave Beijing during the Opium Wars he fled to Chengde and ultimately died. It was there where power passed to Empress Dowager Cixi, leading to the demise of the Qing dynasty and with it a glorious period in the history of the city.
After the fall of Qing dynasty the Manchus and Chengde lost their political clout.
It last rose to prominence in 1952 when the accent spoken in Chengde was chosen as the basis of standard mandarin Chinese, but since then has a sleepy regional city that regularly gets confused with Chengdu, one of China’s largest cities and home of the Pandas.
Today Chengde is little known outside of China and the pace of life is markedly slower than in Beijing or Shanghai. Located in the mountains, the city offers a very high quality of life though with fresh air, great food and a very relaxed life style.
Yet the sights and history in Chengde are astounding and the city today is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. Just exploring the old summer palace and its gardens can take days.
The city is built inside the mountains along the Rehe (热河 or “hot river”) river and is divided into the old town, containing the summer palace, eight outer temples and most of the other sights and the modern part including the new university town.
The city has no expat community, and nobody speaks English, but the Mandarin spoken is considered the most standard in all of China.
Life in Chengde
You will be completely immersed into Chinese culture and the language environment, studying Mandarin individually with no contact to other English speakers.
Life in Chengde mainly revolves around food, hanging out with friends, sports, drinking beer and discussing how foolish the people living in a big city like Beijing are.
Before you will go there we will have a pre-Chengde meeting with you where you will tell us about your hobbies and interests.
Based on this we will put you in touch with local Chinese clubs or groups of friends to go hiking, play football, learn Chinese square dancing or anything else that interests you. The city actually has surprisingly much to offer in activities, especially with regards to sports and arts.
However, Chengde is a complete Chinese immersion experience.
This means you will need to be open to a very different culture and life style that is might be completely different to what you are used to. You also need to be willing to make friends and hang out with local Chinese, as there is no foreign community.
If you are looking for a more international life style and studying environment please do not choose this program. Have a look at our courses in Beijing or Shanghai instead.
Chinese Immersion in Beijing – Starting Dates
If you have studied some Mandarin previously, you can start your language immersion program on any Monday. If you are a complete beginner, you should start your Chinese course in Beijing on the following dates:
12 April 2021
24 May 2021
14 June 2021
05 July 2021
19 July 2021
02 August 2021
16 August 2021
30 August 2021
20 September 2021
11 October 2021
08 November 2021
20 December 2021
10 January 2022
07 February 2022
28 February 2022
21 March 2022
11 April 2022
09 May 2022
30 May 2022
20 June 2022
04 July 2022
18 July 2022
01 August 2022
15 August 2022
29 August 2022
19 September 2022
10 October 2022
31 October 2022
21 November 2022
12 December 2022
Chinese Immersion Program Options
We offer three different Mandarin Immersion programs which are as follows:
20h/wk Small Group
20h/wk Small Group & 10h/wk 1-on-1
Chinese Immersion Pricing (Chinese Yuan)
It is possible to join the program for as short as a month or up to a whole year. Below you find some sample durations, however other durations of course no problem to arrange. Please contact us for a full price list.
5,500 / 2 wks
7,400 / 2 wks
9,200 / 2 wks
Prices are all in CNY (Chinese Yuan/Renminbi)
Includes: Survival Kit Standard Beijing & Chengde, Transport Beijing – Chengde and back by bus/train, all tuition fees, Beijing airport pick-up, text books and 24/7 support.
Does not include: Accommodation
Chengde Survival Kit Standard
Return Train Tickets from Beijing to Chengde – We will organise and book train tickets for your trip from Beijing to Chengde and back.
Pick-up From Chengde Train Station – To save you the hassle of public transport in an unfamiliar city we will organise for your to be picked up and taken directly to your accommodation.
Chengde Mountain Resort Ticket – The famed Chengde Mountain Resort is a must see and we will give you an entrance ticket to the attraction to make sure you don’t miss out.
Chinese Culture Class – We will give you one free Chinese culture class, possible example classes are Chinese paper cutting or calligraphy class.
A homestay is the best way to immerse yourself fully into Chinese culture and language. You will have your own bedroom, either with your own bathroom or shared with other family members.
Living with a family is not just a place to stay, but a cultural and linguistic immersion experience that will give you insights into normal Chinese life that very few people have.
Many students also make friends for life, visiting their homestay families regularly afterwards. Before you come to China we will ask you to fill out a questionnaire telling us about your preferences for your family, including special requests like pets, vegetarian or vegan food, allergies etc.
The food: One of the best parts of living with a Chinese family is being able to eat home cooked Chinese food. Great quality, varied and always plentiful there is nothing that is more important in a Chinese family than eating well.
In Beijing we recommend the breakfast & dinner option, as you will be having lunch with other students together at our school most days. In Chengde both the breakfast & dinner and the all meals options are suitable.
Prices in CNY
2,120 per week
Prices are all in CNY (Chinese Yuan/Renminbi)
Accommodation at selected Chinese host-family
Your own bedroom
Meals (depending on option)
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free homestays available
Internet and utilities
You will leave your Beijing accommodation on the Sunday before going to Chengde
To improve your Mandarin quickly, we recommend to stay with a homestay in both cities. In Beijing about 80% and in Chengde 95% of our students live with a homestay.
Shared Apartments Chengde
You will have a room in a centrally located apartment in Chengde. It comes with full access to the kitchen and living room, as well as WIFI and all bills included.
Depending on the apartment you might either have a private bathroom or share it with your flat mates. Of course you will be the only foreigner in the apartment.
This is a good budget option, however please note that in China flat mates do not always talk that much with each other and you might find it a bit more difficult to make friends and settle into the city without the support of a host family.
Prices in CNY
2,120 per week
Prices are all in CNY (Chinese Yuan/Renminbi)
WIFI and all bills
Your private bedroom
Shared or private bathroom
Access to all common areas in the flat
Note: To ensure a complete immersion environment, apartments are shared with Chinese flatmates only.
For further shared apartment, homestay, teach English homestay or serviced apartment accommodation options in Beijing please check the relevant pages on this page.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I go to Chengde and shorten my time in Beijing?
Yes you can, but you will need to be ready for life in the real China. For students who have not previously been to China we do not recommend going to Chengde directly but first settle into Chinese life in a more international environment.
What if I need help?
Chengde is complete language and culture immersion, but of course you are not alone there. Our local Chengde team is always available to help and support you if needed – if necessary also in English.
Which Chinese level will I be able to achieve?
While progress of course always depends on the individual, language progress with the Mandarin Immersion Program is very fast. As an idea, usually a complete beginner taking the intensive immersion program with homestay would usually reach HSK 4 (B2) level within about four to five months. For a beginner, full fluency (HSK 5 or 6) can be achieved within about seven to twelve months, depending on the options chosen. The intensive program will get you ahead fastest, while the standard and individual options are roughly similar in terms of language learning speed. Students who live with a homestay usually improve faster, especially with their spoken Mandarin.
Note: we know it is a bit confusing, but the differences between HSK levels become bigger the higher you get. For example the step from HSK 5 to 6 is much bigger than 2 to 3.
How will I get to Chengde?
You will take the train from Beijing to Chengde and be picked up at Chengde train station by our Chengde co-ordinator who will then bring you to your homestay or shared apartment.
Instead of Beijing, can I start the program in Shanghai too?
Yes you can. It will mean a bit longer traveling time to Chengde, as Shanghai is further away, but everything else is the same. Have a look at our Shanghai Chinese immersion program.
How much Mandarin do I need to know to participate?
There is no minimum language requirement to join the program and it is possible to join as a complete beginner without problems. Due to most people in Chengde speaking textbook standard Mandarin, in our experience most student’s spoken Mandarin level improves rapidly and they bridge the language gap very quickly. The biggest challenge is living in such a different culture without any foreign or international community around you. To succeed in Chengde is much more about your openness and willingness to adapt to another culture than your current Mandarin level.
Is it safe in Beijing and Chengde?
Both Beijing and Chengde are incredibly safe cities. You can walk alone through any part of either city at any time of the day or night. China is one of the world’s safest countries to live in.
Where will I study?
To avoid the temptation to speak English with other students when meeting each other before or after class, your mandarin lessons will be taught at your homestay or a tea shop or restaurant close by.
Which days will I be traveling?
As a standard, arrival in Beijing is on a Sunday, you will travel from Beijing to Chengde on a Sunday and leave Chengde on a Saturday. If you want to book additional days’ accommodation in either city or have specific travel date requests this is usually possible. Please contact us to let us know what you are looking for.
What our Students say
"The pace of life is slower (in Chengde), for example your homestay has time to take you out for dinner regularly, people approach you more openly and if you want to have social interactions it will most likely only be possible with Chinese."
"Although I was mainly preparing for my exams I can see how easy it would be to immerse yourself into the culture of Chengde. Foreigners are so rare that everyone is very excited and happy to chat with you. I passed my HSK 6!"
"I really liked the idea of the ‘Full Immersion Program’, as it sounded unique. The LTL environment is very friendly, it was really easy to meet people and make new friends. I hope to return to China and to LTL in the future."
Hi, my name is Max from Germany. I am a high school graduate taking a gap year before starting university. I decided to go to China to discover a new culture and at the same time learn a new language. Since I wanted to achieve some major progress and be able to communicate effortlessly afterwards, I decided to stay at least half a year in China and chose the “Intensive Immersion Program” to make the most out of my stay.
I set myself a clear goal before coming to China and divided my stay into 3 months each in Beijing and Chengde. I attended 4 hours of group class and 2 one-on-one sessions each day in Beijing and 6 hours of one-on-one’s in Chengde. I also lived in a homestay which added some more valuable time of Chinese surrounding.
Looking back it was definitely Chengde and the one-on-one classes which were responsible for my fast progress. To be honest, Beijing is a nice city but Chengde is where the real action takes place. At least when it comes to learning Chinese. Chengde is quite rural compared to Beijing and the amount of foreigners is at an absolute minimum which is why it creates such a perfect learning environment. The pace of life is slower, for example your homestay has time to take you out for dinner regularly, people approach you more openly and if you want to have social interactions it will most likely only be possible with Chinese.
Of course there is life beyond the classroom: Beijing is a huge and interesting city, definitely take your time to tour through all the sight-seeing places, they are worth it. Beijing impressively shows how China is picturing it’s future and it is fascinating to experience that. On the contrary is Chengde very small in comparison. I found it harder to get to know Chinese people in Beijing. This isn’t just because of the city’s huge size, there are more people, but also more foreigners. Chengde is the place to go if you want to meet the “real China” beyond the internationalized version in Beijing.
On the flipside, you need to be creative in Winter in Chengde, it’s cold and you must brave the weather. However, if you are up for football in minus temperatures you will keep yourself busy! Alongside the studying during the week, you’ll have good fun in Chengde.
In general, I loved my time in China and I can only recommend to anyone to visit this country of the future. And yes, with some commitment and time you are definitely able to master the Chinese language in a short amount of time.
Hi, my name is Zander and I came to China and Chengde after finishing my Master’s degree at university. In total I was in China for 10 months, which included 7 months in Beijing and 6 weeks in Chengde (both at LTL).
Zander enjoying Immersion in Chengde
I decided to come to Chengde because I was preparing to take the HSK 6, and wanted to be in a full immersive environment for this. While I enjoyed Beijing, I had lots of English-speaking friends and knew how easy it was to be distracted there. Chengde appealed to me because it is relatively isolated and pretty unknown to foreigners.
I stayed in a homestay which was located directly opposite the main train station in the main area of town. My family was a couple, their two young kids, and the mother’s mother. They were lovely, always very kind and I liked the eldest kid so much we would play games together pretty much everyday. Each evening the grandma would invite me out dancing but I was usually studying so didn’t go too often. The food was excellent (best I’ve had in china, honestly) and there was always too much.
Although I was mainly preparing for my exams I can see how easy it would be to immerse yourself into the culture of Chengde. Foreigners are so rare that everyone is very excited and happy to chat with you. I attended my teacher’s friends wedding which was a real experience and she managed to integrate me quite well into her friendship group.
Zander enjoying food with Angelina from the LTL Beijing Team
If you are looking for the ‘real China’ which feels quite distant when visiting the megacities of Beijing or Shanghai, Chengde is likely to be the place for you. It’s really almost like going back in time.
I passed my HSK 6 which I was very pleased with, and would attribute lots of this to the focus and direction that the learning-environment of Chengde provided. If you are willing to take the plunge, I couldn’t recommend it more.
When I applied for LTL I really liked the idea of the ‘Full Immersion Program’, as it sounded unique and so for my program I chose to go to both Beijing and to Chengde. I enjoyed my time in Beijing in the shared apartment accommodation and in the homestay in Chengde. Both were tidy and very comfortable.
Eleonora with her homestay family
I took group classes in Beijing, the small group allows for everyone to have the chance to practice speaking and learn effectively. In Chengde I took 1-on-1 classes, and of course these are the best for fast improvements. I had to prepare a university exam and I am really happy about how the teacher helped me to focus on my personal program.
The LTL environment is very friendly; it was really easy to meet people and make new friends. I hope to return to China and to LTL in the future.
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