The homestay program is the heart and soul of LTL Mandarin School.
We strongly believe that to learn a language you have to Live The Language (LTL) and the best place to do so is at home.
Living with a Chinese family is not only a unique cultural experience, but also incredibly valuable for improving your spoken Mandarin. An LTL homestay comes with a private bedroom, WIFI, air-con, heating, amazing food and unique cultural experiences.
80% of LTL students in Beijing live with one of our host families.
Experience real Chinese life
Speak Mandarin every day
Breakfast and Dinner
WIFI, bills etc. included
Once in a lifetime experience
Learn Mandarin Fast
Speak – Use the Chinese you learned during class at home every day Learn – Be fully immersed in a Chinese cultural environment Listen – Hear Mandarin spoken at home all day Enjoy – See your progress as you speak more with your family every day
Home-cooked – Prepared fresh every day at home Healthy – Adjusted for income, nobody lives longer than the Chinese Varied – A Chinese family will eat three to five different dishes each meal Options – vegetarian, vegan, gluten free etc. options available
Family life – Experience life with a local Chinese family in Beijing The real China – Far away from the expat bubble and other foreigners Full immersion – Only one host student per family Free time – Meet the extended family, join family trips and outings
Safe & Trusted
Experienced – Live with a long term homestay with years of experience Caring – Have a family to help you settle into and get around Beijing Welcoming – Feel at home and safe in a country far away Certified – All families are regularly inspected by the LTL team
LTL Homestays in Beijing
LTL is all about Chinese language immersion, and our homestays are a very important part of this. Living with a Chinese family means that you will speak Mandarin every day when you come home from class.
At the same time you will get an insight into real Chinese life, meet local Beijingers, and get the opportunity to make Chinese friends.
Living with a Chinese host family will also give you access to a part of China that very few foreigners in Beijing ever get to see – there is no better way to truly Live The Language than a homestay.
The Homestay apartments
Our host families live in comfortable, modern apartments in central Beijing. You will have full access to all facilities at home, including the kitchen – though our students are usually given so much food that very few ever use it. You will have your own private bedroom, either with a private or shared bathroom. All host families have air conditioning, heating, WIFI etc at home and all bills are already included in the price.
Most of our homestays are within walking distance of our school in Beijing’s Central Business District. For the families where you take the metro or bus to school, travel time is almost always less than 30 minutes, and we guarantee it takes never more than 45 minutes to school.
Pricing (Chinese Yuan)
It is possible to stay with a Chinese homestay family for as long as you want, whether that’s one week or a full year.
Number of Weeks
Breakfast & Dinner Homestay
+2,120 / wk
489 / night
Accommodation with a real Chinese family
Your own private bedroom
Desk, bed and linen provided
Real immersion: only one student per family
WIFI, heating, air-conditioning and all bills
Meals as listed
Access to all facilities
Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free
Halal, Kosher and other special dietary requirements
Teenager friendly: specially-selected families for minors
English: if you want you can request a family that speaks some English too
It is possible to book a homestay without food if someone wants that, in this case there would be a 10% discount. Though we do recommend going for the above options with food as meal time is great for sitting down with the family and practising your Chinese.
Note: As always with LTL there are no extra charges or additional fees. You will not be charged an accommodation finding fee, registration fee, high season supplement or any other ridiculous “fees” that some companies come up with.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you select your host families?
Ever since we started LTL homestays have been at the core of our school philosophy, and LTL students have lived with homestay families since the first day the school opened.
Our first homestay family were the friends of an uncle of one of our teachers. Our second family were their neighbours. The concept of being a homestay is quite alien to most Chinese and a well-off family in Beijing would usually never allow some foreigner they don’t know to live with them. That is why all our families come to us via a personal connection. They might be friends and relatives of our team or friends of one of our existing homestay families. We know all of them personally, visit regularly and spend a lot of time maintaining a long term good relationship, which is why they welcome our students into their homes.
When you choose a homestay, please help us to continue that relationship by being considerate and friendly.
Will I get a key?
Yes, you will.
Can I come home late at night?
As an adult you can come home and sleep at any time you want. However, please make sure you are quiet and do not wake other family members up when getting home late.
How will I be matched to a homestay family?
After you’ve booked your course, we will ask you to fill out a registration form where you will tell us a bit more about you and your preferences for your homestay family. Based on this and many years of experience we will match you with a suitable homestay family.
Will I receive information about the family before I come to Beijing?
Yes, you will. We will send you the homestay family’s details and a few pictures in the week before your arrival.
Can I change the homestay?
While it is extremely rare that someone requests to change family – the last time this happened was in 2015 – it is possible to change families at any time if you are unhappy.
On the first day of class your homestay family will show you the way to school and if necessary pick you up afterwards again as well. On a beginner course starting date please make sure you get there at 8am for the welcome breakfast. Otherwise, please arrive about an hour before you start class, so we can show you around a bit. On this site you can find a list of all our beginner Chinese course staring dates in Beijing.
How will I wash my clothes?
All families have a laundry machine. Depending on the family they will either do the laundry for you or show you how you can do it yourself.
Can I lock my room?
Yes, you can.
Can I bring someone home to stay overnight?
No, you cannot.
Can I have a smoking or non-smoking family?
Absolutely yes you can. Please indicate your preference in the homestay registration form.
Should I bring a present?
While you are definitely not required to bring anything at all, presents in China are generally always well received. If you do want to bring a present, anything from your home country that is not available in China, like local food, a picture book or souvenirs can be a good idea.
Tip: during your time in China you will most likely meet quite a few people who will have gone out of their way to help you with your life here and whom you might want to thank in some way. Bringing a couple of “back-up presents” from home can be a good idea.
I don’t study at LTL, can I still apply?
No you cannot. We spend an enormous amount of time and work managing our homestay network and our host families are in very high demand. For that reason we can only offer our homestay accommodation to full time LTL students. Full time means studying at least 20 hours a week, either in a small group or individual Mandarin program.
I still have some questions – what should I do?
Just ask us, by sending us a message via our contact form or an email directly to [email protected] You will usually have a reply within a few hours and you’ll never have to wait more than 24 hours during working days.
What our students say
"I won’t lie, the first few hours were overwhelming – it was the most Mandarin I’d ever heard out of a lesson environment. I unpacked and I felt much more relaxed."
Surely I’m too old to live with a homestay family?!
I have a couple of favourite hotels I stay in whilst in Beijing, so I took some persuading to go for the homestay option.
It’s the kind of thing you do on a French exchange programme back in middle school, right?
However, I quickly realised it was the right decision when I checked in to my hotel for a couple of nights prior to my course and homestay. I was speaking next to no Mandarin – which felt pretty pointless given my priority for the next two weeks was to practice and learn.
Martin on his business trip to China
So, on the Sunday afternoon I went to join my host family.
I’d received a note a couple of weeks prior with their address and details – but I was nervous about meeting them, thinking about how I would get by with just a few words of Chinese and given the fact that I’m used to living in my own house, not being a lodger in someone else’s.
I won’t lie, the first few hours were overwhelming – it was the most Mandarin I’d ever heard out of a lesson environment.
I could only pick up little words here and there, but soon I was unpacked and we were eating dinner. I felt much more relaxed.
I was matched with a lovely family – a couple roughly my age with a 10-year old son.
It did feel a little funny being their adoptive second child for a fortnight, with toddler-level Chinese, but they were so patient and welcoming.
It was a great insight in to Chinese daily life, and it was surprising how after two or three days of class I had more confidence to have simple conversations.
A routine was quickly established – I’d get up for breakfast, head out to school, nip to a local gym before being back in time for dinner and then spend a couple of hours working or reviewing my lessons before bedtime. The two weeks flew past, and I’d now highly recommend the homestay option.
The homestay was almost perfect! The first days were incredible with my host family passing the time with me.
They helped me with my homework and told me about different things in Chinese.
The 2nd week I stayed with the grandmother and the grandfather whilst some of the family went on vacation.
They were super people too. Very kind and great company.
Although I kind of missed the family on vacation, they were hugely helpful and made sure I was never unattended.
They all really let me feel like I was a part of their family.
Upon coming to China I stayed with LTL Beijing for 3 months and my experience at my homestay was exceptional. I was placed in Angelina’s (a member of staff at LTL Beijing) homestay. When I arrived China I didn’t speak a word of Chinese so I was fairly scared of just being lost in the big city. Angelina saved me on that fear and made my time on Beijing the best time possible.
LTL Beijing students enjoying Christmas
The apartment was clean at all times and Angelina really put effort into keeping it clean and tidy even though her dog – Lucky – wouldn’t always support her on that!! Angelina was a really great help at all times and with all my concerns she’d endeavour to solve them. I didn’t feel lost or worried once during my time in Beijing and now finally feel like I am able to master all challenges of living in China independently.
I thank LTL and especially Angelina for that. Furthermore, the homestay was very flexible and easy going. At first I was concerned what “going back to living with parents” would be like, when it’s been a while since you’ve left your real parents / home. I was surprised how amazingly smooth a good relationship could be established while still living with freedom.
I really enjoyed and loved the experience staying with at Angelina’s homestay and would recommend anyone to take up the homestay option as well unless they have their own apartment to stay in. Personally, I would recommend a homestay over shared apartment. The ability to speak Chinese at the homestay, outside of class is invaluable and really speeds up your learning. I came to love and appreciate the little things about Angelina and her home and I am still thinking back on my time and the many wonderful situations that helped my learning. For that I want to thank LTL and especially Angelina and her boyfriend.
My homestay family (Sun Xiao Ying and Lin Bai Le) were fantastic and a home away from home for me. They make wonderful food and do their best to make you feel comfortable.
Savannah enjoying dinner with her Beijing Homestay
I became a little ill and my homestay took me to the hospital and waited through the lengthy process with me. When you go out and socialise they make sure you know what bus or train you need to take. As long as you are respectful and helpful to them you will get the same and more in return. They are a great couple and they really take care of you. I will really try to keep in touch with them.
My LTL experience in Beijing was amazing, I came here with around 8 years of middle/high school knowledge of Chinese but every year I managed to be far below the average. I was not confident and I didn’t have enough opportunities to practice and solidify my Chinese. I came to Beijing with little to no confidence in my skill but being in the country and having to learn out of necessity, I surprised myself on my first day having a somewhat flowing conversation with my home-stay family.
You use your skill to communicate with locals but there are some students at LTL who can’t speak your language and you end up having to communicate in Chinese. I’m really pleased with how much I’ve learned here and would definitely consider coming back.
My experience with my homestay has been both beneficial and unique. My Chinese ability has greatly improved because of the immersive environment. I seized every opportunity to interact with my homestay family.
From one such interaction, I learned about the history of the father’s family, as well as his thoughts on the Chinese lifestyle. I also spoke with the daughter about her job, favourite hobbies which are yoga and skiing, and her interest in travel, she loves America for example. Hence, I have had ample opportunity to apply and improve my language skills while living with a homestay family. I also recommend writing down and defining any unfamiliar terms used by your homestay family, as I found this particularly useful for my learning, and was able to pick up common colloquial words.
I have been consistently impressed with the quality and variety of dishes prepared by my Beijing family. These range from simple rice dishes with chicken or pork (very popular in China, expect to eat a lot), to more elaborate fish dinners (we had delicious prawns last night). My all-time favourite food is Xiao Long Bao (steamed meat dumplings). My only issue with food is that they frequently try and overfeed me!! However, I guess if you didn’t enjoy the food you could always just tell them in Chinese or bring your own food into your room (which I have had no trouble with).
Our Beijing students of December 2017
A homestay is more than just interaction, you are living there for an extended period, and a comfortable environment is equally, if not more important. In this regard, I have also been very impressed with my homestay. The apartment is clean, the amenities well maintained, and my room is comfortable for study. Everyday I try to revise what new Chinese content I have learned and there is minimal noise pollution to disrupt me. Yes, I live beside a busy road, but you won’t catch any more noise than any other apartment block in Beijing (it’s a busy city). Moreover, my room is well heated, and the bed (while by no means perfect) is fine.
While I can’t speak for everyone’s homestay experience, I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Beijing, facilitated by a comfortable homestay arrangement. The first few days are testing (they only speak Chinese, and you’ve never met them), but that quickly passes as you become more familiar with the environment.
The LTL apartments in Beijing are located only 30 minutes travel time from the school in a modern housing complex right next to the subway. Shared with local Chinese students this is a great budget option that offers you maximum freedom.