Philip Shellhaas/US/Lenovo/IDE, Export Compliance Office, Lenovo (United States) Inc, joined Lotus One on One program in 2005.
"I'm not your typical student, and wasn't sure Lottusstudy could accommodate my Beijing work schedule and my very basic, beginning level language requirements. I work for a computer company, HQ in Beijing, my office in USA. I spend considerable time in Beijing. Usually in hotels that are a long taxi ride to my work HQ in Haidian / Shang-di north Beijing. I decided to look for an apartment / homestay with a Chinese family, and also to seriously try to learn some Chinese language (while continuing my "day-job"). After a search on the web, Lotusstudy popped out at me as the right combo homestay and study, and there were families listed in the area of my office. I was ready for an adventure, knew this was the right way to go, but had no idea what to expect. Lotus Foundation, and the Lotusstudy staff in the US and Beijing were able to work out a homestay and one-on-one tutoring in very short notice. I was thoroughly impressed with their efficiency and attentiveness, and their superb organizational support and resources.
In just a few days, the Beijing office located a wonderful family with a fully modern, beautiful new apartment only 15 minutes walking distance from my work. This family is just great, super supportive, attentive to my every need. But more importantly, they are very open, interesting, funny, and friendly. We have much to talk about, and we laugh together often. It is always a happy time together. We became friends in short notice. And we learn from each other -- language, ideas, experiences, and more. They push me to learn Chinese, made sure that I was eating well, even exercising regularly with morning walks and weekend jaunts (to pick apples) into the countryside. Also a tour of the old Summer Palace gardens. And many wonderful restaurants ĘC throughout this part of Beijing. From great to greasy -- eating out was so much fun with this family.
My Chinese teacher / tutor, Li Laoshi, was also superb. Patient, methodical, very attentive to my absolutely beginner level of non-competency, and always encouraging me with positive feedback. Starting from nothing, in the two weeks time that was available, I feel a real sense of accomplishment, and -- of course -- a large challenge to do much more, learn faster, phase out the English. But I'm now confident that I can make more, significant progress the next time in Beijing with more time available. In my situation, with a competing work schedule, the one-on-one tutoring was ideal. My teacher was very flexible, and we worked together to establish a schedule, heavy doses on weekends, and some pretty long sessions. But this near total immersion is the way to make serious progress, I'm convinced. When I've gained a bit more competency to communicate with the family, then the homestay immersion should click in. In the meantime, we're enjoying speaking mainly English together.
I most certainly plan to continue this program whenever I am in Beijing for longer visits. I love my family and my teacher -- and, of course, I am totally in awe of the Lotusstudy Beijing staff who has provided timely, excellent, friendly support throughout. I have nothing but praise for the way they have handled my homestay and study program. I've traveled a lot, and I must admit -- this is as good as it gets in terms of foreign reception and heart-felt welcome, as well as logistics and the targeted resources to make staying, living in Beijing, and learning Chinese a very rewarding experience. I'd recommend it to anyone in a similar situation as mine -- it beats hotels and sporadic Chinese lessons or self-study language tapes hands down."