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Learn Chinese with a Homestay

A Note from the Director

Lotus Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization based in San Jose, CA with an office in Beijing. We are dedicated to intercultural exchange through language and custom learning. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Lotus's Learn Chinese with a Homestay Program. Homestay accommodation is the cornerstone of all Lotus's language programs as we strive to completely immerse our students in Mandarin. Lotus specially designed an assortment of programs for students from every age group and ability. Whether you are in high school or university student, just beginning your Mandarin studies,or a (one who intimately understands China) Lotus has an agenda that will suit your learning and travel needs. Lotus is the oldest and most experienced homestay specialist in China. Our Learn Chinese with a Homestay Program has attracted more than 700 students over the past seven years and we continue to expand. To date, we choose your host family from a pool of over 1,700 local Chinese families. In addition to being dedicated to education, Lotus also contributes to our communities. Each year we make a point to donate to various charities and relief efforts throughout the world. This past year all our proceeds went to the Sichuan earthquake relief efforts. We even organize optional charity excursions for all Lotus students to promote mindfulness and compassion toward the less fortunate. I hope you will consider Lotus Education for your Mandarin language learning needs.


Lisa Sheng Program Director

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The Best Way To Learn Chinese

T he best way to learn a language is to have constant contact with it in a completely immersive environment. Lotus's programs afford students a unique opportunity to submerge themselves in Mandarin by living with a Chinese family. We designed Learn Chinese with a Homestay programs for those looking for deeper connections to local Chinese culture, that for instance, you wouldn't find in a sterile hotel or international dormitory. Most often our students spend their mornings formally studying in a classroom and then the evening testing out their speaking and listening skills with their families.
In addition to the homestay, our programs often include cultural excursions, extracurriculars, and charity activities. These extras not only enhance students' understanding of Mandarin, but also serve to educate them about the profound traditions and current realities of China. Lotus steps outside the classroom to give students a well rounded more complete picture of China and its standard language. Lotus guarantees you will return from China with not only increased language proficiency but a more intimate comprehension of China and its people. After your stay you will have made lasting connections with a people that boast thousands of years of history. Let Lotus be your guide and start your adventure today!

Lotus was excellent! My hosts were extremely kind and generous to me! It would have been much harder for me to get this flavor of Chinese life had I only stayed in hotels or dorms. I left China with a great deal of respect and affection for the people I met. -David Pickus, Professor of Arizona Sate University, joined Lotus's Homestay Program in 2004.

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Table of Contents
Our Homestay Families Meet Our Families Lotus Language Immersion Programs College Programs Beijing Language and Culture University Beijing Normal University High School Programs Background Information Small Class Learning University Programs Summer Study and Travel Programs One-On-One Tutoring Business Chinese Program Teach and Stay Exchange Customize Your Own Study Program Background Information Sample 5-Week Study and Tour Itinerary Excursions, Extracurriculars, and Volunteering Excursion Highlights The Lama Temple The Great Wall The Peking Opera Extracurricular Samplings Compassionate Cooking: Vegetarian Cooking Class The Philosophy of Yin and Yang: Tai Ji Chuan Hand Craft Studio: Traditional Chinese Craft-Making Class Chinese Medicine Simplified: A Beginners' Workshop Volunteering Features Tibet: Xieqing Charity Orphan School Tai Zhou Wu Immigrant Schools Charity Bake Sale: Fundraising Senior Center Visits Student Stories FAQ: Homestay and Registration About Us Mission Contact Information 4

5 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 12

13 14 14 15 16 16 16 17 17 17 18 19-22 23-24 25 25 25

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Meet Our Host Families

W hen it comes down to it, it's all about language immersion. If you've come to China to study Mandarin, Lotus's Learn Chinese with a Homestay programs are the best option. Unlike a lot of other study abroad organizations, Lotus is not an island program in which students live with a fixed group of foreigners who often also speak English. Rather, Lotus strives to immerse its students in a living environment that constantly requires them to speak, listen, read and write Mandarin. In fact, we believe so strongly in the benefits of living with a homestay that it's the only living option we offer to our students. We place all our students in homestay families that know you are there to speak Chinese and are ready to help with anything from homework assignments to decoding Chinese proverbs. As a fully integrated family member you will participate in the daily ins and outs of Chinese living including eating meals together, watching TV, and bargain shopping. Important to note, though you are living with another family, you still will enjoy the comforts of your own private bedroom. To ensure you have a safe and positive experience, before allowing a family to host foreigners, Lotus conducts a thorough interview and security check. Our hosts are particularly excited and welcoming toward foreigners. Should you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to ask your family! That's what they are there for. They welcome questions from curious students and travelers. Our Beijing staff will also be available at all times to assist you if necessary.
Visit our website to see each host family's accommodations including bed, bath, living room and other facilities

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Lotus Language Immersion Programs

College Programs
The distinguishing characteristic of our college program is the homestay accomodation. Unlike a lot of other island study programs in which university students live with other students who often also speak English, our program includes study at Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing Normal University, or the university of your choice, and a homestay arrangement. All of our students reap the benefits of going home and practicing what they learn in class during the day. We find their progress to be particularly fast in this total immersion setting.

Beijing Language and Culture University

Beijing Language and Culture University(BLCU)is the only university in China that specializes in teaching the Chinese language and culture to foreign students. More than 9,000 international students from 110 countries and over 8,000 Chinese students study at BLCU each year. All levels are welcome from absolute beginner to native speaker.

Beijing Normal University

The Beijing Normal University College of Chinese Language and Culture houses 50 Mandarin teachers, including 6 professors, 18 associate professors, and 21 instructors. Almost all the teachers have previous Chinese language teaching experience. In fact, many of them taught Chinese overseas.

Choose Your Own University

If you happen to have a particular university in mind we are willing to arrange a homestay program with any university of your choice. Just let us know!

Please note that the schedules for the universities are not listed as the time changes from year to year. Please consult our website at for the most up to date information concerning scheduling and fees.

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High School Programs

Our high school programs are designed for students ages 14 to 18 interested in living with a homestay while studying Mandarin. After a rigorous round of interviewing, we select only those families who both meet standard requirements and house a resident teenager. We find that teenagers especially most comfortably communicate with their peers. We always want the doors of communication open between our students and their host families so we do our best to make them feel as at home as possible. Students also can rely on our Beijing staff at any time, day or night, should they need support. This program features a variety of activities including extracurriculars, volunteer events, and weekend excursions organized by Lotus and our host families.

Everyone in the Lotus office has treated me as a member of his/her family and I feel so privileged. I would like to formally thank Lotus for giving me this wonderful opportunity to study a language and culture I've always loved and to get closer to some of the things I'm most passionate about. -Jeff Schultz, from Blanca High School, joined Lotus's 4-week High School Small Class Program in the Summer of 2008.

High School Program fee includes:

-Registration and all supporting paperwork. -Tuition fee and textbooks. -Homestay accommodation, which includes a private bedroom, breakfast and dinner, computer and DSL service. -Cultural activities, volunteer events and weekend excursions in Beijing including lunch, transportation and admission fees. -Airport pick-up and drop-off upon arrival and departure. -Welcome Package: Chinese-English Dictionary, map of Beijing, phone card of 100RMB and a mobile SIM card. -Welcome dinner prepared by your host family. -24 hour assistance and supervision from our Beijing staff.

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High School Small Class Program

a maximum of five students per class, our High School Small Class Program provides students an intensive, studyfocused atmosphere for quick and effective learning. Our small class instructors hold teaching positions at renowned institutions such as BLCU, Tsinghua University, Peking University, and BNU. The program includes 20 lessons per week Monday through Friday. Students will be placed into the appropriate class according to their Chinese level. More than an academic in class learning experience, the High School Small Class Program also features a variety of activities, including cultural activities, volunteer events, and weekend excursions.

W ith

Thank you very much for looking after Camilla. The host family was absolutely wonderful to her and she has made great friends during her time in Beijing. I am very happy that her Chinese has improved, and am sure she will continue studying this year. Lotus, all your staff has been absolutely wonderful. I will recommend your homestay program to everybody in Italy! -Gea April, mother of Camilla April who joined Lotus's Small Class Program in the Summer of 2008.

University Study Program For High School Students

We offer our high school students the chance to earn college credit by studying at BLCU or BNU for the summer. This program is only open to beginners or groups of ten or more of the same language level. Please note that the schedules for the universities are not listed as the time changes from year to year. Please consult our website at for the most up to date information concerning scheduling and fees.

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Summer Study and Travel Program

W ant to combine your need to study with your desire to travel? Lotus created a program in which students study and live with a host family for their first month in Beijing and then spend the last one or two weeks traveling. While studying, students will live with one of our host families. During the final two weeks of the program students get to put their Mandarin skills to the test as we take them on a tour of Xian and Chengdu. We end the trip with a volunteer excursion at the destination of the students' choice. Some choose to head to an orphanage in Tibet while others take advantage of our recently added option in Sichuan teaching English at rebuilt schools.

My son did not speak nor write any Chinese before he came to China. His tutor was able to start him from ground zero. When he returned from only a month away he could converse and comprehend in very basic Mandarin, which I think is phenomenal progress. Plus, at the end of the program, the tutor provided us with a detail study report with a description of the study plan, progress, and areas for improvement. We chose Learn Chinese With A Homestay because we wanted a safe, worry-free environment especially since he had never been to China before. The host mother took really good care of him. Throughout the program duration, I kept in constant contact with the Lotus office in Beijing via email asking any question or concern that popped into my head. With the time difference, they always responded within 24 hours. This really eased the mother in me. I would recommend the Lotus program if you are seeking an enriching cultural experience with full language immersion. We will not hesitate to participate again in the future. -Wendy Liang, mother of Kevin Liang who joined Lotus's High School Program in the Summer of 2006.

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Kevin Liang with a group of Lotus students on a trip to the Lama Temple

One-On-One Tutoring
Our One-on-One tutoring program offers students and travelers of any age and level the opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese with a professional tutor. What's special about our tutoring service is our tutors are more than just instructors. They act as outlets to experience China like a local. For example, if you feel like having a lesson in a supermarket to learn a bit about Chinese cuisine, feel free to go on a field trip with your tutor to the local market. All of our tutors are native Chinese college graduates with at least two years experience teaching Mandarin as a foreign language. In fact, most of our teachers teach at Beijing Language and Culture University, Tsinghua University, or Beijing Normal University. The tutor will customize an individual study plan based on your language level and desired field of study. Flexible schedules, professional service and personal attention are key advantages of this program.

Thank you for the wonderful experience my daughter and I had in Beijing. Being able to be immersed once again in Chinese helped Meredith speak and understand the language more fully and apply the knowledge gained from her high school Chinese classes. Meredith found her tutor helpful, responsive and knowledgeable. Meredith had specific goals she wanted to attain to help her with her continuing study of Chinese and the tutor helped her achieve those goals. On our daily wonderings and sight seeing through Beijing after her lesson, Meredith confidently spoke Chinese in all situations. It certainly was nice for me to be able to have someone about who could speak the language! -Laura & Meredith, from the US joined Lotus's OneOn-One Program in the Summer of 2006.

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Business Chinese Program

If you're trying to make it in business in China it's hard to get far without having contact with locals. Because our program allows you to live in the same house as a Chinese family, you are able to build relationships and network with other business men who often desire to help foreigners establish themselves as professionals in China. Learning Mandarin is crucial today and it will be even more crucial tomorrow. Even basic Chinese can help seal lasting partnerships with Chinese affiliates. Let Lotus guide you through the language learning process by immersing you in a Mandarin environment complete with a homestay family, professional tutors and teachers.

I highly recommend Lotus. I had an excellent experience. I found the program to be very wellorganized. All of the teachers, through both the university and One-On-One tutorial program, were excellent. -Brent Smith, American born Managing Director of the Developing Bank of Singapore'07.

Teach and Stay Exchange

Our Teach and Stay Program is a perfect option for those looking to keep their budget low. We have host families willing to offer free homestay accomodation to students who meet the following requirements: -You would be willing to work as an English tutor for your family members for one hour each day. -You are a native English speaker.

The Teach and Stay Program was the perfect setting for me to practice my Chinese. It worked out that to fulfill the one-hour of tutoring I was expected to give them, I just went back and forth between English and Chinese in my conversations with them, giving them English practice while they helped me with my Chinese. Also, the many conversations we had talking about the cultural differences between the US and China proved very enlightening. -Matthew Cecil, from the University of Colorado, joined Lotus's 8- Week Teach and Stay Program in the Summer of 2005.

Nicole Figley teaching her family English.

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Customize Your Own Study Program

Lotus is dedicated to providing the best service possible to our students. If you are interested in creating an individual study abroad program or a tailored program for your students contact Lotus with your travel and learning requirements. We will put together a personal study plan for you and/or your group. Choose Your Homestay Lotus chooses your host family from a pool of over 1,700 qualified Beijing residencies. It is for this reason that we are able to satisfy our students' specific living requirements. Whether you request to live in Beijing's university district of Haidian or with a family that houses a son of a similar age to your student, we can make it happen. Group Study at any university in Beijing For groups of 15 or more with similar interests and language level, Lotus can arrange a class at Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing Normal University, or any other university in Beijing. All students passing the final exam will receive an official transcript, which is transferable for college credit at universities in the United States. Small Group and Study For groups with three or more people Lotus can arrange a small class course with our professional Chinese teachers. You can choose the time, length of study, and location! Study and Travel Outside Beijing Do you want to travel outside Beijing? Lotus can arrange a travel and study program. After you complete your studies in Beijing, simply choose the destinations and we will make the plans! We have experienced travel guides on site eager to bring students to the destinations of their interests. Mix and Match Study Programs Want to have 20 hours of class in the morning and then extra tutoring sessions in the afternoons? Our One-on-One tutoring service combined with our college program would work perfectly. Our point is, feel free to combine any of our existing programs to fit your needs! An Important Note...Who We Know In China, we say it's all about the guanxi (relations) you build with others. Over the past seven years Lotus has worked hard to build relationships with other businesses and associations interested in sharing their customs with foreigners. We have connections with a number of universities and a variety charity organizations/efforts throughout China. We also have relations with a very highly regarded traditional Chinese medical clinic in Beijing. Our circle of friends stretches from teachers and lecturers whose studies span a wide array of disciplines including martial arts, calligraphy and religious studies.

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Sample 5-Week Study & Tour Itinerary

Week 1
Day 1: Arrive at Beijing Airport/Feast at your welcome dinner prepared by your host family. Day2: Meet and Greet on the first day of Class/Enjoy a night out at the Peking Opera. Day3: Chinese Class/Meet your new outlet to Chinese culture- Your Tutor! Day4: Chinese Class/Participate in a guohua demo, the art of Chinese painting. Day5: Chinese Class/Join us at the Beijing office for a jiaozi (dumpling) cooking class. Day6: Hop on our private bus and take a ride to climb the magnificent Great Wall. Day7: Relax and get to know your homestay, your new family in China.

Week 2
Day1: Chinese class/Soak in the sites and historical significance of the Lama Temple. Day2: Chinese class/Volunteer teach at a local orphanage. This is a great opportunity to help out some less fortunate children that love meeting foreigners! Day3: Chinese class/One-On-One tutoring session: Learn how to ask directions: pretend to get lost and find your way in your neighborhood. Day4: Chinese class/Watch a traditional acrobatics performance. Careful, they flip! Day5: Chinese class/Visit the very popular Beijing Zoo and see a panda (or two). Day6: Excursion to Tiananmen Square and the renowned Forbidden City. Day7: Take a load off at your homestay.

Week 3
Day1: Chinese class/Visit Beijing's newest edition, the Olympic Park. Day2: Chinese class/Brush up on your calligraphy (shufa) with another demo. Day3: Chinese class/One-On-One tutoring session: get familiar with Beijing food culture by visiting the local grocery store with your tutor. Also get a lesson in bargaining! Day4: Chinese class/Learn a bit about Chinese history at the Capital Museum. Day5: Chinese class/Make some new Chinese friends at a student panel discussion. Day6: Take a stroll around the Summer Palace/Soak up the scenery at the Temple of Heaven. Day7: Join your host family for a reunion with some relatives and friends.

Week 4
Day1: Chinese class/Try your hand (and foot) at our Chinese Martial Arts class. Day2: Chinese class/Get crafty sewing and gluing at our traditional arts hand-craft class. Day3: Chinese class/One-On-One tutoring session: take a stroll through a nearby park to learn about basic traditional Chinese gardening aesthetic with your tutor. Day4: Chinese class/Wander the narrow hutongs to get a glimpse of courtyard living. Day5: Chinese class/Attend a traditional Chinese medicine workshop at a local clinic. Day6: Travel to the Beijing suburbs to volunteer your acting skills at the Senior Center. Day7: Say your goodbyes to your host family (though we're sure you'll be back to visit) at dinner and hop on a train.

Week 5
Day1: Arrive in Xian/Explore the first Emperor of China's burial grounds and the awe-inspiring Terracotta Army. Day2: Climb the Tang Dynasty Wild Goose Pagoda/ Visit the Shaanxi History Museum/ Walk along the ancient city wall. Day3: Fly to Chengdu/Go out for some early Sichuan hot pot and get some rest. Day4: Travel to Chengdu's outskirts to teach at local schools rebuilt after the Sichuan earthquake. Day5: Fly to Shanghai/Relax and cruise down the Huangpu River/Snap some pictures atop the Observation Deck of the Oriental Pearl Tower. Day6: Pack up and get some last minutes souvenirs at the popular Nanjing Shopping Street. Day 7: Say your goodbyes to Zhongguo (China) and promise to come back and visit us again!

The destination, group size, and curriculum can all be changed according to your needs and interests. We are very flexible!

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Excursions, Extracurriculars &Volunteering

Excursion Highlights
The Lama Temple
Today, the Lama Temple or Yong He Gong stands as one of the largest and most important Tibetan monasteries in the world. This trip is included in all our packages, no matter the length of time you plan on staying in China. Our Beijing Staff provides a guided tour through the many halls and pavilions that boast a Han-Tibetan architectural style. We focus our tour on the influence of Buddhism in Chinese history. For instance, we begin every tour by asking our students why Chinese say "embrace Buddha's feet." It doesn't take more than a few minutes before our students join in with other temple visitors, lighting incense and learning traditional prayer hymns. We end the excursion with a delicious vegetarian lunch at a nearby restaurant. All of Lotus's Immersion Programs include trips to various monuments and testimonials to traditional Chinese culture. During our guided tours, we do our best to provide our students with an insightful, detailed understanding of the historical and cultural significance of these sites. All our tours include admission tickets, transportation and meals. All you have to do is show up ready to learn!

The Lotus organized excursion to the Lama Temple with a vegetarian lunch afterwards was one of the many highlights of my time in Beijing. The Lotus staff acted as our personal tour guides providing interesting information about the temple's history and Buddhism's history in China. The staff went above and beyond by making the tour fun with games and prizes. The restaurant we ate lunch at was also excellent.-Emily Ow, from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, joined our BLCU Program in the Summer of 2005.

The first weekend of my stay coincided with a Lotus excursion to the Beijing Lama Temple. Lisa Sheng and her staff ran an excellent tour. As a guide Lisa not only explained to us the significance of what was there, but also illustrated how the practice of Buddhism has influenced Chinese language and culture. In a short visit such as it was, I learnt a great deal. And something I couldn't but notice was the character and motivation of fellow Lotus students. I thought it reflected well on Lotus. - Thomas Smithurst from Australia joined Lotus in the Winter of 2006.

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Excursion Highlights
The Great Wall
A trip to China would not be complete without a visit to the Great Wall. Built, rebuilt and maintained from the sixth all the way to the sixteenth century, visitors from all over the world come to China to walk along this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Almost all our students, no matter age, language level or area of interest end up visiting the Great Wall during their stay.

The trip to the Great Wall was very exciting! Being on the Great Wall is an experience not many people have. Thank you Lotus for giving me the opportunity to go visit the Great Wall! In the future, I would like to go to Beijing once more through your program. -Paul Iinuma from Hawaii State University joined Lotus during the Summer of 2008.

Autumn is the best season to go hiking in Beijing's Western hills and Badachu Park is the place to do it. Nestled between Cuiwei, Pingpo, and Lushi hills this beautiful park attracts massive amounts of visitors (foreign and local) each year. Badachu means Eight Great Sites, and refers to its' eight well preserved ancient Buddhist temples and nunneries. These ancient temples and nunneries were built at the end of the Sui Dynasty, and were later renovated during the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.

The Peking Opera

Extremely prevalent during the Qing Dynasty, this form of traditional Chinese theatre attracts students and travelers of all ages and interests. We give our visitors a chance to get back stage and view the actors and actresses preparing for the performance.

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Extracurriculars: A Sampling
Lotus is dedicated to a well-rounded education. That's why, in addition to offering various kinds of Mandarin classes, we also give our students the opportunity to partake in after-school activities that not only further their study of the language, but enhance their understanding of the customs and culture of China. We want out students to walk away from Lotus with more than just a knowledge of Mandarin. We want them to know China .

Compassionate Cooking: Lotus Vegetarian Cooking Class

During every study session, Lotus opens it's kitchen to students interested in learning how to make traditional vegetarian Chinese dishes. The variety of vegetables, fruits and soy available in China makes being a vegetarian extremely easy (and delicious). In addition, as an earth-friendly organization, we advocate vegetarian eating habits. In the past students have prepared anything and everything from dumplings to Wotou, a popular dessert rumored to be a favorite of Qing Emperor Cixi. In addition to being able to enjoy their cooking efforts after the lesson, many students bring recipes back home to give their friends and family a taste of China.

Visitour website and download ourrecipes!

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More Extracurriculars
Hand Craft Studio: Traditional Chinese Craft-Making Class
During every study session Lotus invites hand-made craft (shou gong) and calligraphy specialists (shufa) to our offices to give students a demo. In the past we have made everything from zhong guo jie (Chinese decorative knots) to ornamental jiaozi (dumplings). These crafts and calligraphy pieces make perfect souvenirs for friends and relatives.

The Philosophy of Yin and Yang: Tai Ji Chuan

M a s t e r i n g t h e a r t o f Ta i J i m e a n s establishing a balance of yin and yang, fundamental elements of classical Chinese science and philosophy. Some say every movement, simple or complex, is based on cirucular motions which mirror the shape of the yin yang. Other practitioners claim its about cultivating from a state of motion to a state of stillness. Our teacher has been practicing Tai Ji Chuan since childhood and deeply enjoys sharing the philosophy and hands on lessons with enthusiastic students.

Chinese Medicine Simplified: A Beginner's Workshop

In an effort to make others aware of the rich h e r i t a g e o f C h i n a w e a r e o ff e r i n g a traditional Chinese medicine workshop. Interested students will visit a Chinese clinic and watch doctors utilize methods like cupping and acupuncture. Join us and watch or get treated.

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Charity Bake Sale


Lotus students and host families participate in a great deal of charity fundraisers. For example in accordance with the Dragon Boat Festival, Lotus joined in with well known charity organizations to make and sell Zongzi (bamboo leaf-wrapped rice dish) to raise money for less fortunate students in rural areas of China. Lotus also made Niangao during the Chinese New Year to build water cellars for impoverished communities in Gansu Province. In addition to teaching them how to make customary holiday treats, we expose our students to current troubles facing many Chinese. We find everyone, volunteers included, benefits from these fundraising activities.

Volunteering Features
As a non-profit organization, Lotus sponsors and organizes a number of volunteer activities. By exercising such values as filial piety and compassion, we hope to not only raise our students' awareness of world issues, but to encourage them to become contributing members of society. In Chinese we call it (she de), meaning you give and you get. Our ultimate mission is to bridge lasting friendships across ethnic, economical and cultural boundaries.

Tai Zhou Wu Immigrant Schools, Beijing

The Lotus volunteers at the Tai Zhou Wu Immigrant School can be found doing anything from drawing pictures to playing music to teaching English. The kids are receptive to just about anything as seeing a new (especially foreign) face brings them great happiness. The school was established to help immigrant children of poor working families who cannot afford to send their children to government subsidized schools. Teachers and volunteers utilize the limited resources to make the place as stimulating as possible for young learners.

Xieqing Charity Orphan School, Tibet

Xieqing Charity Orphan School is a private school situated on a beautiful grassland in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, southwest China. As a sponsor of the orphanage, Lotus arranges trips for students interested in volunteer teaching. The orphans are extremely grateful and excited to make foreign friends and get a glimpse of the world outside their own. Lotus seeks volunteers who are mature, independent and in good health for this journey. For more details, please consult our website.

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Volunteer at a Senior Center!

Lotus Educational Foundation has given students the opportunity to truly see the way other people live and thus expand their minds and increase understanding. They have done this through providing homestay families as well as charity excursions to places such as senior homes and orphanages. Participating in both kinds of activities is still a rarity in China. The majority of foreigners visiting China are wealthy tourists who will never get a taste of the real, nitty-grittiness of China, or foreign students who all too easily get sucked into a comfortable lifestyle of living in dorms or apartments, going to class occasionally, and eating and partying for scarily low prices. They may leave China after one year without ever sitting down to eat dinner with a Chinese family or gaining an awareness of how both government and non-governmental organizations are addressing poverty issues that still pose a significant obstacle to the country's rise into the class of developed nations. I participated in two charity events in nearby Hebei province through the Lotus program. One event was to a senior home, and was specifically open to all students in the Lotus program. The other event was to a children's orphanage. Both volunteer experiences impressed me deeply. I really encourage current and future Lotus students to make the most out of their time in China and to value any opportunities to understand Chinese people on a deeper level. -Stephanie Lin, from Columbia University, joined Lotus's 20- Week Fall BLCU Program in 2006.

Each semester we organize a volunteer trip to He Bei Lang Fan Yang Shui Wu Xiang Senior Center in the suburbs of Beijing. Lotus arranges this excursion with two objectives in mind. First, we hope to widen the world perspectives of our students by giving them a glimpse of how others live. Second, we hope to promote the Confucian ideal of (xiao dao) or filial piety; that is to be dutiful to one's parents and treat elderly people with respect. This value is ingrained in Chinese culture.

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Students' Stories
Take a look at some feedback!

Whitney Swedlow, from Florida State University, joined Lotus's 5-Week One-On-One Program in the Fall of 2007. My time with the Lotus Educational Foundation study abroad program in Beijing was outstanding. From the minute I arrived to the minute I left, Lotus was there to assist and to answer any question I could imagine. My host family was fantastic. I had a 24-year-old host sister (Xu Wei) who was studying English, and she made it her personal goal to act as my dictionary, tutor, and translator throughout my stay. Xu Wei took the initiative to introduce me to all of her friends and family, and before long I had not one Chinese mom, but four! By the time I left China, my Chinese families called me "sar" (Third Child with a Beijing accent) and I called them "Mama" and "Baba." They took me to eat family meals, see amazing and important sites, taught me to play Mah-jong, and allowed me to spend time with them and practice my Mandarin. It was very difficult to leave. I had to make many promises to return in the future. Zoe Quan, from Harvard University joined Lotus's 4-Week Summer Program at BLCU in 2003. Thanks to Lotus, my Chinese has improved significantly, in ways that would not otherwise have been possible. Your program not only accelerated my learning of the language by constant exposure to its use in day-to-day living, but also gave me a much better understanding of the rapid changes that are now occurring in contemporary Chinese culture. I appreciated your willingness to accommodate my schedule, your arranging for tutors geared towards my specific business needs. Your in-country support helped me to concentrate on the work at hand, with minimal loss of time spent on attending to administrative and logistical matters. I whole-heartedly recommend your offering to others who wish to learn and understand Chinese through immersion. Richard Hickey, from York University, UK, joined Lotus's 8-Week Program in 2005. Would I recommend living with a homestay? Definitely. Compared with friends who stayed in dorms at BLCU with other international students, my Chinese improved more. Plus, there is far more incentive to learn if you can practice every day. My family was extremely nice. The food was tasty, and it was good to see what real Beijingers eat every day. They were all remarkably patient with my faltering Chinese. The flat was comfortable and located close to BLCU. They even lent me a bicycle, which I came to love riding. Amanda Wong, from the University of California, Berkley, joined Lotus's 4-Week BLCU Summer Program in 2006. My host family was excellent. They made me feel at home right away. I feel that it would have been difficult for me to get the whole immersion experience by only taking classes at BLCU, as the foreign students normally use their own language once class gets out. But by having a host family to come home to every night, direct application of the lessons learned in class was immediately available.

Isaac Harley, from University of Oklahoma, joined Lotus's 5-Week Winter Program at BLCU in 2004. I had a great time studying the Chinese language and culture in Beijing at BLCU during the winter of 2004. The Lotus staff in Beijing helped immensely, as they placed me with a wonderful family and periodically checked in and out with me to make sure everything was going smoothly, and handled details (such as arranging rides to/from the airport, enrolling me in my classes, showing me how to commute to the University) that would have left me, as a near absolute beginner in Chinese totally lost. I went to Beijing knowing only a few indispensable phrases in Chinese, and I left being able to have simple conversations.

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Davide Ben-Dror, from Haifa University, Israel, joined Lotus's 6-Week Summer Program at BLCU in 2004. A week has passed since my return from China and my stay with Lotus. I look back at those six weeks with great pleasure. The time I spent in Beijing in general and with my host family specifically, the Huaiyuan family, was very good. Their hospitality, the time they devoted to helping me, and the family feeling they created at their home made the difference. Thanks to their warm welcome my time in Beijing went from being just another language abroad program to a wonderful and fascinating experience of getting to know Beijing, the Chinese people in general and the Huaiyuan family in particular.

Adrian LeCesne, from Yale University, joined Lotus's 12-Week Fall Program at BLCU in 2006. I have done the homestay program with Lotus twice, and I feel the second time really made me appreciate the conveniences of the first and how nice the families have been both times. The ladies at the Lotus office in Beijing are sweet and caring, and the group activities are fun and wholesome. If you want to get to know a few Chinese people in a personal way, and would like someone to translate the many idiosyncrasies of Chinese culture to you, Lotus is certainly a suitable place to start. Leo Carter, from Rice University, joined Lotus's 1-Week One-On-One Tutoring Program and 4- Week Program at BLCU in 2007. Living with a homestay made me use the language everyday, all day long. I was forced to communicate with people that couldn't communicate with me in my own language, so it was great- the best way to learn. Also I have to say my tutor was great, she was very friendly and spoke English. She helped me with everything. I highly recommend Lotus. Wesley Wong, from the U.S. joined Lotus's 4-Week Summer Program in 2006. Doing everything by email and fax and not meeting anyone in person when your planning a trip halfway around the world would make anyone nervous. But Lotus did everything they said they would and then some. They greeted me at the airport, they took care of the hassle of registering for school (which can be difficult if you didn't speak a word of Chinese), they took the time to answer any questions I had about living in China and most of all they were extremely honest and straight forward about everything. I always felt I had a safety net if any mishap would occur. Unexpected things and problems happen of course like the time I lost my wallet and had to have all new info and cards sent to a safe address (Lotus offices). Lotus even made a point of hand delivering all my care packages from the U.S. so I wouldn't have to go to their office.

Lisa Hughes, from Villanova University joined Lotus's 6-Week Summer Program at BLCU in 2004. My host family was incredibly welcoming and constantly asked if I was comfortable and if I needed anything. Ms. Ting even took me out one day and helped me get a cellular phone and find a bicycle. I greatly appreciated her assistance with both. Also, when I would ask help with anything they would always tell me not to worry. Ms. Ting's mother also came and stayed with us for the duration of my stay. She was quite possibly the cutest woman ever! She was an incredible cook too. I cannot say enough about how helpful and welcoming they were. They weren't picky about when I came home (I had my own set of keys) and would simply ask things for informational purposes. I had a beautiful room, and access to the phone and the internet. Again I cannot say enough about how wonderful this family was and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a pleasurable time abroad in Beijing.

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Robert Sachse, from the University of Redlands joined Lotus's 4- week One-On-One program in the Summer of 2006. I came to China to learn Mandarin as quickly as possible. I decided a homestay program would be most appropriate. The Lotus Educational Foundation provided outstanding service before, during and after my trip in China. I was pleased with the degree of freedom I was able to exercise while in China as a participant in the One-On-One tutoring program. Not only was my schedule flexible, but my tutor was understanding, smart, and very funny. I had more than plenty of time to explore the city; I even signed up at a local health club to upkeep the active lifestyle I have in the USA!

Miranda Chien-Hale, from Los Altos High School, joined Lotus's 4-Week High School Small Class Program in the Summer of 2008. My Lotus Summer benefited me in many ways. Firstly, I furthered my study of Mandarin. The small classes give each student a lot of attention to improve his/her Chinese. By the end of my stay in Beijing I found myself understanding simple conversations. I am extremely happy with how much my Chinese improved in such a short time. Second, the home stay aspect of my trip helped me grow as a person. In addition, the Lotus staff was extremely welcoming and kind. If you are serious about learning Chinese this program is for you. Jnai Gaither from Carleton College, joined Lotus 's BLCU Program in the Fall of 2003. Lotus is an excellent program. Before I left, I made frequent calls to Lotus's headquarters in California. My calls were returned promptly and were always friendly. I greatly appreciate all the time and patience they had with me. My two families in China were wonderful. They were very gracious and did anything in their power to keep me happy. They definitely aimed to please. I had a lot of fun with both families and they taught me a lot. They were also very well versed in Chinese culture and history. I will never forget my family and hope to stay in touch with them after I return to the States. Lotus is an excellent program that puts the students first. I highly recommend the program to anyone who wishes to get an insiders' view of China. Thanks for everything, Lotus!!! An Lam, from the U.S. joined Lotus's One On-One Program in 2005. My host family was a perfect match for me. Along with learning Chinese at home, my tutor spent a lot of time teaching me a lot of practical Chinese. She took me around the city, we ate in great restaurants, and she also taught me a lot of famous Chinese stories. By the end of my trip, I felt a huge improvement in my comfort in buying food, taking a taxi around and having general conversations with the locals. I was also glad to have Lotus guide me through the process of trying to blend in and learn the ways of the Chinese. Jason Cheng from George C. Marhsall High School joined Lotus's 4-Week Summer Program in 2006. With the Lotus program, I stayed with a host family that forced me to speak Chinese. In the university's dorms, you are constantly speaking English. The students I met at the university all said that they didn't' get much out of the class; mainly because they only spent four hours a day speaking Chinese and the rest of the time talking to classmates in English. Besides that, you get to learn about how Chinese people live their everyday lives. Overall, the Lotus program helped a lot and I would recommend it to anyone.

Philip Shellhaas Export Compliance Office, Lenovo Inc, joined Lotus's One-On-One Program in 2005. "I'm not your typical student, and wasn't sure Lotus could accommodate my Beijing work schedule and my very basic, beginning level language requirements. I work for a computer company. Though my office is in the USA, I spend a considerable amount of time in Beijing. Lotus was able to find me a homestay and a tutor in very short notice. I was thoroughly impressed with their efficiency and attentiveness, and their superb organizational support and resources.

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George Mohyla, from the U.S. joined Lotus's 6-Week Summer Program at BNU in 2006. My host family was perfect, period. They opened their home and hearts the moment I stepped into their modern apartment. My family invited their friends over several times for parties which gave me the opportunity to make new friends. When we weren't eating home cooked meals, we were out eating local specialties that I never would have found on my own. My family helped me with Chinese, shopping and transportation. They just made everything so easy and I highly recommend Lotus to others.

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Randy Baum, from Kansas University joined Lotus twice, once in 2003 and then again in 2004. The Lee host family was charismatic, clean, lively, and an invaluable tool to my understanding China. From observing the way in which couples interact with themselves and with their friends to the manner in which the bill is dealt with at a restaurant, living with my host-family has broadened my understanding of China. In a classroom, when class ends, you speak your native tongue. With a family, you often speak Mandarin, and depending on your speaking ability, you may never speak your native tongue at all. This technique is beneficial to not only your speaking, but to your listening ability, knowledge of the usage of idioms, spoken Chinese, and slang. Soon you might even find that you are actually thinking in Chinese. That language level is called "fluency."

Katherine Michonski from the University of Chicago joined Lotus's 6-Week Summer Program at BLCU in 2005. Lotus is an excellent program for anyone who would like to learn Chinese - the correct way. While classes provide students with the necessary grammar background, family life gives homestay participants constant listening and oral practice that any native speaker receives when learning a language. This combination intensifies your language study giving you an unbelievable advantage over the rest of the class.

Selena Russ , from Smith College, joined Lotus's 7-Week Summer Program at BLCU in 2005. My experience with Lotus was fantastic! They attended to every email and question. As for my host family, I never expected such caring and selfless generosity. I really felt like I was part of the family from the very start. They helped me get settled and brought me around to different parts of the city when they went out as a family. The tutor was also very attentive and useful as I adjusted to Beijing life.

Meagan Smith, from the University of Michigan, joined Lotus's 5-Week OneOn-One Program in the Summer of 2005. After only one month of living with my host family I could speak and understand a great deal and could contribute to dinner conversations. I speak several languages, each of which took several years to learn and master. I can say with confidence that one month in China with Lotus was more helpful than two years of class time with any other language I learned. Lotus's program was invaluable to my Mandarin education and I cannot thank them enough!

Justin Allen, From Texas, USA, join Lotus Fall Quarter program at BLCU 2003 The experience has been great! I have learned a significant amount of Chinese in a short amount of time. The on site staff always checked up on me. They took me to many interesting sites around Beijing during the weekends. My family was comfortable and easy going. Lotus, you spoiled me!

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Questions About The Homestay
How safe are homestays in China? All of our potential families undergo a thorough interview and security check before we allow them to host students. We make sure our families' residencies are located in closed communities with 24-hour security service. Will I have my own room? Yes. Every family has at least one spare room. Your room will be fully furnished with a bed, desk, wardrobe and air-conditioning. Are meals included in the homestay? Breakfast and dinner are included in the regular homestay. If you apply for the Teach and Stay Exchange, though it is very rare, the family may not offer you meals. Will I have access to a computer with internet? Yes. Each family has their own computer with DSL at home. In what language will we communicate at home? Your host family understands you came to China to improve your Chinese. They will communicate with you in Chinese at home. Most families can also explain things in English if necessary. Can I join in on the family's activities? Of course! Your family will be very happy to have you as part of their family. Most of our students become lifelong friends with their families. How far away will the homestay be from school? The standard homestay families are located either walking distance or within 30 minutes by public transportation away from school. Teach and Stay families may be farther from study places. Can I choose a host family before I arrive in China? Yes. You may choose a family from the sample families posted on our website. While individual family placement is based on first come, first served basis, we will do our best to accommodate your first choice. Please note that we have a database of over 1,700 host families. We list only a small selection on our website. We recommend you provide us with as detailed information as possible on the registration form so we can best match you with a suitable homestay. How do you select the most suitable homestay for me? We base our selection on your registration information. For instance, students applying to our high school program will live with a family that houses a teenager of similar age. Businessmen will live with a host that has a professional business background. What if I can't get along well with my host family? This very seldom happens. However, if you decide you would like to move, we can change your host family for you.

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Questions Concering Chinese Immersion Programs

I am a high school student. What programs are available to me? We have four options for high school learners. Firstly, students may attend BNU or BLCU as beginners. Second, if you prefer a more intimate environment and plan to have class with less than five students, we offer the Small Class Program. For those interested in combining study with play, we suggest the Summer Study and Travel Program in which students practice their Mandarin for four weeks in Beijing and then travel for the remaining one or two weeks to Xian, Shanghai, or Chengdu. Lastly, we also organize One-On-One Tutoring sessions any time for those with schedules that do not coincide with group programs. I am a college student. What programs are available to me? Though Lotus organizes special programs for students who study at BLCU and BNU, two top universities for foreigners studying Mandarin, we can also arrange for a homestay while you study at any university in Beijing. As with our high school students, we also offer the Summer Study and Travel Program as well as the One-OnOne Tutoring Program. I am an absolute beginner in Chinese; am I eligible to apply for your program? Half of our applicants are beginners. We have programs suitable for learners of all levels. Is there an age requirement for your programs? There is no age requirement. In the past Lotus hosted students as young as seven all the way to seventy years of age. We have programs for high school students, college students and professionals. If you have an interest in learning about the language and culture of China, you are welcome! Can I receive university credit for course work conducted in your program? If you attend a university, you will receive an official certificate and transcript that may or may not be transferable to your home university. All universities have different policies. The High School Small Class Program and the One-On-One Tutoring Program do not offer transferable credit. How can I register with your program as an individual applicant? Please fill out our online application form at and follow the Registration & Payment procedure. What if I have a problem while studying in China? Our on-site staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help with any problem or concern that you may have. I am a Chinese teacher in the U.S. Do you have programs for my students to study in China as a whole group? In addition to the high school and university programs listed in our brochure, we also can customize a group study program according to your group size, budget, and Mandarin level. We can arrange everything from homestay accommodation to excursion locations and volunteer activities. We suggest you contact us via e-mail and we will do our best to fulfill your requirements.

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About Us
Lotus Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization based in San Jose, California, with an office in Beijing. As the oldest and most experienced provider of homestay accommodation we design quality Mandarin Immersion Programs at an affordable price for our students and travelers. Since our opening in 2001 our organization has grown by leaps and bounds as the homestay option becomes more and more appealing to those students who take their Mandarin seriously.

Our Mission
The mission of the Lotus Educational Foundation is to foster international cultural exchange through language education and homestay service. Ultimately, we hope to bring peace and understanding to different cultures as we forge friendships through homestay arrangements. We are also particularly interested in restoring and preserving China's threatened cultural heritage. As such, our extracurriculars and cultural excursions reflect our desire to educate foreigners about the rich traditions of China. Lastly, as a non-profit, Lotus also feels its primary purpose is to give back to less fortunate members of our global community. Lotus supports a variety of charity organizations and relief efforts throughout China and abroad. We find all those who volunteer with us, even if for just one day, walk away with impressions that last a lifetime.

Contact Us
Lotus Educational Foundation California Office 1173-D South De Anza Blvd. San Jose, CA, 95129 Tel: 408.996.1929 Email: Beijing Office Suite 1201, C#XiWu Plaza, 12 Suzhou St. Haidian District, Beijing Tel: 86.10.8287.2866 Email:

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Educational Foundation