There’s something different about learning a language. A feeling that fills humans with joy, a sense of achievement that content people. Interacting with another human being, exchanging ideas and in the end learning something that will add values to their lives. This is something that has helped humans to evolve. Since the rise of globalization, people are moving to different parts of the world. Pursuing their ambition is taking them to places that they have never imagined for themselves. Many students want to explore the world and hence, they decide to pursue international studies. However, students on their path to excellence and exploration face many hurdles. And learning a new language is one of the greatest challenges. It prohibits them to discover the new land they are in. To combat this, educational institutions have risen and are trying to address this problem in these contemporary times. But an institution needs a strong vision. A leader who understands the difficulties of a non-native person. A leader who has faced the challenges by himself and had invented his own formula. A figure who leads the institution with the sole purpose to encourage students to not only learn the language but feel it, experience it, and respect it. Andreas Laimbock, the Founder and Director of Live the Language (LTL) Mandarian School is one such dynamic personality and luminary in China who has changed the way Mandarian language is learned. His initial struggles in China have led a strong foundation for him to open the school that provides courses in the Chinese language.
Let’s see his journey and the rise to hold one of the Admirable Educational Leadership positions in China.
Constant Endeavor to Success
The year was 1999 when Andreas first stepped in China. As soon as he entered the Mainland he got hooked. He loved everything about China and was eager to immerse himself in the culture, but there was one problem, language. At start like many other foreign students, he was taking classes to learn the native language. But it was way harder for him to learn. He wasn’t able to grasp and learn the language at the pace that he had hoped. It was a tough time for him, he felt like he was going nowhere. Slowing and consistently he changed the methods which he used to teach himself. As soon as he was sure he learned the formula, he was keen to share it with the world. He wanted no other person to come to China and fight the battles as he did. Hence, in 2007 he opened LTL along with his small staff and through exemplary vision and hard work the school became successful. The school became the first to offer a program in a City like Chengde, and so followed Shanghai, Taipei, Beihai and most recently Xi’an.
Institution on Ascendancy
Since its establishment, LTL has seen an immense success in a short period of time. It was all possible through the immersion program, which is its key to accomplishments. Completely immersing oneself and devotion to learning a language is the foundation on which LTL was built, hence the name Live-the-Language. The institution has a rich history since its inception. At first, students were taught in coffee shops and then the school took its roots near Dawanglu, Beijing. One of the major steps was the start of the Chinese Immersion program in Chengde. The city has no expatriate community who can speak English. Hence, students need to immerse themselves in Chinese culture. This helps them to learn the language at a much better pace. Being at Chengde has been vital for the LTL’s success. Now the institute is expanding to other regions of China to provide its students and aspiring scholars with flexibility as much as possible.
Andreas’ Valuable Contribution
He considers spreading the word on Immersion in China as one of his major accomplishments. Making sure when people come to China they don’t just speak Chinese in class, but it occupies a major part of their daily routine.
“Immersion is about changing the language of your phone, living with a Chinese family, making Chinese friends, watching Chinese TV.”- Andreas Laimbock
He believes that when you point out the benefits, foreigners coming to China will understand the importance and can progress at a faster rate. Facing the uncomfortable situation from the first day, having to speak Chinese without any choice can help the individual to learn the language faster than others.
Overcoming the Challenges
According to Andreas, there’s a difference between starting and running a business in China than in America and Europe. He faced many challenges, finding the right cities to open new schools in China and follow its regulations. Also, constantly finding the right team that would share his vision and want LTL to grow. He believes that Chinese is growing in popularity by the year and people are interested to explore China. Andreas has also opened an institution in Taipei allowing aspiring students to come and study visa-free. Such overcoming of problems by Andreas has inspired people to face challenges head-on, without looking back until the goal they are striving becomes a reality.
An Inspiring Message for Nation’s Students
“Do not be scared to learn Chinese – it is NOT as hard as you think.”- Andreas Laimbock
Andreas continuously encourages people to learn Chinese. He wants to break the misconception around the language for being too hard. He believes that the language can be learned by any person who is willing to put his heart and immerse oneself fully. He says Chinese grammar is easier than most languages. He concluded his interview with The Knowledge Review team with an optimistic lesson, “Once you get around the first few hundred characters, it all builds into one big puzzle that you slowly piece together. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can!”