Andreas Laimboeck is School Manager & Owner of Chinese language centre LTL Mandarin School in Beijing. The school offers a home away from home in China for students, and immersion into a Chinese language environment through its homestay program.
Q. When did you join IALC and why?
2014. We joined because so many of our agents told us we are a typical IALC school, personal, high quality with smaller volume, a lot of service, and focused on long-term relationships, so we thought it might be a good idea to join.
Q. How did 2014 go for you, and how did it compare to previous years?
2014 had its problems with changes in visa regulations, general problems that come with doing business in China and the constant Beijing pollution hype in the international media. However, we solved those (as a side note: Beijing air quality has been improving constantly for the last 10 years and did so again in 2014, though of course nobody ever writes about this) and are probably the main private inbound language school in Beijing now. We certainly are in the high quality part of the market. So overall we are quite happy.
Q. What developments do you expect in China in 2015? How will they impact the language travel industry?
Hard to say. Sometimes there seems to be a kind of propaganda machine in our main markets working against China, which affects tourism and interest in China. However, independently of what newspapers write, studying in Beijing is one of the most amazing things a young person can do today, so we remain optimistic. Also, 99% of the Chinese population does not speak English and despite all the efforts of our great partner IALC schools in the English speaking world, this will not dramatically change for a few generations to come. So if you want to do business with China, being able to speak Mandarin has its advantages.
Q. Anything new this year?
In China everything is new every day. They opened a new subway line next to our school, Beijing just started building another airport and the world's biggest office building is been built down the road from us. The main and most difficult to provide "new and unique" thing we try to offer our students and partners is stability and reliability, as there is a distinct lack of those in China at the moment.
Q. Where do the majority of your students come from?
USA & EU
Q. What are your most popular student activities at LTL Mandarin School?
The Great Wild Wall Hiking Weekend!
Q. 3 things that make your school special for your students?
Personal service, homestays, small groups.
Andreas Laimboeck School Manager & Owner of LTL Mandarin School