Adrian LeCesne, from Yale University, USA, joined Lotus 12 weeks Fall Program in 2006 and Homestay Only in summer 2007.

So if you're reading this, you probably are asking yourself "will I feel awkward, will I be able to have fun" and I think the answer to both is "a little." If you are coming to study in china, you will feel awkward in any situation other than a foreign students dormitory, which won't really give you much exposure, and will certainly be expensive.

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. I've had the opportunity to see the dynamics of a young couple planning to move to New York, and a couple living with their parents way out by the 5th ring road of the city; lived in two different parts of Beijing with very different atmospheres (in every sense of the work), and become enormously more comfortable with the City and Mandarin. I also met a very good friend of mine through the program, and the two of us plan on meeting in this fall to remember our study abroad together and a trip we took at the end of the semester to Tibet.

The ladies at the Lotus office in Beijing are sweet and caring, and the group activities are fun and wholesome. If you are looking to party, this may not be your best option, but if you want to get to know a few Chinese people in a personal way, and would like someone to translate the many idiosyncracies of Chinese culture to you, this is certainly a good place to start.