Meagan Smith, from the University of Michigan, USA, joined Lotus 5 weeks One on One program in summer 2005.

My host family was wonderful! They were extremely helpful and welcoming that I felt like I was with my own family. They were extremely hospitable and opened their home and their hearts to me. Also, the family had a good grasp of English but only allowed me to use it when I did not know how to say something in Chinese. They were very helpful and patient with me as I struggled with the language. After only one month, I speak and understand a great deal and I contribute that to the family's assistance. However, they did not stop at teaching me Chinese. They also introduced me to the culture and customs. I went to so many places I can hardly count them, including the Summer Palace, Great Wall, Tian-an-men Square, and the Forbidden City. We also went to many restaurants with food from the different provincial regions of China. What we couldn't experience in person, we discussed in great detail and great length.

Some of my best memories are the intellectual conversations we had during dinner. After only a month, I really bonded with the family and we became close. When it was time to leave, I was very disappointed. However, the family and I have been keeping in touch and they would like me to return. Hopefully, I can next year!

My tutor was wonderful! She was very patient and helpful. She really worked hard to make the most out of my lessons and find the appropriate textbooks that catered to my level of understanding. My only regret is that I did not take more lessons while in China.

I speak several languages, each of which took several years to learn and master. However, one month in China was more helpful for me to learn Chinese than two years of class for any of my other languages. Lotus' program is invaluable to my education in Chinese and I could not be able to thank them more!

Besides the actual experience in China, my encounters with the Lotus staff prior to my trip were very good. The American based office made sure all of my needs were met and all of my questions answered. My decision to go to China was very last minute but Patrick and Henry really helped me to understand all that I needed to obtain before I could go to China, and helped to pair me with a compatible family. Once in China, the Beijing office frequently emailed and called me to check on my status and ensure that I was enjoying myself. I felt very safe and well tended to. The staffs that picked me up from the airport and took me back were extremely friendly and weren't daunted by my enormous bags. :-)

Overall, my experience with Lotus was a wonderful one. I learned so much and enjoyed myself so immensely that I want to return to China via Lotus. My advice to students going to China, stay for as long as you can and make full use of what Lotus Study has to offer. It will be the best experience of your life!

Meagan Smith