Live the Language Banner 1

Homestay in Shanghai


James from the UK with his LTL homestay family


  • Carefully selected and matched homestay families
  • Be part of a real Chinese family
  • Quick progress in spoken Mandarin
  • Modern Apartments in Shanghai
  • Single room
  • Maximum one student per family
  • Includes breakfast and dinner
  • Experience home cooked Chinese cuisine
  • Vegetarian, vegan and halal homestays available
  • Healthy and special dietary food options available

Living with a Chinese homestay family is the best way of improving your oral Chinese quickly, as well as experiencing Chinese culture first hand. LTL homestay families are very welcoming and want to make sure that a student enjoys Shanghai and leaves with a good impression of the city. The family will treat you more as a family member than a guest, which means the option to participate in family weekend trips, visiting relatives, family celebrations etc. Also, if you like Chinese food, a homestay in Shanghai will be an amazing experience. Real home-cooked Shanghainese food is one of the greatest culinary experiences one can have.

We know all our homestay families personally, have been to their homes and work with them for a very long time. Many students return to Shanghai to visit their families and many of them end up inviting their host parents to their home country. It is a great opportunity to not just learn, but make friends.

Student’s with no knowledge of Mandarin can live in a homestays of course as well. If you prefer a family that speaks some English, please let us know and we will arrange accordingly. The same goes for vegetarians and vegans – just ask us for a vegetarian or vegan food option. We also offer options for older participants in homestay families, please contact us for details.

Most homestays are quite close to the school and never more than 50 minutes travel time away. When you arrived in Shanghai, the LTL driver will take you to your homestay family and you will start your stay here with a home-cooked meal and a whole family of experts to answer any questions about Shanghai, China or Mandarin you might have. On the first day of class, your homestay family will take you to the school. Your homestay family will take you to the school on the first day of class to show you the way and of course be able to assist you during your stay in Shanghai.

Mohamed from Lebanon with his LTL homestay family

Mohamed from Lebanon with his LTL homestay family

The Process

First sign up for the course and homestay you want by contacting us. Once the course has been confirmed, you will fill out a homestay questionnaire and your LTL homestay advisor will choose a family that suits you best. Before you arrive in Shanghai, LTL will send you a file on the family, including pictures, contact details etc. and if you want you can already talk to them before your arrival.

Homestay families often invite students for a lot of additional dinners, trips etc. therefore, while of course not required, it can be a good idea to bring a little present when you first arrive. It does not matter how much it costs, anything from your home country that cannot easily be purchased in China will be welcome. So are usually pictures from your country and family. Most homestay families choose to receive students because they want to learn more about life in another country and will be quite interested to hear about the way you live back home.


Luke from the UK arm wrestling with his LTL host father

Luke from the UK arm wrestling with his LTL host father


  • Homestay with half board – includes breakfast and dinner
  • Homestay only
  • Mandarin or English and Mandarin speaking
  • Choose between standard, halal, vegan and vegetarian homestay options

Homestays are always a single room with a family in a modern furnished apartment and include TV in the common room, internet, air-conditioning and all bills. To maximize your chances to interaction with the family in mandarin, we do never place other students with you in the same family and your host family will only encourage you to speak Mandarin

For more information or to book a homestay please contact us


Prices are listed for a sample selection for Shanghai homestay durations. If you’d like to know prices for other durations, please contact us.

Prices in CNY Type 2 3 4 8 12 Extra
Weeks Weeks Weeks Weeks Weeks Week
Homestay No food 4,568 6,281 7,614 14,085 19,415 1,618
Breakfast & dinner 5,330 7,328 8,883 16,433 22,651 1,888

*All of our prices are in CNY


  • Accommodation with a selected Chinese Hostfamily
  • Own Bedroom in modern Shanghai apartments
  • Meals (depending on option)
  • Vegetarian, vegan, and halal homestays available
  • Within less than 50 minutes of travel time to the school.
  • Internet and Utilities
  • Prices above are for Sunday arrival and Saturday departure. If you need different arrival/departure dates, this can be arranged please contact us for details.

Chinese New Year is China’s most important holiday, when families gather to eat, celebrate, set of fireworks, and welcome the New Year together over the holidays. To live with a Chinese family during the holidays is an amazing experience, and will usually include a lot of food, family dinners, and fireworks. Many – though not all – LTL homestay families welcome students to stay with them throughout Chinese New Year. As students are included in the many family outings, meals, and celebrations, homestay during this time always include all meals with the family and there is an additional 1,000 CNY Chinese New Year supplement for anyone staying during the whole or part of the holidays. If you want to stay with a homestay over Chinese New Year, please make sure you book early as usually our host families are fully booked during that time of the year. LTL courses are offered throughout the year, have a look at our holiday schedule how classes are taught during Chinese New Year.

For a full quotation on a course please contact us Contact us


Andrew with Homestay Family

I chose to stay in the Homestay for 4 weeks, and was placed in a family with two parents, two grandparents, a 2 year old child and a fat cat. They made me feel like part of the family. I would eat delicious home-cooked meals with them every day. They even took me to a hotpot restaurant once, which was really nice. I got to practice my Chinese with them every night, reviewing my vocabulary and learning a lot of slang. It was awesome!

– Andrew, USA

Andrew studied in a small group and lived in a homestay half board at LTL Shanghai for four weeks



Should I bring my homestay family a gift? If so, what kind of gift should I bring?

While it is not necessary to bring a gift to the Homestay, the family will appreciate it if you do. Usually gifts such as food, that are unique souvenirs from your own country, are a good idea.

Will the Homestay families talk to me to help me with my Chinese?

We make sure that all our Homestay families are carefully selected and are regularly visited by the LTL team. All of them are interested in foreigners, which is one of the reasons why they participate in our program. As such, they will talk to you and try to help you with Chinese as much as possible.

What if I want to go out in the evening? Do I have a curfew?

There is no curfew that you need to keep with the Homestay families and you are free to go out in the evenings. We recommend eating with the Homestay family as often as possible, as it is a good opportunity to practice Chinese, which most students choose to do. If you do wish to go out, please call the family beforehand and let them know, so that they don’t have to wait for you for dinner.

What happens if I'm not happy with something in my Homestay?

If there is something that you do not find satisfactory in your family, please make sure to let us know. We will either talk to the family or help you move to a new one, if needed.

Is there Wifi in the homestay? Is there a study desk?

There is Wifi in all the Homestay families. If you have specific requirements, please make sure to let us know on the Registration Form. There is also a study area in all the homestays.

Will I have my own bedroom and enough privacy? I want time alone to be able to Skype friends and family.

You will have your own room and privacy. The families respect the students’ need for privacy and will not enter your room without asking you first.

What is the quality of the Homestays? Are the toilets squat toilets and are the homes clean? Are the beds hard?

All the families are middle to upper class and live in modern apartmentsThe design and look of Chinese housing might differ from your home country, but the toilets are Western style and the houses are cleaned regularlyThe Homestays include modern facilities, such as heating, refrigerator, TV, internet and Wifi. Traditionally, Chinese people sleep on harder beds than in your home country. If there are specific requirements, please let us know on the Registration Form and we will help you.

What if I'm having trouble communicating something to my Homestay?

We recommend beginners to take Homestays, where the family doesn’t speak any English as it is a good way to practice Chinese. Most communication with the family will start with hand gestures and a few words here and there, and the harder you try, the faster you will learn Chinese. If you do wish for a family that speaks some English, it is possible to arrange as well. If there is something that you do however wish to say to your family but do not manage to, please let us know and we will help you communicate this.

Why is the Homestay option more expensive? Will I learn Chinese quicker? Will they explain Chinese culture to me?

In the Homestay, you do not just rent a room, you become a member of the family. It is a great opportunity to practice Chinese outside of class, as a result of which you will learn it faster. The family will talk to you, introduce you to Chinese culture and the culture of Chinese locals, and in many cases will take you around and/or introduce you to family members and others. The Homestay option also usually includes breakfast and dinner, and the home cooked meals are a culinary experience in themselves. For further information about the Homestay experience, please read Luke’s blog post.

I understand the culture is very different and I don't want to offend my Homestay family. What should I know?

Living in a different family can be challenging at first and you might be afraid to offend them if you ask for something. However, please do not worry to let the family know what you think. Chinese people are aware of cultural differences, and as long as you word it in a polite and respectful manner, you will not offend them. If you do have something that bothers you and you find it hard to explain, please let us know and we will help you to communicate with the family.

How many people are there in each Homestay family?

LTL believes in immersion as the best way to learn a language. As such, we make sure to never place more than one person in each Homestay family. This means that you will be the only student in your Homestay. If you wish to stay with a friend in the same Homestay, please send us an email and let us know.

Have a look at the LTL Mandarin School Sign Up Guide  for details on how to book a course.

Contact Us with your questions or Sign Up Now for your Chinese course.

Contact LTL

If you have any questions regarding our destinations, courses, accommodation or even if you just want to say hello, we are always happy to hear from you. You can contact us using the form below or if you’d prefer, email us directly on Our team will normally be in touch within 24 hrs of receiving your message, although you may have to wait a little longer at weekends.

If you need to speak to us urgently, you can always give us a call on +86 10 5100 1269  for Beijing, or +86 21 3368 0866 for Shanghai, between 8.30am and 6.30pm local Beijing/Shanghai time.

* These fields are required.


How to Sign Up

Know everything you need to know? Ready for your Chinese adventure? You can sign up online for your language course at LTL by filling out the form on our Sign Up page

If you want to learn about the LTL sign up process, you can download our LTL Sign Up Guide for step by step information.