Marco Polo were great. I had a lot of trouble finding reliable and trustworthy programs to experience Chinese culture. They were so willing to take me onboard despite my limited language skills (I'd only started learning on an app called Memrise 3 months before moving to Hangzhou for 3 months).
The interview process, the staff and the information given about the program really helped me be confident in moving to China for this cultural exchange. Other companies and educational institutions didn't seem as welcoming or understanding.
They gave me cultural lessons and advice before I moved to China and picked me up from the airport when I arrived in China. They were so nice to me. The host family they paired me with was also really great and well suited to me.
I spent 3 months with the family where they taught me Mandarin, took me on cultural excursions, a holiday to Shenzhen and just really made me feel part of the family.
Although there were challenges adjusting to living with a Chinese family, having a group of exchange students and friendly Marco Polo staff to meet up weekly really helped to make me feel home. We all bonded super well. I made friends with people from the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and more. The Chinese lessons, cultural activities (art, calligraphy, sightseeing, kite making) were super fun, but most of all, living with a Chinese family and hanging out with Chinese locals in such an immersing environment is what I valued most of all with the program. I managed to go from barely speaking Chinese to bring very conversational and confident in my speaking.