As a first time language learner, I naively thought I could teach myself Mandarin using mobile apps, books, flash cards and tutors. But my progress was slow and my weakest skills were not improving. I concluded I needed help from a professional Chinese teacher. I came across Silk Mandarin and met the director, Amy. She gave me a free consultation over the phone to gauge my Mandarin level. Afterwards she assessed my strengths and weaknesses and, with great accuracy, identified the skills I had been struggling to improve. She demonstrated Silk Mandarin's slow motion technique, and then prescribed a training program to help me improve. I signed-up for a couple 1on1 demo classes, where I meet my current instructor Sisi. Sisi is a specialist at teaching foreigners Mandarin, a true professional teacher with the qualifications to prove it. She is patient, accommodating of my schedule, and even creates additional study materials tailored for my specific needs. Hopefully documenting my experience here will help the next person save time and energy. If you're serious about learning Mandarin, I recommend you start with Silk Mandarin. Cheers!