School of English for Engaged Social Service (SENS)

12 January – 8 April 2020

Wongsanit Ashram, Nakhon Nayok, Thailand

I got to learn important truths about myself and the world through English. Those truths challenged me to design my life in a new way. ~ Wijitra Tretrakul

During this program my life has become more clear to me and I feel confident about what I want to do next. ~ Phonesavanh Chindamany

This course let me dare to dream of the high potentials that I could reach and showed me how to start step by step to make my goals come true. ~ Ven. Dhammavanna


The School of English for Engaged Social Service (SENS) is a program for rapid, enjoyable, and successful mastery of English language skills while fostering personal growth and social engagement in a rich, cooperative, and relaxed learning environment.

Download 2020 Brochure (pdf)


To develop an English language program as a model to be shared:

  • of socially conscious language learning
  • that allows for rapid, enjoyable, and successful mastery of language skills
  • in a rich, cooperative learning environment
  • that fosters personal growth and social engagement
  • as a contribution to peace, justice, understanding, and sustainability worldwide


  • A unique opportunity to improve your English AND:
  • Study with a small group working to build a healthy, just, and peaceful world.
  • Live in a picturesque setting in the Thai countryside, participating in a wide range of activities inside and outside the classroom.
  • Learn though reading inspiring poetry, stories, philosophy, and literature in English, and through games, fieldtrips, music, film, debates, and hard work.
  • Meet and talk in English with leading monks, thinkers, organizers, and educators. Learn about Buddhism and the key social issues facing Asia.

SENS - Its Origin and Meaning

The School of English for Engaged Social Service (SENS) proudly takes its name from the School of Youth for Social Service, which Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh founded in 1964-65 to meet the crisis in the Vietnamese countryside created by war. The School of English for Engaged Social Service was founded by Sulak Sivaraksa and others in 2015 ….

Read more


12 January – 8 April 2020
(12 weeks of intensive instruction and one week of holiday at midterm)

Download Tentative SENS 2020 Calendar


Total: USD 6,000

This fee covers tuition, private tutoring, field trips, group excursions, internet access, insurance, three healthy meals/day, and simple but comfortable, safe lodging. Travel from home country to Thailand, visa fees, and other costs before and after course dates are excluded.

Scholarships: Partial and full scholarships are available, based on merit and need. We encourage you to apply even if you do not have the funds to pay for the program.

SENS participants change the world—help change theirs by sponsoring a student for the 2020 program. Please visit:


The primary teacher is Theodore Mayer.

A team of volunteer tutors will provide teaching support. They will lead small-group and one-on-one conversations as well as work groups outside of class, facilitating ample opportunities where students get to practice their English listening and speaking skills.

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Tuition Fee (USD)

Weeks of intensive instruction

Week holiday

We welcome you to apply as a student if:

  • Your English is already intermediate level or better.
  • You enjoy group learning and are committed to work hard to improve your English.
  • You want to use your mind and skills to further personal growth and social transformation.
  • You are adaptable and have a lot of energy.

Volunteer Tutor Program:

  • You are a native or near-native English speaker.
  • You would like to learn about Thailand, Buddhism, meditation, social issues, and transformative teaching methods.
  • You want to practice teaching and leading others.
  • You are ready for a life change and can afford to work without a salary for a few months.

From the Lead Teacher and Mentor:


Reclaiming the Joy of Learning

Education today is saturated with the need to measure and to rank, and students expect this. In our course we consciously undid this expectation in students’ minds. We began by providing practice in appreciating each other, listening to each other, and af rming each person’s intelligence and potential to do good. We found that doing this consistently helped learning to become a form of play—and when it really became play we saw that it was fast, enjoyable, and virtually unstoppable.


Learning by Doing

It is well established that we learn a language through using it to understand and to communicate. In our diverse community of learners, English was a necessary medium to make contact, to take in information, and to express oneself. In all areas— meditating, being good listeners, becoming astute social critics—the students learned through concrete practice.


Structuring the Course Around Meaningful Content

How can we live good lives, create strong relationships, and work constructively for change in a world that faces genuine crises, especially that of climate change? These questions have meaning for anyone who has allowed themselves to look around, or to look inside, with attention and readiness to learn. The content of our English course revolved around such questions, and drew much energy from doing so.

~ Ted Mayer

The Results Were Amazing

The aim of this course that I bear in my mind, that Ted [the lead mentor] keeps telling us, is: to integrate, have discipline, and be real to yourself. This course is not only an English course. It is for transformation, from self-transformation to social transformation.

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