School of English for Engaged Social Service (SENS)

NEW DATE 2 May – 22 July 2021

Wongsanit Ashram, Nakhon Nayok, Thailand

Theme for SENS 2021:

Cultivating Women’s Leadership in the Work for Climate Justice

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

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 2021 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 2021

The SENS program seeks students who are committed to working for the larger good, who are able to listen attentively to others, and who can think independently. To join SENS 2021, you must have a commitment to understanding the climate crisis, learning to work for climate justice, and taking action upon returning home.

We welcome students from any country, regardless of age, occupation, and social or religious status. We are happy to accept laypeople as well as those who have chosen a religious vocation. We aim to form a diverse cohort of students who identify with Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, or an indigenous tradition—or who follow secular or other forms of self-cultivation, ethical orientation, and spiritual practice.

We encourage you to apply even if you do not have the funds to pay for the program. 

Places open for up to 18 students.

Women and Climate Justice Theme

The climate crisis is accelerating rapidly. It is now urgent for us to share sound scientific information on the dangers and impacts of the crisis, cultivate the leadership needed to confront it, and work for climate justice. Climate justice asks us to change systems that generate inequalities and keep us from taking steps that are even now within our reach. As traditional providers for the needs of the household, women are among those most affected by the crisis in Asia, yet they are also the least likely to hold decision-making power on climate issues. SENS 2021 aims to help correct this imbalance by supporting women to lead in this area. Our program in 2021 will welcome both women and men, while giving priority to women.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us what social chaos and collapsing systems look like. Yet the climate crisis is not far behind, and will likely be much worse. There is much we can do to prepare, to build solidarity, and to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change. All of this requires building a network, for which English can play a key role.

Health and Safety Precautions

COVID-19 has been well contained in Thailand, yet there may still be restrictions on travel in May 2021. We are well-prepared to make this program successful, while keeping everyone safe. 

• During quarantine we will support you with food and housing, and offer online instruction as well.

• We will then carry on with an in-person course as planned, following the quarantine period.

• We encourage you to apply, even if we do not yet know whether travel from your country will be possible in January.


May 2 – July 22, 2021
(12 weeks of intensive instruction with climate justice as a key theme, and five days of holiday at midterm)

  • May 2 – May 15

Foreign students quarantined at an ASQ hotel in Bangkok. Online class.

  • May 16 – June 16

The first term, followed by a five-day term break. Students may rest or travel during the break.

  • June 22 – July 22

The second term of the SENS curriculum, followed by an optional writing workshop.


Total: 6,000 USD or 198,000 Baht*

This fee covers tuition, field trips, Internet access, private tutoring, group excursions, insurance, three healthy meals per day, snacks, and simple but comfortable and safe lodging.**

* Partial and full scholarships are available, based on merit and need.

** Travel from home country to Thailand and visa fees, as well as other costs outside the course dates, are not included in the total $6,000 fee.

SENS participants change the world—help change theirs by sponsoring a student for the 2021 program. Please visit:

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


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 want to use your mind and your skills to work for personal growth and for the good of everyone.
  • You love learning, especially in the company of others.
  • You are committed to doing the work necessary to learn English well.
  • You are adaptable and have a lot of energy.

Volunteer Tutor Program:

  • You are a native or near native English speaker.
  • You like people and are highly conscientious and responsible.
  • You would like to learn about Thailand, Buddhism, meditation, counseling, climate justice, and transformative teaching methods.
  • You want to practice teaching and leading others.

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.

Apply Now

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