School of English for Engaged Social Service (SENS)

NEXT COURSE: January 12th – April 5th, 2025

Wongsanit Ashram, Nakhon Nayok, Thailand

"I have personal experience with the transforming impact of integrity, connection, and leadership as a SENS alumnus. Join us in creating a better future by joining a group that will enable you to lead with purpose, value diversity, and effect global change." ~ Jason

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. 


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 speak in English with leading monks, thinkers, organizers, and educators. Learn about Buddhism and the key social issues facing Asia.
  • Those who are English or language teachers will have a chance to learn about the methods we have developed over seven years for integrating personal growth, social and ecological awareness, and rapid improvement in English skills within a single intensive program. Many of these methods are applicable to the high school and university classroom, as well as to teaching or tutoring outside the mainstream.

SENS 2025

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. This year we extend a special invitation to those who are English teachers with an interest in new methods, especially how we combine English skills training with encouragement of personal growth and social and ecological awareness. We welcome students from any country, regardless of age, occupation, and social or religious status. (But minimum age is 18!) 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. Priority given to applications received by November 8th.

Places open for up to 18 students.

Health and Safety Precautions

We expect that the world COVID-19 situation will be much improved by January of 2024. However, there may still be some restrictions or health requirements, such as the wearing of masks indoors. We will be glad to communicate with you about developments in these areas.


January 12 – April 5 , 2025

January 14 – February 21

Term 1 begins on January 12th. Students should arrive by January 10th or 11th.

  • February 21 – 25

Students may rest or travel during our five-day midterm break.

  • February 26 – April 5

Term 2, The second term, culminating in the graduation ceremony on April 5th. 2025


Total: 6,000 USD or 210,000 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 2025 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 ….


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.

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
• You are committed to doing the work necessary
to learn English well.
• You are adaptable and have a lot of energy.

Volunteer Tutor Program:

  • Volunteer Tutor Program
    We encourage you to apply if
  • You are a native or near native English speaker.
  • You like people and are highly conscientiousand responsible.
  • You would like to learn about leadership, effective listening, meditation, climate justice, Thailand, Buddhism, and transformative teaching methods.
  • You want to practice teaching and leading others.

    We are seeking volunteer tutors who will assist the primary teachers in the class room and lead smallgroup and one-on-one conversations outside of class. Some applicants who are English teachers may qualify as tutors. Volunteer tutors will receive
    free room and board, and free travel on group

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.