In the spring of 2008, Deer Park started community English classes as a way to reach out to the local Indian and Tibetan communities and engage them in various programs and ecology projects in the Institute. As English is a major official language in India and an important means for communicating with Bir’s growing number of foreign visitors, many local Tibetans and Indians are intent on learning it. Although English is taught in schools, fluency is generally quite low.
Four English courses have been held so far at Deer Park, ranging in length from one to three months, with both introductory and intermediate level classes. The classes are taught by trained native English-speaking volunteers, emphasizing communication and fun for all. More than 80 students have participated, local Indians and Tibetans of all ages and walks of life, as well as Deer Park’s own staff members. We plan to continue the English Program on a long-term basis.