In 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 an official language in India and an important means for communicating with Bir’s growing number of foreign visitors, many local Indians and Tibetans are intent on learning it. Although English is taught in schools, fluency is generally quite low.
An average of three community English courses is held every year at the Institute, ranging in length from one to three months, with both introductory and intermediate level classes. The classes are taught by native English-speaking volunteers, emphasizing communication and fun, with certificates awarded to students who successfully complete each level. Each course is attended by an average of 50-60 students, including local Indians and Tibetans of all ages and walks of life.