The Sarnath International Nyingma Institute (SINI) English for Dharma Purposes program is a three-year-long program designed to provide students from Tibetan monasteries with a complete English language immersion in a residential and academic living environment taught by native English teachers and staff.

As a residential program, students are encouraged to speak in natural settings, take field trips to historical and sacred Buddhist sites, make oral presentations, and experience new teaching methods in order to work toward language fluency. Students live, eat, and work with native English speaking teachers, guests, and staff providing them a well-rounded experience engaging in real-life dialogues.

This unique program provides a foundation in English that will facilitate the individual’s Dharma service in the world. Beyond basic communication skills in comprehension, speaking, and writing, the individual will advance to supporting both written and oral Dharma translations. Teachers in this program are qualified to teach English as a second language and tailor their teaching methods to serve this unique program. Students accepted into this selective program are provided a full immersion experience at the Institute.


Prospective Students

Mature students, primarily monks, over 30 years old are encouraged to apply for this program. The academic year begins September 24th and concludes on April 15th. Students are taught with the focus on the learner technique whereby the teacher adapts lesson plans and classroom management to the needs of the students. During the monsoon months, students may either complete private retreats, or travel to cooler parts of India.

The classes are small, ranging from 5 to 10 students, and focus on the needs of each individual student. The emphasis is on learning everyday vocabulary in English and developing both written and verbal communication skills.


Program Structure

Classroom activities include teacher instruction, group work, teacher-student one-on-one work, individual assignments, and student participation in class discussions.  In addition to classroom instruction, students also receive one-on-one tutoring with their teachers and volunteers at SINI.
In addition to ongoing learning in the classroom and in our residence program, the Institute facilitates fieldtrips to the local Stupa, Ganges River, Bodh Gaya, and other sites of historical importance.

On Saturdays, students and volunteers gather after dinner for an educational film. Past films shown include, Gandhi, Kundun, Winged Migration, Seven Years in Tibet, Light of the Valley, and Brilliant Moon. Teachers are encouraged to also explore the use of film throughout their classes.

During the monsoon months, students may either complete private retreats, or travel to cooler parts of India.