The Friends of the Davis International Center

Group English Class

The Friends of Davis International Center is a time-honored volunteer organization that supports the work of the Davis International Center by welcoming international students and visiting scholars by providing English Conversation Classes, Individual English Tutoring, an Informal English Class, and American Host Family connections. 

The Friends of Davis International Center was founded in 1979 by volunteers from the community who helped build bridges of understanding across cultures and provide assistance to the international community at Princeton University.   

In 1978, Dean of the Chapel Ernest Gordon invited the volunteers to move their office to Murray Dodge Hall, the site of his office. A few months later President William Bowen agreed for the University to take over the Center as an official entity.  Today, the "Friends" continue to volunteer their time to provide English conversation assistance and Community Connections.

Learn more about the "Friends" programs:

Become a Volunteer

The Friends of Davis International Center is looking for new volunteers. No experience necessary—just bring your warmth and enthusiasm.

If you're interested in donating your time to assist Princeton's international students, scholars, and their families - consider volunteering for the Friends of the Davis International Center as a host family or an English conversation tutor.   You’ll make new friends while learning about different cultures while assisting our international graduate students, visiting scholars and their spouses who have come to Princeton University from almost 100 countries.

For more information about volunteering, email or call 609-258-1170.

When can I become a volunteer?

We invite new volunteers to join the Friends at any time during the academic year. Arrangements can be made for daytime, evening or weekend volunteering, depending on which program you select. Our only requirement is that, if you wish to become a tutor in one of the English conversation programs, you need to speak English fluently.

What would I do as a volunteer?

To answer that question, you need to decide which one of the Friends programs appeals to you. (Note: Some volunteers participate in more than one program.)

As an individual conversation tutor, you and your student would choose the time, place, and topic for a one-hour weekly English conversation practice session.

As a tutor in group English conversation class, you would participate either once or twice a week on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at New Graduate College Common Room on the Princeton University campus.

As a host family, you would invite international guests to your home for dinners, holidays, or for cultural excursions and activities all at your mutual convenience.  The Host Family Program does not include overnight visits.

How else can I help the Friends?

You may participate in the "Friends" as a committee member or let us know you are interested in joining the Board of Trustees. Throughout the year, various committees and activities require the assistance of volunteers. Come join us in the operation of our organization and make new “Friends.”

Interested in volunteering? E-mail Sheila Siderman or call her at (609) 258-1170.

Executive Committee

President Sheila Siderman
First Vice-President - Helene Schwartz
Second Vice-President - Maryella Hannum
Secretary - Alison Hankinson
Treasurer - David Shinkfield


TBD - Host Family Coordinator
Carl Clough - Individual Conversation Coordinator
Anna Dombrowski - Group Conversation Coordinator
Brian Zack - Informal English Class
Iris Bing and Marilyn Gerstein - Cultural Tour Program
Ilse Lazovick - Cultural Tour Committee Co-Chair & Book Club Liaison
Jan Ashwood - Committee Support
Alison Hankison - Historian
Dartha Hopkins - Student Volunteer Opportunities
Vacant - Student Representative
Albert Rivera - Director of Davis International Center, Ex-officio


Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of Friends of Davis International Center and is charged with overseeing the activities and programs of the organization. The board is comprised of the Executive Committee, Members-at-large, and the Director of Davis International Center.


For more information contact:
Sheila Siderman