The Friends of the Davis International Center

Group English Class

Kindly be advised that until further notice, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all activities offered by the Friends of Davis International Center will be conducted remotely in accordance with Princeton University guidelines.

The Friends of Davis International Center (FDIC) is an all-volunteer organization that enhances the work of the Davis International Center.  The Friends welcome and assist international graduate students and visiting scholars by providing Group English Conversation sessions and Individual English Tutoring as well as offering an Informal English Class on campus. International students and scholars and their families may also join the Friends’ Princeton Community Connect Program which will pair them with local volunteers who are available to help newly arrived  international students and scholars adjust to life in Princeton.

The Friends of Davis International Center was founded in the 1970’s by volunteers from the local community who were interested in building bridges of understanding across cultures by providing assistance to the international community associated with Princeton University.

In 1978 Dean of the Chapel, Ernest Gordon, invited the volunteers to establish their headquarters in Murray Dodge Hall, the site of his office. A few months later, University President William Bowen agreed that the University accept the volunteers’ program as an official entity on campus.

Currently, the Friends continue the long standing tradition of generously volunteering their time to provide English as a Second Language assistance, both individually and in small groups, and to provide welcome hospitality through the Princeton Community Connect Program. The Friends also offer a Book Group which meets periodically and have a Tour Committee which organizes local tour opportunities so that newcomers may visit nearby cultural and historical sites with local guides.

Learn more about us:

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 Community Connect volunteer or an English language 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 for the Friends, please contact us as follows:

Community Connect Program, email:
Individual English Tutoring Program, email:
English Group Conversation Program, email: 

Any other inquiries:

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 Community Connect volunteer, you would invite international guests to your home for dinners, holidays, or for cultural excursions and activities all at your mutual convenience.  The Community Connect 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? Please email us at .


Executive Committee

  • Alison Hankinson

      • Secretary, FDIC
  • Maryella Hannum

      • Vice-President, FDIC
  • David Shinkfield

      • Treasurer, FDIC
  • Sheila Siderman

      • President, FDIC


  • Janet Ashwood

      • Individual English Tutor Co-Chair
  • Iris Bing

      • Cultural Tour Program Co-Chair
  • Carl Clough

      • Individual English Tutor Chair
  • Anna Dombrowski

      • Group English Conversation Chair
  • Marilyn Gerstein

      • Cultural Tour Program Co-Chair
  • Dartha Hopkins

      • Student Volunteer Opportunities
  • Lorraine Koffman

      • Group English Conversation Co-Chair
  • Ilse Lazovick

      • Cultural Tour Committee Co-Chair
      • Book Club Liaison
  • Elena Melnik

      • Community Connect Program Chair
  • Sonali Pathirana

      • Community Connect Program Co-Chair
  • Albert Rivera

      • Director of the Davis International Center
      • FDIC Ex-officio
  • Kate Rzempoluch

      • Student Representative
  • Eileen Saks

      • Book Club Co-Chair
      • Conversation Group Tutor
  • Brian Zack

      • Informal English Class

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.