ICNY Mission


Founded in 1961, the International Center in New York offers English language training and programs in American culture to immigrants, refugees, students, and other newcomers to the United States. Each year, we serve over 2,500 newcomers – our members – and manage a volunteer corps of more than 1,000. Our members represent a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds from approximately 95 different countries. Many were trained professionals in their home countries; others come seeking an education and a better life for their children.


Our programs and services help our members improve their English and build confidence so that they can become self-sufficient and productive in the United States. Programs include:

  • Conversation Partner Program: a one-to-one tutorial in which trained volunteers help members improve their vocabulary, pronunciation, and communication skills
  • Specialized one-to-one tutorials focusing on pronunciation, writing, advanced English, and career skills
  • English courses in conversation, pronunciation, grammar, reading and writing, and 40 weekly lecture and discussion classes on a variety of subjects, including U.S. history, government, art, literature, and American life
  • Practical workshops on various topics such as résumé writing, job interviewing, computers, finding housing, health care, and citizenship advice
  • Individual consultations on immigration and job search issues
  • Computer technology and access


Recognized for its cultural and social benefits for both newcomers and native speakers, the Center’s partnership model offers ideal conditions for language learning. It provides an atmosphere of trust and support that facilitates learning and that is often not as easy to create in a classroom setting. As in any successful language learning situation, it is a partnership of equals: while the newcomer works on acquiring the language, the volunteer works on developing strategies of engaging in a subtle process of mobilizing, inspiring, monitoring, and guiding. As a by-product of this exchange, our members learn the English language and develop an understanding of American life; and our volunteers gain an appreciation of different modes of thought and culture of people from other parts of the world.


We work in collaboration with community-based organizations serving immigrant communities in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and other neighborhoods in Manhattan. By sharing information and resources with other organizations and by helping them manage and train volunteers to teach English, we reach more immigrants in need of our programs.


Our volunteer corps ranges from artists and teachers to corporate vice-presidents and retirees. While our volunteers serve primarily as teachers, discussion leaders, and tutors to our members, they are also ambassadors of good will. They build personal relationships and create cross-cultural understanding. Members of our staff train the volunteers to help them effectively deliver our programs and services. Volunteers contribute over 50,000 hours each year.


Located in Chelsea in Manhattan, the Center is convenient to many subway lines, and it is open from 11AM to 8PM Monday – Thursday, 11AM to 7PM Friday and from 9:30AM to 3:30PM on Saturday. More than 400 members and volunteers attend the Center each day for classes, one-to-one conversation, English study and practice. The Center houses a 1,400-volume library, audio listening lab, computer/multimedia lab, café, lounge, and gallery space.


The International Center in New York is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. We charge a modest fee for service to members and offer scholarships to many. We rely on financial grants from individuals, foundations, and corporations to fund the development and expansion of our programs.

Visit us online at www.intlcenter.org

To apply for a free orientation, please visit: www.intlcenter.org/Apply2010.html