Information for Interns

About the Internship

World Heritage USA, in support of ICOMOS-USA, is seeking graduate students and emerging professionals specialized in historic preservation and heritage conservation to participate in an International Exchange Program (IEP) during the summer of 2023. Interns will be assigned to a 10-12 week, practical working internship, under professional supervision, with a public or private nonprofit heritage organization. These positions are for interns with an undergraduate degree in a preservation or conservation related field such as history, architecture, archaeology, conservation, art history, cultural resource management, or cultural tourism.

IEP projects are varied and correspond to the needs and requirements of the host organizations. The host defines the project to be completed; an internship is not an independent research opportunity. Applicants may indicate a preference for the type of project they wish to be assigned, but must be willing to accept any position which may be located anywhere in the world. Assignments are made on the basis of the best match between the proposed project and the applicant’s background and skills.

Applications for the 2024 International Exchange Program are now closed. Applications for 2025 will open on November 1st, 2024.

By participating in the IEP, interns gain international experience at an early stage in their careers, broadening their worldview and preparing them for success in multicultural environments. In addition to strengthening professional heritage skills, the IEP fosters lifelong relationships between participants and their host organizations, creating a global network of heritage professionals. These connections have resulted in continued collaboration between people, communities, and organizations on heritage projects around the world.

This program is not a study tour or a preservation course. The internships are based on the principle of hands-on experience, learning by doing. Interns are assigned projects that they are expected to execute and complete with the same degree of professionalism and responsibility as project staff. Interns follow the hours of host office staff, which vary between 35- and 40-hours, 5 days per week (with the exception of holidays).

Program Schedule

Internships are approximately 12 weeks in length (including orientation and the program closing) and take place during the summer between June and August. World Heritage USA hosts all interns in Washington D.C. for a program orientation at the beginning of the summer. Interns then travel to their various host locations where they complete a 10-week preservation-related project designed by the host organization. At the end of the summer, all interns gather in Washington, D.C. for a final debriefing and farewell program.

Important Dates for 2024:

January 1 – Deadline for Intern Applications
January 15 – Deadline for Host Applications
February – March – Interns are matched to hosts; Hosts approve placements; Final selections are made
March 20 – Deadline for interns to accept placements
March 29 – All signed agreements in place
June 12 –14 – Intern orientation in Washington D.C
June 17 – August 23 
– Internship at the host organization
August 24 – Interns return home
September 6 – Virtual closing ceremony

Eligibility Requirements

Intern applicants to the International Exchange Program must:

  • Be an enrolled graduate student or an emerging professional who has graduated from an academic program within the last 3 years
  • Have a strong interest in historic preservation and cultural heritage
  • Have fluency in English

The selection process for the World Heritage USA International Exchange Program is highly competitive (approximately one in fifteen applications is successful). Interns are selected on the basis of demonstrated skills, commitment to historic preservation, previous experience, academic concentration in the field, and their ability to represent their country in an exchange program. Most importantly, interns are selected based on how well their skills, training, interest and previous experience align with the needs of host organizations. Therefore, not every qualified candidate will be selected to participate in the IEP.

Become an Intern

Intern Responsibilities

Interns are selected on a competitive basis and are expected to be professional in their behavior and work ethic. Each International Exchange Intern agrees to:

  • Obtain a visa, if required.
  • Maintain valid medical insurance, if required.
  • Work a 5-day week, keeping the hours of the regular staff, and participate in staff activities.
  • Complete the assigned project(s) within the duration of the internship.
  • Discuss any problems with the host organizations supervisor and contact World Heritage USA if resolution is not possible.
  • Try to learn as much as possible about the host country’s preservation techniques and philosophies, as well as local culture.
  • Complete two evaluations during the program, and one at the end of the program (using online forms provided by World Heritage USA).
  • Prepare and present a PowerPoint presentation and companion presentation board of project findings to be delivered at the concluding symposium.


World Heritage USA provides stipends to all interns for the internship period, paid in regular installments. Funding for the stipends is obtained through donations, fundraising efforts, and host contributions.

The stipends provided to interns are intended to cover basic living expenses (food and housing) for the duration of the internship. World Heritage USA will cover housing costs during the orientation and the final program in Washington D.C. In some cases, travel grants may be available for U.S. interns traveling overseas, but international interns coming to the U.S. must provide their own round-trip travel unless otherwise arranged.

The precise amount of stipends and coverage of travel costs depends on several factors, including the amount of donations received, whether free or reduced housing is provided by the host organization, and the relative cost of living in each internship location. In all cases, interns are strongly encouraged to bring with them sufficient personal funds to cover entertainment and other costs.

Intern stipends are considered to be reimbursement for living expenses, NOT salary or wages, so they are not considered to be taxable income.

World Heritage USA does not assume civil or financial responsibility for interns beyond the stipend amount and is not liable for any additional expense. Before leaving their own countries, participants must obtain private health insurance that will cover them during their entire stay. World Heritage USA provides limited, supplementary insurance. Interns are advised also to obtain an international driver’s license before leaving home.