About Robin Van Auken

Robin Van Auken, CEO of Hands-on Heritage, is a writer and researcher, with 35+ years experience interviewing people and telling stories. Her educational background combines advanced degrees in Communications and Anthropology, with a focus on Public and Historical (Military/Industrial Sites) Archaeology. In addition to her work as a journalist, she is the author and co-author of a dozen books on regional history. An adjunct college instructor, she has directed multi-year historical and archaeological projects, working with hundreds of volunteers and temporary staff, and educating thousands of visitors.
Robin is a writer and researcher, with 35+ years experience interviewing people and telling stories. Her educational background combines advanced degrees in Communications and Anthropology, with a focus on Public and Historical (Military/Industrial Sites) Archaeology.

Protective Magic: Incantation Bowls

How Incantation Bowls Protect from Demonic Forces Believing that malevolent forces caused tumors and other illnesses, Jewish communities in Mesopotamia created incantation bowls (c. 300–700 CE) to trap demons and protect the family. Inscribed in Aramaic with spiraling spells and magical symbols, and placed upside down at the entrances of their homes, [...]

Ireland: Land of the People that Sorrow

When planning a trip to Ireland, don't forget destinations that honor the torn country's history. Why "torn country," you ask? Ireland is a country that's been struggling with its identity – one separate from Great Britain – for more than a century. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) and British forces fought the Irish War of Independence from 1919 to 1921.

International Development Internships Abroad | International Relations

Take your business degree to the next level and learn how the economy of a foreign country evolves with an internship in International Development. Or, focus on education policies, governance, conservation, science, health, gender equality, or more with a broader internship that allows you to explore ways to improve living conditions, alleviate poverty, [...]

How to get College Credit for an Internship Abroad

Looking to grow personally and professionally with a global experience? Does your college or university offer credit for internships spent abroad? Many higher education institutions have entire departments dedicated to expanding internship, research, and international travel opportunities for their students. Called "enhanced academic experiences," most colleges encourage students to create unique educational portfolios [...]

Leadership Development Abroad: Volunteer & Professional Internships

Rise to your potential with an internship that helps you polish your management style and become a professional leader. Leadership is a skill - it's not a personality trait someone is born with. You can learn how to become a successful leader by improving your ability to communicate well, make better decisions, manage [...]

Volunteer Abroad for Community Service Credit: High School & College Travel

When you volunteer for community service credit, your effort and energy benefit other people. But what tangible benefits do you receive? Community service is a great way to develop new skills, make new friends, and gain experience working on a team. It's also a great way to meet the requirements for graduation from [...]

Volunteer with Children in Asia: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & more

There's a reason why childcare and childhood education programs are the most popular projects chosen by volunteers who travel abroad - it's the most rewarding. And when you combine a trip to Asia with a volunteer experience with toddlers and tweens, you'll enjoy the best life has to offer - visiting exotic locales [...]

Public Health Volunteer Programs & Internships Abroad

If you're interested in a career in public health, pursuing a degree in a related field, or already employed in the public health sector, then you have an idea of how critical its initiatives are. Public health personnel and the volunteers who help them, improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. In [...]

Human Rights & Social Work Internships Abroad: Women’s Support, Law & More

Are you ready to step up for gender equality, education, and basic rights for all? It takes a courageous activist to defend others, especially in countries where basic human rights are mostly ignored. If you feel the call to build hope, wage for peace, and fight the scourge of disease, take a look [...]

Child-Friendly Volunteer Abroad Programs: Meaningful Trips for Families

Are you time-poor, finding it difficult to juggle work with family life? Do you feel you're on a hamster wheel, running in circles as your day flies by, a whirl of constant motion, from home to school to work to sports or other recreational activities? You conjure visions of a relaxing vacation, imagining [...]

TEFL Certification and English Teaching Programs in Latin America

Leverage your native English-speaking skills for the benefit of others with an international career teaching English as a foreign language! The demand for TEFL teachers is an all-time high as nearly 2 billion people worldwide are learning English. This means there are literally thousands of employment opportunities for English teachers, even those without [...]

Travel for Self-Improvement: Combine Volunteering with Yoga, Scuba & More

What do you want to learn today? Is there a skill you'd like to improve, an experience you want to gain, or a physical challenge you've been dreaming about? When you take your personal development into your own hands, you become proactive. Rather than waiting for good things to happen to you, you're out there [...]

Amazing Volunteer Programs for Travelers Who Love to Hike, Run, & Swim

Do you have itchy travel feet? Are you more comfortable in boots than sandals? Hikers know that a long, solo walk is the easiest and quickest way to lose yourself and your cares in the beauty of nature. Hiking is great for mood, and this Stanford University study proves that it also decreases your anxiety [...]

Adventure and Outdoor Guides Training Abroad

Combine your passion for conservation with the excitement of discovery as an adventure guide - a unique career that promises to keep you outdoors, helping wildlife and introducing visitors to exotic locales! It’s a professional development choice few people think about, but definitely a thrilling one! Imagine sleeping in a tent under a [...]

Internships that Build a Professional Career: Science, Engineering Opportunities

Don’t visit West Africa for the big game or majestic ruins - instead, focus on the amazing variety of people you’ll meet there, and take time to learn their history, their customs, and share your own. From Nigeria to Senegal, West Africa is home to an estimated 362 million people. It’s an area [...]

The Road to Williamsport

Home of the Little League World Series, and So Much More! The road to Williamsport is heavily traveled, despite the fact that this small city in northcentral Pennsylvania is home to only 29,000 people. That's because Williamsport is home to the annual Little League Baseball World Series, which attracts more than 40,000 people to its [...]

Volunteer Abroad at a UNESCO World Heritage Site

There are few things that people agree upon, but protecting special places and things is one of them. Deciding exactly what makes a landmark or area important because of its cultural, historical, or scientific significance is the quest of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO. Since 1972, UNESCO [...]

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