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.

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 canopy of stars, then waking every morning in the bush, searching for lion tracks or [...]

2018-10-05T13:47:28+00:00By |

Internships that Build a Professional Career: Science, Engineering Opportunities

Don’t visit West Africa for 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 of many cultures, but they don’t clash. In fact, there’s a great deal of similarities in [...]

2018-10-09T07:39:18+00:00By |

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 final game, and millions of viewers to all 32 of its televised games on ESPN [...]

2018-07-13T08:20:09+00:00By |

Stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park

I visited Cherry Springs State Park (Coudersport, PA) once again, this time staying the full night in the campground. The first time I visited was October 2018 with my sisters Susan Ward and Sharon Tracy. We stopped, on a whim, after a day trip to Niagara Falls, Canada side. It was quite a haul, driving to Canada and back, and including a side trip atop a mountain, and [...]

2018-08-05T14:48:32+00:00By |

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 has been charged with the task of judging whether a place is worthy of its World [...]

2018-10-05T13:45:50+00:00By |

Volunteer with Indigenous & Aboriginal Communities Around the World

Are you fascinated by people, their unique traditions, and exotic cultures? Do you like to try new dishes and new phrases? Or do you find it disconcerting, living like a local? Would you rather stay in a comfortable hotel, dining on familiar food? When you travel abroad you're moving out of your comfort zone and it can be a bit scary. But when you immerse yourself in another [...]

2018-10-09T07:40:18+00:00By |

Travel and Volunteer in Southeast Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia

Southeast Asia is a favorite corner of the world for globetrotters. Tucked between the Indian and Pacific oceans, and at the intersection of major geological plates, the area is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations despite the fact it regularly endures earthquakes and volcanic activities. Still, visitors can’t resist Southeast Asia’s year-round tropical climate, gorgeous beaches, rich and varied cultural encounters, fabulous food, and low cost of living. [...]

2018-10-09T07:40:31+00:00By |

Archaeological Dig & Excavation Volunteer Programs Around the World

Thinking about traveling abroad? You're not alone. People have been traveling for 2 million years. It began with Homo erectus, walking out of Africa in early migrations. Then other archaic people followed, like H. heidelbergensis, the likely ancestor of modern humans, around 500,000 years ago. Our ancestors spread to other continents, and along the way they invented houses and built communities. They invented agriculture and changed the landscape. They invented religion and [...]

2018-10-09T07:40:41+00:00By |

Volunteer Abroad Opportunities in West Africa: Togo, Ghana, Senegal

Don’t visit West Africa for 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 of many cultures, but they don’t clash. In fact, there’s a great deal of similarities in [...]

2018-10-09T07:40:51+00:00By |

Veterinary Volunteer Programs and Internships Abroad

Are you considering a career as a vet tech or veterinarian, and want to know if the field is right for you? If you like being with animals of all shapes, sizes, and breeds, and you want to help improve their lives and quality of care, then you’re on the right track. A vet tech performs a variety of tasks, just like a nurse for humans, to support [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:01+00:00By |

International Service Learning: What it is And How it Benefits You

Looking for a travel experience where you can work hands-on with a global issue? One that enhances your cultural awareness, both personally and professionally? If so, consider an international service-learning project! An international service-learning project is a structured academic opportunity that lets you combine study abroad with experiential education and community development. According to Global Vision International, a trusted international volunteer organization with numerous service-learning programs, there are three [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:08+00:00By |

PADI Open Water Certifications & Internships for Divers & Divemasters

The ocean is a mysterious place. It covers 70 percent of the planet, yet only 5 percent of it has been explored. It’s a magical place too, thanks to the phytoplankton that creates half of the air that we breathe. It’s also a secretive place, hiding the deepest spot on Earth: the Mariana Trench, at 36,200 feet below the surface, is more than a mile deeper than Mount [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:24+00:00By |

The History of Writing with Robin Van Auken

My husband, Lance, enjoys giving gifts. He finds amazing gifts, imaginative presents with meaning and symbolism. For example, when we purchased our lovely house on the river, he knew we had traded in our dream to live on a boat and sail far away. Okay, my dream. He mounted our ship's bell—one he ordered for us with the name "Tangent" cast on it (my dream boat's name)—on a plaque [...]

2018-08-07T21:08:39+00:00By |

Childcare Volunteer Programs Abroad: Daycare or School Assistant

If you’re looking for a travel opportunity that combines volunteering with social importance, consider a child care volunteering program that places you at a kindergarten or daycare center within a disadvantaged community. The stories you read and the songs you sing will help toddlers to learn creatively, and engage them from the start. A child’s early years lay the foundation of their entire future. In fact, scientists say [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:33+00:00By |

Conservation & Environment Volunteer Projects: Forest, Marine, Savannah

Scientists claim we’re living in the Anthropocene, an “unofficial” geological era in which humans dominate the planet. We’ve left the Cenozoic era, the Age of Mammals, which began 66 million years ago, because people are having a massive influence on the biosphere, altering it to suit our needs. Thanks to collective learning, people are better at sharing information so they know how to build new things. With each new highway, [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:42+00:00By |

NGO Volunteer Opportunities Abroad: Gain International Work Experience

Want to do good for others while doing good for yourself? Volunteering with an NGO can help you build capacity and support long-term goals in the underserved communities of developing countries. It also can enhance your resume as you gain hard and soft skills. NGOs, or non-governmental organizations, are nonprofits or citizen-operated agencies and groups that operate independently of governments, generally on an international level. They provide aid [...]

2018-10-09T07:41:50+00:00By |

Horse Talk with Robin Van Auken

Today, I'm talking horses. Our son invited us to visit for the weekend, and join him and his sweetheart at the Charles Town Races in West Virginia. I'm a huge fan of horses, and the racetrack is attached to a casino, of which I'm not a huge fan. I abhor casinos. It's not the gambling, which I don't partake, but the fact that these are massive, noisy, stinky buildings [...]

2018-08-05T14:59:24+00:00By |

Honoring the Story with Janice Ogurcak

Janice Ogurcak is the Director of Public Programming and Outreach at the World of Little League Museum. This museum is to Little League what the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is to Major League Baseball. Its filled with significant artifacts that range from serious to frivolous. There is a piece torn from the Berlin Wall when it fell, the badge of a fireman who perished in the [...]

2018-08-07T13:55:45+00:00By |

Travel Photography Internships and Volunteer Opportunities Abroad

Do you take great photos? Do you write amazing stories? Are your friends and family constantly complimenting your artwork and articles? Maybe it’s time to turn your hobby into a career. Hit the “digital streets” on a photography and journalism internship abroad. If you have camera and are willing to travel, you can use this opportunity to create a unique portfolio - one that no one else in [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:01+00:00By |

Volunteer with Buddhist Monks: Teach English or Work in a Monastery

Learn first-hand the spiritual beliefs, traditions, and practices of Buddhism when you volunteer to teach English to young children and monks in Asia. Travel to mystical Nepal and join other adventurous pilgrims at ancient temples with breathtaking views of the Himalayas, including majestic Mount Everest. Choose Chiang Mai, Thailand's "Rose of the North" and a land that's rich in cultural diversity, tranquil villages and other natural wonders. Visit [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:23+00:00By |