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.

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 the 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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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" [...]

Reading the News with Publisher Kathy Kolb

Kathy Kolb is the publisher of NorthcentralPA.com, a news outlet that’s been online since 2009, and she’s been steadily growing since then by personally connecting with her readers. I know, this sounds impossible — how do you connect with thousands of people? She’s accomplished this by building an amazingly loyal Facebook following, which total [...]

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Volunteer in Bolivia: Spanish Immersion, Animal Care, Under 18s Trips

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a volunteer trip to Bolivia, a country with such distinctions as the World’s Most Dangerous Road, the World's Largest Salt Flat, and the Largest Lake in South America. Toss in sky-scraping Andean Mountains, dense Amazon rainforests, and the Atacama Desert, and you’re in a quandary over what to [...]

Big Cat Conservation: Work with Cheetahs, Tigers, Lions & Leopards

Big Cat Conservation isn't a topic they teach you at school. If you want to learn how to work with these complex wild animals and preserving the endangered species of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, then this is an amazing opportunity to take control of your education and go into the field. The [...]

Volunteer in Borneo & Malaysia: Orangutans, Tigers & Sea Turtles

When you volunteer for a conservation program in Malaysia and Borneo, you’ll learn about wildlife protection in a key area of the world with critically endangered ecosystems and species. But you’ll also learn about yourself when you spend the night in the rainforest, watching as the fireflies to come out, listening as bird [...]

Yoga Teacher Training: Certifications & Retreats in India, Costa Rica &More

If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. By taking a yoga retreat, and even becoming a certified yoga instructor, you will learn to balance stress and alleviate anxiety so that you can lead a healthier lifestyle. When you learn the proper techniques of yoga from expert practitioners [...]