Volunteer in Historic Preservation Abroad

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Volunteering Abroad in Historical Preservation

For those who have a passion for the past, volunteering in historical preservation is a fantastic opportunity to help save some of humanity’s greatest architectural and sculptural feats. All over the world there are aging buildings and monuments, which tell the story of nations, people, and historical events, that are in great need of continuous upkeep and preservation, so these landmarks can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

Why Volunteer in Historic Preservation

Human civilization is at an apex of innovation, technological innovation, and infrastructural development. Our modern global society is near unrecognizable from those of the ancient and medieval worlds. Yet, in order to understand the present and what the future may hold, we must always look to the past for guidance. Beyond the aesthetic beauty and wonder which timeworn structures continue to instill in us, preserving our history is of great importance to upholding the wisdom and perspective of humankind overtime. By volunteering in historic preservation you can help protect our past, and learn a lot doing it.

Locations

History is everywhere, so naturally, there are volunteer opportunities in historical preservation all over the world. Placements range from the upkeep of well known historical monuments to the preservation of centuries-old villages, it all depends on where you choose to volunteer abroad.

A good way to assess the amount of volunteer opportunities available in different countries is by checking out the UNESCO World Heritage List, which shows how many protected sites a country or region has within its borders. This is generally a good indicator of the magnitude of a country’s institutional commitment to upholding its cultural and architectural heritage through historical preservation.

The UNESCO region of Europe and North America have, by far, the largest amount of World Heritage Sites, followed by Asia and the Pacific. Europe’s leading countries, when it comes to volunteering in historical preservation, are Italy, Germany, France, and Spain. However, the United Kingdom, Russia, Greece, and Portugal also have quite a few UNESCO sites.

In Asia, China, India, Iran, and Japan lead the way, each one the focal point of ancient civilizations dating back thousands of years.

Of course, there are plenty of other historical preservation projects and areas well worth protecting, located all across the globe. Some of the most noteworthy destinations may have one specific type of project due to a specific event in the nation’s history, such as Poland or Israel. Be sure to check out a variety of volunteer opportunities in historic preservation and research carefully which one seems like the most interesting and worthwhile project for you.

Historic Preservation Volunteer Work

Volunteering in historic preservation will often mean combining physical volunteer work with educational opportunities surrounding the history, culture, and architecture of the area. For example, you might spend mornings in the classroom learning about the history of your host nation and the afternoons mastering preservation techniques, such as woodworking and plastering. Frequent outings to museums and other cultural heritage sites are common during any historic preservation volunteer program too.

Some volunteer organizations based in urban areas around the world are specifically centered on historical preservation, but with more of an emphasis on urban planning and sustainable development. Students who studied either of the latter fields, or are pursuing degrees in architecture or history, can gain valuable experience volunteering with international nonprofits or NGOs strictly focused on historic preservation. In these placements, volunteers will gain hands-on experience in the field, and learn how to protect and incorporate the old when planning for the new.

There are many volunteer opportunities in historical preservation that allow volunteers to combine volunteerism with academic or internship credit, so if you are still enrolled in school then keep an eye out for these great opportunities!

Volunteer work in historic preservation is usually fairly open-ended and flexible according to individual preferences, meaning you can often decide on the length and timing of your own volunteer program. Additionally, volunteers are usually not expected to have any previous experience in the field; all you need is an interest in historic preservation!

Benefits

Do Your Part. Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites and countless other historical preservation projects around the world rely on philanthropic and voluntary support to sustain their needs. By providing on the ground support, you will be playing a vital role in the continued conservation of our past.

See Relics in a Different Way. Even if you are not planning on pursuing a career in a field related to historical preservation, the knowledge and experience you will gain from working on historical sites will stay with you forever.  It will also give you a whole new appreciation for the hard work required to run museums and maintain historical monuments around the world!

Protect the Past. As our world continues to rapidly industrialize, and globalization infiltrates more and more countries and cities, many historical structures are under constant threat of destruction. Along with environmental preservation, it is important to equally contribute to projects that work to preserve the root of mankind as well.

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A Guide To

Volunteering Abroad in Historical Preservation

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123 Historic Preservation Volunteer Abroad Programs

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The ancient temples of Banteay Chhmar are one of the most significant, yet least understood, archeological complexes. The temples date back to the Angkor period, which ended in the late 14th century. Sadly, the Banteay Chhmar complex was severely looted throughout the 1990's because of its remote location and proximity to the Thai border. Now considered one of the most endangered sites in ...

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Projects Abroad offers a Building project in St. Louis, Senegal. Building volunteers in Senegal contribute to the renovation and/or building of houses and school classrooms in impoverished communities to enable an improved living and learning environment. Volunteers are supervised by professional builders and assist with painting, refurbishing, renovating or building rooms, shelters, roofs and ...

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ISA Service-Learning provides students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn first-hand about social issues that communities around the world face. By partnering with community-based organizations and following a structured, reflection-based curriculum, you will learn how local professionals and experts are addressing these issues with the available resources while developing intercultu...

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Are you passionate about protecting our planet, looking to travel, but also wanting to get off the beaten tourist track? Take part in a valuable conservation project and help preserve one of the world’s most unique set of islands for biodiversity and beauty. Combat problems such as coastal erosion, the introduction or foreign species and the effects of drought and pollution. Volunteers h...

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About this project: Volunteers work four to six hours a day doing light construction work in a local school or social organization. Their tasks depend on local need, as well as the skills of the volunteers. Tasks range widely and examples include drawing and painting murals in a children’s hospital; cleaning up a playground and fixing and/or painting the play-sets; doing light construction work...

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The Intern Group is the leading provider of internship programs in the emerging market of Colombia! We provide international students with internships in top private companies, NGOs and state ministries. Our programs are regularly featured on CNN International and other mainstream media. Apply now for a wonderful experience and propel your professional development! Develop your Spanish langu...

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Rich in history and beauty, Cambodia offers a fascinating setting for summer service opportunities in Southeast Asia. Spend two days exploring the splendor of Angkor Wat and other famous ancient temples, and fulfill service hours through a once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as engaging with children in Cambodian village schools and monasteries. You will observe ancient Buddhist and Khmer tradi...

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Good Hope Volunteers is an offspring from Good Hope Studies, an English language school in Cape Town. In 2010, they started offering volunteering and over the years their programme grew to over 30 projects. Good Hope Volunteers is inviting North American students to join its volunteer programs. They offer more than a dozen community service programs for durations of two weeks to three month...

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Vermont-based Volunteers For Peace (VFP) has been collaborating with community and grassroots organizations in Haiti for over 15 years! Our focus is on education, access to clean water, and environmental conservation through the lens of cultural exchange. Our projects work to empower local leaders, provide meaningful activities for children, and leave behind sustainable projects in the communit...

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Thanks to its geographical position, Thailand has become one of the top destination for people looking to do business from all around the world. As such, the kingdom has become a focal point for young professional to develop their career path in a fast growing and highly international environment. Doing an internship in Thailand will dive you into its fast growing market. The country offers a ...

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Intern abroad with Linguistic Horizons in the Sacred Valley of the Incas! Our program is located between Cuzco & Machu Picchu in the town of Urubamba, Peru. This program is ideal for people who want to go off the beaten path and have a truly immersive experience. You'll learn about the local culture of the people in Urubamba as well as the indigenous Andean communities in the surrounding ar...

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Take part in a 15-day immersion placement in Jamaica or Tobago through V2! Whether you’re a professional or a student, volunteer on a unique project and gain hands-on experience in areas like teaching, children and youth, community development, veterinary and animal care, or marine conservation. We tailor our programmes to suit each volunteers so that everyone can get the most out of their V2 e...