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Program Overview

Interns are selected on a competitive basis for participation in the US/ICOMOS International Exchange Program. Internships are approximately 12 weeks in length (including orientation and the final program) and are usually held during the summer (from June to August), although some internships may be held at other times of the year. US/ICOMOS hosts all U.S. and international interns for a program orientation in Washington, DC at the beginning of the summer. Interns then disperse to their various host organizations where they complete a preservation-related project designed by the host organization. At the end of the summer, all interns reconvene in Washington, DC for a final farewell program.


The program schedule for 2014 is set as follows (subject to minor variations in accordance with host organization schedules):

  • January 31: Applications due
  • March 1: Applicants notified of "shortlist" selection
  • April 1: Selected applicants notified of placement with sponsor
  • May 27 - May 30: Intern orientation in Washington, DC
  • May 31: Interns travel to their host locations
  • June 2 - August 11: Internship with host organization
  • August 12-14: Summer Interns return to Washington, DC for final program and reception; Fall interns arrive for orientation
  • August 16: Summer Interns return home
  • After August 16: Fall interns travel to their host locations

Past Internship Organizations

Visit these links and scroll down to view past host organizations and program sponsors and funders:

List of past Host Organizations
List of program Sponsors and Funders

Intern Qualifications

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in a preservation-related field at a minimum.  While there are no age restrictions, the program is designed for those nearing the end of their graduate programs (usually 2nd-year students) or those who have been working professionally for 1-3 years.

Candidates are asked to submit a curriculum vitae, two letters of recommendation, a 500-word essay describing their reasons for wanting to participate in the program, and examples of their work.  All applications are reviewed by a volunteer professional jury who make recommendations for intern selection and placement.  The application materials for recommended interns are then forwarded to the respective host organizations for review and approval.  Only after the host organization has approved the intern will the applicant be notified which internship he/she has been assigned.

Interns are selected on the basis of skills, demonstrated commitment to historic preservation, previous experience and academic concentration in the field and the ability to represent their country in an exchange program.  Importantly, interns are chosen whose skills, training, interest and previous experience match the needs of host organizations.  Therefore, not all qualified intern applicants will be recommended for the program, since there are always more qualified applicants than internships and the applications of some highly qualified applicants simply may not match the needs of host organizations any given year.


U.S. host organizations provide a substantial portion, but not all, of the costs associated with the internship. The program also is supported by substantial contributions from private foundations and individual donations.

Intern Stipends

As noted above, US/ICOMOS provides funding for all internships through a variety of sources, and the stipends provided to interns are intended to cover basic living expenses (food and housing), during orientation and final program in Washington, DC and for the duration of the internship.  In some cases, travel grants may also be available for U.S. interns traveling overseas.  Interns from overseas coming to the U.S. must provide their own roundtrip travel.  The precise amount of the stipends depends on a variety of factors, including the level of funding received, whether free or reduced housing is provided by the host organization, and the relative cost of living of the 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 reimbursement for living expenses, are NOT considered salary or wages, and therefore are not considered to be taxable income.

Host Responsibilities

For the internship to be successful, one person must accept the role of supervisor and mentor for the entire period of the internship.  There must be regular review and evaluation.  Interns should be exposed to as many different aspects of the work and activities of the host institution as possible.  On the other hand, interns should not be treated as special guests. They are expected to work to the professional standards of the rest of the staff, to work the same hours and to accept the same degree of responsibility for their work.

Host organizations must provide the following assistance:

  • Formulate a project (or series of smaller projects) that the intern can complete within the 11-week period.
  • Provide for all project-related expenses, including out-of-pocket expenses that may be incurred by the intern during the course of the internship (such as transportation to and from the work site, film and photocopying costs, etc.)
  • Arrange for housing for the duration of the internship (Note: interns pay for their housing out of their stipend).  If the host organization is able to provide subsidized or free housing, the host contribution to US/ICOMOS and, hence, the intern's stipend, can be reduced).
  • Monitor the intern and provide supervision on an on-going basis as would be done for a paid employee.
  • Include the intern, whenever possible, in meetings, outings, or extra-curricular activities.  An important aspect of the summer internship is meeting other preservation professionals and exploring the host country, its culture, and customs.
  • Complete two evaluations (using forms provided by US/ICOMOS)

Intern Responsibilities

Interns are selected on a competitive basis and are expected to be professional in their behavior and work ethic.  Each US/ICOMOS intern agrees to:

  • Work a 5-day week, keeping the hours of the regular staff.
  • Complete the assigned project within the duration of the internship.
  • Discuss any problems with the host organizations supervisor and contact US/ICOMOS if resolution is not possible.
  • Try to learn as much about the host country's preservation techniques and philosophies

US/ICOMOS Responsibilities

  • Attempt to place the most capable and suitable candidate with each host organization
  • Allow host organization to review and approve the selected candidate before placement
  • Obtain exchange visitor J-1 visas for all interns entering the United States
  •  U.S. interns traveling overseas must arrange for their own visas, if required, although US/ICOMOS will assist as needed.
  • Obtain temporary medical insurance for all interns for the duration of their internship
  • Issue stipend checks to interns in the U.S. on a regular schedule throughout the internship
  • Provide food and lodging for all interns during the Orientation and Final programs in Washington, DC
  • Assist both the intern and host organization staff throughout the internship to ensure the internship is successful and rewarding