International Exchange Program

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All IEP internships in 2022 are subject to change due to evolving COVID-19 restrictions.

Each year, the United States Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) seeks graduate students and young professionals specialized in historic preservation and heritage conservation to participate in an International Exchange Program (IEP).

Intern participants 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 scheduled during the summer (from June to August). US/ICOMOS hosts all U.S. and international interns for a program orientation at the beginning of the summer that will take place virtually. Interns then travel to their various host locations where they complete a 10-week preservation-related project designed by the host organization. At the end of the summer, all interns gather in Washington, DC, for a final debriefing and farewell program.

Projects are varied, and correspond to the needs and requirements of IEP Host organizations. The host office defines the project to be completed; an internship is not an independent research opportunity. Applicants may indicate a preference for the type of project they wish to be assigned, but must be willing to accept any position, which may be located anywhere in the world. Assignments are made on the basis of the best match between the proposed project and the individual’s background and skills, and in consideration of the entire pool of applicants.

This program is an excellent opportunity to learn about another country’s cultural heritage system. It is also an opportunity to make personal and professional contacts with new colleagues while living in a foreign country for a summer.

Please support the International Exchange Program with a tax-deductible contribution today


7 January 2022 – IEP Intern Applications Due
21 January – IEP Host Applications Due
February – March – Interns are matched to hosts; hosts approve placements; final selections made
1 April – Deadline for interns to accept placements
15 April – All signed agreements in place
15 June – Intern orientation, virtual
20 June – 26 August – Internship at the host organization
29 – 31 August – Closing reception in Washington, DC

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

At a minimum, applicants must have an undergraduate degree in a preservation-related field, such as architecture, landscape architecture, or architectural conservation, with coursework and/or experience in preservation. Although 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. There are no exceptions to these limits, due to the popularity of the program.

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 that makes 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 demonstrated skills, commitment to historic preservation, previous experience and academic concentration in the field, as well as their 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 qualifications of some applicants simply may not match the needs of host organizations in any given year.


U.S. host organizations provide a substantial portion, but not all, of the costs associated with the internship. International host organizations may provide free or low cost housing and project-related travel. The program is also supported by substantial contributions from private foundations and individual donations.

Intern Stipends

As noted above, US/ICOMOS provides funding for all internships from a variety of sources. The stipends provided to interns are intended to cover basic living expenses (food and housing) for the duration of the internship. US/ICOMOS will cover housing costs during orientation and the final program in Washington, DC. In some cases, travel grants may be available for U.S. interns traveling overseas but interns from overseas coming to the U.S. must provide their own round-trip travel unless otherwise arranged. However, the precise amount of the stipends and coverage of travel costs depends on a variety of factors, including the level of donated 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 to be reimbursement for living expenses, and thus are NOT salary or wages, so they are not considered to be taxable income.

Host Responsibilities

For the internship to be successful, one person at the host organization must be designated to be 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, work the same hours and 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 10 to 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, project materials, etc.)
  • Provide assistance and/or 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, and extra-curricular activities.  An important aspect of the internship is meeting other preservation professionals and exploring the host country, its culture, and customs.
  • Complete two evaluations (using online forms provided by US/ICOMOS)

More information on the application process for hosts can be found here:

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:

  • Obtain a visa, if required.
  • Maintain valid medical insurance, if required.
  • Work a 5-day week, keeping the hours of the regular staff, and participate in staff activities.
  • Complete the assigned project(s) 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 as possible about the host country’s preservation techniques and philosophies, as well as local culture.
  • Complete two evaluations during the program, and one at the end of the program (using online forms provided by US/ICOMOS).
  • Prepare and present a PowerPoint presentation and companion presentation board of project findings to be delivered at the concluding symposium.

More information on the application process for internships can be found here:

US/ICOMOS Responsibilities

  • Endeavor to place the most capable and suitable candidate with each host organization.
  • Allow host organization to review and approve the selected candidate before placement.
  • Coordinate the exchange visitor J-1 visa process for all interns entering the United States.
  •  U.S. interns traveling overseas must arrange for their own visas.
  • Obtain temporary travel insurance for all interns for the trip to and from their internship location.
  • 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 that the internship is successful and rewarding.