Choose one of our 3-month group semesters during the fall (India, South Pacific, Italy & Greece, Central America, South America, Southeast Asia, Spain & Morocco), followed by a 3-month focused volunteer placement (FVP) in the spring.
During your focused volunteer placement, you will commit to a local community through extensive service—independently or with a 2-to-3 student cohort. With reputable contacts in over 20 countries, where to go is up to you! Receive one-on-one mentorship from your Latitudes Director to help you select a volunteer placement that inspires you.
Get scuba certified while protecting coral reefs in Southern Thailand. Learn about wildlife conservation while working with animals in Belize. The best part of it all? You can earn up to 36 quarter college credits—all while connecting with communities across the globe and participating in meaningful volunteering, adventure, and cultural exchange.
Latitudes Year Highlights Include:
Carpe Diem group semester of your choice in the fall
Independent Volunteer Placement in the spring
3-Day Orientation in Portland, OR
Choice to Volunteer in More Than 20 Countries
Explore your interests on a deeper level and build your resumé with volunteer experience
Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
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My gap year with Carpe Diem changed my life in more ways than I thought possible. My semester in India was definitely my favorite part and it impacted me the most. India is an amazing place with so much to offer. The program for the India semester really pushes you outside of your comfort zone, makes you content with the world around you, yourself, and others that are very different from you, and changes your perspective on just about everything. The volunteer work we did there was incredible, each location we went to was amazing, and all the activities we did will forever be memories I cherish. I miss my trip there so much! My volunteer placement in Ollantaytambo, Peru was good too. It was not the best fit for me in terms of the work I was doing, but that was not Carpe Diem's fault. While I would definitely recommend going through Carpe Diem Education, I do not think I would recommend volunteering with Awamaki in Peru unless you are looking for computer work. My experience in Peru was still amazing, however. I got to work with indigenous Andean women, hiked and live in the Andes, make amazing friends, gain a lot of independence and confidence in myself, take weekend trips to the Amazon, Cusco, and other locations, and do a ten day trek in the most beautiful place on Earth. I don't think I would repeat my time in Peru with Awamaki, but Peru is definitely a great place to go. Carpe Diem's programs are set up in an amazing way to get you the most cultural immersion, exposure to different views and lives, work toward your own personal goals, and allow you to grow as an individual separate from societal pressures. Their organization is designed to make you more independent, responsible, brave, and open-minded. Choosing Carpe Diem was the best decision I have ever made.
We read often of the benefits of gap years, how they are life-changing, prepare young adults for college, and often termed "the best year ever." While these claims hold much legitimacy, few programs can unequivocally fulfill all of them; that is, except Carpe Diem Education. I was lucky enough to find Carpe Diem for the year after my high school graduation, 2010-2011, and can to this day stand by them as indisputably the best gap year program internationally. I could never imagine how my life would appear today had I not participated in the Latitudes Program, spending one full semester in Central America on a group trip and another semester on an independent internship in Ecuador. I gained essential skills in organization, writing, budgeting, and leadership; I tackled fears head-on while cultivating an insatiable curiosity; I grew more confident in my abilities scholastically and personally; I became completely fluent in another language equivalent to the level of my mother tongue; I created life-long friendships with other participants and locals to this day. Carpe Diem stood by me, answering my plethora of questions before the trip, appeasing my nervous mother during the trip, and accommodating me to practice my religious observances as a modern-orthodox Jew throughout the program. The coordinators supported me in arranging my internship placement, while simultaneously giving me enough space to be independent too. My trip leaders on the group trip were inspiring, confronting, and were the catalysts toward driving the personal developments of participants as we all pushed our comfort zone together with volunteer work that included arduous physical labor, language school, teaching English, and working with wildlife. My independent internship at an Inca ruin Hacienda gave me ample opportunity to dabble into a variety of fields, including farming, local cooking, horseback riding, translating, writing, and being a tour guide to hone my interests for my future career and quench my diverse interests. Carpe Diem pushed me emotionally and physically every day to find comfort through discomfort, to understand and be proactive in my surroundings, and to cultivate empathy. I was also able to earn college credit through Portland State University (PSU), which was an incredible opportunity considering that at the time of my gap year, I was unsure where I would attend school. Today, I have finished a degree from an ivy-league institution, consider myself a world traveler (whatever that really means), and am confident in following where the wind blows for my next steps. And for my accomplishments, strengths, attitude, determination, courage, and drive, I will forever be indebted to Carpe Diem. If you want a program that will open you up and allow you to carve out who you hope to be, to gain inspiration for your future, to truly make a difference, to build life-long relationships, and to push your comfort zone, look no further, because you’ve arrived at the best possible place.