Study Human Rights and Cultural Exchange with a community of students through the lens of experiential education in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Carpe Diem students learn by trekking through remote villages and exchanging stories with hill tribes in Northern Thailand. By dropping into some of the deep spiritual traditions of Theravada Buddhism vis-a-vis the lived experience of meals, housing, study and reflection, students will find new perspectives and deepen their understanding of Self.
Students live in the homes of Thai families in a Northern Thai village, studying Thai language, customs, food, and dancing.
Travel to Phnom Penh to study Human Rights under the backdrop of Cambodia’s tragic genocide, juxtaposed against the ways the country and its people are recovering.
Students will volunteer through community empowerment projects to learn and support issues of global and child poverty.
Through small groups of no more than 12 students, you will experiment with leadership roles, self-awareness, and purpose.
Semester Highlights Include:
Engage with NGO's focused on human rights
Partner with a university in Vietnam and spend time with college local students
Explore Theravada Buddhism and participate in a meditation retreat
SCUBA dive in Vietnam
Trek through remote hill tribe communities
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The best 3 months of my 21 years of life has to be the most to the point way to describe my time in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam with Carpe Diem Education. I am 21 and finishing up my college sociology degree this year. For fall term of my senior year, I wanted to do something different, and experience true hands on learning outside of the traditional classroom lecture setting. This trip to South East Asia truly went above and beyond what I could have ever expected to get out of my time abroad. From week one in Thailand when we each got placed in our own homestay with the most amazing and sweet host moms, to the last week of the trip directing our own student travel through vietnam, each experience I look back on with so much gratiude, knowlege, insight, and a smile. Carpe Diem truly does give you the ability to have such unique and amazing experience, and there is also such a good balance of volunteer work, weeks in homestays, and life off the beaten path, to city days for self care and relaxation. One of my fondest memories from the whole trip that I think about daily was out treck in Thailand. We went on a 3 day treck in Thailand led by 3 amazing locals who know the area and land so well. They led us through dense bamboo forests, that would open to the most amazing views on the hillside of a rice patty field. We stayed the night in village leaders home in a small Lahu village. The full day we were there was my favorite day of the trip. We got up and walked 30 mins through the village and into a rice patty field where to the left of the path was vegetables growing, ahead was a bamboo forest, and down the hill was a stream. We brought 2 chickens, a sack of rice and some eggs. We collected water form the stream, picked vegetables from the field, made a fire with bamboo and cooked the rice, chicken, and eggs in the bamboo logs over the fire. We also learned to carve spoons, chop sticks, bowls, and cups. We ate the meal we made on the beautiful hillside in Thailand. Something about that day was so special, peaceful, and such an amazing learning experience. Carpe Diem allows you to get to experience and connect with others so different from you. Each homestay family I stayed with showed me such kindness, love, and were so welcoming despite language barriers. I have shared so many laughs, hugs, and amazing homecooked meals with my host famalies. Most homestays are with at least two others in the group which is nice and comfortable. A quick trip recap of everything amazing Thailand: A week learning Thai, and homestays with sweet host moms. 10 days volunteering and staying off the beaten path in an amazing Akka village. 4 days of trecking through beautiful Thailand rice/ pineapple field hillside. Some amazing hostels and city days to explore beautiful tempels. A week on an organic permaculture farm learning about sustainability. 5 days of silent meditation with monks learning about buddhism, and mindfullness. A quick trip recap of everything amazing Cambodia: Days in Phnom Phen learning about the genocide, killing fields, and the Cambodian Center for Human Rights. Angkor Watt of course. A week on a village off the Mekong river working on a clean water project homestay living. A quick trip recap of everything amazing Vietnam: Days to explore the amazing city of Ho Chi Minh. A week with very funny Tan Tao University students staying in homestays, english teaching at primary schools, and a school for the deaf and disabled, picking pineapples, cooking, and singing a lot of karaoke. 5 days on the beautiful beach in Nha Trang getting suba certified, and tanning on the beach. Days in the city to go to museams and learn about the Vietnam War. And lastly student directed travel. Student directed travel is where we got to plan how to get from Nha Tang to Hanoi which was 800 miles in 1 week. We got to plan where we wanted to go, stay, forms of transportaiton, activites, and had to stay within a budget. It was so amazing. So there you have it, the best 3 months of my life by far! The guides for Carpe Diem are also amazing, and really made the trip flow well. They handled the tough situations with ease and are such wonderful, and positive people. Having 10 students and 2 guides total was also great! All Carpe Diem trips have 15 people or less. I would highly reccomend going abroad with Carpe Diem whether you have just graduated high school or are about to graduate college. I feel refreshed, and have a new motivation, and goals for my life becuase of my time abroad with Carpe Diem Education!!
The Southeast Asia semester was one of a kind experience. Unlike the traditional classroom, students are able to go out and learn by engaging. Throughout the semesters, students get valuable skills, such as, how to be leaders or new forms of communications. It also teaches students how to get around unfamiliar places. Most importantly, it teaches students how to have a positive impact on other communities. I made lifetime memories, try new things and challenge myself. Being able to interact and live with locals allowed me to see things from a new perspective. It taught me that people do not have to speak the same language to connect. During, and after the trip, I reevaluate what is important and valuable. It is a door to new hobbies and passions, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.
Carpe Diem's Southeast Asia semester was an incredible, life changing experience. We did so many things that I never imagined I'd get to experience, like living on an organic farm for a week and learning how to build bricks out of clay, to living in a Buddhist monastery, to scuba diving on an island in Vietnam, and so much more. This semester completely changed my perception of the world and helped me grow and learn so much. It created a love for travel that will never go away, and I now feel very confident as a savvy traveler. The group was amazing and I made some of my best friends. If you're considering a gap year, this is an opportunity that you don't want to pass up. It will truly change your life and you will make so many incredible memories.