Overview

Carpe Diem's gap year programs are designed to safely challenge every student. Through volunteer service, travel, community and cultural exchange - high school students and graduates receive a unique and personal insight into themelves and the cultures they live within.

Carpe Diem Education's Overseas Educators are trained to facilitate personal growth and learning within the structure of an academic semester. This combination has proven to be the best way to open the eyes of Carpe Diem students to the various perspectives of the people and environments across the world. Carpe Diem's gap year programs challenge students by consciously teaching them how to be better group leaders and better self-leaders - and how to safely travel independently anywhere in the world.

Yearlong Program - Carpe Diem's advanced program combines one 12-week group semester with one 12-week focused volunteer placement. The Latitudes Year provides individualized support to strengthen independence and personal leadership skills in the context of our global community. Gain life-enriching experience by volunteering time and focusing on personal goals through immersion in a local NGO, nonprofit, or other organization during the second semester. Engage with a local community and acquire practical skills - all while having fun, discovering more about yourself, and redefining your next step in this life journey.

Semester Programs - Gap semester programs open the eyes of young adults and help them learn more about themselves by learning more about the world. Carpe Diem students come from all background and have many different reasons for wanting to attend an international study abroad program; however, they have a few very important things in common - they all want to grow and experience the world.

Indigenous America Semester - Through community service, cross-cultural exploration and contemplation, Carpe Diem Education's three-month Indigenous America Semester is ideal for those who feel drawn to better understand the First Peoples of the Southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico. Students will wind their way through sovereign nations in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, as well as Sonora, Mexico. Throughout these months of travel, students will be learning by giving - whether by helping build a natural cob home from earth and straw, harvesting crops, herding sheep, chopping firewood, or collaborating on construction projects.

Central America Semester - Students will explore Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica while learning the Spanish language, and engaging in outdoor adventure and service-learning. At each stop students will immerse themselves in the Spanish language while interacting with local communities, learning about richly diverse cultures and histories, and building meaningful relationships with welcoming host families, partner organizations, and fellow group members. Students will also supplement studies in sustainability and environmental conservation through service-learning projects such as sea turtle conservation, organic farming, or helping with community developing projects.

South America Semester - The itinerary visiting Ecuador and Peru combines cross-cultural exploration with Spanish language study, outdoor adventure, service-learning, and downtime for contemplation. Gap students will visit the Amazonian rain forest and Machu Picchu, and engage in service-learning projects such as conservation projects in the Amazon rainforest, organic farming in Ecuador, and helping with community development projects.

Southeast Asia Semester - The Carpe Diem Southeast Asia Gap Semester lets young adults experience the warm hospitality that this intriguing part of the world offers intrepid travelers. Students will engage in outdoor adventure, hands-on community service, downtime, Thai language lessons, and lessons on the principles of permaculture and sustainable living. Some examples of service-learning projects include building a community center and teaching English at an orphanage.

East Africa Semester - This gap semester takes students to Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Zanzibar. Throughout the semester, you'll experience the rich cultural traditions of indigenous peoples, have close encounters with awe-inspiring wildlife on a multi-day safari, and investigate both the history of genocide and the future of hope in Rwanda. If you're drawn to community service or international development, this is the ideal Carpe Diem Education program for you. You'll get to work alongside diverse organizations that assist local communities with education, children's homes, building projects, women's empowerment, HIV/AIDS support, sustainability, and environmental conservation.

India Semester - Students will travel to the Northern Plains and Himalayas to explore a multi-faceted culture and people as they spend three months traversing the diverse ecological and spiritual landscape of the Himalayas, the Indus River Valley, and the birthplace of three major world religions. Young adults will volunteers at the Mother Teresa Home for the Destitute in Calcutta.

South Pacific Semester - For a hands-on experience of the cultures of Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia, set your horizons on Carpe Diem Education's South Pacific Semester. Students will participate in community-based volunteering while living with a local family, work in the Outback and learn about Aboriginal peoples, take a soul-refreshing spiritual retreat, and challenge their limits at an outdoor leadership school in New Zealand.

**College credit is available for some programs. Students must be 17 years of age or older. Financial aid is available.**

9 Participant Reviews

Write a Review
The Best Three Months Of My Life!

The Best Three Months Of My Life!

5
Reviewed on 6/28/2016 by

On the Carpe Diem Program was my first time leaving the United States. Since my dad is Cambodian I was really drawn to the South East Asia Program to learn about my family's heritage and history. I learn more than just that. I learned more in the three months abroad about myself, other people, and the world in those three months than I did my whole life living in Portland, Oregon. I can honestly say that in this program I developed the skills to tap within myself for a deeper power to overcome the challenges I face. I loved every single moment abroad and after 3 years I still have vivid memories and think about the awesome experiences. It changed my life for the better and I will always will be a traveler in my heart.

A Year Full Enough for a Lifetime

A Year Full Enough for a Lifetime

5
Reviewed on 6/14/2016 by

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.

Beautiful Southeast Asia

Beautiful Southeast Asia

5
Reviewed on 6/10/2016 by

I never thought it would be possible for me to travel, but Carpe Diem Education gave me that opportunity. I traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Physically being there was life changing with that I was challenged emotionally and mentally. Taking part of a new culture was a new adventure, the locals are kind, the food is delicious, the history is eye opening. I traveled with a group of strangers at the beginning, but at the end we made close bonds with each other. The overseas educators challenged us everyday to get out of our comfort zones and we're there to supportive us. I am thankful for this opportunity because I learned a lot about myself, others, and new cultures.

India! Not what it seems

India! Not what it seems

5
Reviewed on 6/7/2016 by

I grew up a relatively poor kid in a household where my mom would work all day and night leaving my brother and I home alone. I never had anyone around that was building my confidence that much and I grew up not thinking many opportunities were for me. Only until recently in my life have I started thinking I am deserving of opportunities that I would not have thought were for me. Carpe Diem Education gave me an experience of a lifetime by allowing me to travel India and find the confidence within myself that was always there but not encouraged to shine. India was not on my top 3 choices of places to travel to but with my group, I had experiences that I will never again have and I thank Carpe for being the blessed origination that it is.

Within India

Within India

4
Reviewed on 5/26/2016 by

Within India I learned things I never even had the questions to. I learned things about myself and the country I was in and who I was within this country. Carpe Diem education does an amazing job making you feel secure and safe and learn how to trust yourself to manage your way around this country for three months. Because of this program I am confident enough to say I can travel anywhere on my own now! They were great teachers and I'm really grateful.

GO TO INDIA!

GO TO INDIA!

5
Reviewed on 5/26/2016 by

Carpe Diem Education has literally changed my life. i was already enrolled in college when i had applied. i was very hesitant but then something in me just told me to take a risk. best risk i could have ever taken. going to India was the first time that i have ever left my home. Being in India for 3 month made me feel at home there too. Carpe gave me the opportunity to see a world other than my own. i had the time of my life in India, which by the way is a phenomenal place. i had gotten the opportunity to learn about myself, others and an entirely new culture and new people and see so much beauty. if you are reading this, stop reading it and go sign up already! you will make a group of lifelong friends, and have a better understanding of who you really are. sounds magical right? seriously, go sign up! and tell your friends!

A trip of a lifetime!

A trip of a lifetime!

5
Reviewed on 5/22/2016 by

Carpe diem is so amazing. I spent a year traveling through southeast Asia and northern Africa with carpe and I learned a ton. I did my group semester in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia and then I traveled throughout Malaysia with one of my groupmates after. Carpe prepared me to be able to travel throughout a country I've never been to without fear. I then went and interned in Morocco for my second semester and grew professionally and personally.

East Africa

East Africa

5
Reviewed on 5/20/2016 by

I took part in the Spring 2012 East Africa Semester and not only do I not regret that decision but my appreciation for that trip continues to grow. I was uninterested in school from the start and barely made it through high school, did not even apply to any colleges, and did not plan on continuing my education. Then I heard about Carpe Diem Education and I decided to take part and it was worth it. I learned to love learning, the rewards of giving back, the freedoms of responsibility and independence, and the wonders of travel. I made friends and memories I will have for the rest of my life, found passion that has led me through school, and developed values that are central to my life. Carpe Diem is a well run organization with skillful passionate leaders and I am sure all of their trips are just as amazing as East Africa and I strongly suggest everyone who has the opportunity to partake in the trip that calls them.

Best three months of my life

Best three months of my life

5
Reviewed on 5/19/2016 by

My Walkabout South Pacific semester was by far the greatest three months of my life. Our leaders were not just knowledgable and responsible, they were adventurous and caring and they loved to help us all push our personal comfort levels, physically emotionally and mentally. Ryan and Cheridyn were a huge part of our Carpe family. And we were a family. Our little group of 12 strangers grew, with definite ups and downs, into the closest group of friends I've ever had. We talk daily, and had a reunion planned after a month apart. I feel close to my Carpe friends in aside way than friends from school and camp. Our connection grew out of trials and joys so different from anything we had experienced before. Maybe the greatest thing unique to Carpe Diem are the contacts we spent each week with, cultivated over years by Carpe staff. These relationships feel so personal and real, I can't believe I only had been with each group of people for one week. I'm so eternally grateful I chose Carpe for my gap year, and I love every person, skill, and memory I had after the three months were up.

9 Participant Reviews

Write a Review
The Best Three Months Of My Life!

The Best Three Months Of My Life!

5
Reviewed on 6/28/2016 by

On the Carpe Diem Program was my first time leaving the United States. Since my dad is Cambodian I was really drawn to the South East Asia Program to learn about my family's heritage and history. I learn more than just that. I learned more in the three months abroad about myself, other people, and the world in those three months than I did my whole life living in Portland, Oregon. I can honestly say that in this program I developed the skills to tap within myself for a deeper power to overcome the challenges I face. I loved every single moment abroad and after 3 years I still have vivid memories and think about the awesome experiences. It changed my life for the better and I will always will be a traveler in my heart.

A Year Full Enough for a Lifetime

A Year Full Enough for a Lifetime

5
Reviewed on 6/14/2016 by

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.

Beautiful Southeast Asia

Beautiful Southeast Asia

5
Reviewed on 6/10/2016 by

I never thought it would be possible for me to travel, but Carpe Diem Education gave me that opportunity. I traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Physically being there was life changing with that I was challenged emotionally and mentally. Taking part of a new culture was a new adventure, the locals are kind, the food is delicious, the history is eye opening. I traveled with a group of strangers at the beginning, but at the end we made close bonds with each other. The overseas educators challenged us everyday to get out of our comfort zones and we're there to supportive us. I am thankful for this opportunity because I learned a lot about myself, others, and new cultures.

India! Not what it seems

India! Not what it seems

5
Reviewed on 6/7/2016 by

I grew up a relatively poor kid in a household where my mom would work all day and night leaving my brother and I home alone. I never had anyone around that was building my confidence that much and I grew up not thinking many opportunities were for me. Only until recently in my life have I started thinking I am deserving of opportunities that I would not have thought were for me. Carpe Diem Education gave me an experience of a lifetime by allowing me to travel India and find the confidence within myself that was always there but not encouraged to shine. India was not on my top 3 choices of places to travel to but with my group, I had experiences that I will never again have and I thank Carpe for being the blessed origination that it is.

Within India

Within India

4
Reviewed on 5/26/2016 by

Within India I learned things I never even had the questions to. I learned things about myself and the country I was in and who I was within this country. Carpe Diem education does an amazing job making you feel secure and safe and learn how to trust yourself to manage your way around this country for three months. Because of this program I am confident enough to say I can travel anywhere on my own now! They were great teachers and I'm really grateful.

GO TO INDIA!

GO TO INDIA!

5
Reviewed on 5/26/2016 by

Carpe Diem Education has literally changed my life. i was already enrolled in college when i had applied. i was very hesitant but then something in me just told me to take a risk. best risk i could have ever taken. going to India was the first time that i have ever left my home. Being in India for 3 month made me feel at home there too. Carpe gave me the opportunity to see a world other than my own. i had the time of my life in India, which by the way is a phenomenal place. i had gotten the opportunity to learn about myself, others and an entirely new culture and new people and see so much beauty. if you are reading this, stop reading it and go sign up already! you will make a group of lifelong friends, and have a better understanding of who you really are. sounds magical right? seriously, go sign up! and tell your friends!

A trip of a lifetime!

A trip of a lifetime!

5
Reviewed on 5/22/2016 by

Carpe diem is so amazing. I spent a year traveling through southeast Asia and northern Africa with carpe and I learned a ton. I did my group semester in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia and then I traveled throughout Malaysia with one of my groupmates after. Carpe prepared me to be able to travel throughout a country I've never been to without fear. I then went and interned in Morocco for my second semester and grew professionally and personally.

East Africa

East Africa

5
Reviewed on 5/20/2016 by

I took part in the Spring 2012 East Africa Semester and not only do I not regret that decision but my appreciation for that trip continues to grow. I was uninterested in school from the start and barely made it through high school, did not even apply to any colleges, and did not plan on continuing my education. Then I heard about Carpe Diem Education and I decided to take part and it was worth it. I learned to love learning, the rewards of giving back, the freedoms of responsibility and independence, and the wonders of travel. I made friends and memories I will have for the rest of my life, found passion that has led me through school, and developed values that are central to my life. Carpe Diem is a well run organization with skillful passionate leaders and I am sure all of their trips are just as amazing as East Africa and I strongly suggest everyone who has the opportunity to partake in the trip that calls them.

Best three months of my life

Best three months of my life

5
Reviewed on 5/19/2016 by

My Walkabout South Pacific semester was by far the greatest three months of my life. Our leaders were not just knowledgable and responsible, they were adventurous and caring and they loved to help us all push our personal comfort levels, physically emotionally and mentally. Ryan and Cheridyn were a huge part of our Carpe family. And we were a family. Our little group of 12 strangers grew, with definite ups and downs, into the closest group of friends I've ever had. We talk daily, and had a reunion planned after a month apart. I feel close to my Carpe friends in aside way than friends from school and camp. Our connection grew out of trials and joys so different from anything we had experienced before. Maybe the greatest thing unique to Carpe Diem are the contacts we spent each week with, cultivated over years by Carpe staff. These relationships feel so personal and real, I can't believe I only had been with each group of people for one week. I'm so eternally grateful I chose Carpe for my gap year, and I love every person, skill, and memory I had after the three months were up.

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