Explore Our 2024 Guide to Gap Year Programs!

    Carpe Diem Education | Southeast Asia Semester: Human Rights & Cultural Exchange

    Carpe Diem Education | Southeast Asia Semester: Human Rights & Cultural Exchange


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destinations: Cambodia, Thailand
    • Credit Awarded: College
    • Program Length: Semester
    • Start Month: February, September
    • Category: Travel/Cultural Immersion
    • Selective: No
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Homestay, Other
    • Application Fee: $100
    • Accreditation: Gap Year Association - Program
    • Affiliation: Gap Year Association
    • Financial Aid: Grants/Scholarships, Other, Payment Terms
    • Minimum Cost: $10,000 - $20,000
    • Call: (877) 285-1808
    • Meeting: Schedule a Meeting
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    Write a Review


    A region marked by vibrant green rice fields, jungle forests, competing environmental needs, incredible history, profound religious beliefs, and diverse hill tribe communities: each country offers a unique cultural experience. Modern challenges include urban expansion, industrialization, Indigenous land rights, and equal access to resources. This region is perfect for exploring history, human rights, and sustainability.

    This 6-week program travels from the Thai temples and old walled city of Chiang Mai to the Cambodian UNESCO world-heritage center of Angkor Wat; from the mountainous jungles of northern Thailand to the clear ocean waters of the country’s famed southern islands. This region is rich with the warmth and hospitality of its people, but also complex with history and present-day challenges affecting those same people.

    • Grasp self-sustaining agricultural practices: Join your hosts in learning more about permaculture and localized food systems that support their self-sustaining communities
    • Grab your boots: Trek through the jungle and stop to visit our local contacts in remote hill tribe communities in northern Thailand
    • Immerse yourself: Stay with host families in remote communities, learning by doing and taking on their way of life
    • Scope out the city: Explore Cambodia's capital to provide more context for the history and traditions of the nation
    • Go back in time: Walk through the temple complex of Angkor Wat with a historical lens and use these experiences to reflect inward


    Cost and Session Information

    Price Details

    Fall 2024 (42 days): $9,900

    Spring 2025 (42 days): $9,900

    Program tuition includes all planned meals, accommodations, scheduled program activities, internal program transport, and international medical+evacuation insurance for the duration of the program. International airfare (est. $1,300-$1,500), internal flight (est. $150-$250), visa fees (est. $120), and spending money (est. $200) are extra.

    What's Included
    Airport Transfers 
    Travel Insurance

    What's Not Included


    • 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!!

      - Audrey - December 10, 2019
    • 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.

      - Ashley - February 19, 2019
    • 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.

      - Katherine - December 19, 2017