Carpe Diem Education | South Pacific Semester: Environmental Conservation & Leadership

Video and Photos

Hiking in the Australian outback
Hiking in New Zealand
Fijian Homestay
Organic Farming
Organic Farming
Organic Farming
Organic Farming
Walkabout
Walkabout
Learn the Māori Haka
Learn the Māori Haka
New Zealand
New Zealand

About

Study environmental conservation and leadership all within the experiential wonderland of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

In New Zealand, Students will experience indigenous Māori culture while living on a marae (community grounds). Learn about local environmental and social activism movements specific to indigenous rights, hiking the famed Abel Tasman, living on an organic farm, and learning about sustainability and regenerative practices.

In Fiji, get SCUBA certified in the colorful waters off the coast of Savusavu. Experience Fijian culture in a remote village homestay, working alongside locals on community projects.

In Australia, work alongside accomplished scientists in the largest continuous rainforest in Australia, learning about environmental conservation and habitat restoration. Spend a few days in a spiritual retreat, reflecting on what you have learned and preparing for your journey home.

Highlights
  • Study and volunteer with a Māori community in New Zealand
  • Engage in environmental conservation efforts
  • Learn about organic farming and sustainability
  • Experience authentic Fijian culture in a remote village homestay
  • Earn your SCUBA Certification off the coast of Savusavu

Accepting Applications Now for Fall 2020 Semesters and the 2020-2021 Latitudes Year!

How will you Carpe Diem? Explore our gap year and semester programs in eight global regions in 2020-2021 - all while earning all while earning college credit!

Did you know we offer three different types of scholarships? Click the "Learn More" link below and discover how to make your gap year affordable.

Questions & Answers

I would say so, I am finishing my college degree now in Film and Communications, and all of my friends in the program have also gone onto finishing their degrees! It's very easy to transfer to where you want to go.

Reviews

93%
based on 19 reviews
  • Housing 8.7
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 15 of 19
Hunter
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hongi Fall 2019 ~ Fiji, New Zealand, & Australia

I come from a town in Colorado where taking a gap year has never really been heard of. I remember sitting through classes during my junior year of high school thinking about how much I didn't want to go to college but had no idea on how to justify that to my family. Then, I found Carpe Diem.
I cannot even begin to explain how profoundly this past semester has impacted my life. I have had some of the most impactful experiences this semester--like in our remote Fijian village, at our yoga/meditation retreat in Australia, and in the Great Barrier Reef. I went into this program with uncertainty, fear, and loss of direction; I have left Carpe as a completely changed individual. I have gained so many new values I now carry into my day-to-day life. I feel exceptionally confident in my abilities as a solo traveler. I have made friends on this program that I still talk to everyday. If you are looking for an exceptional gap year program that will seriously challenge the way you think about the world (and life, for that matter), Carpe Diem is it.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I personally didn't eat it--you know, being vegan and all--but on our last day at our Fijian village homestays, the nanas cooked us a manta ray curry. People who ate it said it felt kind of rubbery and tasted like chicken, haha!
Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hongi 2019~ the most impactful 3 month journey of my life

My time with Carpe in the South Pacific was nothing short of magical and amazing! We had several placements, teaching us about sustainability and culture, each fueling my passion of environmental justice. My favorite placements were the Hart farm and Sheoak Ridge. The Hart farm taught me so much about sustainable agriculture, mindful eating, and the true power of love. Sheoak Ridge was a nature reserve in Australia, where I learned what it means to have a true allyship with the land you live on and the indigenous people who it was stolen from, while having the perk of hanging out with wallabies! My time with Carpe was deeply transformative and I feel like I have a much better grasp on what my future can be. I recommend this program for anyone with an open mind, an urge to learn and a willingness to grow.

What was your funniest moment?
When one of the wallabies came to our camp at Sheoak Ridge and started doing a mating dance toward one of my group members. This was hilarious and it amazed me that I was just living alongside wallabies.
Caoimhe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Pacific Adventures

Woooow. A three month era I will truly treasure for the rest of my life! I met some truly inspiring people on this trip, both within the group and with our hosts, guides, newfound friends, and acquaintances throughout the semester. After sharing ups (the otherworldly Outback stars, scuba diving in the vibrant reefs of Fiji, hiking through the astounding hills of the Abel Tasman in New Zealand), downs (travel days), stories, and most prominently, laughs, our group became a family. Our leaders were fantastic, not only in guiding us through the semester, but in teaching us things to take with us for life. Sarah and Paff both made individual lasting impressions on me as people and as leaders. This trip taught me to see the world in a more positive light, taught me to engage with the world around me, and to value every moment spent with the people and in the places I love. This is a program I would recommend to absolutely anyone looking for an eye-opening gap year experience.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Student directed travel would definitely have been better planned given a second chance. Still made for great memories.
Cooper
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

WOW

Hands down the most meaningful and powerful journey I’ve ever been on. Carpe does an incredible job of making the students experience as educational, inspirational and fun as possible. The contacts you meet with are all incredible people who teach you invaluable life skills as long as the skills to become a great traveller. I’ve been trying to decide which part of the journey was my favorite but each country and each city had its own uniquely beautiful qualities. The Carpe Overseas Educators were not only incredible educators, they were two of the most intelligent, wise and fun people I’ve ever met and the overall adventure was greatly improved by their leadership skills and genuine love of exploring. To anyone considering Carpe Diem for their gap year, it was the perfect choice for me and I feel incredibly I found a program like that. Seize the day!

What would you improve about this program?
The student directed travel section was a little rocky but all turned out well in the end.
Alex
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

"Oh the Place you'll go"

Oh the places you can go...
what an incredible time I had in the great South Pacific!! I can't thank Carpe Diem enough for giving the best people and the greatest leaders a girl could ask for. The things we did were absolutely incredible. I can't imagine going anywhere else with anyone else. I had the most amazing experience at the homestay and I would definitely by far say it was one of my favorite moments throughout our trip. However, the Outback was insane. Our tour guide, Guy, couldn't have been any more friendlier than he was and the places he took us were out of this world. If I were you I would go on one of these trips because you won't get to experience something like this. My leaders were maybe one of the two most incredible people you will ever meet. They taught me so much and I learned a lot from them. At first, its weird meeting new people for the first time but this group instantly became really close. Everyone at the airport was super friendly and willing to try new thins. No one was ever afraid of being themselves because you never know what someone else might be going through.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly this program was everything I thought it would be. It showed me how to be a stronger person both individually and within a group.
Aislinn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It's an experience alright!

I've been globetrotting my whole life, but there comes a point where you gotta do something by yourself, and 13 others.

Before this trip I never did anything remotely outdoorsy, never camped, or hiked, or backpacked- nothing! But after these action packed 3 months, I feel pretty confident doing any of those things now, and I actually enjoy them! If you can believe it, I never did any group activities either! So the most challenging part for was learning to live with 13 total strangers. It was a bit daunting at times, especially when someone was feeling down, but we always managed to pull through. And those 13 strangers became like family, the more I got to know them. My group with Carpe helped me grow into a more self sufficient, and confident traveler over the past semester, and I can't thank everyone enough who helped put this program together!

What would you improve about this program?
I would've appreciated more of a balence in regards to the stay durations in countries.
Tera
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Latitudes Adventure

I knew Carpe Diem was the perfect fit for me when I read how valuable education, new experiences, and community was to each of their programs. Carpe accepts students who can take optional online college credits, and expands the minds of each student in a way I didn't think was possible. Starting in Portland, Carpe gives a crash course on traveling to that semester's student community, before the leave with their leaders into parts unknown. Traveling with the leaders is entirely safe, because they already have a plethora of countries under their belt, but they also won't coddle you when traveling, which proved to encourage the most growth in my case. Traveling through the South Pacific, I learned more about myself in those three months than I had in almost all of high school. I made lifelong friends within my group, and got cultural experiences I never would have set up on my own. We learned the values of hard work and volunteering, of team building and how to maneuver around a place where you can't speak the language. Living in foreign countries prepared me to live on my own here in America, it made me feel like I could do anything. Next, I traveled alone to Thailand after coming home for Christmas. If you're in the Latitudes Program, you get to choose what country and which organization you want to volunteer for. The process was very easy, my councilor Simone, was a magic maker when it came to checking off every wish I had to experience Thailand. It was scary at first, traveling alone to a country like I did, having to make your own way. But now I am fiercely independent: I can mange money, find a place to stay, good food to eat, all the while never speaking a word of Thai other than thanks and hello (still hard to say though). If I could do it all again, I would. The seven months I spent traveling were the best months of my life. I learned to most, felt the most, and lived the most in those days, and I hold those invaluable memories close to me everyday.

What would you improve about this program?
More leniency on the Sacred Six rules for traveling, but they are definitely in place for a reason.
Benjamin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lemons into Amazing Lemonade

Before I came on this trip, I had no interest in gap years or semesters or any of that. I just thought they were a waste of time and that I'm missing out on being in college. Yet as fate would have had it, I was accepted as a spring admit and would not be starting school until the spring. My mother found the organization and at first I really only had any interest in visiting Australia. Somehow they managed to convince my stubborn self to apply. When I was told I was accepted, it was more or less set in stone. This trip soon became the trip of a lifetime. I absolutely loved everyone in my group, my leaders were amazing, helpful and hilarious. We did activities that I would have never done back home such as mountaineering, or walking through a swamp (yet I lost a game to do the latter ;) It was a three month dry program to New Zealand, Fiji, and Australia. We weren't allowed Wi-Fi compatible devices and drinking would have gotten us sent home. Yet those kind of rules just made the trip so much more fun. Without the alcohol, we were all safer and actually happier and the no devices made us interact with each other. I had an unbelievably amazing time on this trip, and I had to come home and tell my mother that she was right at the end of it all. If you are even remotely interested in doing a gap year or gap semester I couldn't recommend Carpe Diem more to you. It was without a doubt the trip of a lifetime, and some amazing lemonade born from some pretty sour lemons.

What would you improve about this program?
Probably the length. 3 months to me just didn't seem like enough time with the people I now call family. Yet 3 months also seemed like a good amount so that's about it
Brooke
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

This was a life changing experience. From the travel and adventure, to the friends I made along the way, I wouldn't change a thing. This experience truly changed my perspective and expectations for the world, and I leave with life long friends. While sometimes there were things that were HORRIBLE, like sitting on a hot bus next to an overweight Fijian with their sweaty armpit rubbing against you for hours, the good EASILY outweigh the bad. New foods, hiking, scuba diving, yoga retreats, community service, amazing people and so much more!

Maddy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The most exciting three months of your life

A semester with Carpe is quite the adventure. I am still amazed by how much we packed into 87 days- it felt like a year. I loved having something new to do each day or every few days, and how there was such a variety in the places we stayed and things we did. Some favorites for my group was attempting to ascend Mt. Doom in New Zealand, hanging out on a secluded island in Fiji, and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. The trip leaders were great, and the wonderful staff back in Portland were always accessible and willing to help. A big plus for me was the fact that I got college credit for going to all of these rad places and not having to sit in a classroom...that is a truly unique opportunity that not many other programs offer. I would recommend a Carpe trip to anyone looking to take a break from school, gain some travel skills, get some credit, or see the guaranteed best night sky you will ever lay your eyes upon. Also, you might get to hold a koala. So there's that.

What would you improve about this program?
I would change some of the plane legs to bus or train rides- I know there's a time constraint, but Aus and NZ are so scenic!
Evin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing

This was the absolute best three months I have ever had! Do it! I never to expect to have as good a time I did. I have had awesome adventure and made lifelong friends. Carpe offers a unique experience!

Ana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Life Changing Experience

There are countless memories I have been fortunate enough to have with my Carpe Diem group.

The leaders met with our group at LAX with open arms. I enjoyed the beginning of our group orientation. We started with group activities which allowed us to ease into our 3-month long journey. With a small group we were all able to get to know each other well.

The hardest part of the trip varies from person to person. For me there was a lot of growth from within myself that wouldn't have happened had I not been challenged to reach outside my comfort zone. I felt comfortable enough to do this with supportive leaders and an openly communicative group.

I went on this trip because it was not a traditional study abroad program. I was able to gain social skills and life skills that I would not have gained if I had stayed inside a classroom. Carpe Diem encourages you to get out there and be in active participant, not a passive one. This was one of my favorite semesters of my college experience and I don't regret a minute of it!

benjaminburns
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Meaningful Experience

I had the pleasure of traveling to India with Carpe Diem in the Fall of 2011, and extending my experience to a solo trip into the Peruvian Amazon for the Spring of 2012. I can whole heartedly say that those 7 or so months spent under the experienced and worldly wing of Carpe are the most meaningful I've lived thus far - and they give meaning, and will continue to give meaning to my life as I live it presently. Traveling through Carpe has given me the maturity and responsibility (socially, environmentally, morally) that allows me to lead a conscious and fulfilling life of perpetual learning, in and out of school.
The staff of kindred souls are exactly the people you'd want guiding you through a foreign experience, both in person and from afar. I can testify to their dedication towards their students having spent three months in a remote location, still feeling confident and safe in my adventurous endeavors.

The most important part about Carpe Diem Education, I think, is their ability to facilitate a self-reliance within their students, allowing them to experience and interpret their travels first hand, while making sure important logistical, social, and medical issues are taken care of. I can speak personally to Carpe's ability to handle a medical situation having undergone several physical setbacks throughout my travels with them. And here I stand, a better, and healthier man for it. My only wish is that more students faced with an immediate college decision process could be exposed to what Carpe has to offer them - transforming souls in partial infancy to responsible, sustainable world citizens.

Bridget
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Quality education and leadership development

Since completing my course with Carpe Diem back in 2007, I still regularly catch myself in reflection of my experiences and lessons learned while traveling with Carpe. Not only did I learn how to handle myself and others in quite dynamic and unpredictable situations, but I also built up a whole new realm of confidence and courage within myself.

The staff at Carpe Diem is high quality, intentionally, and beyond helpful. I am still in close contact with the leaders from my trip, as well as the lovely folks in the office. The staff genuinely cares about the well-being of ever student and works hard to maintain meaningful relationships with both students and parents.

I always felt safe and in good hands throughout my travels. At one point I did become quite sick, and immediate precautions were taken in order to see that I was cared for and treated properly.

To this day I am constantly recommending Carpe Diem to others. Keep up the great program, Carpe!

Carpe123
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best way to learn

I spent a semester after I graduated high school with Carpe Diem Education. During my time on this trip I learned a lot about myself and about the world. I was immersed in many different communities and cultures which allowed me to learn in the most hands on experience possible.

Prior to this trip the only time I have been out of the country was to Canada and I have not traveled very much and never alone. However on this trip I learned how to be independent. As students we took on a lot of responsibility and learned all aspects of travel. I now feel confident making any type of travel arrangement, thanks to my time with Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem also made me a more independent and confident person in general.

While we were traveling we were able to do many once in a lifetime experiences which I constantly tell stories about. From staying in a Fijian village, to climbing Mt. Doom from Lord of the Rings, to sleeping under the stars in the Australian
Outback. Carpe Diem has given me the best memories that I could ever ask for.