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

Video and Photos

SCUBA diving
SCUBA diving
angkor wat
angkor wat
Southeast Asia Angkor Wat
Southeast Asia Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Community-led volunteering
Community-led volunteering

About

Study Human Rights and Cultural Exchange with a community of students through the lens of experiential education. Our 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.

Highlights
  • Study Human Rights
  • Study Cultural Exchange
  • Study Theravada Buddhism
  • Thai Homestays
  • Service Learning

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we have expanded our refund policy

Now accepting applications for Fall 2020 semester programs and the 2020-2021 Latitudes Year.

If you apply for a Fall 2020 program, submit a deposit and decide on or before June 1st that you are not comfortable traveling for any reason, we will refund 100% of your deposit. There is no risk to you if you enroll in a program now and cancel by June 1st.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 8 reviews
  • Housing 8.9
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 8
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Audrey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best 3 months of my life!

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!!

What would you improve about this program?
Not being allowed to have phones was great, but I do have a critique with that. Often on our days in the city which was our time to get in the internet for contacting home and other needs, it was very hard, tiring, time consuming, and stressful to find internet cafes where we could use computers. Internet cafes are becoming less of a thing since most everyone has a smart phone. So I think it would be nice if Carpe Diem had a computer just for us stndents to use. Becuase often the rest days in the city were us running around stressed to find computer access.
Ahmad
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great time in Southeast Asia!

Carpe Mundi gave me an opportunity to look deeper inside myself. I would have never thought I would be possible for me to travel, but Carpe Mundi made it possible. They don’t just give you a chance to travel they also teach you the skills you need to travel. Meeting the people in Southeast Asia made me want to start calling it my second home because they made me feel at home. Southeast Asia was filled with wonderful things to do like visiting temples. One reason I chose Southeast Asia was to learn more about the Buddhist culture of Asia. Live amongst the people of Southeast Asia I brought back home a deeper understanding of Buddhism. For those considering this program be prepared to learn something about yourself and the world. Carpe Mundi is your starting line.

What would you improve about this program?
They could have more options for countries to travel to.
Ashley
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Southeast Asia

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.

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Dominique
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Most impactful 3 months

This trip was my first time ever leaving the country. I never knew what the world had to offer outside of my hometown. I had dreams of traveling as a young child but I never thought that one day my dream would come true. I never thought that I would have ever gotten the travel to travel abroad. With the help of Carpe Diem Education and Carpe Mundi I was able to live the dreams that I had for myself that I thought were impossible. I not only made the most amazing memories but I gained friendships and life skills that have helped me know Moreno about myself. I got to stay with families that I had no way of communicating with but we found ways to communicate and we’re so happy. I got to experience life away from home and gained independence to be able to eat alone, be in strange places, and got to experience foods that I have never had before. I enjoyed that throughout the travel, each student was assigned a specific “role” each week. This included transportation and accommodation, which was how we will get from point A to point B and where we will be staying. We gained skills and knowledge on how to budget, book hostels, and how to get bus/plane tickets. Along side exploring, it was a little intimidating but with the help of my Carpe Diem Educators I was able to get around town comfortably and safety and I knew how to contact them if there was ever an emergency. I learned that traveling is possible.

What would you improve about this program?
I loved everything about the program. I enjoyed being able to have times of indpendence but also structured time with other students in the group.
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Grace
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A life changing semester

My three months traveling as a student with Carpe Diem education were the happiest, most challenging, and most rewarding in my life. I discovered a profound love for international travel and gained the skills to travel the world alone or with friends. Carpe Diem's practice of education through independence promotes self-reliant young travelers and open-minded adults. They combine cultural immersion, service projects, and foreign sightseeing into a comprehensive immersive experience. I highly recommend this program for young adventurers looking to break out of the mainstream college experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Improved communication and assistance for students looking to do the Latitudes program. I was planning on participating in their Focused Volunteer Placement semester but rescinded my plans due to lack of support.
Read my full story
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Katherine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Incredible Experience

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.

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Amber
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision I ever made!

This trip was exactly what I was looking for in a gap year program. It gave me an incredible intro into how to travel in a foreign third world country and how plan and execute travel plans. After this trip I feel so much more confident in my ability to travel without a group, something which I am about to go off and do. I took the Carpe Diem trip to South East Asia. I had an incredible experience, and while the places we visited were absolutely incredible, the people and connections I made are what I value the most. Carpe has amazing connections and the homestay I did for ten days was the most memorable part of the trip for me. The group I had and the two leaders were also a big part of what made this trip so amazing. My group was nothing like I expected and everyone was for the most part very different, but we all got along and I have made incredible strong friendships that I will keep forever. Having the support of this group made traveling that much more fun and was a great learning experience on its own. Our group leaders were the most incredible human beings I have ver met. They both have amazing experience, great stories, so much love for what they do and for the group. They were so awesome at getting us to be excited and to smoothing things over when they became rocky. I owe so much of my growth and learning to their facilitation and support.

What would you improve about this program?
I think this program needs to have a week of time for the group to be back in the US and reflect together before going home. I know other programs have this and i think it would be really helpful for student to get more support as they reintegrate back home.
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Seth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Carpe Diem is the best decision I have ever made

I learned invaluable perspective and really felt immersed into SE Asian culture. I did other programs, none of which measured up to the experience I had with Carpe. I changed so much over the program and i wouldn't trade my experience for anything. My leaders were some of the most intelligent and thoughtful people I have ever met. They taught me so much of what it means to be a traveler and a world citizen. I would recommend this program highly for anyone looking for a meaningful experience. My gap year was no contest the most transformative year i have ever had.

A message to those thinking about choosing Carpe Diem,

This program is one of a kind, you will have an amazing time, make amazing friends and will never be the same. Do not hesitate to take a gap year, college will always be waiting for you when you return from your experience.

Safe travels!

What would you improve about this program?
If I could change one thing, I would have done two Carpe trips back to back. For the program itself, I wouldn't change a thing.