Sustainable Development in Central America on a Carpe Diem Education Gap Year

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Spring '19 and Fall '19 Programs Now Open!

How will you carpe diem? Explore our gap year and semester programs in eight global regions this Spring '19 and Fall '19—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.


Learn about sustainable development and catch waves in the small coastal community of El Paredon. Practice Spanish with welcoming host families in rural Nicaragua. Get SCUBA certified in the sparkling turquoise waters of the Caribbean island of Roatan. Explore the diverse traditions of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Roatan in the tropical haven of Central America.

Experiential Education: Volunteer with a turtle conservation non-profit in Costa Rica; help patrol the beach so that baby turtles make their way back to the ocean.

Community: Live communally as a group and eat your meals with host families on a lush Guatemalan property that was once a coffee plantation.

Intercultural Exchange: Learn about sustainable living and organic agriculture while staying on a farm on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua.

Note: this is a 3-month long semester program.

As a Carpe Diem participant, you'll not only have access to our immersive, service-based programming and stellar staff -- but you can opt to also receive up to 18 college credits (an official transcript from Portland State University) and may be eligible for financial aid. We're one of the only Gap Year providers on the market that offers these options for a nominal fee.

Questions & Answers

That's a great question, and one I definitely asked myself before signing up with Carpe Diem Education. But after going on the trip and learning more about Carpe, I don't believe there is any typical student. I could pick a few defining characteristics of the students that go on Carpe Diem adventures. These would be a sense of adventure, a drive to explore new places, and a passion to learn not...


based on 16 reviews
  • Housing 9.1
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.1
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Carpe Diem changed my life!

Before going on this trip I had spent two years at college not knowing what I wanted to do with my life or where I was going. I lived in a little bubble with hardly any view on the real world. I had never left home for more than a week without my family and didn't go very far when picking a college.

From the moment I met my leaders and group at the airport I knew that this was going to be the best three months of my life, and I was right! My leaders were the most amazing two people in my entire life; they were so welcoming and interested in each one of us. They guided us through our ups and downs and made sure we were healthy and safe the entire way. They made sure that we were taken care of before they even thought about themselves! I now also have 10 other brothers and sisters in my life thanks to Carpe! My group members were just as amazing as my leaders were. I am so lucky to have met such amazing, beautiful people. I still keep in touch with them all the time!

The trip was just as wonderful as my fellow travelers. I felt completely safe the entire time I was away and got to experience things that most people never get to experience. From living in a hut that has no electricity and running water to scuba diving in the beautiful waters of Roatan, I loved every second of it. The people are so warm and welcoming and just want to teach you all about their culture. And I cant forget about the warm pan dulce or the fresh fruit.

If I could go back and do it again I would be jumping on a plane right now. I couldn't thank Carpe enough for this amazing experience that I had, it is something that I will never forget.

How can this program be improved?
I would not change one thing about Carpe!
Yes, I recommend this program


About Carpe Diem Education

Experiential education. Community. Intercultural exchange.

This is how we connect with and learn from the global communities we engage with—and how we are redefining what it means to embark on a meaningful gap year abroad. Learn a new language, live...