Carpe Diem Education | Central America Semester: Sustainability & Spanish Immersion

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Carpe Diem Education has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

Our host families wanted to treat us to a traditional meal, so they dressed us up in traditional clothing and fed us the most amazing food. I felt like a princess when all the women in the village were trying to help me get dressed and doing my hair and laughing because I was too tall for the skirt.
The baby turtle I found in the sand in Costa Rica. I named him Beans and released him into the ocean once the sun went down and his instincts kicked in.

About

Learn about Sustainability and immerse yourself in Spanish language over the course of Carpe Diem's Central America semester. Students explore complex issues of sustainability through a variety of conservation projects and educational experiences. Learn about endangered marine life while getting an Open Water SCUBA certification, and help protect natural coastlines and turtle nesting sites while working with marine biologists. We strive to make sustainability projects real by partnering with communities and organizations that are pioneering responsible and innovative ways to approach sustainable development.

Students immerse themselves in Spanish language by living with host families and studying in one-on-on or small-group classes periodically throughout the program. Students will also use their Spanish to explore cross-cultural understanding with partner organizations during volunteer projects, as well as have opportunities to speak Spanish with local communities every day!

Highlights
  • Sustainability
  • Spanish Immersion
  • SCUBA Certification
  • Spiritual Retreat
  • Homestay Immersion

Limited Space Available on our Fall 2020 US Borderlands program!

Now accepting applications for our Fall 2020 domestic program: Semester in the Borderlands and Spring 2021 international programs!

Join us in the Borderlands this fall to learn more about the issues facing communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Discover the role that climate change plays in current and future decision-making and the degree to which political boundaries impact the lives of people and communities on both sides of the border.

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...

Reviews

9.64 Rating
based on 22 reviews
  • Housing 9.2
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 9 - 16 of 22
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victoria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

great time

i had an amazing experience on my trip! i was very nervous at first but then towards the end realized how amazing it was and all the great people and memories i have and met over the course of 3 months. it was very eye opening and empowering! i recommend this trip or any other gap year program to everyone! I did wind up getting hurt on this trip and they brought me to every doctor i needed to understand my injury, then they sent me home and the leaders of the trip were able to let me come back on the trip and finish it out if i was cleared by a doctor! i went through many obsticles and through my trip i was able to face some fears and overcome some of th harder things in my life! Over all the greatest time of my life

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly don’t believe this program could be improved at all it was everything i’ve ever looked for and wanted in a program!
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Jillian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Probably my life peak

An amazing program!! Incredible balance between service, education (Spanish, sustainability, local history/culture), and adventure. Great group dynamics and leaders make sure everyone bonds and had a variety of workshops for us throughout the semester. Got to participate in a variety of leadership roles, and learned a bunch of Spanish after barely knowing any going in. Always felt safe, but you still have to be smart. From scuba diving to camping next to an active volcano, everyday on carpe was an adventure.

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Estelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

Carpe Diem had every aspect of a Gap Year I was looking for. The price is amazing. I was able to take up to 18 credits a semester that were able to be transferred to my university at almost half the cost of a semester in college. Carpe Diem takes their students experience very seriously and adjust the program based on our feedback. This past semester, my group rated one of our activities poorly, and adjusted the schedule accordingly. The basis of the program is that the first semester, students spend with a group of about 10-12 other students and two Overseas Educators, or OE’s. The OE’s were extremely supportive and clearly cared about every person in the group. They gave us freedom to explore cities and surrounding areas when we had time and made sure we were safe in doing so. They taught me so much about international travel and ways to do that safely and in a cost effective manner. They pushed me intellectually and opened my eyes to many perspectives I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. As for the group dynamic, it was great! My group was insanely lucky and we were all very close. I have seen 4 of my friends since then and still keep in close touch with them! The first semester is spent traveling around almost every week. I never felt bored or rushed when we left areas, and I was always excited for the next place we were going. We spent 4 weeks doing Spanish classes and homestays and I learned more in those 4 weeks than I ever did in 3 years of high school Spanish. It is easy to learn in that environment and you don’t have to have any Spanish language skills prior to the trip to go! The Central America trip does a great job tying in learning Spanish with learning about community development and environmental sustainability. The second semester is an independent semester spent volunteering with one organization. My placement was in Roatan, Honduras where I worked to get my divemaster. That experience taught me so much about myself and helped me with my confidence in ways I didn’t think it would. Overall, my year was amazing and worth every penny. I highly recommend this program to anyone looking to take a semester or year abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
It can’t be
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April
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Traveling through Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Traveling throughout Nicaragua and Costa Rica for two months changed my life. I traveled with an all female cohort. It definitely was stressful a lot of the time because of all the hormones but it was one f the best experiences I’ve had. I stayed with host families. One family which I’m still in contact with. Ate soooo many new and amazing foods. Traveled to places I would have never been able to go to if it wasn’t for Carpe Diem. I learned a lot about the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican cultural as well. Being there during Easter was an experience to remember for a life time. I went to church and walked in a procession. Before this trip I had traveled a little before, both in and out of the country. I did have a great time, most of the time that is. There were plenty of ups but also there were some downs. I twisted my ankle pretty bad the second day I was in Nicaragua. And broke my toe about 3 weeks before we left the country. These injuries didn’t stop me from doing much though. I still had lots of fun wether a few things had to be altered or not. This trip though changed my views on many things; other travelers, traveling to Spanish speaking countries, trying new foods, how to communicate better, and change with in myself. Because of the experience I got traveling in Nicaragua and Costa Rica makes me want to go back that much more. I’m already planning out my next adventures there. Thanks Carpe Diem for all that you offer.

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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Pushed Boundaries

I had such an incredible time on my semester with Carpe Diem. Our group did 5 weeks worth of home stays with local families which at first scared the hell out of me, but ended up being one of the most impactful experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Carpe pushes me not just to learn a new language but to put it to use in the most immersive way possible, and I am so happy to have had that experience.

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Emmy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The most amazing semester of your life!

Carpe Diem Education gave me the most incredible semester filled with fun, service, experiential-learning, and life-long friends. I did service projects, took Spanish classes, lived with home-stay families, hiked volcanoes, made chocolate, went SCUBA diving, helped with sea turtle conservation, went surfing, and experienced the beautiful nature and landscapes of Central America. I learned how to be a global citizen by being immersed in other cultures, and I realized how much we take for granted in our society, and I am so grateful for so much more now. I had the best semester of my life because of Carpe Diem Education and how much it taught me about other cultures, the world, and about who I am and who I want to be.

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Peyton
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A New Perspective

My trip to Centroamérica gave me a new perspective. I picked this program because of the different options and diversity that it offers. Carpe Diem Education encourages students to travel consciously, we not only learn explore as a traveler (not a tourist), but we also learn about ourselves and how we fit in a group dynamic. Through my exploration in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, I had the opportunity to learn Spanish, engage in outdoor adventures, and participated in service learning. I gained a new perspective through community developing and service-learning projects. One of my biggest take away from my trip was that there is no rush. It is okay that I did not know what I want to do with my life, as long as I keep exploring my options, I will find a purpose. In my trip, I found my passion in helping others through interactions with host families, partner organizations, and my group members. I learned the styles of how I communicate and how others perceive me, along with the mindfulness of other cultures and diversity around me.

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Jillian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

No Expectations

"Okay bye mom, love you, gotta go to Guatemala. I'll see you in three months!" Yeah. It didn't set in until i was flying over the mountainous landscapes of Central America, and a stranger was sitting next to me, not my mom. However, when traveling, strangers quickly become family. Oh man, I didn't know what to expect. I had been to Central America in the past, for a short 10 tens, but this was three months I was looking at! I let it be though. I figured that all of the wonderful colors I would see, music I would hear, and people I would meet were going to be new experiences. That is exactly what they were. Peers around me, they had expectations. They wanted to learn something specific, or "find themselves" well, you just can't set your mind up for that. Halfway through the trip I had to seperate myself when they would begin to speak of excitement of going home. If you live in the moment, ask questions, and respectfully experience the culture in your comfort zone, and out of it then you are going to have a remarkable adventure. I am writing this review in regards to a magnificent program. Time for independent learning, time for mountain climbing, time for beachin it, time for hard work, time for yoga, time for love, time for laughter. Always remember to advocate for yourself, this is your trip!

What would you improve about this program?
This program does a great job at emphasizing the importance of feedback by alumni to improve their program. One of the many reasons I am writing this review!