My daughter went on the Carpe Diem Cuba trip in the Spring of 2017. It was clearly a wonderful experience for her. There were 10 students on the trip with two overseas educators. The educators were very supportive and struck a good balance betweeen giving the students independence, responsibility and structure. The range of experiences they had was amazing - trekking, Spanish classes, dancing and music lessons, caving, snorkeling, service learning on farms and in classrooms. They met a huge variety of interesting people, from the Cuban families who ran the "casas" they stayed in to students at the dance school they studied at to a Santeria priest who made a prediction about each of their futures. My daughter told me that the trip was as much about personal development as it was about traveling and experiencing another culture, and that the personal development was facilitated by both the educators and the other students on the trip. The students and educators became very close over the course of the three month trip. I was surprised by how little friction there seems to have been among them given how much time they spent together, often in close quarters, and I suspect the skill of the educators in building a positive group dynamic played a significant role. The staff at Carpe Diem are great and I never felt as if the group didn't have the support it needed, despite the fact that it is still not trivial to communicate and organize travel in Cuba.
My daughter says she is extremely glad she did the trip and that she would strongly recommend Carpe Diem - and the Cuba Chango trip in particular - to anyone even remotely considering doing a gap program. (She plans to write her own review as well.) From a parent's perspective, I would definitely second her strongly positive recommendation. This was clearly an important learning and growing experience for her and something she will be able to draw on for the rest of her life. You will get to follow your child's adventures on the Carpe Diem blog - and by occasional email or chat messages - but as there is limited wifi access your child will also be unplugged for three months, something that my daughter confessed was another good part of the experience.
Carpe Diem is a wonderful organization!