Community, Sustainability & Adventure in Ecuador & Peru - Carpe Diem Education Gap Year

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Introducing: New Semester Program!

We are exploring new frontiers! We're excited to announce a 3-month semester program in Morocco & Spain. If trekking in the Atlas mountains, living with a host family in Marrakech, and working with a NGO focused on supporting the migrant community in Spain sounds interesting to you, dive deeper by clicking the link below.


Trek to the sprawling Incan ruins at Machu Picchu. Try your hand at bartering in the indigenous markets of Otavalo. See why people from the far corners of the earth flock to experience the misty mountain terrain—and uncover the best-kept secrets—of Ecuador and Peru.

Experiential Education: Discover traditional music, hike near the surrounding lakes and waterfalls, and visit the traditional market in Peguche. Study with a Peruvian yogi and learn about meditation, vedic astrology, and ayurveda.

Community: Live with local families, experience traditional, rural Ecuadorian life, and learn about the political issues affecting communities in the cloud forest community of Pucara.

Intercultural Education: Learn about natural building, sustainable agriculture, and organic banana farming in small communities on the Ecuadorian coast. Participate in Spanish classes and help in the local schools of Baños with arts and English teaching.

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


based on 2 reviews
  • Housing 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
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More than I ever thought it would be

My experience in South America was literally life-changing. I had never been away from home longer than 2 weeks, so 3 months of traveling was a huge step. Through bouts of homesickness and illness, the Carpe leaders and administration in Portland were invaluable. More than that, the experiences I had and the growth I experienced has changed me, my priorities, and my perspective for the rest of my life. Carpe has shaped my life and impacted what I am studying and where I want to travel next, and gave me some of the best friends I have. It's rustic, sometimes dirty, there's no drinking and a lot of work, but you meet the best people and become a better person yourself. I can't recommend it enough.

How can this program be improved?
The living situations did get *very* rustic, where there wouldn't be a working shower. But again, in retrospect, that enhanced my experience.
Yes, I recommend
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You can do it, even if you think you can't

Not once have I wanted to travel, especially for 3 months. Yet, here I am, reflecting back on my 12 week adventure through Ecuador and Peru with Carpe Diem Education. It was a roller coaster of incredible life experiences.

I traveled with 11 other students, and 2 leaders. I absolutely loved the group environment. Every one of us were so incredibly different, and yet we all clicked. Our leaders, Ryan and Cheridyn, kept us all together. I could not have survived the whole three months away from my family if it were not for their constant love, support, and encouragement. They managed to balance being our leaders and our friends.

My favorite part about Carpe Diem was the freedom that we all had, but also the structure that the program provided. I never felt like a child just following other people's lead. While we had leaders and wonderful people back home making sure everything went smoothly, we were really in charge of our trip and making the most of all of our experiences. They worked hard to not just tell us what to do, but instead they taught us how to travel ourselves. Before the trip I would not have ever considered traveling by myself, but now I can't stop thinking about where I will go next.

The Peruvian Amazon was my favorite location, but Cusco was also incredible. I can think of amazing things from every location we visited, especially Machu Picchu (the 5 day hike was a little rough, but worth it).

I cannot say enough good things about Carpe Diem Education and the wonderful families we met throughout our trip.

How can this program be improved?
Homestays were not my favorite, especially since we were only with the families for 1-2 weeks. It was hard to really get to know them.
Yes, I recommend

About Carpe Diem Education

Experiential education. Community. Intercultural exchange.'s how we connect and give back to the global communities we interact with. It's how we're redefining what it means to embark on a meaningful gap year abroad. Learn a foreign language,...