Location
Multiple Locations +2
  • Italy
  • Greece
Length
12 - 26 weeks
Program Tags
Adventure Travel Arts College Credit Conservation Cultural Immersion Hands-On Learning Language Immersion Social Justice Study Abroad Volunteer Abroad Wilderness +1

Program Details

Activities
Animal Viewing City Exploring Farming
Timeframe
Fall Spring
Housing
Guesthouse Hostel
Primary Language
Italian
Age Min.
17

Pricing

Starting Price
16400
Price Details
Program tuition includes all food, accommodations, scheduled program activities, and international travel insurance for the duration of the program. International airfare and spending money are extra. International airfare estimated at $1400 - $1600.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Equipment Meals Park Fees Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare Some Equipment SIM cards
Oct 13, 2021
May 29, 2022
21 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Spend your gap semester in Italy & Greece! Our Italy & Greece semester is designed to open your eyes to the realities of climate change while also learning about and exploring the proactive and life-affirming ways that we can overcome our current and future environmental challenges.

The semester begins in Bologna, Italy where you will have a chance to begin studying Italian and explore local cultural sites. You'll then head to the countryside to participate in the annual grape harvest and work with a community that is reclaiming abandoned orchards and vineyards in an effort to revitalize land-based community agriculture. Spend a week or two in Matera, Italy and then you will have an opportunity to participate in a 5-day safari in Abruzzo National Park before taking the ferry to Greece. In Greece you will have the opportunity to practice your language skills, partner with an eco-center to learn more about the concert of "re-greening" and then spend your final week exploring Crete!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Program orientation in Bologna, Italy: begin your language study, prepare for the semester ahead and explore local cultural sites
  • Sustainable agriculture and grape harvesting in Antella, Italy: help with the annual grape harvest, learn about Italian cooking and meet local environmental activists
  • Engage in a 5-day, fully guided wildlife safari in stunning Abruzzo National Park.
  • Greek language and culture study in Athens, Greece: Begin studying Greek and visit local cultural sites
  • Exploration of Crete and other Greek islands: snorkel at Mochlos, island hop and head back to Athens to fly home!

Scholarships

Carpe Diem Education Scholarships

Carpe Diem Education awards $30,000 annually to support diversity and inclusion in its programs. The Access Scholarship provides up to $5,000 for a gap year semester or full-year experience. The Inclusion Scholarship offers up to $2,000 for a gap year semester. The Carpe Mundi Scholarship is for Portland-based students. Grants are mostly need-based, and applications open in January.

Current Jobs

View the latest job postings by Carpe Diem Education.

Program Reviews

9.11 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 88.89%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 11.11%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Housing 9.2
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 8 of 9 reviews
Default avatar
Cedar
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventures Abroad

I absolutely loved my experience in Italy and Greece with Carpe Diem. The program is a beautiful blend of city and rural living, and the contacts we met along the way were truly amazing. This program is an excellent way to experience Europe in a diverse way, in a manner that would have been impossible for me to do on my own. The Oversee Educators were supportive and fun, and it was beautiful to connect deeply with a group of students from across the United States. My one critique of the program is that our travels weren't framed through the lens of environmentalism or climate change. There were some places and people who framed it that way (Regreen, Carly the Archeobotanist) but for a program advertised as environmentally focused it could have leaned more heavily that way. Overall, I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone looking to expand their horizons and take a hiatus from the USA.

1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sam
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What an amazing trip!

This trip was amazing! The programming could barely have been better. All the parters we worked with were so interesting and showed different perspectives on issues in one way or another. Xeno was so fun the first two weeks. Living in a half abandoned village, being cooked for by a greek woman for every meal. The trek we did in tuscany was so rewarding and beautiful. We loved our guides Lauren and Luca and all the parters we met along the way! (bread making, learning about medieval living and more!) There a very good balance between cities and country (although i would have liked a couple more days in rome) and it was staggered city, country, city, etc. I got so lucky with my group and OEs and have made friends for life!

Pros
  • amazing partners
  • Great activities
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Vivienne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Trip!

I’m so thankful for this experience because the collection of local contacts allowed me to experience and interact with a variety of unique perspectives and lifestyles that I otherwise would have never been able to encounter. I feel that in particular this experience was perfect for the transition between high school and college and adulthood because it opened my eyes to a plethora of different future paths and highlighted my values in a profound way. I loved all of the group members and leaders, and I felt that it was such a supportive community where I could try new things and challenge myself without judgment. The OEs did a fantastic job supporting us and I felt like I learned so much about travel from both of them.

What would you improve about this program?
If I were to change anything about the program, I would have us spend more time on the farms and in rural areas. While our time in the cities was wonderful and we were able to see and do incredible things, I loved getting to be immersed in the communities on the farms and connecting with people there because it was a great way to hear different perspectives and get an authentic experience with the local culture. I would’ve loved more time to really integrate into the pace in those communities and deepen those connections.
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
David
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable experience

This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s difficult to really put into words how greatly this trip impacted me. When I found out I wasn’t starting college until January, I was really anxious about what I was going to do until then. This trip exceeded all of my expectations and completely changed my perspective on life. Both of my OE’s were very supportive of me and structured the program very well. It was the first time I felt like I was surrounded by people with the same mindset as me. It was such a refreshing and enlightening experience. The highlight of the itinerary was easily the time spent in local communities in the countryside. This is where we learned the most and got to meet the most people. If you’re thinking of doing this trip next semester, GO FOR IT!!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
At a farm in Matera, Italy, we had the opportunity to interact with a lot of volunteers from around Europe. At the end of our stay, we ended up cooking a huge Thanksgiving feast for all of them. It was their first time participating in a Thanksgiving celebration and it was just a beautiful moment watching all of us from around the world eat delicious food and share our gratitudes with each other.
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Chloe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

10/10

I wasn’t sure exactly sure what I was getting myself into I kinda just picked Greece and Italy cause it looked dope but Boy howdy was I impressed! You do so much on this trip it’s nonstop you’ll be hiking in the beautiful mountains of Italy, swimming in the good-looking Mediterranean Sea, and getting hands on real farm experiences. And some days you might just be hanging w local contacts/new friends. Choosing to go on this trip was one of the best decisions of my life! Take a chance do it Kaliméra

What was your funniest moment?
Funnest moment when we were in Greece we decided to make up a Greek tragedy/performance and showed it off to people we meet how to b there haahha
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Clementine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience !

I loved my gap year semester trip. I was definitely not expecting to make so many deep connections with the other American students let alone all the wonderful local contacts we met. Everyone was so welcoming and enthusiastic about being where we were. I particularly enjoyed the farms and natural landscapes we got to live on. Whoever was hosting us made us feel like part of the community. My group OE leaders made me feel supported and heard, plus we had loads of fun with them. Greece, the island of Crete, felt like a dream. We stayed in a beautiful mountain village overlooking the sea. There is so much more I could say-If you’re not looking for a traditional school experience, this is for YOU.

What would you improve about this program?
To improve this program I would have more time out of the cities and stay places for longer periods of time to get adjusted.
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Emma
6/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Very different than advertised

Oh what a few months I had with Carpe Diem. I will start off by saying that I didn’t nessecarily have a bad experience, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I attended the first run of this program and it was marketed as a climate change education program with lots of interaction with diverse community sustainability efforts. What it really was was an experience teetering between being left to your own devices in cities (which was super fun) and working on farms (which was mostly awful). There was very minimal actual education about climate change (especially from the Overseas Educators) and if you wanted to learn more about permaculture or regenerative agriculture you had to seek out info from the people working on the farms you helped with. The other students had varying levels of interest in climate change resiliency and the OEs had absolutely no qualifications to teach anything about it.

In terms of the people on the program, I absolutely loved my group. The other students were incredibly kind, driven, and entertaining and there was never a dull moment on the trip.

My biggest issue with the trip was the Overseas Educators (OEs). I knew I was in for a rollercoaster when the first day we got to the airport in Bologna, Italy, they said here’s €12 and a paper map of the city, get yourself taxis with no knowledge of the Italian language and no wifi to find any directions to the hostel while we sit and watch. From there, my expectations of them were pretty much met. If you ever thought you had no idea what was going on, don’t worry, they had even less of an idea. In my opinion, they were extremely hands off and did not support students at all. That was a personal opinion though because I know there were a few students on my trip who really liked them. It did suck that they had different relationships student to student and treated people based on how much they liked them. The good thing though is that if you go on this trip again, you will not have the same leaders I did. I personally believe that if I did this same program over again with different OEs I could have had the time of my life. I also talked to Carpe students from other programs who exclusively had great experiences with OEs so I think my trip could have been an outlier in terms of that.

One thing I do have to note though is how much of a mess transportation is on this program. You essentially spend one week in 10 different locations around Italy and Greece and take public transportation. The budget they have for this is limited and you often ended up stuck on a bus to bus to train to train to walk to bus each week which absolutely drained everyone and lasted between 6-17 hours to get from place to place. If I am being honest though, my tolerance of shitty transportation is the best thing I got out of this trip. Despite the fact that no one on the trip spoke the native language of any place we were or had any wifi to look up how to get somewhere, we managed to go train hopping and somehow end up in the right spot.

Another thing to note is how much your experience differed from place to place. We stayed in such a variety of places that it never got boring or repetitive because you could essentially be living in a Tuscan resort one week and then be sharing a 10 sq foot room with 12 people the next week. I loved the change of pace though and how the program bounced between rural and urban so that you got a reset every week.

In terms of personal development, I think a lot of gap year programs are targeted at self growth and self care. If that is what you are looking for, this is not the program for you. I think it was an overall very chaotic experience and extremely stressful at times. I loved the go-go-go atmosphere in terms of never getting bored, but it did not lend itself well to self care. I personally feel like I regressed in stress management and overall sanity but that’s also going to happen on any program where you live 24/7 with the same 11 people. Also do not expect to be able to skip activities due to mental health because they will guilt trip you into going and silently crying in the corner of the room.

I think overall you are going to get out of the program what you put into it. My best memories were all outside of scheduled Carpe time and it was great being in a foreign country with other kids my age. I think if you go on this program you should go in with an open mind, low expectations, and a willingness to be flexible. If you wait around for the OEs to tell you what to do and when, you are going to be waiting for a while. If you expect to learn about climate change from the scheduled activities, you are going to be let down. If you however, spend your free time getting to know others and saying yes to random adventures instead of napping in your room, you are going to grow a lot and have a really great time.

Overall pros: the food was spectacular, the local contacts were incredibly kind and welcoming, other students were amazing and really made the experience what it was, great GREAT intro to permaculture and agriculture, lots of free time and independence in cities, well structured and well run on the HQ side, phenomenal accommodations (like seriously exceeded all my expectations for hostels)

Cons: bad experience with the OEs, awful transportation days, OEs we’re weirdly strict about some things but not others, poor treatment and tolerance of student mental health, misadvertised (although they will probably fix this as it was the first run of the program and they didn’t know how exactly it was going to look)

What was your funniest moment?
At the end of the program we held our own dundies (from the office) and got roasted by the OEs and then got to roast them.
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Liam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experiences

This trip was special because of the culture opportunities. Traveling in Italy and Greece would have been so much different if I did not have the same local contacts and support that I did on this trip. This trip also gave me opportunity to find myself even more. So many people jump into the same four year, college path. This break in between high school and college gave me so much more insight into who I am. The trip taught me things, given me connections, and created great stories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Helping release wounded vultures, stepping on grapes to make wine, exploring Italian and Greek cities.
11 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers