Carpe Diem Education | Spain & Morocco Semester: Human Migration & Language Study

Video and Photos

Moroccan Homestay
Moroccan Homestay
Moroccan marketplace
Moroccan marketplace
Explore ancient Amazigh ruins in the High Atlas Mountains
Explore ancient Amazigh ruins in the High Atlas Mountains
Fun in the Community
Fun in the Community
Village Homestay
Village Homestay
Moroccan Mint Tea
Moroccan Mint Tea
Spanish Architecture
Spanish Architecture
Moroccan Textiles
Moroccan Textiles

About

Learn about Human Migration, and immerse yourself in Spanish & Arabic language studies, on your Carpe Diem semester. Students will explore complex issues by engaging with Moroccan NGOs focusing on women’s rights, youth empowerment, and human rights for migrant populations and climate refugees. Visit the migrant “detention” centers in Tarifa on the coast of Spain and explore issues of human migration with your Overseas Educators and local experts.

In both Spain and Morocco, students will study Spanish and Arabic to become aspirationally conversant - leveraging homestays and market visits to augment classroom learning.

Wander the history and cobbled streets of ancient Spanish and Moroccan cities and marketplaces. Walk the ancient pilgrimage "el Camino de Santiago" as you complete a section of it from Granada to Cordoba.

Through small groups of no more than 12 students, you will experiment with leadership roles, self-awareness, and purpose.

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.
Highlights
  • Volunteer with Refugees
  • Trek the Camino de Santiago in Spain
  • Spanish and Arabic Homestay Immersion
  • Volunteer on Youth Empowerment

Accepting Applications Now for Fall 2019 & Spring 2020 Semesters and the Latitudes Year!

How will you Carpe Diem? Explore our gap year and semester programs in eight global regions in 2019 - all while earning 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.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

88%
based on 5 reviews
  • Housing 9
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
Default avatar
Kayla
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Simply amazing

My time in Morocco and Spain was truly life changing. I am so grateful I had this opportunity was opened to me and that I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone to do it. I gained so much confidence and a stronger desire of adventure and discovery for the world around me.
One of the best experiences was my time in the small town Ait Ourir. The community welcomed us to their town and made me feel like I was right at home. I had a blast every second and was able to make some friendships there that I believe will last a lifetime.
I also loved our time spent in the Atlas mountains. When we stayed in the rural villages I had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of simple and traditional living with more amazing children and families.
It was a great transition from Morocco to Spain as we came near the end of the trip. Like any move it was a bit of an adjustment but it was great as it felt more like home. I was able to really enjoy the beauty of the Spanish culture when we watched Flamenco dancing and was in homestays in town for the celebration of Easter in the city.
I have always loved hiking. My time in both Spain and Morocco was filled with memorable hikes and adventures with breathtaking views and stories along the way. I am so grateful I was able to get my adventure fix every day during my travels that pushed me out of my comfort zone and made for incredible memories.

What would you improve about this program?
The only recommendation I would make is more of the migration studies that the program is about. It was not a big deal for me, but a lot of my group mates said they felt as though it was lacking and was disappointed. I do not regret my decision to travel to Spain and Morocco, it was truly a life changing experience for me and I am forever grateful.
Default avatar
Brandis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Morocco & Spain

I have to say that this trip was honestly life changing. The three months just traveling, without phones, fully taking in the experience was amazing. I never really thought about Morocco or Spain until the trip. I had never really wanted to go to either of those places. But our time there has made me want to go back and re-explore the two nations.

In Morocco we wandered through the vast medinas, experienced the traditional foods and customs, learned the language, and brushed up on our bargaining skills. Everyday was something new. We were able to meet with incredible people, learning more about the country and about the culture. Other people have said they didn’t like the pace of the trip, but I can honestly say that I really enjoyed it. We traveled to several different cities from north to south, seeing the country from the sea, mountains, and desert. It was awesome.
My favorite part of the Morocco portion was probably Essaouria. And the amizmiz trek. Which was surprising, because I hate hiking. More than anything. In Essaouria we had a calm two days, relaxing in a beautiful beach town, shopping and enjoying ourselves. It’s on the coast, and truly beautiful. The amizmiz trek was great too. I think the main reason I liked it was because I accomplished something. We climbed a mountain. It was incredible.

——

Spain was great. Not as good as Morocco though. We had some time on the beach, learning Spanish, and that was fun and all, but the Camino was the main thing. The Camino at that time of year was beautiful. We were hiking a route that was hardly traveled, so we could really take in the beauty of the landscape. Some people in the group had mp3s, but I didn’t. I honestly think it made it better. I could just think, and walk. It was my favorite part of Spain.
In the future I would like to go back and walk the Camino again. In the grand scheme of things, we hiked a very small portion of it. I would like to do it for real.
The other thing I lived about Spain was when we were in the cities. We watched an amazing flamenco show, nearly cried, but didn’t. It was great. I also loved when we could walk by ourselves. I managed to visit 4 old cathedrals on one of our free days, and I just had a great time by myself.

Overall I loved the trip. I really did. I lived where we went, the people we met, and just the whole experience.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the overall program was fabulous. I enjoyed the locations, activities, and the people we enjoyed. If I could change anything, I wish we would have done more with human migration. We learned a lot about women’s issues in Morocco, ecological problems Morocco faces, and about the history of the country. However, the only real ‘migration’ we did was crossing the border to Spain and walking the Camino.
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Emily
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Growin' and Learnin' Abroad

It's my guess that the recipe for self-growth consists of being pushed out of one's comfort zone plus being in an environment that causes one to critically think about the world and their place within it. With a jam-packed itinerary, support, and safety, Carpe delivers just that. Although the true value of a trip like this is created by what you, the student, puts in, Carpe provides an extraordinary opportunity to discover a new part of the world and get exposed to a multitude of diverse ideas and beliefs, an environment prime for also gaining a deeper understanding of your own values and sense of self.

The two months of the trip we spent in Morocco were unbeatable. It seemed like every organization, every homestay placement, every experience was enriching and eye-opening. After our week in Tetouan, the very first city we visited, I was left in awe by the connection and love I felt toward my homestay mother, something I wouldn't have believed was possible between two people who shared no common language. I was left speechless by the majesty of the High Atlas Mountain range we trekked through, and was even more blown away by the warmth of those in Berber villages who welcomed us into their homes with open arms and allowed us to take a closer look at their way of life. We worked with organizations that focused on everything from women's initiatives to innovative new ways to tackle environmental issues. And we ate so. much. tajine. Carpe created some incredible experiences for this program that I truly don't think I would have been able to find on my own.

That being said, the Spain portion of the trip, in my opinion, was a bit underwhelming. Our time on the Camino de Santiago alone made our month in the country worth it, but I'd say the majority of our time did not feel grounded in what was advertised as the true focus of this trip. However, my program was the first in this region; Carpe is all ears for feedback, and I have no doubt that the program will continue to be dialed in with each season. Although my experience in Spain paled in comparison to what I got out of our time in Morocco, the relationship between Spain and Morocco is truly unique and the opportunity to explore the issues and relationship between the two countries from both sides provided so much more insight than if the program was only set in one location.

A big positive of traveling with Carpe is that I found the structure of the program to be very empowering for the students. We are given responsibilities throughout the course of the entire trip that help us gain valuable travel skills that we then apply in a week of travel completely directed by the students. That final week was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.

By the end of my program, I felt as though I had gained such an immense wealth of knowledge about Morocco. I can speak shwiya (a little) bit of Moroccan Arabic, I understand and have seen first hand the diversity of dialects and languages across the country, I experienced the varied environment, from the snowy mountain peaks to the sands of the Sahara, I learned about Islam, the government, environmental issues facing the country, and above all, I met amazing people and worked with incredible organizations that has created a connection with that country that will stay with me forever. Spending three months of my gap year traveling with Carpe was incredible, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to grow to understand another part of the world so deeply, and also grow to learn so much about myself at the same time.

What would you improve about this program?
This program can be improved by creating a stronger itinerary for the Spain portion, and also slowing down the pace a little. It often felt as though as soon as we set our packs down in one place it was off to the next, which can definitely wear on you over the course of three months. Granted, that quick pace also meant we saw and experienced so much, so it is just a matter of striking a better balance.
Default avatar
Cole
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing journey

The three months I spent travelling throughout Spain and Morocco left me with some of the most amazing experiences of my life and more than a few stories to tell. I've seen some truly breathtaking things after this trip and I enjoyed them all with a group of friends that were an absolute joy to be around. During this trip I was constantly learning and experiencing things that challenged me and pushed me to grow, whether I was learning Arabic, haggling with a street vendor, or waiting out a sandstorm in a woven tent, I was always engaged in something vastly different than what I'm used to. I'm glad I had the opportunity to be involved in a trip as lively and exciting as this one, and I'm really happy that I could enjoy it with such a fun, and supportive group of friends.

This trip is fast paced and a little crazy at times. While I never felt like I was being pushed too hard, or was in any real danger, I'd definitely recommend this program to those who are looking to take a few steps out of their comfort zone.

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Ady
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Impactful, Diverse, and Fast-paced Program!

From staffing a music festival in the Sahara to walking across the Morocco-Spain border by foot, this gap year program provided me with many unique, enriching, and unforgettable experiences.

Specifically, this 12-week trip consisted of well-balanced visits to natural, rural, suburban, and urban communities. Most of the time, we were either living with a homestay family in an urban city while attending language classes, volunteering with a community-oriented NGO in a suburb, relaxing and sightseeing in tourist-heavy areas, or exploring the natural wonders of Spain and Morocco (including the Spanish countryside, the Camino de Santiago, the Atlas Mountains, and the Sahara Desert).

This blend of experiences in a wide range of communities helped us gain an educated and well-rounded understanding of the communities in which we were immersed. Nevertheless, because we visited so many places in a short period of time (roughly 25 cities in 90 days), my overall experience was very fast-paced, which sometimes made it difficult to keep energy and motivation levels high.

Please note that-- despite the constant travel and unfamiliarity of new places-- I never felt unsafe at any point during the trip. The security measures taken by Carpe Diem and the relatively safe atmospheres of Spain and Morocco made for a safe adventure.

To me, this trip was especially unique because of the diversity of experiences that we had. Through classroom lessons, NGO volunteer work, outdoor adventures, sightseeing, and meeting new friends and (host) family, we learned about a plethora of topics, including immigration, environmental sustainability, the relationship between rural and urban communities, foreign language (Darija Arabic and Spanish), permaculture, religion, history, cuisine, and women’s empowerment. Yes, we really did focus on ALL of those topics.

This broad exposure gave us the opportunity to explore a variety of fields before having to specialize in our educations and careers. However, for this same reason, I would warn potential applicants that they can’t expect to become an expert on religion or learn to speak Arabic fluently; instead, you will dip your toes into each of these topics and get a well-rounded understanding of Moroccan and Spanish cultures.

Indeed, what I found especially impactful about this trip is that we learned about all of these topics through the lens of both Spain and Morocco. We never simply learned about the politics, language, or economy of one culture. Rather, we took a more holistic approach to these topics by considering the complex relationship between North Africa and Europe and how this interconnectedness influences these topics on a global scale.

Overall, despite the sometimes fast-paced and varied nature of this trip, I would highly recommend it to anyone interested.

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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...