This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Carpe Diem Education.
Carpe Diem Education- Experiential Learning in Indigenous America
100% Rating
(2 Reviews)

Carpe Diem Education- Experiential Learning in Indigenous America

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Carpe Diem Education.

With a group of like-minded peers, you’ll wind your way through sovereign nations in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico as well as Sonora, Mexico. Throughout these months of travel, you will often be learning by giving—whether by helping build a natural cob home from earth and straw, harvesting crops, herding sheep, chopping firewood, or collaborating on construction projects.

Through a program design that values reciprocity, Carpe Diem Education strives to build meaningful relationships with the many gracious hosts along your journey. It entails an on-the-ground curriculum, which also involves hiking, camping and engaging discussion. It invites you to discover deeper truths about yourself and the national context in which you live to form a new perspective on what “America” means to you.

Surrounding you constantly will be the beauty of the southwest region, including the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, the San Juan Rive, and Monument Valley.

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.
North America » United States of America
North America » Mexico
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
1-3 Months
6-12 Months
Host Family
Primary Language
Age Max
Starting Price
Price Details
$9,900 program fee includes all food, accommodations and scheduled program activities for the duration of the program. Airfare, health insurance and spending money are extra.

Scholarships and tuition reductions are available on a case by case basis. All students can receive a full semester of college credit from Portland State University, credits are an additional $1100 (*note, you will not be in a classroom at all!).

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

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Program Reviews (2)

Default avatar
23 years old
Portland, OR
Portland State University

The Carpe Mundi Way


My name is Nicholas Hughes and I recently returned from Central America's Nicaragua.
Carpe Diem is a great way to start traveling the world! They provide safe housing and there is always something to laugh about at the end of the day!
Carpe Diem also provides their students to have an experience unlike any other study abroad program.
For me the most experiential place we went to was a permaculture farm that kept us for 10 days.
I had the chance to live with the land and interact with local Nicaraguans. I actually learned that I this program helped me figure out that I want to take native knowledge from other parts of the world and apply their practices to the developed world!
Also its affordable for what you might find in another program.

How can this program be improved?

There is not much as to how Carpe Diem could improve their way of education.

I would say that a big turn away for some people is that Carpe Diem is a non-drinking and no drug program. If you can't go 3 months without drinking then you will have to look else where to travel.

Default avatar
24 years old
Holyoke, MA
Westfield State University

One of the best experiences you can have in life!


My name is Tom Hebert and I was enrolled in the Indigenous Americas program of Carpe Diem Education in the fall of 2013. The experience of living on the reservations and getting a firsthand education on traditional Indigenous cultures and modern issues the tribes are being forced to cope with or to resist is not something one can accurately learn about through a textbook or a classroom. Simply listening to a Native voice and hearing the inflections of pain, anger, and resilience regarding certain topics is enough to give a student the chance to learn about what really matters to numerous peoples who have been forced to fight to protect their way of life for centuries and who remain strong in the face of all hardships which have been cast against them. They are peoples who need allies in their fights and it is through programs such as Indigenous Americas that non-Natives can truly learn how vital allying with the tribes in their conflicts is both for the Indigenous as well as for the country and the world as a whole.

One of the other major benefits of a program like Indigenous Americas is that it thrusts students into environments and lifestyles which they may not be accustomed to. In this way, students learn about themselves and often find that they can achieve much more than they believed possible before departing for the southwest. Personally, my spirituality was enhanced by my experiences on the reservations as was my self-confidence and my understanding of what I am able to accomplish physically. I believe that such realizations benefit anyone and everyone who undergoes them and that Carpe Diem is one of the best sources for unlocking that individual potential which is so often hidden behind masks of doubt and despair. I highly recommend Carpe Diem as a whole and the Indigenous Americas program specifically to anyone who wishes to receive an education which cannot be garnered anywhere else and to anyone who desires to know just how powerful he/she truly is, both mentally and physically.

I’d like to end this review by addressing the often-held belief that in order to explore and see the world in new and different ways, one must travel outside the United States to the far corners of the Earth. Life on the reservations of Arizona and New Mexico is so different from what many mainstream U.S. citizens are accustomed to. The Natives of that region have entirely different understandings, beliefs, and histories than mainstreamers and as such, being an outsider on the reservations allows you the rare chance, especially as a white person, to experience life as a minority in a strange land without need of a passport. And it provides an invaluable lesson on current and historical aspects of the United States which are rarely reported on but which may arguably form the backbone of this nation. Through no medium other than the direct conversations with tribal members which this program allows you to have will most people truly begin to understand the complex and intertwined histories of the U.S. and the hundreds of tribal nations which preceded it. That, I guarantee you.

How can this program be improved?

I'm honestly not sure how it could be improved, but the one difficulty I think everyone in our group encountered was being around each other for the better part of most days during this program. After a couple months of peace, it became somewhat grating when you couldn't get enough alone-time and tempers flared more than once because of it. As I said, I honestly don't know how to improve this nor do I believe this issue is restricted to Indigenous Americas, but that was the one difficulty I really experienced during the journey.

About The Provider


Our programs are designed to safely challenge every student. Through service, travel, community and cultural exchange – our students receive a unique and personal insight into themselves and the cultures they live within. Our Overseas Educators are trained to facilitate personal growth and learning within