Travel, service, experiential learning, & adventure in East Africa!
98% Rating
(9 Reviews)

Travel, service, experiential learning, & adventure in East Africa!

From the rolling hills of Tanzania's Southern Highlands to the sparkling blue waters of Zanzibar, the shores of the Nile River in Uganda and the fast-paced city life of Rwanda, the Carpe Diem Education East Africa semester will introduce you to an East Africa beyond your imagination - and your stereotypes.

Travel with a small community of like-minded students and two experienced Overseas Educators. Work with organizations throughout Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda to gain hands-on experience with topics as varied as health care and HIV/Aids, education, wildlife and land conservation, and organic farming. Work alongside with inspiring local leaders who are dedicated to tackling the issues facing their communities.

Adventure days include safari, rafting the Nile river, trekking through small mountainous communities, and learning to Scuba dive off the shores of Zanzibar. This semester intertwines personal growth with adventure, service, and a greater awareness of the global community.

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.
Africa » Uganda
Africa » Tanzania
Africa » Rwanda
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Language Immersion
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
1-3 Months
6-12 Months
Host Family
Primary Language
Age Max
Starting Price
Price Details
$11,300 Program fee includes all food, accommodations, international health insurance and scheduled program activities for the duration of the program. International and domestic airfare, visas, and spending money are extra. International airfare estimated at $1700-$1900; two internal East African flights estimated at $550-$700 total, Ugandan visa $50, and Tanzanian visa $100.

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 (9)

Default avatar
19 years old
Portland State University

Best Experience of my life!


I had the best time of my life. I was challenged to get out of my comfort zone many times. We went trekking, canoeing, rafting, camping, snorkeling, and scuba diving. We also went on a two day safari! For our student directed travel we stayed four nights at the Uganda Wildlife Education Center. So if you love animals this is the trip for you!
We also participated in a few volunteer projects. We helped paint a kitchen and tutor students at the Mufindi Children's Village. In Uganda we volunteered at school called Special Needs Education Center (SNEC) and at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
We stayed with three homestays. We got to practice our Swahili skills with our homestay families and we learned more about the East African culture.

To be honest, I will never forget this amazing experience or the people.


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25 years old
Arcata, CA

If not now, when?


I took part in the Spring 2012 East Africa Semester and not only do I not regret that decision but my appreciation for that trip continues to grow. I was uninterested in school from the start and barely made it through high school, did not even apply to any colleges, and did not plan on continuing my education. Then I heard about Carpe Diem Education and I decided to take part and it was worth it. I learned to love learning, the rewards of giving back, the freedoms of responsibility and independence, and the wonders of travel. I made friends and memories I will have for the rest of my life, found passion that has led me through school, and developed values that are central to my life.
Carpe Diem is a well run organization with skillful passionate leaders and I am sure all of their trips are just as amazing as East Africa and I strongly suggest everyone who has the opportunity to partake in the trip that calls them.

How can this program be improved?

I really cannot think of many things that could be improved about this program. Obviously it would be nice if it was cheaper but with everything that is included in the cost and the journey itself the trip is already a great deal!

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24 years old

The most enlightening three months of my life


The semester I spent in East Africa was one like no other. Not only did I meet a tremendous group of people, I also met myself. I chose to do a gap semester following high school and before college, during a trying time when I found myself questioning decisions made and my future. Carpe Diem created an itinerary aligning with my passions and field of interest, public health. The time I spent with my peers completing projects and truly immersing ourselves in the community (hello spending three weeks camping in the bush and on safari right away!) solidified the path I wanted to take professionally. While that direction changed a bit over the years, the memories and experiences I took away from my semester stay with me and have played a role in shaping the person I am today. The primary focus for these semesters is cultural immersion and connecting with the community via volunteer projects. This was true indeed but of course we had some play. Even then, we did activities that I would have never dreamed of doing, like white water rafting in the Nile. Carpe Diem gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and I will cherish the people and memories I made along the way.

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21 years old
University of Maine- Orono (main campus)

East Africa Experience


Carpe Diem does an absolutely wonderful job creating the schedule for this trip. It has an incredible balance of fun and work that will change your views on the world and help you grow as an individual. The East Africa trip in particular is so great for someone who loves working with kids, and experiencing true outdoors. Definitely be ready for some hard work using hoes and machetes, but know every minute is worth it. I would recommend this trip to anyone!

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24 years old
Boston, Massachusetts
University of Tampa

Most amazing and eye opening trip!


I just got home from three amazing months in East Africa. This trip was filled with so much love and great opportunities. We were able to volunteer, do outdoor/ adventure stuff, and see amazing things like our safari! It was the perfect balance. I have gained so much from this trip and I am forever grateful!

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24 years old
leucadia, california
Portland State University

a semester of self discovery and adventure


I had an amazing experience with Carpe Diem. I was very fortunate to be placed in a group of enthusiastic and unique students and leaders. We all learned a lot from each other and encouraged each other to grow. A highlight of the trip was working with youth at an orphanage in Tanzania because they were so welcoming to us and accepted us into their community.

How can this program be improved?

This could be improved by making even boy to girl ratios so that there can be more diversity in the groups of students.

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57 years old
Ohio State University

First Rate Program!


My daughter went on the Uganda/Rwanda/Tanzania Gap Program in Fall 2013. She had previously traveled between sophmore and junior year to Costa Rica with another provider so had some basis for comparison. From her perspective, this was a superior trip, with many advantages over her prior experience: 1) the group was smaller with only 7 students and 2 adult leaders; 2) she felt the Carpe Diem philosophy was much more respectful about integrating into the local culture, such as appropriate attire. Highlights of the trip included incredible service projects working in an AIDs orphanage, a construction project at a home for disabled children, a 4-day safari which brought them up close to the "big four" wildlife, several days in Rwanda where they learned about the genocide, and the grand finale of getting their PADI certification in Zanzibar. The Carpe Diem leaders are very experienced, very in tune with their students, and have a way of connecting with these young adults in a special way, instilling a level of trust and camaraderie. They give the students the responsibility of negotiating travel or other arrangement so that they learn how to be savvy travelers. My daughter is now confident enough to travel other places abroad more independently. First class organization, and while it may seem pricey, they run an excellent program.

How can this program be improved?

Wish they could have done more homestays, and the one she did do was disappointing because the family didn't interact at all with my daughter and her fellow traveler. It was clear they were doing it for the income rather than the experience of a cultural exchange.

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24 years old
Chicago, IL
DePaul University

Sieze the Journey


I would recommend Carpe Diem Education East Africa program to anyone who wants to embark on an amazing 3 month journey in an incredible continent and region while learning about the community around you, and the person you are. I learned more about myself during the journey than I ever have before and I deeply cherish the time away from electronics and internet to fully involve myself in the moment and the work we were doing. The other students and leaders I traveled with became family and left with a very strong bond and support system. The leaders of my trip were incredible and supported us physically, emotionally, medically, and helped us develop and learn some amazing skills. I highly recommend this program for any student who wants to jump out of their comfort zone and into an amazing african culture and experience.

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19 years old
Portland, OR
Case Western Reserve University



I had the best experience of my life going on this trip. I was able to volunteer with a multitude of Non-Governmental Organizations and from it learned what I want to do with my future, while receiving college credit. We taught classes to children, painted a school building, played with children infected with HIV/AIDS, and volunteered at a health clinic. Besides volunteering we went on a Safari, rafted down the Nile River, and became SCUBA certified. My group also had a few educational opportunities. We went to the Rwanda Genocide Memorial, and lived with a Exiled Black Panther in Tanzania. I always felt supported by my leaders. They helped me become a more independent person through the leadership roles students receive while abroad.

How can this program be improved?

I had some issues with my group while being abroad. At times it proved to be really difficult, but I still had an amazing time, and I learned a lot about how to work with people through it. Also, on this trip you are kind of roughing it. You are in Africa so things are not the nicest. But everything is doable.

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