Carpe Diem Education | East Africa Semester: Community Development and Education

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Carpe Diem Education has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

East Africa Kids
East Africa Kids
Service Learning in The Mara
Service Learning in The Mara
East Africa Canoe Trek
East Africa Canoe Trek
Hanya in the Mara
Hanya in the Mara
East Africa Walk
East Africa Walk
Gratitude
Gratitude
East Africa Mufindi Highlands
East Africa Mufindi Highlands
Classroom Shenanigans
Classroom Shenanigans

About

Practice community service and international development in the historical-rich context of post-genocide Rwanda.

Track endangered rhinos as part of a conservation team in Uganda. Study sustainable living, farm-to-table food systems, and deepen personal practices such as yoga and meditation during a holistic living retreat.

Collaborate with diverse organizations to assist local communities in education, children’s homes, building projects, women’s empowerment, HIV/AIDS support, sustainability, and environmental conservation.

Learn about the unique, community-based projects of a local non-profit and volunteer at a rural school for children with special needs. Chat with welcoming host families in Tanzania with your newly-acquired Swahili.

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

Highlights
  • Study Swahili
  • Rwanda Genocide Studies
  • Raft the Source of the Nile
  • Volunteer with Community-Based Projects
  • Study Islam in Zanzibar

Limited Space Available on our Fall 2020 US Borderlands program!

Now accepting applications for our Fall 2020 domestic program: Semester in the Borderlands and Spring 2021 international programs!

Join us in the Borderlands this fall to learn more about the issues facing communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Discover the role that climate change plays in current and future decision-making and the degree to which political boundaries impact the lives of people and communities on both sides of the border.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.8 Rating
based on 15 reviews
  • Housing 8.9
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 15
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision I’ve ever made

My Carpe Diem East Africa experience was amazing from start to finish. I learned so much about a different part of the world, met so many amazing people, volunteered in a variety of places, got scuba certified, and learned valuable travel skills that I have used many times since my semester ended. My Overseas Educators were great mentors as we explored the region and learned more about international travel with a group, on a budget, and in a foreign language. Highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to explore East Africa and may be new to international travel.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
You have to be flexible and able to go with the flow on this program. Schedules can change often and things don’t always go according to plan but it works out one way or another. Also, understand that you may not have all the comforts you are used to at home. There will be little to no air conditioning, different foods, and some long travel days. Keeping a positive attitude makes it all much easier and
Default avatar
Kay'Leigh
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Carpe diem East Africa program

I was part of the East Africa program and traveled for three months. I was also part of the future connect program at pcc and was eligible for the Carpe Mundi sub program. Carpe diem is a great mix of travel, education, and travel education! I learned how to talk in the Swahili at Swahili school, volunteered at a rhino sanctuary and learned about the extinction of rhinos, learned how to rent my own hostel, and how to buy bus tickets in a foreign country! I learned so many valuable things that I will hold with me forever.

What would you improve about this program?
Absolutely nothing :) I think they do a good job of providing support before, during and after the program. They provide a wide variety of things to do while abroad as well
Default avatar
Hanya
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Carpe Diem East Africa

I loved the carpe Diem East Africa program! I had a great time there and still look back at my time with so much love! I’ve learned so much about the world around me and myself and everyday I still find myself connecting things in my everyday life to my time in East Africa. I especially love the retreat, it really was an emotional experience for EVERYONE. But we all came out of it so happy and at peace. The trekking was insane with amazing scenery! I couldn’t believe my eyes!! And the scuba diving was wonderful! And of course the safari. Seriously everything was amazing. And volunteering with SNEC was really something. Jonathan was wonderful to work with! I had a few problems that also the stopped me from going on the trip but Jonathan and everyone at Carpe Diem were so wonderful and so helpful! They made sure everything went smoothly and did everything possible for me to go on this trip. I really felt like they were fighting for me which was wonderful!

What would you improve about this program?
The food wasn’t that great honestly, but I don’t think there was anything they could’ve done about it. And the home stays were a bit too much but I think that’s changed.
Default avatar
kayleigh
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time abroad

While traveling with Carpe I had the opportunity to study abroad in a way that most people would never imagine. I learned through my experience rather than sitting in a classroom. I got college credit towards my degree while traveling to an all new country and having the time of my life. While traveling I took Swahili lessons, after my week of classes I was able to hold full on conversations with the Tanzanian and Zanzibari locals! I scuba dove while in Zanzibar, it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my entire life... but also one of the most terrifying.. I jumped into the ocean with tears in my eyes... I had three separate home stays, away from the rest of the group. When you stay in a homestay, you are completely immersed in the culture and you are forced to speak the local language. Traveling with Carpe Diem made me more aware of what is going on in the world and how every little thing that I do is also affecting someone else in a different part of the world.. be it, the way I present myself in a foreign country, the amount of plastic I use every day, the amount of fossil fuels I use, my water consumption... the list goes on!

Default avatar
Adele
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From the bottom of the ocean to the top of the Himalayas

In the past seven months I have swum to the depths of the ocean and climbed up amongst the clouds; I have gained many new friends, a lot of students, a couple of sisters and another Aunt and Uncle; I’ve found experiences to last a lifetime and and a new place to call home; I’ve spent countless hours in various airports and on many different planes and further hours lying in bed sick; I’ve shed countless tears of happiness and sadness and struggle; I’ve let my money flow freely buying gifts and souvenirs and I’ve eaten only dal baht or beans and ugali for the majority of my meals for days on end; I’ve stood in front of classes and hidden from rhinos; I’ve lived in a tiny room with thirteen people and in a five star hotel; I’ve been totally alone in a new place and I’ve been surrounded by loving and supporting friends; I’ve taken endless pictures, written hundreds of journal entries and gained an abundance of fond memories.
My gap year hasn’t been easy but the challenges have been what made it worth it. I sit here filling out college forms and all I can use for my answers are experiences I’ve had on my gap year. I’ve been able to gain a wide range of experience whether it be trekking or scuba diving or teaching or eating with my hands. I doubt anyone in my college has had to live with 12 other people, cook every meal without a fridge or an oven or any such appliance, use a hole in the ground as the one toilet while unconnected from any other place in the world. And you know what, I loved it!
I can say with confidence that my gap year has been the best year of my life. And all of it could not have been possible if it had not been for Carpe Diem Education. I signed up for the Latitudes program excited for the prospect of a whole year of travel and getting to know myself and other cultures but not really sure what I was getting myself into. I made my way through Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania with an AMAZING group of 13 people (with two awesome Overseas Educators) and, after stopping over at home, I put myself on a plane for Nepal where I taught English in the mountains with an organization called Trek to Teach. I learned how to have no personal space and also have a lot of personal space and time to myself. I learned how to effectively problem solve on my own. I learned how to cross the language and cultural boundaries. I learned how to remove myself from the world and focus on the moment and the place where I was. I learned to appreciate certain aspects of home (like food!). I learned how to deal with homesickness and I learned how to deal with coming home (when I didn’t necessarily want to leave). I learned how to make friends in only 4 days. I learned how work with others and work by myself. I learned so much about the world, about myself and about life.
And throughout all of this Carpe Diem was there by my side. My Overseas Educators on my East Africa semester were always there to talk and made it a point to check in often with all of us. They taught us how to independently travel and how to go about volunteering in an appropriate way. In the end I consider them amazing friends not just leaders.
On my Focused Volunteer Placement Carpe Diem made sure to check in with me and give me support if I needed it. They encouraged me to challenge myself and do a program that had a little more work than others and I am so grateful. They helped me find what I was looking for and were always there for questions.
I cannot express in words how thankful I am for Carpe Diem Education. They allowed me to expand my horizons and meet the most amazing people. I have loved my gap year and it is honestly thanks to them that it was so great. So for those considering a gap year I whole-heartedly suggest looking into Carpe Diem Education (and also to simply take the leap and take a gap year because it is so worth it). They have so many amazing options and have the most amazing employees.
Thanks Carpe Diem for everything!
Love,
Adele

What would you improve about this program?
I can’t think of anything to be improve upon.
Default avatar
Hadley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A year worthwhile

My experience with Carpe Diem was life changing. I spent my group semester in East Africa and then returned to Uganda for my latitudes semester. My group semester was spent volunteering at orphanages, learning about local communities, going to yoga and meditation retreats and so much more. Every stop provided new challenges and new learning opportunities that culminated in the most educational, fun, inspiring and transformative semester of my life. I had an amazing group who provided me with so much support along the way and left me with lifelong friends. After 3 months spent in Africa on my group semester I couldn’t imagine spending anywhere else (or going with any mother program) for my independent semester. During group semester I learned so much about traveling and gained so much of my own confidence that I was beyond excited about heading back to Uganda for 3 months. I again was paired with another amazing Carpe student at my site to make even more lasting friendships but the connections I made with my students are incomparable to anything else. I taught at a special needs school in a rural community in the southern highlands and was happier than I could have ever imagined being without running water, or reliable electricity. I got to spend every day with the most amazing kids doing art projects, listening to music and learning so much about happiness. Over the course of my gap year with Carpe I got my scuba certification and have now advanced on and gotten to dive one of the most famous ship wrecks in the world because Carpe gave me the opportunity to get certified. I also have gone on two safaris, rafted the Nile, and met the most amazing and inspiring women from 3 countries in East Africa. I now consider Uganda a lifelong part of me and I will forever be grateful to Carpe for providing me with the opportunity to learn more than ever while outside of a classroom

What would you improve about this program?
This program could be improved through an revamp of their college classes and how they are integrated into the semester. The Swahili classes I took on semester were not quite enough to be able to confidently write a paper.
Default avatar
Nanci
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

-Nanci

Default avatar
Elijah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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!