Experiential education, community, and intercultural exchange in East Africa!
98% Rating
(9 Reviews)

Experiential education, community, and intercultural exchange in East Africa!

Introducing: Scholarships!

We strive to support equity and access within our community of staff, local partners, and students—that's why we've launched a scholarship program where you can earn up to $5,000 per year in funding. Visit the "College Credit"/"Carpe Diem Scholarships" tab on our website for more details.

Practice community service and international development in the historical-rich context of post-genocide Rwanda. Discover the sights, sounds, and smells of Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Zanzibar that make East Africa a truly unique destination.

Experiential Education: 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.

Community: 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.

Intercultural Exchange: 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.

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.
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Language Immersion
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
1-3 Months
6-12 Months
Host Family
Primary Language
Age Min.
Application Fee
Starting Price
Price Details
Program tuition includes all food, accommodations, scheduled program activities, and international travel insurance for the duration of the program. International airfare, visa fees, and spending money are extra. International airfare estimated at $1700-$1900; internal East African flights estimated at $400-$600; visa fees estimated at $230.

Earn up to $5000 per year in scholarship funding from Carpe Diem Education. Through our partnership with Portland State University, students are eligible to complete up to 18 quarter credits during their semester program.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 9 reviews
  • Housing 8.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 9 of 9
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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.


Yes, I recommend
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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!

Yes, I recommend
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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.

Yes, I recommend
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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!

Yes, I recommend
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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!

Yes, I recommend
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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.

Yes, I recommend
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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.

Yes, I recommend
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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.

Yes, I recommend
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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.

Yes, I recommend

About Carpe Diem Education

Our programs are designed to safely challenge every student. Through experiential education, community, and intercultural exchange, our students receive a unique and personal insight into themselves and the cultures they live within. Our Overseas...