• United States of America
4 - 12 weeks
Program Tags
Adventure Travel Conservation Cultural Immersion Hands-On Learning Social Justice Wilderness

Program Details

Camping Snorkeling Surfing
Fall Spring
Cabin Guesthouse Hostel Lodge Tent
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
Program tuition includes all food, accommodations, and scheduled program activities for the duration of the program. Domestic airfare, travel insurance, and spending money are extra.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Equipment Meals Park Fees Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare Some Equipment
Oct 13, 2021
Nov 21, 2021
3 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Spend the semester on Maui and the Big Island with up to twelve other students and two experienced leaders! We have developed this program for students who love the natural world and are eager to explore the island ecosystem.

The semester theme is Mountains to Sea: Environmental Connection & Adventure and students will have plentiful opportunities for meaningful engagement with local communities and active adventure and FUN!

A statement on respectful and responsible travel:

We recognize that it is a privilege to visit this island, and even more so in the midst of a pandemic. There is a unique and complex cultural and historical context to be acknowledged in the colonization of Hawai'i by the United States. Carpe Diem requests that all students who sign up for this program prepare themselves to be heightened in their humility, sensitivity, awareness, and respect. Carpe Diem will do our best to prepare you for this, but it will require an increased level of maturity as well.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Living and working on a regenerative farm/permaculture site.
  • Learning to surf from local experts.
  • Introduction to Hawaiian culture and language and traditional knowledge such as star navigation, food systems, and mythology.
  • Trekking and camping in the lush Hawaiian wilderness.
  • Participating in a mindfulness retreat designed to deepen into self, reflect on your journey, and prepare you for the transition home.


Carpe Diem Education Scholarships

Carpe Diem Education awards $30,000 annually to support diversity and inclusion in its programs. The Access Scholarship provides up to $5,000 for a gap year semester or full-year experience. The Inclusion Scholarship offers up to $2,000 for a gap year semester. The Carpe Mundi Scholarship is for Portland-based students. Grants are mostly need-based, and applications open in January.

Program Reviews

9.83 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Housing 9.3
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Aloha experience

I came into this trip very hesitant because I wanted to just be in college like my friends. After the first two days, I knew I was going to enjoy it. I became really good friends with certain people and as the semester went on, that bond expanded to the whole group. I have a deep love for the ocean and being on this trip just helped support it. There is a good chunk of surfing which was amazing. Living in a group can be stressful at times but I felt as if I learned so much more with that aspect. I wish I could do it again.

What would you improve about this program?
One of the rules was no cliff jumping and that really stunk. We saw a lot of fantastic spots and we were not allowed to do it. It’s a very small and irrelevant thing but it would’ve been a ton of fun.
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Aloha Hawaii 2021

My semester is Hawaii was both everything I’d hoped for and nothing like what I expected.

We did everything I’d expected we’d do— we participated in community service, worked with local contacts, and learned about Hawaiian history and culture. I learned so much about those beautiful islands and the people who live there.

What I didn’t expect was the personal transformation I experienced. I came into this program knowing myself in one way, and left knowing myself in a completely new light. I realized what my values truly were and the kind of person I did and didn’t want to be. I pushed myself past what I thought my limits were, whether that was related to physical exhaustion or my emotional endurance.

I feel the greatest lesson I learned from my semester in Hawaii is that, by clearing my mind from the chatter of social media and the ‘outside’ world on my phone, I can step back and recognize that I am not my emotions or my thoughts. In any given situation, the way I feel is not necessarily the way things are. This clarity brought me a perspective (in tough situations especially) that helped shed light on the most productive solutions, instead of stewing in anger or guilt or sadness.

I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to get to know the real Hawaii (not the touristy Hawaii!) better, while also getting to know themselves in a new way.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Find a way to cope with stress— besides with something on your phone! That was the biggest challenge for me, but once I learned how to take care of myself without my phone, it was so freeing and I was able to enjoy my semester in Hawaii much more.
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful place, beautiful people, beautiful experience!!

Going into my Hawai'i semester with Carpe Diem I wasn't sure what to expect- it was a new program and many of my past plans this year had already been cancelled. What came of the semester was the most transformative and beautiful two months I ever could have asked for.
Learning from Hawaiian natives about Hawaiian sovereignty, practicing earth stewardship alongside my group, and getting to know the beautiful island of Maui are pieces of my experience I never want to forget along with so so many more. I am incredibly thankful to my OE's for being the warmest, most supportive, and caring people ever. My group truly became an 'Ohana throughout our semester and I feel so lucky to have learned from each one of them and call them all friends now.
The Carpe Diem Hawai'i semester was very intentionally planed and thought out. If you are passionate about the environment, social justice, or the outdoors it would be a mistake not to consider this program! :)

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open to every single opportunity that comes your way! You never know when digging a water trench is going to turn into a mud fight and the highlight of your week. Or when volunteering to harvest turmeric would lead to an atv ride though a bamboo forest. So many of my best memories came from having an open mind and saying yes!
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Enriching, Educational, and Authentic Hawaiian Experience

Wow! Where do I start. This trip was fantastic. Learning the importance of being a visitor instead of a tourist was a life lesson I would have never learned if I hadn’t travelled with Carpe Diem. You can tell how much effort the company puts into their programs. The leaders with this program make you feel safe and are people you can go to. They ended up being my favorite people on the trip too! 10/10 all around in my experience. Would recommend to anyone considering going on a gap semester trip.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers is to go into the trip with an enthusiastic attitude and you’ll get what you give to the experience.
14 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

10/10 Experience in Every Way!

My experience on Carpe’s Hawaii program during my gap year was nothing short of incredible. I can’t speak positively enough about my time on program. We had the opportunity to speak with many thoughtful and informative Maui natives and transplants to the island. Each of our work or learning experiences changed my perspective in a distinct way—from permaculture to land clearing to whales all of our programming was unique and engaging. My overseas educators were two of the most passionate, warm, and resourceful people I have been lucky enough to have as mentors. I miss the trip so much already!!

What was your funniest moment?
This trip held so much joy and I created countless happy and hilarious memories. A favorite was time spent in the vans driving to different locations on Maui. I loved dancing and singing with my peers with so much energy and having our overseas educators join in with us!
10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing time in Hawaii with Carpe!

I left this trip completely changed. I was surrounded by people who were excited to learn and experience Hawaii with me. The trip was planned perfectly and we were constantly engaged with the land and people while having fun. Our leaders pushed us to adventure and try new things that have become some of my favorite memories. We farmed with an amazing community, surfed, swam in waterfalls, worked on conservation, and explored the island in meaningful ways. Being surrounded by love, I learned to see the positive in everything. There was never a moment that I wasn’t excited for our next task because I knew it was perfectly planned by Carpe for us to enjoy and learn. I completely shifted my mindset in Hawaii and am excited to take everything I learned about the environment, sustainability, and myself.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be confident in yourself and who you are. You can be whoever makes you happy because everyone is there for the right reason. Everything is designed for your benefit and it will be amazing if you are ready to have fun. I learned it is impossible to complain while in Hawaii and it will be the happiest 2 months.
12 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers