The Carpe Diem program promised a semester filled experiences that would open my eyes to the world, take me out of my comfort zone, introduce me to a totally different culture, give me a chance to connect with my fellow travelers, expand my horizons, and challenge my body and soul... And Carpe Diem delivered!!!
Having completed a NOLS course and two years of college, Tucker was looking for an experience that involved adventure travel, but also a chance to connect with a totally different culture. With the help of the Go Overseas website, he was able to find the Carpe Diem program, which gave him the one of the most amazing experiences of his life!
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Everything needed to apply for the program and then prepare for the semester was spelled out, making it a pretty simple process. And the staff at Carpe Diem could not have been more supportive and informative. It was extremely important for my parents to feel that they were placing me in good hands. Because everything was so detailed and organized, and the staff was so helpful, my parents felt good about my decision.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Everyone talks about how, in order to grow as a person, you need to step out of your comfort zone and have an open mind. Without a doubt this is true. If you are willing to open your mind and your heart you will have an amazing experience. Your mind will be blown and you will have the most memorable experience of your life! Your mind will be blown! And bring a camera!!!!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
We had so many different experiences that I don't think you could give an "average" account. There were some days or weeks that were filled with volunteer work and connecting with the people of India. Before the trip, I would have thought that I would be most excited about the adventures - trekking, rafting, yoga retreat, etc., but now I would tell you that it was our time volunteering at Mother Theresa's organization in Kalkutta or working with kids at the SECMOL school in the Himalayas was the most memorable and rewarding. Every week was different!
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I guess the language barrier was my biggest fear, but it really never was a problem. Our awesome program leaders, Doug and Kate, made us feel like we could manage.
Probably my other fear was the possibility of getting sick from the food and water. But I loved the food and our favorite came from the street vendors! There was no way to avoid stomach issues, you just learn to deal!
What is your favorite memory of this trip?
I'm sure anyone considering a program like this already had a bigger picture of what they want to include in their world. I was worried about who my fellow travelers would be and whether we would all get along. But you are already put together with people who are wanting a big experience in the same place. And I was so lucky to be with an amazing group who have become life-long friends! We also had leaders who created a culture of patience, acceptance, and support. They were awesome!
There were so many memorable experiences that it's impossible to pick a favorite. I wouldn't change a thing about my experience. Even the rough times - having stomach distress, being crammed into trains and buses, etc. - just were part of the whole experience.