Carpe Diem Education

Program Reviews

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Anne
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Italy/Greece Fall Semester

I loved my experience in Italy and Greece! I realized by the end of the trip that I had learned and grown so much every day, even in small ways. I loved experiencing it with a group of like-minded individuals and I loved meeting so many other people on the trip, from sustainable farmers to tour guides to volunteers. There were so many experiences I had that I would have never expected to have in my lifetime, and although there were good and bad personal days, getting to travel around Italy and Greece for two months brought daily joy into my life.

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Mats
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

The best decision I’ve ever made

I took the Central America program this Fall and
think it was the best decision, I've ever made.
had so much fun, laughed so much every day,
learned so much about Guatemalas history and
the United States' impact on the Guatemalan
politics. And really got to know the Guatemalan
culture in homestay and interactions with local
and sustainable organizations like farms and
green construction NGOs.
Being with the group was pure enjoyment, I
made so many (life long) friends.
If you are ready to Step out of your comfort
zone and explore so much new and strange
things, culture, language and life, take a Carpe
Diem program.

Pros
  • Group dynamics/making friends
  • Experience a new culture
  • Learn spanish
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Danica
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

The BEST Two Months of My Life!

Carpe Diem changed my life for the better. My semester in Southeast Asia truly was the best time of my life. I experienced so many things that I would have never been able to do had I not found Carpe. For instance building mud bricks, staying at a hill tribe, or eating lunch in a tiny hut on a mountain of rice fields. My expectations were exceeded and I learned so much about myself as a traveler. The friends I have made on this trip are amazing and truly some of the best people I have ever met. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Pros
  • Once in a lifetime experiences
  • Genuine connection with people
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Gabrielle
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

South East Asia program

The people, experiential learning, and cultural immersion Carpe Diem provides made this gap year program the best fits for me. One of my favorite experiences was staying at a Buddhist feminist retreat in Thailand. As always the food was amazing, our partners were welcoming and matched Carpe Diem‘s mission, the meditation and yoga sessions were a definite highlight, and the intellectual conversations I participated were a safe space for me to contribute my thoughts as well as learn from others. Something unique about the buddhist feminist retreat were the silent walks we had in the afternoon. We got an amazing view of the rice fields, mountains, and sunset. Overall, this was an amazing experience!

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Ava
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best experiences of my life!

Carpe Diem Education has been one of the best experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to travel around the world in a planned, and informative way. I learned about the local culture in a way I wouldn’t have if I had been solo traveling. I gained a greater appreciation for international communities, the environment, and how we impact the world has travelers. I have also learned a lot about myself and how to take care of myself when travelling. This program also helped me figure out what path I wanted to take in the future. I am so grateful for this program and everything it has offered to me!

Pros
  • Hands on education
  • Adventure
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Leora
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made

Carpe Diem Education’s Southeast Asia program was amazing! The experiences I had were unforgettable and I truly got to develop as a person. The people I met on this trip were so kind and down to earth, and I felt very close with them in the end. My favorite part of the trip was going to the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice, where we attended a Buddhist feminism retreat which was eye opening! I also really enjoyed Pun Pun Organic Farm which is known for seed saving. I really recommend this program!

Pros
  • Great food and people!
  • Amazing experiences
Cons
  • Lack of detail in itinerary
  • Sometimes more rugged, but for the most part it’s not
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Peyton
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Carpe Diem SE Asia

Carpe Diem is 100% an experience I would recommend to others. The mix of volunteer service work with explorative more touristy activities was excellent. A highlight of my trip was our experience at Pun Pun farm in northern Thailand. We spent a day helping build mud bricks for a community member’s house. The work was tiring but extremely rewarding. Tiring but very rewarding sums up the whole of my semester perfectly. I now have built great friendships with my fellow group members and wonderfully relationships with our various host families and organizations.

Pros
  • Our group leaders (OEs) were extremely supportive and wonderful
  • The intellectual conservations we had as a group because of Carpes “lessons” were wonderful
Cons
  • The per diems we got for food was insufficient at times.
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Maddie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

CAM Semester

Throughout this program, I grew so much as a person. My group felt like a second family, and everyone we met along the way was so accommodating and knowledgable.

I highly recommend this program if you're looking for Spanish immersion and are interested in sustainability and hiking. Although prior Spanish knowledge is not required, it is definitely more difficult to jump into homestays having barely spoken Spanish before. We learned a lot about the culture and about different ways to live and travel sustainably. At our volunteer sites we did green building, reforestation, and permaculture work, with fun activities mixed in so it wasn't all work all the time. The 3 day trek to Lake Atitlan is a big challenge if you're not a big hiker, but doable. It is a very rewarding experience once you do finish, ending with the prettiest sunrise over the lake. The accommodations vary a lot, so be prepared for periods of rugged living and bucket showers. Our homestay families were all very happy to have us, so if that's a worry for you just know that you'll be in good hands. The food was a BIG highlight of the trip. We had amazing food for almost every meal, and learned how to cook authentic Guatemalan/Costa Rican dishes. And if you're vegetarian or vegan, there will be options for you. In terms of tech, we had very limited access to internet, even after the first 3 weeks of no wifi, so be prepared for limited contact to home. Most people didn't mind it though, as it helps you stay present with each other. We had a good balance of independence and group stability. During free time, we could do whatever we wanted (within reason) but we also had a good amount of structure with group activities. The end of the trip was also awesome: scuba diving, seeing cool wildlife, and staying in a hostel that was a 5minute walk from the beach! It felt like each week we did something completely different, which is such a unique opportunity.

I was not 100% wanting to do this program initially, which made the first month especially hard. I ended up loving my experience and being so happy I went, but it took some time to adjust. My best advice would be to take some time and think about what you really want to get out of your semester, and you should only do this program if you truly want to push yourself and experience a whole new way of living. If you go into this program open to whatever comes your way, you will thrive and have the time of your life!

Pros
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Improvement on Spanish language abilities
  • Personal growth
Cons
  • Traveler's sickness
  • Limited technology access
  • Rugged accommodations (only for a few stretches of time)
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Cedar
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventures Abroad

I absolutely loved my experience in Italy and Greece with Carpe Diem. The program is a beautiful blend of city and rural living, and the contacts we met along the way were truly amazing. This program is an excellent way to experience Europe in a diverse way, in a manner that would have been impossible for me to do on my own. The Oversee Educators were supportive and fun, and it was beautiful to connect deeply with a group of students from across the United States. My one critique of the program is that our travels weren't framed through the lens of environmentalism or climate change. There were some places and people who framed it that way (Regreen, Carly the Archeobotanist) but for a program advertised as environmentally focused it could have leaned more heavily that way. Overall, I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone looking to expand their horizons and take a hiatus from the USA.

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Luke
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Hawaii Spring 2022 - An Authentic, Valuable Experience

At first, I was hesitant to spend ten weeks away from home with a group of people I have not met before, but I completed this program and left with no regrets. These ten weeks were probably the best weeks of my life. I got to experience what it feels like to live and bond with people in a genuine, human way, which was especially beneficial during the pandemic. A huge part of my life has been dominated by the use of technology and screens, and this program allowed for me to connect with people in a wholesome, face-to-face manner (in one of the most beautiful places on earth!). I made such great friends from this program, and learned so much from it, too. I now feel much more confident traveling, and I have a greater appreciation for different cultures and ways of living as well. I have learned several very important lessons about myself from this experience that I will take with me through the rest of my life. I would strongly recommend this program to any gap year student.

Pros
  • Program fostered self growth
  • Ability to connect with people was unbeatable
  • Allowed for cultural immersion & enlightenment
Cons
  • Had to get used to wearing dirty clothes
  • Majority of the program was spent camping in tents (a pro for me, but may be a con for some)