Carpe Diem Education

Program Reviews

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Daphné
10/10

I cannot stress enough how incredible this program is. Now that I am back home, the way I describe it to people is by saying "the time of my life" and a "lucky find" - as though Carpe is a gem everyone has yet to hear about. I stumbled upon it online and could not be happier that I did. The program is extremely well established and diverts away from the 'volon-tourism' that might be present in other programs. I truly felt like I discovered the authentic culture in Peru and Ecuador and that the long-lasting connections that Carpe had in the countries we visited was a singular and honest one. We met incredible people and shared unforgettable moments with each other. The group of 12 that we traveled with was led by 2 well-trained, inspiring and knowledgeable educators who maintained a perfect balance between mentor and friend with us throughout the entirety of the journey. Throughout the 3 months I lost the notion of a routine and time, for I was discovering, learning and growing all the while having - I must say it again, the time of my life. Embarking on this journey I had virtually no idea of what awaited in the upcoming months and my only tangible goal was to improve my Spanish. Not withstanding that my ability to have entire conversations and express myself in that language improved tremendously, it is probably the last thing that I talk about when I express how much this trip has taught me. The 12 of us grew emotionally, in independence and character, and made everlasting friends in the process. The work that we did was actually meaningful and we had the opportunity of forming real relationships with locals. I saw a side of Ecuador, Peru and traveling that I fear I may never have seen otherwise. I pat myself on the back for having instinctively signed up. The only downside, honestly, is how nostalgic you get when it's over.

How can this program be improved?
The programs could be longer! We also moved around a lot and I think some locations could be cut out to make the stay in others longer.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Audrey
10/10

I went on the Fall of 2018 Carpe Semester to Ecuador and Peru. There were twelve of us in the group and two Overseas Educators (OEs) who were incredible. I was very nervous to be spending three months with the same people, but I absolutely loved my group. I met so many incredible people and made so many new friends.

I was very nervous going into this trip for many reasons. I didn’t know any Spanish, I had never been particularly adventurous with food or activities, I had never been away from home for longer than two weeks, and so many other reasons. During orientation, the OEs did a really good job addressing potential fears for everyone and it helped me realize that we were all worried about the same things. Going from place to place with the same group of people helped me become more adventurous knowing that everyone in the group was very supportive. The Spanish schools we worked with were awesome and I definitely learned a lot. It was very nice to have a change from a typical classroom setting but still be learning a lot.

Some highlights of this trip for me would be tubing down a river in the Amazon, the Salkantay Trek, Machu Picchu, my homestay in Peguche, the Otavalo market, Rainbow mountain, and so many more. This trip was truly an incredible and transformative experience for me. I feel so much more independent, confident, and adventurous.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Natali
8/10

This program is great, it gives people a lot of support when they are going through challenges. While I was in Central America, I stayed with two host families, attended Spanish school, did a lot of community service (including building a compost toilet), and immersed myself in the culture. I also explored the nature and wildlife there. I was in Nicaragua for two months, and it was my first time out of the country. Exploring Nicaragua was an experience I will never forget.

How can this program be improved?
It was perfect.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Madison
10/10

I went on the Carpe Diem Education South America trip in the fall 2016 semester and it was the best experience of my life. I met some of my closest friends from this trips who I still stay in close contact with and have had the opportunity to travel with them since the Carpe Diem semester ended. Through the South America semester, I was able to stay with host families and be truly immersed within the culture as well as get acquainted with the other students in my program and fellow travelers while staying in hostels or at community organizations. Since my gap experience, I have been at college and have seen how much I have truly grown from this program. I feel more confident in not only who I am as a person but also what I aspire to accomplish. I wish that everyone could be able to go on an extensive trip like I did that promoted growth in so many different aspects of my life. Not only was it a fun trip where I got to meet so many unique individuals but it also encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and do things I may never have if I stayed back home and jumped into college right away after high school. I am so glad I took advantage of this opportunity and I believe it is one of the best things that you possibly could do upon graduating high school. The staff at Carpe Diem Education were also extremely helpful throughout my entire year and were always willing to support me in whatever it was I needed - even after my gap year ended.

How can this program be improved?
Longer trips - 3 months was a great length but I would love for further opportunity to stay with the group to continue traveling.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Magdalena
10/10

All of Carpe Diem’s contacts were well established and fit perfectly together to form an altogether very well rounded, diverse, and unique travel experience. I loved getting to know the Carpe staff and hear about all of their previous trips. The program has some strict rules but they are all put in place for the safety of the students. Really loved my overseas educators, and met a lot of really great people. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to make some lifelong friends and experience some really special stuff.
Overall a really fantastic program!

Yes, I recommend this program
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victoria
10/10

i had an amazing experience on my trip! i was very nervous at first but then towards the end realized how amazing it was and all the great people and memories i have and met over the course of 3 months. it was very eye opening and empowering! i recommend this trip or any other gap year program to everyone! I did wind up getting hurt on this trip and they brought me to every doctor i needed to understand my injury, then they sent me home and the leaders of the trip were able to let me come back on the trip and finish it out if i was cleared by a doctor! i went through many obsticles and through my trip i was able to face some fears and overcome some of th harder things in my life! Over all the greatest time of my life

How can this program be improved?
I honestly don’t believe this program could be improved at all it was everything i’ve ever looked for and wanted in a program!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Dylan
10/10

It was an amazing time traveling Central America, however some of the locations could have been more thoroughly vetted. There where a couple locations that felt either poorly planned or downright unsafe. And we where going to some of the places for the first time which didn’t help
It was an amazing time traveling Central America, however some of the locations could have been more thoroughly vetted. There where a couple locations that felt either poorly planned or downright unsafe. And we where going to some of the places for the first time which didn’t help

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jillian
10/10

An amazing program!! Incredible balance between service, education (Spanish, sustainability, local history/culture), and adventure. Great group dynamics and leaders make sure everyone bonds and had a variety of workshops for us throughout the semester. Got to participate in a variety of leadership roles, and learned a bunch of Spanish after barely knowing any going in. Always felt safe, but you still have to be smart. From scuba diving to camping next to an active volcano, everyday on carpe was an adventure.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Adele
10/10

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

How can this program be improved?
I can’t think of anything to be improve upon.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Haley
10/10

So my Carpe Diem experience was truly remarkable. To say that my leaders were supportive would be a huge understatement. I had a lot of emotions to work through between the culture shock and terribly missing my long term boyfriend and they were constantly there for me through it all. Along with that on our huge hike into the Himalayas I struggled quite a bit as I’m over weight and not much of a hiker. My leaders had no problem staying back with me as I stopped and rested and took my sweet time. Through all the tears and frustration they were always there for me with a small and the best of advice. On top of it all they gave us all the tips and tricks to be able to travel independetly, safely and on a budget. This program was absolutely life changing and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it :)

How can this program be improved?
I can’t think of anything. The only thing I didn’t like were a couple of my group members and in the end we all learned how to deal with one another
Yes, I recommend this program