I knew Carpe Diem was the perfect fit for me when I read how valuable education, new experiences, and community was to each of their programs. Carpe accepts students who can take optional online college credits, and expands the minds of each student in a way I didn't think was possible. Starting in Portland, Carpe gives a crash course on traveling to that semester's student community, before the leave with their leaders into parts unknown. Traveling with the leaders is entirely safe, because they already have a plethora of countries under their belt, but they also won't coddle you when traveling, which proved to encourage the most growth in my case. Traveling through the South Pacific, I learned more about myself in those three months than I had in almost all of high school. I made lifelong friends within my group, and got cultural experiences I never would have set up on my own. We learned the values of hard work and volunteering, of team building and how to maneuver around a place where you can't speak the language. Living in foreign countries prepared me to live on my own here in America, it made me feel like I could do anything. Next, I traveled alone to Thailand after coming home for Christmas. If you're in the Latitudes Program, you get to choose what country and which organization you want to volunteer for. The process was very easy, my councilor Simone, was a magic maker when it came to checking off every wish I had to experience Thailand. It was scary at first, traveling alone to a country like I did, having to make your own way. But now I am fiercely independent: I can mange money, find a place to stay, good food to eat, all the while never speaking a word of Thai other than thanks and hello (still hard to say though). If I could do it all again, I would. The seven months I spent traveling were the best months of my life. I learned to most, felt the most, and lived the most in those days, and I hold those invaluable memories close to me everyday.