Our daughter found Carpe Diem (offered through Portland State University) while searching for Gap year programs online. Initially my husband and I were skeptical about sending our 17 year old half way around the world. We really didn't know much about Gap programs at all. Turns out Carpe Diem has been running Gap year programs for a long time, and are very highly regarded. So Evin applied, went though the interview process, and was accepted for the South Pacific group. All of her financial aid applied to this program and she received college credit as well. I truly can't say enough good things about the Carpe staff in Portland--they are ALL simply excellent. We had fairly frequent calls to them prior to Evin's departure in September of 2013. Our questions were answered promptly and thoroughly. The group toured Fiji, New Zealand and Australia for 3 months. There were some challenges along the way....minor homesickness.....a bit more heat and cold than she was prepared for.....but Evin had the time of her life and formed lasting friendships with the entire group. She returned home in December for about 7 weeks and then began her Latitudes (volunteer) semester in far southern Thailand to complete a marine conservation internship. She flew there on her own, took the ferry to Koh Tao, and began her biggest adventure. We were relieved once she arrived safely, She has a daily job at New Heaven Dive, has rented an apartment, LOVES the food, and now has friends from all over the world. She is still in Thailand for another month, and has had lost luggage, her debit card compromised, had to get her visa extended, and suffered a bit of food poisoning. None of these things particularly fazed her has her first Carpe semester taught her to be patient, independent, and resourceful. She regards Carpe Diem as the "best decision I've ever made in my whole life". We feel exactly the same about it! If we had other children we would send them ALL to Carpe Diem!