Travel, experiential learning, service, & adventure in the S. Pacific!
91% Rating
(14 Reviews)

Travel, experiential learning, service, & adventure in the S. Pacific!

Carpe Diem offers 3 month semesters combining service, cultural immersion, and adventure. Travel with a group of 12 other students committed to the internal and external exploration our programs offer. Throughout your travels you’ll share meals, live among different peoples, and build meaningful relationships with local people along the way. You will journey to a Fijian village to participate in community-based volunteering and live with a local family, work in the Outback and learn about Aboriginal peoples, take a soul-refreshing spiritual retreat, challenge your limits at an outdoor leadership school, learn about environmental conservation while volunteering on a farm in New Zealand, climb the infamous Mt. Ngauruhoe(aka Mt Doom!) and much more. The grand finale of your adventure is five incredible days learning to scuba-dive on the famed Great Barrier Reef! Our programs are accredited by PSU, meaning you can earn a full semester of credit while having the experience of a lifetime!

As a Carpe Diem participant, you'll not only have access to our immersive, service-based programming and stellar staff -- but you can opt to also receive up to 18 college credits (an official transcript from Portland State University) and may be eligible for financial aid. We're one of the only Gap Year providers on the market that offers these options for a nominal fee.
Oceania » New Zealand
Oceania » Fiji
Oceania » Australia
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
1-3 Months
6-12 Months
Host Family
Primary Language
Age Max
Starting Price
Price Details
$13,400 Program fee includes all food, accommodations, international health insurance, and scheduled program activities for the duration of the program. International airfare, spending money, and an overnight train in Australia (which is in lieu of another flight) are extra. International airfare we estimate will cost between $3100 and $3600. Scholarships and tuition reductions are available on a case by case basis. All students can receive a full semester of college credit from Portland State University, credits are an additional $1100 (*note, you will not be in a classroom at all!).
Other Locations
Nadi, Sydney, Aotearoa

Questions & Answers

I would say so, I am finishing my college degree now in Film and Communications, and all of my friends in the program have also gone onto finishing their degrees! It's very easy to transfer to where you want to go.

Program Reviews

  • Housing
  • Support
  • Fun
  • Value
  • Safety

Program Reviews (14)

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18 years old
Tokyo, Japan
Bennington College

It's an experience alright!


I've been globetrotting my whole life, but there comes a point where you gotta do something by yourself, and 13 others.

Before this trip I never did anything remotely outdoorsy, never camped, or hiked, or backpacked- nothing! But after these action packed 3 months, I feel pretty confident doing any of those things now, and I actually enjoy them! If you can believe it, I never did any group activities either! So the most challenging part for was learning to live with 13 total strangers. It was a bit daunting at times, especially when someone was feeling down, but we always managed to pull through. And those 13 strangers became like family, the more I got to know them. My group with Carpe helped me grow into a more self sufficient, and confident traveler over the past semester, and I can't thank everyone enough who helped put this program together!

How can this program be improved?

I would've appreciated more of a balence in regards to the stay durations in countries.

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23 years old
Bellevue College

Latitudes Adventure


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.

How can this program be improved?

More leniency on the Sacred Six rules for traveling, but they are definitely in place for a reason.

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20 years old
Venice, California
University of Southern California

Lemons into Amazing Lemonade


Before I came on this trip, I had no interest in gap years or semesters or any of that. I just thought they were a waste of time and that I'm missing out on being in college. Yet as fate would have had it, I was accepted as a spring admit and would not be starting school until the spring. My mother found the organization and at first I really only had any interest in visiting Australia. Somehow they managed to convince my stubborn self to apply. When I was told I was accepted, it was more or less set in stone. This trip soon became the trip of a lifetime. I absolutely loved everyone in my group, my leaders were amazing, helpful and hilarious. We did activities that I would have never done back home such as mountaineering, or walking through a swamp (yet I lost a game to do the latter ;) It was a three month dry program to New Zealand, Fiji, and Australia. We weren't allowed Wi-Fi compatible devices and drinking would have gotten us sent home. Yet those kind of rules just made the trip so much more fun. Without the alcohol, we were all safer and actually happier and the no devices made us interact with each other. I had an unbelievably amazing time on this trip, and I had to come home and tell my mother that she was right at the end of it all. If you are even remotely interested in doing a gap year or gap semester I couldn't recommend Carpe Diem more to you. It was without a doubt the trip of a lifetime, and some amazing lemonade born from some pretty sour lemons.

How can this program be improved?

Probably the length. 3 months to me just didn't seem like enough time with the people I now call family. Yet 3 months also seemed like a good amount so that's about it

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Westminster College

Life Changing


This was a life changing experience. From the travel and adventure, to the friends I made along the way, I wouldn't change a thing. This experience truly changed my perspective and expectations for the world, and I leave with life long friends. While sometimes there were things that were HORRIBLE, like sitting on a hot bus next to an overweight Fijian with their sweaty armpit rubbing against you for hours, the good EASILY outweigh the bad. New foods, hiking, scuba diving, yoga retreats, community service, amazing people and so much more!

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24 years old
Burlington, Vermont

The most exciting three months of your life


A semester with Carpe is quite the adventure. I am still amazed by how much we packed into 87 days- it felt like a year. I loved having something new to do each day or every few days, and how there was such a variety in the places we stayed and things we did. Some favorites for my group was attempting to ascend Mt. Doom in New Zealand, hanging out on a secluded island in Fiji, and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. The trip leaders were great, and the wonderful staff back in Portland were always accessible and willing to help. A big plus for me was the fact that I got college credit for going to all of these rad places and not having to sit in a classroom...that is a truly unique opportunity that not many other programs offer. I would recommend a Carpe trip to anyone looking to take a break from school, gain some travel skills, get some credit, or see the guaranteed best night sky you will ever lay your eyes upon. Also, you might get to hold a koala. So there's that.

How can this program be improved?

I would change some of the plane legs to bus or train rides- I know there's a time constraint, but Aus and NZ are so scenic!

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19 years old
University of Kansas



This was the absolute best three months I have ever had! Do it! I never to expect to have as good a time I did. I have had awesome adventure and made lifelong friends. Carpe offers a unique experience!

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24 years old
Reading, PA
Albright College

A Life Changing Experience


There are countless memories I have been fortunate enough to have with my Carpe Diem group.

The leaders met with our group at LAX with open arms. I enjoyed the beginning of our group orientation. We started with group activities which allowed us to ease into our 3-month long journey. With a small group we were all able to get to know each other well.

The hardest part of the trip varies from person to person. For me there was a lot of growth from within myself that wouldn't have happened had I not been challenged to reach outside my comfort zone. I felt comfortable enough to do this with supportive leaders and an openly communicative group.

I went on this trip because it was not a traditional study abroad program. I was able to gain social skills and life skills that I would not have gained if I had stayed inside a classroom. Carpe Diem encourages you to get out there and be in active participant, not a passive one. This was one of my favorite semesters of my college experience and I don't regret a minute of it!

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24 years old
Boston, Massachusetts
Berklee College of Music

Meaningful Experience


I had the pleasure of traveling to India with Carpe Diem in the Fall of 2011, and extending my experience to a solo trip into the Peruvian Amazon for the Spring of 2012. I can whole heartedly say that those 7 or so months spent under the experienced and worldly wing of Carpe are the most meaningful I've lived thus far - and they give meaning, and will continue to give meaning to my life as I live it presently. Traveling through Carpe has given me the maturity and responsibility (socially, environmentally, morally) that allows me to lead a conscious and fulfilling life of perpetual learning, in and out of school.
The staff of kindred souls are exactly the people you'd want guiding you through a foreign experience, both in person and from afar. I can testify to their dedication towards their students having spent three months in a remote location, still feeling confident and safe in my adventurous endeavors.

The most important part about Carpe Diem Education, I think, is their ability to facilitate a self-reliance within their students, allowing them to experience and interpret their travels first hand, while making sure important logistical, social, and medical issues are taken care of. I can speak personally to Carpe's ability to handle a medical situation having undergone several physical setbacks throughout my travels with them. And here I stand, a better, and healthier man for it. My only wish is that more students faced with an immediate college decision process could be exposed to what Carpe has to offer them - transforming souls in partial infancy to responsible, sustainable world citizens.

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24 years old
Berkely, California

Quality education and leadership development


Since completing my course with Carpe Diem back in 2007, I still regularly catch myself in reflection of my experiences and lessons learned while traveling with Carpe. Not only did I learn how to handle myself and others in quite dynamic and unpredictable situations, but I also built up a whole new realm of confidence and courage within myself.

The staff at Carpe Diem is high quality, intentionally, and beyond helpful. I am still in close contact with the leaders from my trip, as well as the lovely folks in the office. The staff genuinely cares about the well-being of ever student and works hard to maintain meaningful relationships with both students and parents.

I always felt safe and in good hands throughout my travels. At one point I did become quite sick, and immediate precautions were taken in order to see that I was cared for and treated properly.

To this day I am constantly recommending Carpe Diem to others. Keep up the great program, Carpe!

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24 years old
Boston, MA
Northeastern University

The best way to learn


I spent a semester after I graduated high school with Carpe Diem Education. During my time on this trip I learned a lot about myself and about the world. I was immersed in many different communities and cultures which allowed me to learn in the most hands on experience possible.

Prior to this trip the only time I have been out of the country was to Canada and I have not traveled very much and never alone. However on this trip I learned how to be independent. As students we took on a lot of responsibility and learned all aspects of travel. I now feel confident making any type of travel arrangement, thanks to my time with Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem also made me a more independent and confident person in general.

While we were traveling we were able to do many once in a lifetime experiences which I constantly tell stories about. From staying in a Fijian village, to climbing Mt. Doom from Lord of the Rings, to sleeping under the stars in the Australian
Outback. Carpe Diem has given me the best memories that I could ever ask for.

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24 years old
Cheltenham, Pennsylvania

Best decision of my life


I decided to do this program before attending college because I did not quiet know what university I wanted to attend and wasn't sure what I wanted to major in. This was only my second time out of the country, and prior to my trip, I had only been away from home for two weeks. I did not get homesick once on this trip and made life-long friends and memories. What drew my into the program was the volunteering and working with the children, and the cultural aspects. I wasn't really a fan of the outdoors or hiking prior to the trip. However, I challenged myself every day and now I truly appreciate and love the outdoors- I cannot wait for it to get warmer, so I can find some kicking trails near by. I would highly recommend this trip- not just to recent high school graduates, but also underclassmen in college as well. After returning home and speaking with friends who attended college- I feel much more prepared for the real world than they do. This trip pushed my comfort zone, taught me things about myself I never knew, and really did change my life. The experiences have made me that much more prepared for college.

How can this program be improved?

I would change the way the budget is set up.

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24 years old
New York
Brown University

Seize the day & seize your life with Carpe Diem!


It is difficult for me to summarize how amazing Carpe Diem is in one short paragraph. The organization's committed staff and leaders strive to care for each and every student by providing them with the support they need before departure and abroad while simultaneously pushing students' comfort zones so that they can challenge themselves and grow into who they want to be as adults. As a student who traveled to Central America on a group-semester trip and then to Ecuador to do an independent internship with the Carpe Latitudes Program, I learned how to feel confident traveling as a woman--and even my family never once questioned my well-being when in the care of Carpe Diem. The Program has a structured itinerary coupled with each group's own will to pursue creative routes.

If it weren't for Carpe Diem providing me with not only friendships that will last a lifetime, but also leadership, communication, and ultimately confidence to always stay true to myself, I would never be where I am in university today doing the research, course of study, and projects which I am currently undertaking.

If you are ready to challenge yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically through travel, going with Carpe Diem will provide you with the security, coursework (if you choose to earn credit through Portland State University which is an AMAZING opportunity), and fundamental skills to prepare young adults to enter college and the real world. I cannot vouch enough for how much you will thank yourself for making the decision to pick up the phone, give Carpe Diem a call, and change your life.

How can this program be improved?

The only negative thing I could say about my experience relates to my own persona, not the management of Carpe Diem. I was naive and a bit immature about the international context in which I was traveling, and Carpe Diem helped shape my perspective into developing an opinion of my own.

It is also important to keep in mind that traveling in developing countries is always a "work in progress." Nothing can ever be set in stone based on unforeseen circumstances, yet it is just that key aspect that forms memorable experiences and allows for growth.

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24 years old
North Carolina
North Carolina State University

Amazing Experience


The staff are incredibly supportive. Great opportunities for growth and learning. You can get college credit through Portland State University as well! If you enjoy backpacking, outdoors, water activities, social responsibility, and traveling, this is the program for you.

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57 years old
New England

Avoid Carpe Diem


Speaking as a parent, just elated my son made it home safe. This program had leaders that were leaderless. Safety was compromised routinely, basic travel protocols ignored. Medical care avoided when necessary. It is clear that the leaders were thrown together last minute. Carpe Diem as an entity is fully responsible, yet made no efforts to make effective changes. Carpe Diem has made no effort to communicate with parents even as the trips final days ended in a complete meltdown of the entire group.

Response from Carpe Diem Education

Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective on this trip. As an organization, we are committed to the safety of our students first and foremost and to provide the best experience possible. We are committed to learning from situations, to improve our organization and it’s practices for the benefit of future students.

The Overseas Educators (leaders) are one of the instrumental elements of our programs, and we can take ownership in that the two leaders of this particular trip did not live up to what we expect of our staff. At Carpe Diem we hire the best staff, vetted, and do the most thorough training in the industry. In this case the staff represented some of the best past reviews and had a lot of relevant previous work experience.

We're sorry your student had such a rough experience and based on feedback we no longer work with either of these staff. Sadly, and with a hand on our head, the challenge is creating a co-worker relationship and we are very much debating how to do this even better.

We pride ourselves on our extremely high safety standards, medical protocols, and continuous advocacy for what is in the students best interest. We are disappointed to hear that you do not feel these were met and would be open to scheduling a time to discuss this further and learn how we can continue to improve in this process.

-Carpe Diem Education

About The Provider


Our programs are designed to safely challenge every student. Through service, travel, community and cultural exchange – our students receive a unique and personal insight into themselves and the cultures they live within. Our Overseas Educators are trained to facilitate personal growth and learning within