Carpe Diem Education | Southeast Asia Semester: Human Rights & Cultural Exchange

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Accepting Applications Now for Fall 2019 Semesters and Latitudes Year!

How will you Carpe Diem? Explore our gap year and semester programs in eight global regions in 2019 - all while earning all while earning college credit!
Did you know we offer three different types of scholarships? Click the "Learn More" link below and discover how to make your gap year affordable.


Study Human Rights and Cultural Exchange with a community of students through the lens of experiential education. Our students learn by trekking through remote villages and exchanging stories with hill tribes in Northern Thailand. By dropping into some of the deep spiritual traditions of Theravada Buddhism vis-a-vis the lived experience of meals, housing, study and reflection, students will find new perspectives and deepen their understanding of Self.

Students live in the homes of Thai families in a Northern Thai village, studying Thai language, customs, food, and dancing. Travel to Phnom Penh to study Human Rights under the backdrop of Cambodia’s tragic genocide, juxtaposed against the ways the country and its people are recovering.
Students will volunteer through community empowerment projects to learn and support issues of global and child poverty

Through small groups of no more than 12 students, you will experiment with leadership roles, self-awareness, and purpose.

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.
  • Study Human Rights
  • Study Cultural Exchange
  • Study Theravada Buddhism
  • Thai Homestays
  • Service Learning

Questions & Answers


based on 7 reviews
  • Housing 8.7
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 7 of 7

Great time in Southeast Asia!

Carpe Mundi gave me an opportunity to look deeper inside myself. I would have never thought I would be possible for me to travel, but Carpe Mundi made it possible. They don’t just give you a chance to travel they also teach you the skills you need to travel. Meeting the people in Southeast Asia made me want to start calling it my second home because they made me feel at home. Southeast Asia was filled with wonderful things to do like visiting temples. One reason I chose Southeast Asia was to learn more about the Buddhist culture of Asia. Live amongst the people of Southeast Asia I brought back home a deeper understanding of Buddhism. For those considering this program be prepared to learn something about yourself and the world. Carpe Mundi is your starting line.

What would you improve about this program?
They could have more options for countries to travel to.
Yes, I recommend this program

Southeast Asia

The Southeast Asia semester was one of a kind experience. Unlike the traditional classroom, students are able to go out and learn by engaging. Throughout the semesters, students get valuable skills, such as, how to be leaders or new forms of communications. It also teaches students how to get around unfamiliar places. Most importantly, it teaches students how to have a positive impact on other communities.

I made lifetime memories, try new things and challenge myself. Being able to interact and live with locals allowed me to see things from a new perspective. It taught me that people do not have to speak the same language to connect. During, and after the trip, I reevaluate what is important and valuable. It is a door to new hobbies and passions, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Most impactful 3 months

This trip was my first time ever leaving the country. I never knew what the world had to offer outside of my hometown. I had dreams of traveling as a young child but I never thought that one day my dream would come true. I never thought that I would have ever gotten the travel to travel abroad. With the help of Carpe Diem Education and Carpe Mundi I was able to live the dreams that I had for myself that I thought were impossible. I not only made the most amazing memories but I gained friendships and life skills that have helped me know Moreno about myself. I got to stay with families that I had no way of communicating with but we found ways to communicate and we’re so happy. I got to experience life away from home and gained independence to be able to eat alone, be in strange places, and got to experience foods that I have never had before. I enjoyed that throughout the travel, each student was assigned a specific “role” each week. This included transportation and accommodation, which was how we will get from point A to point B and where we will be staying. We gained skills and knowledge on how to budget, book hostels, and how to get bus/plane tickets. Along side exploring, it was a little intimidating but with the help of my Carpe Diem Educators I was able to get around town comfortably and safety and I knew how to contact them if there was ever an emergency. I learned that traveling is possible.

What would you improve about this program?
I loved everything about the program. I enjoyed being able to have times of indpendence but also structured time with other students in the group.
Yes, I recommend this program
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A life changing semester

My three months traveling as a student with Carpe Diem education were the happiest, most challenging, and most rewarding in my life. I discovered a profound love for international travel and gained the skills to travel the world alone or with friends. Carpe Diem's practice of education through independence promotes self-reliant young travelers and open-minded adults. They combine cultural immersion, service projects, and foreign sightseeing into a comprehensive immersive experience. I highly recommend this program for young adventurers looking to break out of the mainstream college experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Improved communication and assistance for students looking to do the Latitudes program. I was planning on participating in their Focused Volunteer Placement semester but rescinded my plans due to lack of support.
Yes, I recommend this program
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An Incredible Experience

Carpe Diem's Southeast Asia semester was an incredible, life changing experience. We did so many things that I never imagined I'd get to experience, like living on an organic farm for a week and learning how to build bricks out of clay, to living in a Buddhist monastery, to scuba diving on an island in Vietnam, and so much more. This semester completely changed my perception of the world and helped me grow and learn so much. It created a love for travel that will never go away, and I now feel very confident as a savvy traveler. The group was amazing and I made some of my best friends. If you're considering a gap year, this is an opportunity that you don't want to pass up. It will truly change your life and you will make so many incredible memories.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Best decision I ever made!

This trip was exactly what I was looking for in a gap year program. It gave me an incredible intro into how to travel in a foreign third world country and how plan and execute travel plans. After this trip I feel so much more confident in my ability to travel without a group, something which I am about to go off and do. I took the Carpe Diem trip to South East Asia. I had an incredible experience, and while the places we visited were absolutely incredible, the people and connections I made are what I value the most. Carpe has amazing connections and the homestay I did for ten days was the most memorable part of the trip for me. The group I had and the two leaders were also a big part of what made this trip so amazing. My group was nothing like I expected and everyone was for the most part very different, but we all got along and I have made incredible strong friendships that I will keep forever. Having the support of this group made traveling that much more fun and was a great learning experience on its own. Our group leaders were the most incredible human beings I have ver met. They both have amazing experience, great stories, so much love for what they do and for the group. They were so awesome at getting us to be excited and to smoothing things over when they became rocky. I owe so much of my growth and learning to their facilitation and support.

What would you improve about this program?
I think this program needs to have a week of time for the group to be back in the US and reflect together before going home. I know other programs have this and i think it would be really helpful for student to get more support as they reintegrate back home.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Carpe Diem is the best decision I have ever made

I learned invaluable perspective and really felt immersed into SE Asian culture. I did other programs, none of which measured up to the experience I had with Carpe. I changed so much over the program and i wouldn't trade my experience for anything. My leaders were some of the most intelligent and thoughtful people I have ever met. They taught me so much of what it means to be a traveler and a world citizen. I would recommend this program highly for anyone looking for a meaningful experience. My gap year was no contest the most transformative year i have ever had.

A message to those thinking about choosing Carpe Diem,

This program is one of a kind, you will have an amazing time, make amazing friends and will never be the same. Do not hesitate to take a gap year, college will always be waiting for you when you return from your experience.

Safe travels!

What would you improve about this program?
If I could change one thing, I would have done two Carpe trips back to back. For the program itself, I wouldn't change a thing.
Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Alumni

About Carpe Diem Education

Experiential education. Community. Intercultural exchange.

This is how we connect with and learn from the global communities we engage with—and how we are redefining what it means to embark on a meaningful gap year abroad. Learn a new language, live...

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