Carpe Diem Education | India Semester: Spirituality & Service

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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.


Learn about Spirituality and Service in the incredible foothills of the Himalayas. Students will experience local Indian culture through homestays; witness the burning ghats of Varanasi; visit the seat of the Tibetan government in exile and the home of the Dalai Lama; and get in touch with spirituality by practicing meditation and yoga, all while diving into Indian and Hindu philosophy lessons at an ashram.

Embrace the opportunity to serve at Mother Teresa's Home for the Destitute and Dying; support local Tibetan refugees through language exchange with Tibetan monks; stay in a communal organic farm in the foothills of the Himalayas; help plant new crops and harvest fresh fruit from the garden to make healthy meals together in the kitchen.

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.
  • Buddhist Spirituality & Religion
  • Social Service and Volunteering
  • Raft the Holy Ganges River
  • Drop into a Meditation and Yoga Retreat for Self-Awareness
  • Homestay Immersion

Questions & Answers


based on 6 reviews
  • Housing 9.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
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My Journey

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 :)

What would you improve about this program?
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


I have just returned from Carpe Diems India program and it was such a fulfilling experience. We traveled to so many places and in each place Carpe had set up wonderful programs to do and interesting people to meet. I felt very supported by the group and the overseas educators, and even when we faced challenges we were able to discuss and navigate them in a productive way. Also throughout the application process and then through the visa process the staff in Portland were very helpful and easy to reach.

Yes, I recommend this program
Photo of Zoe McLeod

Very possibly the best three months of my life

My trip to India with Carpe Diem was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. India is the most wonderful, confronting, crazy, fascinating and beautiful country I have ever been to, and I've been home for a week but I'm already missing it so much. I'm so glad I got to experience it with Carpe Diem. I don't believe I would have been able to have the same amazing opportunities and experiences if I was travelling on my own or with a tour group. For me it was a perfect balance between a community and independent experience, and I felt much more like a traveller than I did a tourist. I couldn't have asked for a better group or leaders and they truly became like family to me. I was able to grow and push myself so much as a person while feeling completely supported and safe, and the things i have learnt about myself and about the world I hope I never forget. Whether it was learning about Buddhism, Sikhism or Hinduism directly from people who practised them, trekking in the incredible Himalayas, dancing and having broken Hindi/English conversations with locals, volunteering, just exploring and so much more, every experience was impactful and rewarding in its own way. If you are thinking about applying, I honestly can't recommend it enough.

What would you improve about this program?
Everything was amazing and I don't have any complaints, but if I could say one thing it would be a little more time in places like Kolkata, Varanasi and Amritsar, in order to explore a bit more.
Yes, I recommend this program

The Language of the World

As my group and I toured the grounds of the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment, I wandered off in search of something stimulating. Before I could get very far, a man grabbed me by the hand and started to pull me with him. In America, if a random man started pulling me with him, I'd probably freak out. But India is different. I had no concern for this man, but rather enjoyed his bold confrontation. He spoke no words to me as he led me to a bench and sat down. He gestured that I sit next to him. I did, and it became clear that he spoke no English and I spoke no Hindi. He calmly opened his book, started to read, and placed a croissant on my lap. I ate the croissant and sat next to him in silence. We sat there for maybe 20 minutes, saying and doing nothing. Every once in a while he would look at me a grin a toothless smile. I was having a blast. There was a mutual understanding between me and this man that could be felt and experienced without words. If you've ever read the alchemist, this is what I believe to be the language of the world. It's a feeling, an emotion, and an understanding in your soul. I have continued to carry on conversations in this language in my travels across India, to Tanzania, Europe, and even in the United States.
My gap year experience with Carpe Diem has solidified loose ends in my life. I am becoming the person I want to be from this experience. If you're looking for a sign to tell you to take a gap year then these words are for you; do it.

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't change a things, flaws are never really flaws
Yes, I recommend this program
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Experience of a lifetime!

I learned so much from this program, my favorite parts were when we were close to Tibet where I learned all about Tibet and stayed with a wonderful host family. I also got blessed by the Dalai Lama and hiked the Himalayas. If you have the opportunity to do this program, why not? India is a beautiful place and a wonderful country where you get chances to take turns with responsibilities and learn what it is like to travel for future experience. This is not a normal study abroad where you go to class in France, Italy or the U.K. This is a program that will stretch you to the limits of what you thought was possible and leave you feeling confident. The leaders are great and very supportive and you get to bond with a group of people so closely its amazing. I urge anyone interested in this program to just do it, whats really holding you back?

What would you improve about this program?
I think if I had to change one thing it would be to stay in one place just a little bit longer. We weren't in one place for more than a week and that's a ton of time just traveling from one place to the next. I would have liked to get to know people in one spot for longer. But this is personal preference and it was nice to be able to see so many places in just 3 short months.
Yes, I recommend this program
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If you're thinking India… GO.

I can't speak highly enough about my India experience with Carpe Diem Education. The program offered the perfect amount of independence and structure to where I felt completely supported at all times by my overseas educators and peers. The itinerary was incredible, allowing me to gain new perspectives and experience a lot of what India has to offer. From early morning temple visits with my host family in McLeod Ganj, to volunteering with disabled girls in Calcutta, my time in India was incredibly meaningful. The relationships I built with those in India as well as the members within my group are ones that will last a lifetime. Needless to say, I had so much fun as well. The energy was contagious and my OE's did a wonderful job of providing enough bonding initiatives to where we became family. India is beautiful, intense, overwhelming, exciting, thrilling, sad, inspiring, and everything in between. It is a phenomenal place that will push you outside your comfort zone, allowing you to develop and grow as an individual. I highly recommend this program to anyone looking for a challenging, engaging, and thrilling adventure.

Yes, I recommend this program

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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