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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 with a host family, and participate in a volunteer project—all while earning college credit—on a gap year or three-month semester around the world.

Currently offering semester programs in Spain & Morocco, India, Southeast Asia, East Africa, Ecuador & Peru, Central America, and the South Pacific.

Ready to extend your learning journey? Our year-long Latitudes program allows you to choose one of our group semesters in the fall, followed by a three-month focused volunteer placement in the spring.

College credit and financial aid (FAFSA) are available on both our semester and year-long programs.


1529 N Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97217
United States

Spring '19 and Fall '19 Programs Now Open!

How will you carpe diem? Explore our gap year and semester programs in eight global regions this Spring '19 and Fall '19—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.


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I cannot stress enough how incredible this program is. Now that I am back home, the way I describe it to people is by saying "the time of my life" and a "lucky find" - as though Carpe is a gem everyone has yet to hear about. I stumbled upon it online and could not be happier that I did. The program is extremely well established and diverts away from the 'volon-tourism' that might be present in other programs. I truly felt like I discovered the authentic culture in Peru and Ecuador and that the long-lasting connections that Carpe had in the countries we visited was a singular and honest one. We met incredible people and shared unforgettable moments with each other. The group of 12 that we traveled with was led by 2 well-trained, inspiring and knowledgeable educators who maintained a perfect balance between mentor and friend with us throughout the entirety of the journey. Throughout the 3 months I lost the notion of a routine and time, for I was discovering, learning and growing all the while having - I must say it again, the time of my life. Embarking on this journey I had virtually no idea of what awaited in the upcoming months and my only tangible goal was to improve my Spanish. Not withstanding that my ability to have entire conversations and express myself in that language improved tremendously, it is probably the last thing that I talk about when I express how much this trip has taught me. The 12 of us grew emotionally, in independence and character, and made everlasting friends in the process. The work that we did was actually meaningful and we had the opportunity of forming real relationships with locals. I saw a side of Ecuador, Peru and traveling that I fear I may never have seen otherwise. I pat myself on the back for having instinctively signed up. The only downside, honestly, is how nostalgic you get when it's over.

How can this program be improved?
The programs could be longer! We also moved around a lot and I think some locations could be cut out to make the stay in others longer.
Yes, I recommend this program
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I went on the Fall of 2018 Carpe Semester to Ecuador and Peru. There were twelve of us in the group and two Overseas Educators (OEs) who were incredible. I was very nervous to be spending three months with the same people, but I absolutely loved my group. I met so many incredible people and made so many new friends.

I was very nervous going into this trip for many reasons. I didn’t know any Spanish, I had never been particularly adventurous with food or activities, I had never been away from home for longer than two weeks, and so many other reasons. During orientation, the OEs did a really good job addressing potential fears for everyone and it helped me realize that we were all worried about the same things. Going from place to place with the same group of people helped me become more adventurous knowing that everyone in the group was very supportive. The Spanish schools we worked with were awesome and I definitely learned a lot. It was very nice to have a change from a typical classroom setting but still be learning a lot.

Some highlights of this trip for me would be tubing down a river in the Amazon, the Salkantay Trek, Machu Picchu, my homestay in Peguche, the Otavalo market, Rainbow mountain, and so many more. This trip was truly an incredible and transformative experience for me. I feel so much more independent, confident, and adventurous.

Yes, I recommend this program
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This program is great, it gives people a lot of support when they are going through challenges. While I was in Central America, I stayed with two host families, attended Spanish school, did a lot of community service (including building a compost toilet), and immersed myself in the culture. I also explored the nature and wildlife there. I was in Nicaragua for two months, and it was my first time out of the country. Exploring Nicaragua was an experience I will never forget.

How can this program be improved?
It was perfect.
Yes, I recommend this program
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I went on the Carpe Diem Education South America trip in the fall 2016 semester and it was the best experience of my life. I met some of my closest friends from this trips who I still stay in close contact with and have had the opportunity to travel with them since the Carpe Diem semester ended. Through the South America semester, I was able to stay with host families and be truly immersed within the culture as well as get acquainted with the other students in my program and fellow travelers while staying in hostels or at community organizations. Since my gap experience, I have been at college and have seen how much I have truly grown from this program. I feel more confident in not only who I am as a person but also what I aspire to accomplish. I wish that everyone could be able to go on an extensive trip like I did that promoted growth in so many different aspects of my life. Not only was it a fun trip where I got to meet so many unique individuals but it also encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and do things I may never have if I stayed back home and jumped into college right away after high school. I am so glad I took advantage of this opportunity and I believe it is one of the best things that you possibly could do upon graduating high school. The staff at Carpe Diem Education were also extremely helpful throughout my entire year and were always willing to support me in whatever it was I needed - even after my gap year ended.

How can this program be improved?
Longer trips - 3 months was a great length but I would love for further opportunity to stay with the group to continue traveling.
Yes, I recommend this program
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All of Carpe Diem’s contacts were well established and fit perfectly together to form an altogether very well rounded, diverse, and unique travel experience. I loved getting to know the Carpe staff and hear about all of their previous trips. The program has some strict rules but they are all put in place for the safety of the students. Really loved my overseas educators, and met a lot of really great people. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to make some lifelong friends and experience some really special stuff.
Overall a really fantastic program!

Yes, I recommend this program


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