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Carpe Diem Latitudes Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Adventure, friendships, language, and more

We read often of the benefits of gap years, how they are life-changing, prepare young adults for college, and often termed "the best year ever." While these claims hold much legitimacy, few programs can unequivocally fulfill all of them; that is, except Carpe Diem Education.

I was lucky enough to find Carpe Diem for the year after my high school graduation, 2010-2011, and can to this day stand by them as indisputably the best gap year program internationally. I could never imagine how my life would appear today had I not participated in the Latitudes Program, spending one full semester in Central America on a group trip and another semester on an independent internship in Ecuador. I gained essential skills in organization, writing, budgeting, and leadership; I tackled fears head-on while cultivating an insatiable curiosity; I grew more confident in my abilities scholastically and personally; I became completely fluent in another language equivalent to the level of my mother tongue; I created life-long friendships with other participants and locals to this day.

Carpe Diem stood by me, answering my plethora of questions before the trip, appeasing my nervous mother during the trip, and accommodating me to practice my religious observances as a modern-orthodox Jew throughout the program. The coordinators supported me in arranging my internship placement, while simultaneously giving me enough space to be independent too. My trip leaders on the group trip were inspiring, confronting, and were the catalysts toward driving the personal developments of participants as we all pushed our comfort zone together with volunteer work that included arduous physical labor, language school, teaching English, and working with wildlife. My independent internship at an Inca ruin Hacienda gave me ample opportunity to dabble into a variety of fields, including farming, local cooking, horseback riding, translating, writing, and being a tour guide to hone my interests for my future career and quench my diverse interests. Carpe Diem pushed me emotionally and physically every day to find comfort through discomfort, to understand and be proactive in my surroundings, and to cultivate empathy.

I was also able to earn college credit through Portland State University (PSU), which was an incredible opportunity considering that at the time of my gap year, I was unsure where I would attend school.

Today, I have finished a degree from an ivy-league institution, consider myself a world traveler (whatever that really means), and am confident in following where the wind blows for my next steps. And for my accomplishments, strengths, attitude, determination, courage, and drive, I will forever be indebted to Carpe Diem. If you want a program that will open you up and allow you to carve out who you hope to be, to gain inspiration for your future, to truly make a difference, to build life-long relationships, and to push your comfort zone, look no further, because you’ve arrived at the best possible place.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I say "do it!"

My carpe diem gap year consisted of a group semester to India and a focused volunteer placement in Tanzania. To put it simply, I read a journal entry of mine that I wrote about a month before going on my trip and compared it to one I wrote just the other day. Carpe Diem is the reason there is such a significant difference between the two.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Most memorable and impactful days of my life

My experience with Carpe Diem was incredible. From a wonderfully helpful and flexible Portland HQ staff to the most amazing Overseas Educators I could've hoped for, Carpe takes great care of students. I spent three months in East Africa during my group semester learning constantly about culture, traveling, group dynamics, myself, and gratitude. It was a challenging and rewarding semester followed by my Focused Volunteer Placement in northern India, where I taught English to Tibetan refugees for three months and lived in a small, mixed community of Tibetans and Indians. I'd definitely recommend the Latitudes program, which includes the FVP semester, to anyone willing to commit a full year to Carpe Diem. Carpe's staff works with you to find the best placement for your individual interests and passions. In my opinion, there's no better way to learn as a young adult than through traveling, and Carpe is by far the best program I've found to facilitate that (not to mention the excellence of the college credit option).

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Carpetastic!

Carpe Diem is an amazing program that has so much to offer and it has completely changed my life for the better! I would not be where I am today without them. All of their programs sound amazing, but I decided to travel to Central America to learn some Spanish and to get culturally immersed into the life style. After studying Spanish for four weeks I was able to communicate around the towns and cities and also with my families that I was living with. The one thing I love about Carpe programs is that you are constantly moving. One week you can find yourself in a small town with not electricity and running water, and the next week you are studying Spanish in a city with everything that you could imagine. (Maybe even a hot shower!) Carpe wants you to experience everything that you possibly can in each country, and they do an amazing job coming up with the itinerary and doing just that. My guides were absolutely amazing as well. They were loving, caring, and so helpful with everything. They were there when you needed a hug, laugh, or a shoulder to cry on. And my amazing ITZA group will never be forgotten. I made 11 new amazing friends that I now consider family, and it is all thanks to Carpe. If I could go back and re-do my trip I would be leaving tomorrow. Thank you Carpe for this amazing experience that I will never forget.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Life Changing, Powerful, Academic, and Eye Opening: Seize the Day!

Congratulations! By reading this review website you have already gotten one step closer to making the best decision of your life--Carpe Diem!

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.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Beyond!

I have always been a planner, but I never would have guessed traveling to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji (FANZ) through Carpe Diem before heading off to college was part of it. That being said, this program was the best choice I have ever made. I was able to experience things I never thought were possible, my group was the best support system I have ever had, and I fell in love with every place I traveled too. I can't imagine my life without Carpe Diem, and after returning home from three months abroad, I feel the most confident I ever have about tackling college and going off into the "real world". I would highly recommend any of the Carpe Diem programs to anyone due to their diversity in places, and experiences!

Academics:
One of the big reasons why I chose Carpe Diem was the option to earn college credit from Portland State University. I took two classes and ended up with an "A" and a "B". I had many opportunities while overseas to conduct interviews, become culturally immersed, and gather all of the information I needed to fully complete each of my classes.

Living Situation:
Every week, while abroad, we rotated jobs. I really liked this component because it definitely made me a more confident traveler and gave me the skills I would need if traveling alone or without an organized program. One of the jobs was to book hostiles when need, and there was only one hostile I would say was poor and made me feel a tad uncomfortable. Besides that, everywhere we stayed was very accommodating and comfortable.

Cultural Immersion:
Cultural immersion was one of my favorite things about my Carpe Diem program! I was able to culturally immerse myself in THREE different cultures! Each cultural was so welcoming and open to sharing personal and historical stories. Each cultural immersion opportunity I experienced, I felt at home and part of their community. This aspect of the trip has led me to declare a minor in International Studies.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Seize the Day!!

Everything about Carpe Diem; the program, the administators, the idea, all works amazing together and they made an amazing experience for me and my fellow students.I had the most amazing experience of my life. I grew in so many ways that i never even knew were possible. Going on this trip was the best decision of my life so far, no doubt about it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

DO THIS PROGRAM

this was the best experience of my life. you cant understand unless you do it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Carpe

I had an amazing time on my Carpe Trip and would recommend it to anyone who asked. Between an opportunity to see the world in a whole new light to gaining a sense of self and independence this trip has been instrumental in my growth between leaving high school and entering my freshman year in college. The leaders give you just enough room let you make your own choice but will always be there to catch you if you really start to fall. I have gained an incredible amount from my 3 months in the south pacific with Carpe and would make the choice to do it again in a heartbeat.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Carpe Diem-Africa

Carpe Diem is an amazing program that I will never regret doing. Its obvious that everyone involved with the program is truly dedicated to the students experience and safety. The programs director, Ethan Knight, works incredibly hard to provide a fantastic study abroad program that is not financially draining. With Carpe Diem you will be completely immersed in the culture so don't expect to be traveling like a tourist. This trip opened my eyes and changed my perspective on life, and I do not feel I would have had the same experience if I had chosen a different program. With the unique option to take up to 18 credits, this program had the same cost and credits that I would have received if I had chosen to attend my University. In my opinion, I don't know why anyone would want to sit in a classroom and learn about the world when you can get out there and live it!