Overseas Educators

When it comes to selecting our Overseas Educators, we don’t mess around. Safety is our priority, but other attributes are essential in Overseas Educators including cultural competence, understanding group dynamics, mentoring, and strong problem solving/communication skills.

All Overseas Educators have in-country experience, wilderness first aid certifications and participate in an extensive in-house training prior to each semester. We’re amazed by our Overseas Educators, and are sure you will be too!

Adam Becker

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FUN  FACTS

Adam has held a variety of odd jobs in order to support his traveling lifestyle. His favorite so far was being a goat Shepherd in the mountains outside of Jerusalem, Israel.

Adam had never been on a motorcycle in his life until the day he bought one in India. He learned to ride it mostly through youtube.

As a child Adam’s family consistently told him that he would be bald by the time he left college. Adam shaved his head freshman year and never looked back.

Adam Becker

Overseas Educator

Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Portland, Oregon, Adam was first exposed to the world of travel when he participated as a student on Carpe Diem’s 2012 South Pacific Spring Semester. Adam returned from this experience bit by the bug and determined to become fluent in a second language, as well as begin a career in Psychology.

University was busy for Adam. He led an educational trip for teens through Israel, spent a full year studying abroad in Valparaiso, Chile, held a variety of internships working with substance abuse in hispanic populations, and was a bilingual research assistant for his school’s Childhood Psych lab.

Upon graduating in 2016 from the University of Denver with a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish (gotta love it when a good plan comes together) Adam worked full time as a mental health clinician providing therapeutic services for Spanish speaking immigrants outside of the Denver area. During this time Adam also worked nights and weekends in a few long term, in patient therapeutic programs, as well as one short term crisis stabilization unit.

Alas, it is now 2019, and Adam has embarked on what he describes as “the big one” and has been without a permanent home for almost two years. During this time he explored parts of Asia (the majority of the time in India) as well as Europe, volunteering and leading international and domestic trips for teenagers.

Most importantly however, Adam enjoys cooking, backpacking, salsa dancing, and seeing as much live music as he can fit into his schedule.
Adam is super excited to be a part of the Carpe Diem team!

Anya Chang-DePuy

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FUN  FACTS

If there is good music, good luck getting Anya to sit still! She absolutely loves to dance in all forms from interpretive to ballroom!

Anya loves creating things like designing and making silver jewelry and sewing her own clothes, laptop cases and yoga-mat bags.

Anya saw the Dalai Lama speak in McLeod Ganj, India, about how the United States (and the world) would benefit from incorporating compassion into their educational systems and she strongly agrees and attempts to do that whenever she leads a program!

Anya Chang-DePuy

Overseas Educator

Anya’s story starts in a small suburban town outside of Boston, the second daughter of two wickedly cool world travelers. This globetrotting duo started including little Anya on their international travels at the ripe young age of 5. Together they explored Europe, China, and Mexico. Once she learned to tie her own shoes, book her own plane tickets, and other achievements of young adulthood, she branched away from her parents to start adventuring around the globe with peers.

Although Anya’s interest in travel was peeked at a young age, it wasn’t until her first student trip to Thailand that she became addicted. She fell deeply and irrevocably in love with the country. SE Asia become a second home quickly after being unable to stay away for more than a year at a time. Student programs, turned to study abroad programs, turned to solo adventures, turned to volunteering, turned to leading high school programs (and the list continues to be built upon..).

Slowly, but surely Anya started to branch off from her endless return trips in SE Asia with a semester of study abroad in China, a summer leading high school programs in Fiji, and 6 months of solo travel in India. With a B.A. in Anthropology tucked under her belt and two years of exploring the possibilities of life- teaching English in Myanmar, getting her hands dirty on farms in India, working with an NGO focused on sustainable development for the Karen hill tribe in Thailand, learning how to silversmith in the mountain towns of Northern India…she kept coming back to leading student programs.

Anya started leading programs to satiate her desire to live and travel abroad, but it didn’t take long for her to realize the real reason she is drawn to this work. Having been a student on many educational abroad programs, she knows more than anyone the transformation they can invoke. Through her own transformation her passion has developed into providing young people with the opportunity to process, learn and grow through experiential educational programs with her support and guidance. She truly believes in the power of experiential education. She sees that this is how we learn to connect with others and the world, to be more understanding and loving, and to follow and spread a more peaceful lifestyle.

Bria Light

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FUN  FACTS

Bria sang happy birthday to Neil Armstrong on his 82nd birthday.

Bria’s first and only (thus far!) marathon was in Torres del Paine National Park in southern Patagonia, where runners were joined at times by guanacos and condors.

Bria loves wearing a bathrobe and does so more than is socially advisable.

Bria Light

Overseas Educator

Bria hails from the verdant countryside just outside of Eugene, Oregon, where she spent her childhood romping about in the beautiful outdoors (when it wasn’t raining) and with her nose in a book somewhere (when it was, which let’s face it, was a lot). Raised by two music teachers, she also spent a lot of time singing, learning instruments, and generally enjoying the thriving local arts and theater scene in Eugene.

Upon attending the University of Oregon, Bria decided to follow her passion for learning languages and understanding other cultures and history by pursuing degrees in Romance Languages and Latin American Studies. This gave her an avenue to travel and she jumped in enthusiastically, completing an internship in southern Italy and studying in Queretaro, Mexico and Angers, France. It was an eye-opening four years during which she discovered both the immense beauty of the cultures and places she studied and also the complex history of inequality and injustice.

After graduation, she moved to the mountains of Southwest Colorado to pursue her love of the outdoors, before jumping back overseas, combining her love of the mountains and Spanish by volunteering for four months as a full-time backpacking guide for a non-profit in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The following year she taught English in public middle schools in France, getting creative to making learning English fun, and exploring the vibrant surrounding areas and European countries during her school breaks. After a whirlwind year she returned to the mountains of Colorado to teach outdoor education in the San Juan Mountains, and has called the small town of Telluride her home base since then. She can’t seem to quite settle down however; since then she has been spotted working as a children’s librarian in a rural town in Bolivia, backpacking 500 miles along the spine of the Rockies on the Colorado Trail, running a marathon in southern Chile, and of course, leading semesters as an Overseas educator for Carpe Diem Education across five continents.

In her free time she can be found playing her fiddle in a field of wildflowers near her house in Ophir, Colorado, up on a mountaintop somewhere, swing dancing wherever she can find it, or, staying true to her childhood roots, off with her nose in a book somewhere.

Brian Sheffer

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FUN  FACTS

 

Brian Sheffer

Overseas Educator

Born and raised in Richmond, Massachusetts, a rural town in the hills of Western Massachusetts, Brian longed to experience the world beyond the forests of his childhood. He reveled in hearing his mother’s accounts of her business trips around the world and his father’s stories of traveling around Europe on a camper with his family. He spent his final two years of high school at the Loomis Chafee School, where his international experiences began in earnest. The summer between his junior and senior years, Brian spent 6 weeks in Barcelona focusing on language and cultural immersion where he first caught the travel bug wandering the streets of Barcelona and staring at the architecture of Gaudi and the art of Picasso.

Brian attended Sarah Lawrence College and earned a degree in Liberal Arts in 2010. He was able to spend the spring semester of his junior year in Cape Town, South Africa, studying at the University of Cape Town through a program focusing on community service. He chose South Africa as he was fascinated by the history of apartheid, particularly through a psychological lens and its effect on youth. Brian was also greatly influenced by a South African professor at Sarah Lawrence, as a desire to step outside of the box as many of his friends and colleagues were participating in traditional programs in Europe and South America. This experience had a profound impact on how Brian saw the world, and reshaped for him, the purpose of travel and intercultural experiences.

After graduating, Brian applied and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras between 2011 and 2012 as a health volunteer, a direct result of hearing stories of his father’s best friend who had served as a Volunteer in Gambia in the 19070s. Brian worked in public health, specifically with youth in HIV/AIDS prevention, living in a small village in the south of the country. Upon returning to the US, Brian spent some time working with at-risk youth as a mentor and teacher before attending SIT Graduate Institute in 2013 earning his Masters in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management in May 2018. During his time at SIT, Brian traveled to Barbados and Trinidad on a field course, focusing on community/coalition building and leadership training and also returned to Cape Town for his graduate practicum working with a youth capacity-building organization seeking to utilize art and art skills to develop creativity as well as life and leadership skills in underprivileged communities.

SIT was also where Brian’s interest in international and experiential education blossomed. He was able to put what he was learning in the classroom into practice leading three high school summer abroad programs for The Experiment in International Living to Argentina (2014) Nicaragua & Cuba (2015) and back to South Africa in 2016. He joined the Experiment in a full-time Admissions and Recruiting role in 2016 and also worked on risk-management pieces during the past two summers.

This summer Brian will be working as a Program Facilitator for World Learning’s In-Bound youth programs, traveling to Mexico City, as well as facilitating a month-long exchange program for Mexican students here in the US. Additionally, he will be working in that same capacity at the Vermont Governor’s Institute focusing on current issues and youth activism.

Brian has a passion for adventure, experiential learning, and intercultural communication and is thrilled to be joining the Carpe team of Overseas Educators this fall! In his free time, you can find Brian hiking or practicing yoga.

Cari Peck

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FUN  FACTS

As of May 2017, Cari’s traveled to 49 countries and lived in 9 of them.

During an internship with the research and writing department at Saturday Night Live, she performed “bear growls,” for voice-over work in the background of a Bear Bar Scene Sketch. Strange…but Ridonkulous? Yes.

Cari used to finish warming up with her High School Varsity Basketball team and then sing the National Anthem before the games.

Cari Peck

Overseas Educator

She got her first taste of travel when she was 12 years old and her friend’s parents invited Cari to to be her friend’s travel partner in Mexico. A monkey also got their first taste of Cari…but that’s another story…and yes, I said first (there would be 2 more in 2 different countries in years to follow)

Her real passion for travel, however, was sparked when she was 21 years old and studied abroad in Italy. There she found herself writing in her journal while traveling on the bus with her classmates to various lands…she wrote “I wish all people could experience this.” She was so elated by this opportunity and now couldn’t imagine a life without getting out and exploring the world. It was obvious there was so much more out there.

Already having an extremely open mind, it didn’t take much to convince Cari that she had to get back on the road soon after her return from Italy. The next summer she went to Germany to work as a Director of a military base day camp. The following year, she did an exchange at Hunter College in New York and interned at Saturday Night Live. Cari then wrapped up her degree with a Bachelor Arts in Psychology at the University of Oregon.

Upon finishing her studies, she packed up her life, with her guitar in the passenger seat and moved to Southern California to live with her best friend. She spent three years in San Diego and L.A. working as a behavioral specialist at a group home for foster kids and later with Autistic kids. She also switched it up and gained experience in marketing and sales working with Anheuser Busch. Always wanting to spice up life and roll around like the ball of life she is, she played around with different gigs…landing a position as a production assistant with National Lampoon’s Comedy Headquarters and assisting the Black Eyed Peas with concert work as well as managing Fergie’s MySpace (before the world of Facebook). However, the itch soon came…and it was time to leave.

She moved to South Korea to teach English for a year, then started working as an International recruiter for a volunteer company where she traveled the world. She lived in Australia for a year and worked on Aboriginal land at an Eco-Wilderness resort in the Outback (where she graciously shared her bathroom with a 3 meter Olive Python). Her next three years were spent program managing volunteer programs in South Africa, Costa Rica, Thailand and Cambodia, for university students, engaging them in cultural immersion and leadership development. The programs focused on community development through construction projects (building classrooms), sea turtle and elephant conservation, and curriculum development.

Her most recent venture has been working as a Women and Youth Program Specialist in Rwanda with Peace Corps Response for a year. Cari supported women and youth living with HIV, by helping to create and manage their new businesses as well as assisting with music therapy in cooperation with Music without Borders.

Some of her adventures abroad took her on a road trip to New Zealand with 7 friends crammed into a car like clowns, on a camel through the deserts of India, trekking the Himalayas to Annapurna Basecamp in Nepal, gallivanting around Central and South America, invited to a local goat feast in Laos, trekking for gorillas in Uganda, chimp trekking in Rwanda, White Water Rafting the Nile, hiking to the largest lava lake in the world on top of a volcano in the Congo, and just recently she summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

With many more stories up her sleeve and an infinite amount more expected in the future, she continues to live her life abundantly and fearless. Cari is extremely passionate about encouraging others to do the same. One of her favorite things to do is laugh.

Dan Varick

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FUN  FACTS

You can often find Dan driving his mom’s old minivan to a new river, two canoes and a kayak stacked on the roof, with sunscreen slathered on his freckled nose. Oh, and he enjoys playing with geographic spatial tools.

Dan Varick

Overseas Educator

Dan was born in the suburbs of Chicago, and spent much of his childhood exploring the waterways and forests of the Great Lakes Region. There he developed a passion for exploration and ecology that he now shares with the people around him. During the school year, Dan would dream of his summers spent in the Northwoods of Wisconsin where he fell in love with wild places, spongy moss, and moving water.

It wasn’t until Dan’s own Gap Year that he found a passion for learning, cross-cultural travel, and education as a whole. Dan traveled to New Zealand where he explored the towering Southern Alps, worked on regenerative agriculture farms, and witnessed the application and transference of knowledge to his everyday life.

After this powerful experience, Dan returned to the classroom at Warren Wilson College located in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains. Driven by his zeal to teach and empower others, he studied Environmental Education and Sustainable Agriculture. As a part of his work-study program, Dan worked on the College Farm where he learned both agricultural research and management techniques. Today, Dan continues to tell people more than they want to know about soil structure, pig breeding, and tractor implements.

Dan likes to call himself a generalist when it comes to work and hobbies. He has worked as an Outdoor Educator and Instructor leading remote backpacking trips in the the Brooks Range of Alaska, canoeing trips through the river systems of Northern Saskatchewan, and sea kayaking adventures in the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron and Lake Superior. Dan also has worked as a Field Instructor with at-risk youth through a Wilderness Therapy program focused on complex developmental trauma. Additionally, Dan has worked as a substitute teacher in Madison, Wisconsin and possum trapper on the South Island of New Zealand. He has worked as a snow removal entrepreneur and a tractor operator in the Great Lake Region. And lastly, he is excited to be an Overseas Educator with Carpe Diem once again this coming fall. Last year, Dan had the immense pleasure of leading the South America Semester with Carpe Diem and immediately knew he wanted to return this coming fall to head back to the South Pacific in 2019.

Dan is thrilled to have the opportunity to combine his two interests of international travel and education while working with Carpe Diem in the South Pacific this fall. He is excited to engage students and to help them discover their own passions as they navigate through challenging home stays, chaotic urban settings, and challenging group dynamics.

Dave Nesis

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FUN  FACTS

Dave Nesis

Overseas Educator

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest just outside of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascades you would think that exploring the outdoors would have become an early habit for Dave. But actually, he chose to participate in year round team sports and it took him until putting a halt on playing college baseball to delve into the endless mountains and trails that the North Cascades have to offer.

After graduating from Western Washington University with a degree in Business Finance, he moved out to Southwest Colorado in search of the sun. Deciding the office life was not for him, he began to call Telluride, CO his home. Here he became an outdoor educator for Telluride Academy encouraging environmental stewardship, creative learning, physical activity and positive life choices through leading programs for students exploring the high mountains, alpine lakes and deserts of the southwest. Inspired by his passion for travel and finding community worldwide, he helped expand the programs internationally and has since led trips abroad for the past four summers. During this time, his travels have taken him to some of the most remote regions in Patagonia, into rural communities within Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Cuba and to the summit of some of the tallest mountains in the Americas.

Dave continues to pursue his desire for adventuring in the mountains and sharing those experience with others by working as an international mountain guide with Mountain Trip. You will find him guiding in all seasons from backcountry skiing, rock and ice here in SW Colorado to the tallest mountains in North and South America (Denali and Aconcagua).

He currently lives in the super top secret valley of Ophir, CO where you will see him trail running out his front door, reading books on a comfy couch, cooking pancakes and conversing over a hot drink with others while planning his next adventure. Dave is very excited to join the Carpe Diem family and looks forward to sharing this time with you all!

Kate Abraham

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FUN  FACTS

Kate frequently works as a wilderness trip leader, which once enabled her to go seven weeks without showering. Fear not, for the sake of others she showered as soon as she could.

Kate struggles with parallel parking cars but is consistently successful at parallel parking canoes (in the water, of course. Not on the road.)

Kate has loved maps since a (should-have-been-stressful-but-Kate-found-it-fun) young childhood event in which she needed to navigate her father across all of Albuquerque, NM using only a paper road map and her own will to succeed. Her love of maps inspired her college career and she now holds a degree in cartography.

Kate Abraham

Overseas Educator

As a child growing up in Wisconsin, Kate dreamed of becoming a teacher, a world traveler, or a dentist. Many years later she is proud to say she found a way to combine the former two while still maintaining an undiminished passion for teeth brushing. Kate’s many years of childhood family camping trips propelled her into the summer camp field of work at a young age, jumpstarting her ever present passion for encouraging youth and adult growth through experiential education.

Kate’s main passions in education are facilitating collaborative and personal leadership growth, conflict resolution, and character identification. Kate loves the diversity of strengths and weaknesses each individual possesses and is passionate about working with people to help them identify their own strengths and the strengths of others. Experiential education is the perfect platform for this exploration and growth and Kate has worked as a facilitator for a huge variety of groups, some of her favorites being groups of students from a scholarship program for first generation college bound students and the other being groups of students from Indigenous American Reservation schools. While some of these programs last only a short two days in Wisconsin, other leadership growth programs Kate has been fortunate to work for have taken her and her many students on expeditions in the Rocky Mountains, the Alaskan tundra, the waterways of northern Canada, and a number of other inspiring wilderness locations.

Kate’s passion for natural spaces leaks into her work and personal life frequently.
Though travel has always been present within Kate’s life since she was young (Thanks Mom, Dad, and the roadways of America!) it was the mountainous wilderness of Patagonia that finally lured Kate into purchasing her first one-way plane ticket. After a couple months of tromping around the Andes, Kate was hooked on international travel but felt as though an important element had been missing from her trip. She desired a stronger connection with the people and the culture of the places she traveled, not just the land, and her following international trips balanced touring with volunteering and living in local communities. She has, as a result, met countless kindhearted, inspiring individuals all over the world that continue to fuel her passion for self, community, and exploration through international travel. She was able to share her passion for making connections and volunteering with a group of western students during the summer of 2015 while leading trips in India and is ecstatic to be joining the Carpe Diem family, returning to India, a country saturated with culture, passion, and connectivity.

In Kate’s downtime she enjoys cooking, eating, impromptu dancing, trying to teach herself new skills, yoga, chatting, laughing, and being borderline too enthusiastic about nearly everything.

Lucas Boyd

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FUN  FACTS

Lucas knows how to unicycle and is actually rather good at it.
He spent two straight weeks above 16,000 feet while trekking in Nepal.
He loves to read and play board games.

Lucas Boyd

Overseas Educator

Lucas originally hails from Seattle, where spent most of his childhood in basketball gyms and on baseball fields, oblivious to the natural wonders right in his own backyard. That was until 2014, when Lucas studied abroad on the South Island of New Zealand, an experience which sparked his passion for meaningful travel and set him on the path that would eventually lead to Carpe Diem Education.

Lucas went on to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of San Diego and since then has been on a mission to explore, teach and learn. His personal travels have taken him from the top of Himalayan peaks to the bottom of Caribbean seas and many places in between. He is especially thrilled by the outdoors. Whether it be hiking, climbing, backpacking or diving, he can be found wherever there is adventure.

On the professional side of things, he has spent the last few years diving into (at times quite literally) experiential education. He’s led animal service trips in the American southwest, underwater conservation trips in Belize, and cultural exchanges in Tanzania. During the less-nomadic periods, Lucas has been working in Outdoor Education in California, teaching science, conservation and leadership to students from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lucas believes firmly in the value of intentional travel and is excited to share his love of the world and its people with his students at Carpe Diem Education!

Matt Carl

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FUN  FACTS

Thinks cats are hilarious and awesome, but is tragically allergic to them.

Has never been on a roller coaster, though he feels that his ride on a hastily constructed Guatemalan Ferris Wheel was arguably much more terrifying.

Ask him to show you his pinky-finger party trick.

Wanted to be Indiana Jones when he was a kid. In a way, you could sort of say that dream came true, though he's nowhere near as good-looking.

Matt Carl

Overseas Educator

Despite his parent's best efforts, Matt has managed to avoid settling down and getting "a real job with a 401(k) and dental plan", and has no plans to change his wandering anytime soon. His love for an alternative lifestyle, as well as a desire to live anywhere outside the US, began when he was in University and enrolled in study abroad programs to Nicaragua and Peru. With his interests sufficiently piqued by the fact that a whole different world existed outside the safe confines of his own country, Matt only lasted a year and a half in his first and only "real job" (with a 401(k)!) and instead took off to see the world. Starting with Latin America - it was the cheapest to get to - and loving it to the point that he's never really left, he has spent about 90% of the last six years in the region.

Matt initially began working in alternative education as a way to fund his travels, but soon came to love the impact he was able to have on guiding young people in their first experiences with other cultures, languages, environments, and all the challenges and excitement that those experiences bring. When not working with youth travel programs, Matt has led multi-day hikes up volcanoes and across mountain ranges in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Bolivia. Through various jobs he has been lucky enough to lead tourists sandboarding down volcanoes, chat with former guerilla leaders, ride on the roof of chicken buses, and visit Machu Picchu nine times. Not so bad for someone without a dental plan is it, Mom and Dad?

Matt does occasionally return to visit his home state of Michigan (only somewhat begrudgingly) and catches up with one of the few things he misses from the States - American football. A long-suffering fan of the woeful Detroit Lions, his dream is to live long enough to see them one day win a single playoff game.

Natalie Neuwirth

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FUN  FACTS

She really does love cheese.
She sometimes attempts to clog when she hears the beautiful sound of a banjo.
Her favorite birds in New Zealand are the prehistoric pukeko and the curious fantail.

Natalie Neuwirth

Overseas Educator

Natalie comes to you all the way from the glorious, cheese-loving state of Wisconsin. Although her childhood included practicing gymnastics in a dairy barn and eating absurd amounts of ice cream, she found happiness in the outdoors. Whether it was creating snow forts with her sister or going on fall hikes up the nearest “mountain” to climb some rocks, she developed a curiosity for the big world that surrounded her.

This led to her first trip abroad to Costa Rica at age 13 where a host family welcomed her with open arms and answers to some of her curious questions. The generosity and cultural insight received from her hosts, Doña Grace y Don Freddy, set Natalie towards a future of travel to continue to seek connections from cultures all around the world.

Since then, she has done a number of odd jobs meeting local families and international friends along the way. From horse farming in Ireland to working in a yoga house in the Sacred Valley of Perú to hand-planting half a million trees in New Zealand, she’s loved the adventure along the way. She continues to find joy in the small moments of connection and remains curious about the diversity of this big world.

Natalie has led trips in 5 different countries for the past 4 years for high school students and can’t wait to join Carpe Diem this fall.She hopes to share her passion for traveling and help participants grow in a new adventure!

Nathan Swanson

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FUN  FACTS

Spent time with the Bellingham Circus as a juggler and acro-balancer.
Grew up acting and absolutely loves being on stage. Was once offered a job to be an actor by a commercial agency in Seattle.
Is the youngest of 7 kids and has a twin brother.

Nathan Swanson

Overseas Educator

Born in the great state of Washington, Nathan developed a love for the outdoors. He spent his childhood riding his bike with his siblings or exploring every inch of forest he could find. By the time Nathan was an adult he considered himself passionate with little training when it comes to the outdoors. The summer after high school Nathan went on a trip to adventure along the coast of Australia. This is the trip that sparked his love of travel! Getting the chance to stay on a farm, hold a koala, hunt crocodiles, rappel in the mountains, learn to surf, dive the Great Barrier reef, and meet some wonderful people along the way.

During his college years Nathan started to study recreation at Western Washington University. Here is where he fell in love with rock climbing. After attending school for 2 years he took a hiatus and started working with kids and gaining life experience. It was during this time Nathan started working for summer camps where he was able to share his passions with the campers. He decided to finish his degree at Southern Oregon University finishing with a bachelors in Outdoor Adventure Leadership, then partaking in the first cohort for the masters in Outdoor Adventure and Expedition Leadership.

While at SOU Nathan got to spend 2 months traveling around East Africa. He spent 2 weeks in Zanzibar doing dolphin conservation, then spent 5 weeks with his school travelling around Kenya, Rwanda, and Zanzibar. Finally he spent another week doing some more exploring by himself before heading back to school. In the master's program Nathan got to plan and lead a bike-packing expedition. They embarked on a journey biking from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea utilizing a path through the Caucasus Mountains.

When not travelling internationally Nathan likes to spend time driving the coast in his van, juggling, hanging out at camp, or watching movies.

Peter Benassi

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FUN  FACTS

Was gifted an (organic!) handmade arrow by hunter-gatherer pals in the Hadza tribe while camping in Tanzania.
Serendipitously couch-surfed in Lyon, France during the spectacular Fête Des Lumieres (an amazing festival of lights!).
Rode a bicycle from California to Colorado— spontaneously slept in the yards of many friendly strangers, including biking legend Inga Thompson (a very gracious host with lovely cows!).

Peter Benassi

Overseas Educator

Growing up in the burbs of Chicago, Pete always embodied a unique combination of adventurousness and sensitivity: in the karate studio he was Purple-Belt Pete, at the ice hockey rinks he was Slap-Shot Pete, and in school he was Pete the Poet. Now in his 20’s, not much has changed.

In college, Peter had the opportunity to do a field study in East Africa and a spend a semester in the Indian Himalayas. These experiences— along with an exchange semester in Amherst, Massachusetts and an internship teaching creative writing in Chicago Public Schools— earned him a B.A. in Education and Leadership from Prescott College in Arizona. Since graduating, Pete has worked as a backpacking camp counselor and coordinator in Durango, Colorado; an environmental educator in West Virginia; a wilderness therapy field guide in Virginia; and a service trip leader in Tanzania.

In addition, Pete is passionate about music, movies, reading, bicycles, and backpacking. He became a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in June 2016.

Pete is very excited to be a part of the Carpe Diem team and looks forward to sharing his passion for authentic and meaningful travel!

Rachael Smith

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FUN  FACTS

Favorite quote: “Knowledge is only rumor until it lives in the muscle” proverb from Papua New Guinea

Rachael wants to do more creative things! Let’s make some art!

Rachael Smith

Overseas Educator

Rachael grew up exploring the forests, rivers, and beaches of beautiful Northern California, developing a deep love for the outdoors and a particular obsession with all things water. As someone who learns through physical activity, she valued learning about herself by romping through the woods. Desire for new adventures led Rachael to her own gap year and she has been traveling and exploring ever since. Her primary interest is in the personal growth and self-actualization of young people.
College in the Midwest was a challenge for this fish out of water. She attended Antioch College as a member of the pioneer class to the college’s reopening and earned a degree in environmental science. Through those transformative years, she realized that while her education engaged her cognitively, it lacked the physical and emotional aspects she needed to function joyfully and productively.

Scuba, first aid, weight lifting, and wilderness training helped fill the missing parts of her education. She is grateful to her teachers and students for the opportunity to share the gifts she has received from these disciplines. Travel and work in different countries has given Rachael deep appreciation for the communities she has formed overseas and her solid loving connections from home. Every destination is a chance to meet people, hear their stories, and form community.
Rachael is an experienced SCUBA instructor who has taught diving in Mexico, Colombia, several Caribbean islands, and east Africa. Most recently she spent two years working as a diver in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Hungry for growth and new experiences, Rachael loves leaving her comfort zone physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Her most recent adventure was a yoga teacher training in Indonesia that indeed challenged all of her!

Rachael believes our collective journey towards a more just and peaceful world starts with the work we do on ourselves and in our communities. With intentional care for ourselves and each other we can create the safe foundation we need to take on challenges and realize our potential in the world. She looks forward to building community with you!

Rebecca Liebeskind

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FUN  FACTS

Despite traveling and flying on a regular basis, Rebecca is scared of flying.

At the age of 10, Rebecca dreamed she was being eaten by a cow. Since that day, she has been a vegetarian.

Rebecca once got caught in the middle of a cat fight (feline) and has a scar down the middle of her face to prove it. It required a number of stitches.

Rebecca Liebeskind

Overseas Educator

Rebecca was 9 years old when she took her first extended trip abroad. From the moment she stepped off the plane, she felt exhilarated by the new sights, smells, sounds and taste (especially the taste, if Rebecca had to be labeled, she would be ok to be called a foodie). That initial experience opened her mind and senses to the world and was instrumental in shining light on what she wanted to do: travel and connect with people the world over, as well as pursue work and studies with an international focus.

Rebecca received her B.A. in Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies and Jewish Studies from Emory University and her M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben Gurion University in Israel. Following the completion of her degree, she spent a year and half on her own exploring India, a country that epitomizes the meeting of cultures. India is a place of immense diversity and following that initial post graduation trip, Rebecca has been lucky to have returned over 11 times and to have led 7 Gap Year trips there, each time seeing and experiencing something new.

In addition to leading programs in India and many other countries, Rebecca has worked with the refugee population in Atlanta (Did you know that just outside of Atlanta is the most ethnically diverse square mile in the United States?). She also spent 10 years working at an Indian restaurant, and has held a number of odd and interesting jobs; including being a lady Santa Claus in India. In her free time, Rebecca likes to cook and to sample all of the local culinary fares of the places that she is traveling in.

Rebecca has been a puzzle enthusiast all of her life. As a kid she would spend her days completing jigsaw puzzles. Rebecca still enjoys a good jigsaw puzzle, but now her love of puzzles is more metaphorical. She enjoys figuring out how everything is connected, and when she travels she gets especially excited when she sees historical links between different cultures. Like the missing connecting piece of a puzzle, Rebecca can’t wait to connect her Carpe students to wonderful experiences and a transformational experience.

Sarah Silverstein

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FUN  FACTS

Sarah’s happy place is sitting around a campfire with friends, musical instruments, and the freedom to shamelessly attempt to belt Amy Winehouse songs under the stars.

She has run three marathons – the last of which was the 2016 Boston Marathon, where she ran on a charity team that raised money to send youth from underserved communities to summer camp. After that, she somehow found herself in a full-circle turn of events working as a summer camp director for two years.

Sarah’s most random job was a short stint working as a zipline guide in the Minnesota River Valley, where she had the opportunity to take the Twin Cities’ most well-known radio personalities on a private tour. And, because Minnesota is adorable, her dad turned out to be their veterinarian.

When leading a summer program in Costa Rica, she and her students ended up at an expat’s Fourth of July celebration in San Jose with members of the US embassy. They ended up making the cover of the expat newsletter due to their enthusiastic dancing in the middle of a rainy plaza.

Sarah Silverstein

Overseas Educator

Sarah grew up on a farm in a small town of Minnesota, and spent most of her childhood exploring the surrounding 50 acres of unused farmland by foot and on horseback. Of course, that also meant that she spent a great deal of her early life doing barn chores before and after school. The overlap of inside and outside living gave her an appreciation for wide open spaces, fresh air, and getting your hands dirty in pursuit of fun.

During her undergraduate years at Northeastern University, Sarah took advantage of the numerous opportunities for experiential education and spent more time away from her university than on campus! She had the chance to live in both Italy and New Zealand, and spent six months working at a social enterprise in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. Her capstone class took her to Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and she visited Israel in 2011. These global experiences at such a young age helped shaped her worldview, enhanced her understanding of diverse and complex cultures, and have taught her more life lessons than she can begin to count.

Since her college years, Sarah has called Colorado home, with regular stints away. She’s spent her summers leading adventure travel programs in Fiji, Costa Rica, and Spain, along with stints in Colorado and Utah. During the rest of the year, she’s worked behind the scenes in the industry, programming international itineraries for adventure travel organizations. Recently, she took a few months off to cycle and tramp around New Zealand, and when she can’t stamp her passport, she spends her free time hiking, skiing, camping, and exploring the areas closer to home. All while drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Sarah remembers the first time she worked as an outdoor educator for students – she was sent to Fiji, of all places, and couldn’t wait to come home and tell her friends about the beautiful places and culture of a new country. Instead, she came home talking about her incredible students and the meaningful connections that were made during her month in-country. There is something so special about experiencing a place with a close group of people, and Sarah discovered that her real passion is sharing that experience with others.

Shan Sethna

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FUN  FACTS

Competitive tournament foil fencer in high school.

Voted “Preppiest” kid in his prep school graduating class, but graduated college with a ponytail down to his shoulder blades.

Has three passports.

One day in June 2018 had breakfast in Canada, lunch in the USA and dinner in Mexico.

Shan Sethna

Overseas Educator

Shan is a seasoned traveler and educator with an overriding passion for leadership, community building, volunteer and nonprofit causes.

He has had a diverse 30 year career that has included outdoor education and international adventure travel for teens, as well as more traditional stints in journalism, public relations, land surveying and emergency medicine. His journey has taken him from ski country to Wall Street and many random places in between.

Shan earned a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College and a Master of Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has outdoor experience as a wilderness guide, climbing instructor, sea kayak guide, backcountry ski guide and avalanche educator.

He has mentored young adults and coached leadership since 1993 in a range of settings, including as a trip leader and program manager in North America, East Africa, West Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific.

Shan has been travelling internationally since, well… his entire life. The son of a UN diplomat, Shan was born in the United Kingdom and raised around the globe. He has visited or lived in more than 40 countries and since 2016 has made Southern California his home. This breadth of experience has created in Shan a truly unique worldview and insatiable curiosity.

Shan likes to work hard and play hard. He takes leadership and risk management seriously, but doesn’t really take himself seriously.

Sheldon Ito

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FUN  FACTS

Second fastest boy in the 5th Grade (could never beat Malcolm Chow) at Wai’alae Elementary School. Wai’alae is also the alma mater of musician Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole (never met him, but his cousin Chris was in my grade).

Former member of the Hawai’i Carpenter’s Union Local 745.

Would love to build his own ukulele one day, but right now just looking for one to take to Thailand. Hopes you like music.

Sheldon Ito

Overseas Educator

Here are a few things you should know about Sheldon: 1) He doesn’t like writing bio blurbs because he doesn’t think the form really suits its function and things like that upset him. The word “persnickety” comes to mind. 2) He’s flexible enough to bow to convention and say that he’s from Honolulu, where, btw, he’s never heard the word “persnickety” uttered. Not even as a joke. 3) Although reluctant to and pretty bad at bio writing he does want you to get to know him (and vice versa). Here are a few conversation starters that if he were a German Shepherd, would make his ears stand up and rotate in your direction: a) “You’ve been sailing a ton for Outward Bound over the past four years, what do you love about it so much?” b) “You never trained as an actor and have no interest in it, but you were on the X-Files tv show twice. Who thought that was a good idea?” c) “Your writing reminds me of both David Foster Wallace and Ernest Hemingway, but without the talent of either, is that why you don’t talk about your writing?”

And if you really want to know him: d) “What about Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” do you find so upsetting?” e) “Explain again how the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle applies to Hedberg’s theorem that Bigfoot is blurry.” f) “You think Hotline Bling is highbrow art? You really think that?” g) “Wait, your drivers license says Cambridge, Massachusetts, you work on boats in Maine and Florida, and now you’re going to Thailand with us, but, like, where do you live?”

Sheldon, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, was a founding teacher of Expeditionary Learning charter schools in Brooklyn, New York and Saint Paul, Minnesota, and has traveled extensively in Thailand, Ecuador and Mexico. A recent trip to Tokyo netted him a deep appreciation for pod-like sleeping quarters and an illogical conviction that he is one of the select few who knows where to find the best ramen in the city. He finds referring to himself in the third person oddly liberating and is excited to join the staff at Carpe Diem this Fall.

Suzannah Crandall

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FUN  FACTS

Ha’e oñe’ekuaa Guarani. She speaks Guarani, an indigenous South American language.

Suzannah grew up on a hobby farm and has mad chicken raising and gardening skills.

One of Suzannah’s favorite spots is under the canopy of cocoa trees in Costa Rica. She spent several months researching the growth of cocoa pods and tabulating monkey, parrot and fungus damage to the pods.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“As you go through life, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.”

Suzannah Crandall

Overseas Educator

Suzannah, born and raised in northern Wisconsin, grew up eating cheese and playing outside. Her love for exploring nature and traveling began at a young age during family camping trips and a stint in Germany at the age of 10. Suzannah pursued her love for the environment and travel studying abroad in Costa Rica while obtaining her degree in biology.
After college, she was able to combine her desire to fully immerse herself in another culture and pass on her appreciation for the environment as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. She spent two years in Paraguay working with schools and her community on environmental education projects. Her most memorable experiences include drinking mate with her neighbors, enduring the Paraguayan heat, and laughing through the language snafus.

Her desire to work in the environment with students pushed Suzannah to pursue teaching environmental education in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and later in Wisconsin running an outdoor skill development program for high school youth.
Most recently, she has had the pleasure of traveling and working in central and south America with a student leadership program. Suzannah is excited to be part of the Carpe Diem team and support students during their experience.