Diversity & Inclusion Statement


We Acknowledge
  • Every student — regardless of their race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or economic status — has the right to equal opportunity and the right to achieve educational success.
  • Taking a gap year has traditionally only been financially accessible and culturally acceptable to students from upper or middle-class, primarily white, families. This has created — and continues to create — barriers for students from diverse backgrounds to participate in a gap year, leading to a lack of diversity.
  • In order to address and remove these barriers, organizations must be proactive in reaching and holistically supporting students from diverse backgrounds, throughout the entire recruitment, admissions, travel, and reentry process.
  • By investigating with diverse perspectives, there is much to be gained by all students in terms of education, awareness, and impact.
  • Our mission and learning outcomes are centered on community, intercultural exchange, and experiential education. We not only strive to accomplish these outcomes by traveling to different countries and exploring diverse cultural perspectives while abroad, but also see the inherent value and cultural exchange that occurs through diversity within the traveling group itself.
We Act
  • Through our partnership with Portland State University, students are able to earn a full semester of university credit and have access to federal financial aid (through filling out their FAFSA). This lowers access barriers significantly.
  • By providing a necessary and more tangible value for this experience (college credit) families without expendable income are more able to participate.
  • Offering college credit through Portland State University opens the door to students and families of diverse backgrounds that are reliant on FAFSA to meet their higher education needs.
  • In 2009 we founded our sister organization and non-profit, Carpe Mundi, whose mission is to serve low income, primarily first-generation college students in Portland, Oregon. Through this program, students attend a Carpe Diem Education semester program and receive a full year of mentorship, a summer internship, and enrollment in college at significantly reduced or no cost to the student.
  • We keep our costs low. Our overall program prices and the cost per day of our programs are amongst the lowest in the industry, allowing students of differing socio-economic backgrounds a greater opportunity to partake in a gap year.
  • Carpe Diem Education offers in-house scholarships (see “Carpe Diem Scholarships” below) and flexible payment plans for students and families who qualify for financial aid. These scholarships vary and are based upon families’ EFC (Estimated Family Contribution from their FAFSA), monthly income and expenses, and a written statement of need.
We Aspire
  • To increase the diversity and inclusivity within our community of staff, administration, local contacts, and students through active recruitment and retention efforts. We define diversity broadly to include social categories such as race, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity, socioeconomic status, nationality, citizenship, physical ability, religious beliefs, political viewpoints, age, and experience.
  • To foster a culture of self-reflection and education around diversity and inclusivity in our staff, students, and greater community. We recognize that cultural shifts occur through individual awareness. Therefore, we strive to examine our own relationship to social categories such as race, class, and gender and the way it affects the work we do.
  • To create a student and staff community that is reflective of broader demographics.

Review our 2018-2019 Diversity and Inclusion Plan

Scholarship Programs


Student Scholarships

Carpe Diem has launched a new scholarship program, where students can receive up to $5,000 per year in funding. Our scholarship options include an 1) Access Scholarship and 2) Inclusion Scholarship. Details on eligibility, award amounts, and deadlines can be found here.

Overseas Educator Scholarship

The Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Scholarship is intended to support Overseas Educators (OEs) from diverse backgrounds in obtaining a WFR certification. This scholarship is a part of our broader efforts to diversify staff as defined here.

Carpe Mundi Scholarship

Carpe Diem supports Portland-based students through the Carpe Mundi Scholarship. Carpe Mundi, the non-profit branch of Carpe Diem, organizes a full-year mentorship program for low-income, first-generation college students from the Portland area, including participation on a Carpe Diem Gap Year semester. Carpe Diem provides up to $150,000/year in scholarships to support ~30 Carpe Mundi students. Learn more about Carpe Mundi here.