Our Curriculum

Through a dynamic and holistic curriculum, Carpe Diem students are challenged to step outside of their comfort zone and learn about themselves and the world around them through our hands-on learning process.  With an emphasis on experiential learning, each program is designed to actively engage students and challenge them to contextualize their experience through reflection.

For students that are looking to expand upon their in-country learning through a more formalized academic curriculum, we are proud to offer a wide range of college courses through our local partnership with Portland State University.  We believe that this integrative approach to learning engages the mind, body, and spirit of our students, while providing opportunities to cultivate their passions and strengths.

Experiential Education

Experiential Education is learning through action and reflection. Action: Students will be challenged to try many different types of activities, with the intention that they learn – either a new skill, a new perspective, or something new about themselves. We encourage students to actively be open to new experiences and find ways to appropriately push themselves and step outside of their comfort zones. Reflection: Students are encouraged to reflect on their own and shared experiences, as well as begin to consider the impact that these experiences have on their lives. We accomplish this through one-on-one reflection, group reflection, and self-reflection.

One way we implement Learning Outcomes is through our own experiential curriculum: Carpe Diem Lessons (CDLs). Our database of CDLs has been compiled over the years with contributions from our Overseas Educators, office staff, curriculum developers, past students, and other public resources. Some topics we facilitate on our semesters include: global poverty, sustainability and environmentalism, food security, giving and receiving feedback, fair trade, positive psychology, volunteer tourism, non-violent communication, and more. The CDL topics and ideas provide a variety of tools that complement the programmatic components to enhance the depth of experience and understanding for students.
Our programs are based on the building blocks we believe provide students with intentional space for infinite opportunities to learn. Every student will: Learn how to be a safe and smart traveler – including how to budget, take local transport, book accommodation, and utilize time management. Gain a basic understanding of a region through language, politics, history, culture, and religion. Examine global interdependence through the lens of privilege, perspective, social justice, and responsibility. Strengthen the sense of self, build confidence, and explore passions. Learn and practice interpersonal communication skills through accountability and cooperation within a group. Demonstrate self-advocacy, personal care, and stress-management. Understand the concepts of compassion, empathy and gratitude.

College Credit

Through partnership with Portland State University Carpe Diem students can earn up to 18 quarter-credits on a Group Semester, and up to 36 quarter-credits while participating in our Latitudes Year. Please visit out College Credit Page to learn more about our unique relationship with Portland State University and to explore our current course offerings.