I have felt such deep, unconditional love in this family, this awesome community. Every moment and every crazy experience in India felt so meant to be and I am so grateful to have shared this with these friends I love. All of this will be in my heart as I travel on my own and go home.

- Phoebe, India

My horizons now expand beyond fear-based limitations and wrap back around to assure me that I have the tools to realize my greatest dreams. I was taught an impeccable awareness of our impact on the world - environmental, cultural, everything.

- Angela, Latitudes India/Nicaragua

Our group has adopted T.I.I. ["This is India"] to describe the disappointment, stress, sheer chaos, filth, underlying simplicity, sense of purpose, respect, history, beauty, humor, delightful surprises, and all of the serendipitous happenings that we experience each day here. One of the things we have all learned, and seems to be the most pertinent at this point in the trip, is that there is much more then meets the eye with India. It is easy to dismiss things as chaotic, disorganized, unpleasant, broken, or even just silly. What it really comes down to, though, is simplicity, efficiency and tradition. Underneath it all, there is much to learn from these people. T.I.I.

- Desmond, India

I entirely trust you and your organization and all the hard work you go through to make these experiences safe, exciting and educational.

- Parent, India 2009

Your program is very top notch; the group leaders I met at the airport were also very cool and gave me much confidence in watching my son’s life be in their hands.

- Parent, India 2007

Carpe Diem was an extraordinary way to become immersed in a different country in a way I would have never been able to do by myself. With the support of a group and leaders who had traveled extensively before, I was equip and confident to travel on my own in a responsible and respectful way.

- Nelle, India

My experiences abroad in India with the Carpe Diem program changed my perspective on what I value and cherish in my life, what I want from our world, and what I want to give and share. Through this, I feel I am becoming a more centered, honest being.

- Stephanie, India

Experience


If you’re fascinated by some of the world’s oldest religions and cultures, then the Carpe Diem India Semester will put you in touch with your spiritual side.

Explore a multi-faceted culture and people as you spend three months traversing the diverse ecological and spiritual landscape of the Himalayas, the Indus River Valley, and the birthplace of three major world religions. Experience how these belief systems exist side by side in tolerance as you, too, live and work alongside them and their followers.

Along this inward and external journey, you’ll experience a routine totally unlike your own. By discovering deeper truths about yourself and the national context in which you live, you’ll form a new perspective of your world and the planet. At every fascinating stop along the way, you’ll find new friendships and mutual exchange with the incredibly diverse people of India.

Volunteer with your group at the Mother Teresa Home for the Destitute in Calcutta. See the burning ghats of Varanasi up close and personal. Live in the hometown of the Dalai Lama. Trek through the majestic Himalayas. Choose from soul-inspiring internships in art, music, language, yoga, meditation, or whatever else interests you.

You will also acquire independent skills to travel anywhere in the world through a safe, supportive group setting, and gain an inner confidence that follows you into a college career.

Our three-month India adventure will challenge and enrich you far beyond what you imagined was possible. You’ll return home feeling re-charged for the next leg of your amazing life journey.

  • CD_India_3

  • CD_India_1

Journey


ORIENTATION
Your semester in India begins in the capital of Delhi, adjusting to jet lag and getting to know your groupmates with a three day orientation in India’s capital city. Acclimatize to your new surroundings at a reasonable pace, within the safety of the group. See a Bollywood movie together or explore some of the sights while absorbing the cultural lessons around you. Wander the markets, learn how to negotiate rickshaw prices, and get your feet wet in preparation for the coming months in Amazing India.
HOMESTAYS
Jaipur

Jaipur is the thriving capital of the western state of Rajasthan. Here you will stay with Indian families as you begin your multi-faceted exploration of Indian culture. Your time in Jaipur will include introductory courses in Indian history, culture, language, and yoga. You’ll also have a chance to visit local NGOs and artisans and explore the cultural and historical sites.

McLeod Ganj

McLeod Ganj, home of the Tibetan government in exile and the Dalai Lama, is the site where you will be living with Tibetan families and welcomed as a true member of their extended family. In this plush, mountainous region you will learn first-hand the unique challenges faced by a culture forced from its homeland. During the day you will again have the opportunity to participate in internships such as thangka painting, music, meditation, teaching English to political refugees, and cooking, among many others. There is no shortage of activity to be had in McLeod, as well as no shortage of excellent food, starting with your homestays!

STUDENT DIRECTED TRAVEL
For this portion of the trip, your group will decide where they want to go and what they want to see. Students are given a budget to operate within, and are responsible for all logistical details. Group leaders will be there to monitor and assist as needed, but essentially this is your opportunity to experience for yourself what it is like to plan and execute your own travel in the developing world. It will also give you the opportunity to experiment with ways to stretch your travel dollar safely and intelligently. End back in Delhi, planning to arrive approximately 1 1/2 days before your flight home. Spend the last days shopping for family gifts in the markets, take in more sights, and whatever else you feel you wish to accomplish before heading home with more stories than you dreamed possible.
COMMUNITY BASED VOLUNTEERING
After the inward journey of Buddhism and Bodhgaya, move on by overnight train to Calcutta (Kolkata). Here we will turn our journey outward by giving of ourselves, working approximately 4 hours each morning as volunteers at the Mother Theresa Home for the Destitute. Here you will have choices of what type of work you wish to perform: support services (i.e. laundry), helping to feed the poorest of the poor, or even holding the hands of those who are in the process of dying, bringing them honor and dignity in their last days. Spend afternoons in groups absorbing and exploring this unforgettable and politically pivotal city that one student referred to as “the New York City of India”.
CULTURAL IMMERSION
Jaipur

Jaipur is the thriving capital of the western state of Rajasthan. Here you will stay with Indian families as you begin your multi-faceted exploration of Indian culture. Your time in Jaipur will include introductory courses in Indian history, culture, language, and yoga. You’ll also have a chance to visit local NGOs and artisans and explore the cultural and historical sites.

Varanasi

Varanasi (Benaras), the ‘city of lights,’ is renowned as the very pulse and epicenter of Hindu India. The group resides in hostel accommodations within walking distance to Assi Ghat. Extend your ‘orientation’ and take part in internships of your choice, including: yoga practice, Indian cooking, fire dancing, stone carving, jewelry making, tabla, sitar, flute, and the list goes on! Practice your Hindi when you go to the market. Cook together as a group, or enjoy any number of international cuisines in the area. Experience sunrise over the Ganges, the burning ghats, and just generally soak up the vast, rich scope of one of the oldest cities on the globe.

Amritsar

Spend a night or two as a guest on the grounds of the Sikh Golden Temple. Experience the wonder of eating a free meal en masse with thousands of others. Feel truly unconditionally welcomed as a guest of this unique religious tradition in the home of its birth.

McLeod Ganj

McLeod Ganj, home of the Tibetan government in exile and the Dalai Lama, is the site where you will be living with Tibetan families and welcomed as a true member of their extended family. In this plush, mountainous region you will learn first-hand the unique challenges faced by a culture forced from its homeland. During the day you will again have the opportunity to participate in internships such as thangka painting, music, meditation, teaching English to political refugees, and cooking, among many others. There is no shortage of activity to be had in McLeod, as well as no shortage of excellent food, starting with your home stays!

Haridwar

A short ride from Rishikesh, translated literally as ‘gate of the gods,’ Haridwar is a holy place for Hindus as it exists at a confluence of the Ganga and its tributaries. Less touristed than nearby Rishikesh, here you will find small, earnest ashrams teaching practical spirituality and health practices on a consistent basis.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
Himalayan Trek

Spend 4 to 5 days camping and hiking in either the far Northwestern or Northeastern Indian Himalayas. Breathe deep the crisp mountain air, taking only pictures and leaving only footprints, as you participate in a fully guided and professionally supported trekking experience with one of the most reputable Himalayan companies. Sit each night by a roaring campfire while robust meals are cooked for you, take time for yourself in the silence, or take well-earned naps in the supplied tents. Be sure to dress warmly!

REFLECTION RETREAT
Bodhgaya

Bodhgaya is the spiritual epicenter and birthplace of Buddhism. Sit and meditate under a descendant of the same bodhi tree where Siddhartha reputedly attained enlightenment. Visit Buddhist temples built by almost every other Buddhist nation in honor of this holy place. Walk in pilgrimage around the Mahabodhi temple with monks in robes of bright colors. Stay in one of the temples and experience how the true devotees live. Feel the unique flavor of this holy city as it resides within India’s poorest state.

Bir

Bir is a peaceful colony, far removed from the hustle and bustle of Indian. Here our groups have the opportunity to learn and practice in the rich tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. We’ll study meditation and philosophy at a well established center in the foothills of the Himalayas, and apply this compassionate practice to our journey.

Rishikesh

First made famous by the Beatles who wrote their album “Sergeant Pepper” while living in a Rishikesh ashram, it is one of the most beautiful lowland areas to experience the Ganges River as it emerges from the Himalayan highlands. As such, it is also a hub of adventure activity including whitewater rafting, trekking and kayaking. Wander the marketed streets and traverse the suspension bridges, or just hang out on the white sanded beaches of the river. Rishikesh is saturated with ashrams of all types, and a “guru” can be found on every corner.

Details


Accepting Applications For:
Fall 2017
Spring 2018

DATES

SPRING 2017 February 15 – May 10*
FALL 2017 September 13 – December 6*
SPRING 2018 February 14 – May 9*
*Dates may fluctuate depending on flight times and availability.

Not sure what to do after your semester? Check out our Latitudes program to do a focused volunteer placement for your second semester! CLICK HERE

GROUP SIZE

A maximum of 10 Students & 2 Overseas Educators

ELIGIBILITY

Ages 17 and Up

COLLEGE CREDIT & FINANCIAL AID

Earn up to 18 credits through our partnership with Portland State University.
Learn more on our College Credit page.

Carpe Diem students can access Financial Aid.
Learn more on our Financial Aid page.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT

None

PROGRAM TUITION

$9,900

Program tuition includes all food, accommodations, scheduled program activities, and international travel insurance for the duration of the program. International airfare and spending money are extra. International airfare estimated at $1600 – $1800; possible internal India flight estimated $200 – $300.