How will you Carpe Diem?


An embodiment of paradox, India is a convergence of ancient traditions; a birthplace of myriad forms of religion and spirituality; now a modern country of 1.3 billion people that is rapidly emerging as a major economic and technological power.

From Hindu temples and ghats along the great Ganga River; to the legendary desert landscapes of Rajasthan; from rickshaw rides through the crowded streets of Delhi, to the awe-inspiring immensity of the Himalaya mountains, Carpe Diem Education offers an experience that brings you face to face with complex social structures, diverse religions, and the intersection where tradition and change collide.

  • Engage in artistic projects with local artisans, and discover the interplay of crafts, commerce, and culture from centuries past to present day society.
  • Develop a deeper awareness of spirituality through service at the Golden Temple (holy site of the Sikh religion); a week of yoga and meditation practice along the banks of the Ganges River; and discussions with Buddhist monks and teachers.
  • Discover the stark socio-economic contrasts of India through homestay experiences in rural and urban settings.
  • Participate in an experimental community permaculture project that is promoting a renaissance of traditional eco-architecture in the foothills of the Himalaya. Dive into the world of locally-based economies, sustainable development, and retention of cultural heritage and identity.
  • Be inspired while spending 4 days trekking in the largest mountain chain on earth, the mighty Himalaya.
Perhaps more than any other place on earth, India harnesses a depth of history and culture that is undeniably vibrant and alive, yet irrevocably changing and evolving in response to today’s fast-paced world.

Throughout our journey, we’ll explore concepts of wealth and poverty, and the impacts of social systems that result in oppression for some, and opportunity for others. Interwoven into each experience is the ever-present role of spirituality, and the myriad ways this is infused into the lives of the people you meet.

How do we reconcile the vast disconnect between privilege and poverty that we see nearly every day? What role does religion and spirituality play in alleviating the suffering of millions of people? What are the conflicts between an evolving technological and industrial movement, and the ancient traditions of artisans and craftspeople, religious sects, and social structures?

Through artistic internships with local artisans, you’ll explore skills and crafts that have been practiced for centuries, yet are being lost in the age of technology. While living with homestay families in both rural and urban settings, we’ll witness the contrast that arises in economic disparity, and the results of having differing levels of access to education, resources, and technology. You’ll discover spiritual concepts and practices that focus less on changing the external, and emphasize cultivating happiness within.

Discover the beauty and inclusivity of the Sikh faith as you walk the grounds of the Golden Temple, surrounded by the sounds of ever-present sacred Gurbani Kirtan music. Explore Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj, a haven for Tibetan refugees who, to this very day, make the dangerous crossing through the Himalaya in order to start a new life here. Discuss the tenets of Buddhism while having tea with a local monk; learn about the continued efforts to retain Tibetan culture and tradition even as they must adapt to a new country and society.

Connect to your environment by doing hands-on work at a Himalayan permaculture site that is reviving traditional eco architecture, establishing edible landscapes, and emphasizing the power of local economies. Discover how these practices are serving the larger goal of retaining local culture and offsetting the pressures of globalization and climate change.

Carpe Diem Education’s India semester provides a window of access into diverse forms of spirituality, a deeper understanding of India’s complex social structures, and a broader global perspective.


 

Explore
Latitudes Year

Program Details

Accepting Applications For:
Fall 2019

DATES
SPRING 2019
February 13 – May 7*
FALL 2019
September 11 – December 4*
SPRING 2020
February 12 – May 4*

GROUP SIZE
A maximum of 12 Students &
2 Overseas Educators

ELIGIBILITY
Ages 17 and Up

COLLEGE CREDIT
& FINANCIAL AID

Learn more about:
College Credit
Financial Aid

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT
None

PROGRAM TUITION
$11,900

SAMPLE ITINERARY



 

 

My Carpe Diem trip in India was perhaps the most amazing three months of my life. I experienced things that I never thought were possible and learned more about myself and the world than I ever expected. India really blows expectations out of the water and challenged so much of what I thought I was sure of. I'm heading home with more questions than answers but that's a great thing and I feel so inspired by all the different ways I can choose to direct my life. In India anything is possible and I know now in life that's the case too.

- Zoe, India Fall '17

This trip has been such a life-changing and mind-opening experience for me. Definitely three of the most fun and exciting months of my life.

- Isabel, India Fall '17

Before Carpe Diem, I had a career path in mind but I still wasn't really sure who I was or what I loved to do. Taking a year off and experiencing so many things really helped me find myself.

- Emma C., India Fall '17

I would recommend Carpe Diem to everyone. There are a few lessons that can only really be learned through traveling, and Carpe Diem does an amazing job of providing a safe but challenging platform for self-expansion and discovery. I really believe that I am a stronger person than I was three months ago, and I honestly owe all of that to this program.

- Emma P., India Spring '17

This trip was incredible. I am deeply thankful that I had the opportunity to get to experience the culture of India so deeply with a good group of people. I am coming home with a new understanding of my privileges and place in the world. The knowledge I've gained in the past three months is information I will hold onto for my lifetime.

- Kaila, India Spring '17

Seize Your 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 SERVICE LEARNING
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.

The Student Experience


Explore the following links to learn about the Carpe Diem India student experience.