Group Semester + Independent Semester
Community. Volunteer. Connection.
Possibilities seem more possible to me and my life feels like my own to lead. I never thought I would travel in Latin America and now I want to go to every country within it. This is not a phase in my life, Carpe has truly changed who I am, allowed me to encounter my essence and live more fully and truthfully.
I worked in the Amazon cutting down banana trees, ate Colombian street food, danced on rooftops with new (now lifetime) friends, learned Spanish well enough to be able to develop relationships entirely in another language, adopted the practice of Yoga into my daily life (and have never felt better...), participated in traditional, Amazonian medicine ceremonies and learned to cook incredible vegetarian food... and, in the process, I have gained more confidence and clarity than I could have ever imagined.
I am certain, anyone who does a Carpe Diem gap year will come out more mature, more humble, and with a better understanding of the world and the opportunities we take for granted every day. For the rest of my life I will Carpe Diem, and share it with those around me. -Tom, Latitudes
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.
I feel a lot more mature and equipped to handle life’s consistent spontaneity (if it is in fact spontaneity) than my fellow students at college now. Having travelled I know the value of education – I feel like I know what matters to me, and that I can go about being a student of the world outside my institution in a sustainable way. I’m able to see through things that aren’t as worthwhile. In short – if I can survive the jungle, if only for three months, I’m not afraid of anything. I’m also probably more sensitive to cultural identities than I was before.
Carpe Diem well exceeded our expectations. We felt our son was always 100% safe, having a fantastic adventure and could be easily contacted if needed. Could not be more happy with the overall experience.
Every single aspect of this program is top notch! As a mother who worries about everything, this whole process was stress free. The day our daughter left for India, I really didn't have any concerns for her in any way!
I don't know how to sum up my experience in just a couple words. Carpe took me to the most beautiful places I have ever seen, allowed me to meet the most interesting people I have ever met and gave me the opportunity to do awesome things and help awesome people. All I know is that this last year was an incredible journey and I wouldn't be the same person I am today if I didn't choose to go this adventure with Carpe Diem.
Latitudes Year is Carpe Diem’s most comprehensive program. Choose any of our 12-week group semesters during the Fall, followed by a customized 12-week Independent Spring Semester in the region of your choosing.
With one-on-one mentorship from your Latitudes Advisor, the Latitudes Year opens a world of opportunity. During your group semester you will gain the skills and confidence to travel sustainably while discovering your passions. After a winter break, you will then deepen those skills as you immerse yourself in a local community through a focused volunteer placement (FVP). Through volunteer service with one of Carpe Diem’s many partner organizations, you will make a positive impact in the world while developing your own independent skills and interests.
Meaningful service, adventure cultural exchange, and connections with communities across the globe will make your Latitudes year a transformative experience. Return home energized and ready for the next leg of your life journey!
As a Latitudes student, you can enroll in courses through the fully accredited Portland State University (PSU), and upon successful completion may earn up to 36 quarter-credits.
You’ll meet your Overseas Educators and the other students at the airport and depart for your group semester in Central America, Cuba, South America, India, Southeast Asia, East Africa, Indigenous America, or the South Pacific.
Dive into cultural experiences and adventure through community based volunteering, environmental conservation, outdoor adventure, language study, and a reflection retreat. Travel the local way, taking local transportation, living with host families, in hostels, and guesthouses, and eating local cuisines. This is not a vacation or a mission trip, but rather a chance to authentically immerse yourself in a new region of the world along with a community of like-minded travelers.
Choosing a Focused Volunteer Placement
While on your Fall group semester you will be in contact with your Latitudes Advisor every few weeks looking into different FVP options. You will decide your FVP by November 15th (early decision) or December 15th (late decision). For more information on the process of choosing a placement click here!
- Once the Fall group semester is over you will either return home or continue traveling. Students typically use this time to catch their breath, complete their college credit courses, rest, and take time to integrate all of the experiences from their group semester. This is also the time to get needed immunizations, re-pack bags for the solo FVP, and make any other necessary preparations.
- After your group semester and the Winter Break, pack your bag for your FVP and return to Portland for a final Pre-FVP Orientation! Reunite with your Latitudes cohort and the advisor team! Prepare for being an independent community-based volunteer working in a community while learning and sharing specific regional information with peers and experts. Receive a refresher on First Aid, health, and safety, set expectations for PSU coursework while on your FVP, and create intentions for applying the skills learned in your group semesters to the upcoming FVP.
Departing from the Pre-FVP Orientation, students will travel on their own to a region of the world that interests them to participate in a volunteer project they are passionate about. Carpe Diem Education partners with hundreds of nonprofits, NGOs, and independent organizations to customize a Focused Volunteer Placement for each individual student.
The Focused Volunteer Placement builds and expands upon program objectives from your group semester.
This is a time for students to:
- Gain hands-on independent experience in a community living without parents, group leaders, or a Carpe Diem group.
- Understand and practice self-accountability and responsibility by working on a specific project.
- Advocate for yourself and develop personal leadership skills through full participation in a volunteer placement.
- Further develop your understanding of your impact by spending an extended period of time in a community.
- Continue in the process of self discovery by stepping out of your comfort zone.
Previous FVP Location Examples:
USA, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji…to name a few!
Previous FVP Category Examples:
Working with kids, teaching English, Women’s Empowerment, Agriculture/Permaculture, Natural/Eco Building, Animal Conservation, Marine Conservation, Environmental Conservation, Art/Music, Photography/Filmmaking, Writing, Human Rights, Yoga Teaching, Outdoor Leadership, Health/Medicine, etc.
Students have taught English in the Himalayas of Nepal, worked as a marine conservation intern in Thailand, volunteered with victims of human trafficking, mentored at-risk youth in South Africa, and taken courses in permaculture design to help start a biodynamic farm. The opportunities are endless! We also encourage you to take a look at the Latitudes blog to get an idea of what our previous students have done on their FVPs.
Accepting Applications For:
Latitudes Year 2017/2018
Latitudes Year 2017/2018
September 13 – December 6, 2017
December – January
January 22-25, 2018 (In Portland, OR)
Focused Volunteer Placement
*Group Semester dates may fluctuate depending on flight times and availability. Final dates for the Winter Break and FVP are based on the individual student’s preferences and FVP organization.
Ages 17 and Up
COLLEGE CREDIT & FINANCIAL AID
Earn up to 36 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.
Please Note: South Pacific & Cuba Latitudes is $23,600.
Program tuition includes a 3-day orientation in Portland, Oregon in January, 1-on-1 mentorship from a Latitudes Advisor, a customized Focused Volunteer Placement, $2800 project contribution towards the second semester FVP, all food, accommodations, scheduled program activities, access to 36 PSU credits, and international travel insurance for the duration of the program. International airfare, domestic airfare to Portland for orientation, and spending money are extra. International airfare estimated at $3,400 – $5,600 for the year.