South Pacific Semester
Fiji, Australia, New Zealand
Community. Service. Adventure.
Carpe Diem was the most amazing time I have had in my life. This is where I really came to know myself as a person, I may have learned a lot about other countries and parts of the world, but in the end I learned about myself.
This is such a beautiful chance to grow and learn with a traveling community while interacting and with the wide world around you. You will change, learn, laugh, and grow while experience some of the most beautiful places and people the world has to offer.
My experience brought me closer to the person I truly want to be and instilled in me a desire to travel and learn that could not have been gained through high school or college alone.
I would just like to extend my warmest gratitude to the Carpe Diem office for organizing such an amazing trip. I can’t imagine the effort put into planning something like this and I could not thank you enough for that. This has truly been an unforgettable experience and has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. Much of that is accredited to you guys. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Two different children, two different groups, two different leadership teams, one consensus; Carpe Diem exceeded their expectations and enriched them in ways they had not imagined.
I can honestly say that Carpe Diem presents an opportunity unlike any other; I wouldn't trade the memories, the adventures, the friendships, or the lessons that I experienced during my time with abroad for anything. Best decision ever.
For a hands-on experience of the cultures of New Zealand, Fiji, and Australia, set your horizons on Carpe Diem Education’s South Pacific Semester. This three-month program is an ideal way to understand and appreciate a beautiful and complex region of the world. Our itinerary combines cross-cultural exploration with outdoor adventure, hands-on community service, and downtime for contemplation.
Your journey begins with an in-country orientation in New Zealand where you’ll learn more about the program, your group, and all the adventures to come. At each stop along the way, you’ll interact with local communities, learn about richly diverse cultures and histories, and build meaningful relationships with welcoming host families, partner organizations, and your fellow group members.
Learn about sustainability while volunteering on a farm in New Zealand, challenge your physical limits at an outdoor leadership school, and live with the Maori people in community. You might even have the opportunity to scale the famed Mount Ngauruhoe, a.k.a. Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings.
Journey to a Fijian village to participate in community-based volunteering while living with a local family. Here and at many stops along the way, you’ll share cultures and learn about new ways of living.
Travel to the Outback of Australia and learn about Aboriginal people while sleeping under the stars, take a soul-refreshing spiritual retreat, and participate in environmental conservation work in the rainforest. Spend five incredible days learning to scuba-dive on the Great Barrier Reef, sea turtles and sharks included!
Discovering new ideas about yourself and the world around you, you’ll learn new, life-enriching perspectives through experiential education, community and intercultural exchange.
- Arriving in New Zealand, jump right into orientation: get to know your new family, share your intentions for your next 12 weeks, review the itinerary and whip out the maps of all the places you will go. Learn about the customs of the South Pacific and how to navigate as an international traveler.
STUDENT DIRECTED TRAVEL
- Put your traveling skills to the test as the group designs and implements their week of “free travel”. Work with a budget and each other to explore the great outdoors that is New Zealand or Fiji. Perhaps your group will explore the beauty of the South Island by tramping through the Southern Alps, kayaking through Milford Sound or journeying to Queenstown, the adventure capital of NZ! If your free travel lands in Fiji, you may find yourself climbing to the highest peak of the island, Mount Victoria, swimming in the enchanting seas of the pacific, or exploring untouched fishing villages by hopping from island to island. The options are endless!
COMMUNITY BASED VOLUNTEERING
- For 2 weeks in Fiji the group will be enveloped by a local village, living with your homestay family, sharing meals and cultures, and working side by side on a community development project. Past projects have included building roads, building low-cost housing, or refinishing school buildings for Fijian families on this Pacific Island. This is an excellent introduction to Fijian culture and with some free time on the weekends, your group may decide to take in the Fiji passion of Rugby, hike to beautiful waterfalls or zip line through the tropical forest.
Organic Farming and Conservation
Throughout Aotearoa, you will learn the importance and vitality of agriculture in this majestic part of the world. Here, the group may split up to live in two different intentional organic communities experiencing a true Kiwi lifestyle. In exchange for room and board, we have earned our keep by shearing sheep, making sausages, planting indigenous trees, and learning the principles of organic farming. Projects and farms vary by semester and need of our local hosts.
Outback Conservation Project and Aboriginal Culture
The group will arrive by plane into Australia. Then we travel to the Outback to participate in rugged outdoor conservation work in the surrounding countryside. Get a glimpse of a country hard hit by climate change and continue your learning as we dig to the roots of what environmental conservation is all about. The group will spend some time learning different aspects of Aboriginal culture – hearing tales of the Dreamtime (traditional stories about the Ancestors) as well as exploring sacred sites of the Aboriginals in Australia’s Red Centre.
The group will stay with the Maori people of New Zealand, as we share meals and conversation while learning their history, language, traditions, and culture. Live at a Marae, which is the communal and sacred site that serves as a meeting place for social and religious gatherings. Delve into some of the social and political issues involving the Maori people, and learn what it is to live in community and tradition that has been around for thousands of years.
Outdoor Leadership School
Moving on to continue your travels in New Zealand, you’ll spend 5 days at an outdoor leadership school. Take ownership of your personal development by choosing to trek, or kayak, testing your outdoor navigation skills, conquering a ropes course all while learning team building concepts and developing your personal leadership style. The group will also have the opportunity to scale Mt. Ngauruhoe, aka Mt. Doom for all of you Lord of the Rings fans or do a full-day trek on the North Island through the Tangariro Crossing and what is fabled to be one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand.
Great Barrier Reef – SCUBA
The Grand Finale of your semester ends with 5 incredible days learning to SCUBA dive on the Great Barrier Reef. From sea turtles to reef sharks to the Maori Rass, this underwater world leads you to your PADI Basic Open Water Certification.
Our spiritual retreat is intended to allow you time to reflect on the deeper connections you have made this semester and to integrate all that you have learned. We will spend the next week learning different spiritual practices: either meditating at a peaceful Buddhist monastery, stretching ourselves at a yoga ashram in the mountains, or exploring ayurvedic principles and teachings at an integrative retreat center.
Accepting Applications For:
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
A maximum of 12 Students & 2 Overseas Educators
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.
Program tuition includes all food, accommodations, scheduled program activities, and international travel insurance for the duration of the program. International airfare, one internal train ticket, and spending money are extra. International airfare estimated at $3500 – $4000 and train ticket estimated $200 – $300.