Fall 2021 Thailand Semester

Thailand: a country accentuated by the colorful robes of Buddhist monks, the vivid greens of rice fields and jungle forests, and the cultural diversity of hill tribe communities. Thailand offers a unique cultural experience unto itself; and faces the challenge of reconciling massive urban expansion and industrialization as these relate to indigenous land rights, free movement of nomadic peoples, and equal access to resources.

From the peaceful temples and old walled city of Chiang Mai; the mountainous jungles of northern Thailand to the ocean waters of the South China Sea, Carpe Diem Education brings you to Thailand to explore issues of conservation, engage in authentic cultural exchange, and to discover the warmth and hospitality of this unique culture.


Engage in service learning with a local NGO that promotes community empowerment projects in support of refugees, migrant workers, and children.

Trek in the mountainous jungle of Northern Thailand and witness firsthand the realities of hill tribe communities.

Discover Thai culture through rural village homestays, learning basic Thai language, local customs, and the importance of family structures within the Thai society. 

Explore the amazing underwater world of coral reefs while earning your Open Water Scuba Certification off the coast of Koh Tao island, and engage in Marine Conservation studies.

Female student smiling with her head above water while SCUBA diving

Program Details

Two gap year students smiling with their muddy palms on display for the camera
Group of gap year students standing together in front of a white temple in Thailand


8 weeks

Program dates

FALL 2021
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Group Size

A maximum of 12 Students & 2 Overseas Educators


Our typical student is between 17-22, though we sometimes work with students slightly outside that range depending on circumstances.

College Credit & Financial Aid

Learn more about: College Credit and Financial Aid

Language Requirements



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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 $1300 - $1500; internal flight estimated at $150-$250; visa fees estimated at $60. Optional supplemental SCUBA dive insurance between $30-75.

About Our Thailand Semester

Occupying the extreme southern edge of the massive Asian continent, Thailand is a land of ancient tradition, distinctive cultural expression, and tremendous complexity.

Defying European colonization, Thailand provides a unique opportunity to witness a culture uninterrupted by external authority, yet deeply impacted by globalization and tourism. We explore various aspects of this culture, enjoying the warmth and hospitality of Thai people while uncovering layers of social complexity, economic disparities, and the endangered way of life of the nomadic hill tribe communities.

We’ll explore traditional village life through homestays north of Chiang Mai, living with and engaging in the daily life of locals. We’ll witness the emphasis on close family systems inherent in Thai culture, and the role that Theravada Buddhism plays in the everyday lives of the people.

Female student sitting cross legged while journaling in Thailand
Group of people standing together while holding up an illuminated paper lantern

Taking time to reflect on ourselves and our journey, we join a working Theravada Buddhist monastery for a 4 day meditation retreat, surrounded by tropical forests and mountains.  

Moving further north, we engage with a local NGO committed to social justice initiatives that bring livelihood and education to refugees, migrant workers, and children. We discover the complexities of political borders, the significance of gaining legal status, and the challenges faced by people leaving their homelands in pursuit of a better life.

Continuing our emphasis on community, we trek through the beautiful forested hills of Chiang Rai, walking from village to village. Through interactions with hill tribe communities, we witness how the pressures of modernity are influencing a unique way of life that is centuries old. Afterward, we continue connecting with land and people through living and working on an organic farm. Through hands-on work, we learn about sustainable living, achieving balance with nature, and the importance of reducing our consumptive footprint on planet Earth.

We end our semester by earning an Open Water SCUBA diving certification and engaging in a marine conservation course, learning how fragile the coral reef system is, and what can be done to preserve it.

Questions We'll Explore: 

  • What does the future hold for southeast Asia’s hill tribe communities?
  • Why are people leaving their homes and families only to arrive in an unknown land, and to an uncertain future?
  • What are the circumstances of neighboring countries, and how can they be improved?

Carpe Diem Education’s Thailand semester brings you face to face with the beauty and challenge of this distinctive nation. Through interactive engagement with local cultures, the journey provides an enhanced perspective on issues of conservation and cultural exchange.


"This was the most amazing experience of my life and I am eternally grateful for it."

CDE Student

"What I love about this program is being able to experience such a variety of cultures in such a small region of the world."

Program Director

"I have grown more than I thought possible, and I will never forget what I’ve learned on this trip."

CDE Student

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