Priyanka Rao

At home in both San Jose, California, and Varanasi, India, Priyanka is truly bi-cultural. She enjoys journaling, dancing, and writing poetry. She helped start a Reading and Writing Club at her school, and her love of creative writing recently took her to the final round of the Gunderson Poetry Slam.


Capstone Video

This is a video I made for my Global Citizen Year Capstone. I hope you enjoy seeing the world as I saw it this past year!

28 June, 2012

Reflections on The Blue Sweater

The Entrepreneur steps onto the scene of the developing world, and snaps her trained fingers… only to find that third-world countries don’t follow the same rhythm she does.  As Jacqueline Novogratz begins down the path of international development, she faces many of the trials we do as Global Citizen Year (GCY) Fellows: high school graduates…

23 June, 2012

The Day that Life Begins

11am at work I decided I was going to the psychologist since the idea still clung after my 5am sanity jog along the Amazonian highway of Ecuador, where I am spending my gap year. By 12pm I had an appointment with Edda, the Clinical Psychologist and a bed with my original host family; by the…

24 April, 2012

Sounds Like Me

In my little wooden room in the Amazon, I will sometimes spend hours under the cracks of light that sift through the wooden boards, and watch as my three lives begin to make sense. The Hindi, the Spanish, the English. Maybe you can take a minute, to lay there with me. In the Amaden, District…

22 March, 2012

Woven Together

Thoughts are woven together in interesting patterns.  Perhaps this string of journal clippings will give you a snapshot of the passing of time in Ecuador, and even a sense of that tentative undying hope we Global Citizen Fellows seemed to be imbued with: Sunday 16th October: Hello again.  It’s late at night and I wanted…

22 March, 2012


                I’ve been waiting to encounter the famed biodiversity of the Amazon.  I have pictures of the yellow green butterfly I picked nearly dead off the highway, and of the green frogs that hopped in when it rained too hard for too long.  The carpenter ants never stop…

09 January, 2012

Poco a Poco

Today, I’m just quieter in general, so I’m getting less Spanish intake; yesterday’s exhaustion and headache justify my taking a break.  Today I am sitting next to Alejo, with the privilege of listening to his iPod with him.  With his twinkle-eyes and long eyelashes, he is trying to practice his English because he hopes to…

10 December, 2011


Today we are going to the Jumandy Caverns- the beloved tourist site of the inhabitants of the Napo province.  I have expectations of a little cave, trash, people. We enter with lanterns on our foreheads and the clean but slippy weight of water-filled boots.  We reach the rock (i) black and solid, as formed by…

09 December, 2011

Sifting Through

  Yesterday evening while sweeping the patio floor, I had a moment of realization.  Examining the line of my life, I saw America, the sidewalk before me.  And India, the concrete floor, and here I was sweeping the wooden slats of a Latin American patio, in a country verdant green, with the calls of chickens. …

30 November, 2011

Finding Family II

I got to go to the river the other day with my family in order to shower and wash my clothes because there was no water in the tank at home.  This time I was prepared with dirty clothes and a skirt to change.  I was relieved to find that this was only a laundry…

30 November, 2011

Finding Family

Day Two on the ELA Sumaco tour with the entire class of 24 students, driver and conductor of the bus, Mary and Patricia of the National Parks Association, and Rocío (my boss), Luis, and me.  I started out very discouraged at my ignorance, but I’ts taken me a day to acclimatize to the point where…

11 November, 2011

To the Bathroom

It’s 3:41 in the morning, and I just got back quivering into my bed.  I’d had to go pee for several hours but hadn’t figured out how I would make it alive.  I knew I was living in the rainforest region but this truly clarifies: I am living IN it. The rain droplets can be…

14 October, 2011

Sin Bici No Hay Paraiso

Just coming back from Cumbaya, the cutest town in Ecuador, and suffering from the paradise syndrome.  A stucco church with bell tower edges a hedge-rowed garden park complete with a trickling fountain in the center.  Boutiques surround the square across a cobblestone road that leads past the mission-style Educativo where the uniformed school-children are getting…

01 October, 2011


I’m here bumping along on the road to Tena. We drove through flat lands of farms and now we are going through those mountain roads that follow a river up through the wallowing hills.  It’s all the browns and greens of moss and heather.  Clay- the ground is saturated with water.  And we feel very…

01 October, 2011


I have been very proud to learn how to ask questions, not only questions that arise in the end-of-a-chapter Review, but the ones that actually reflect what I am thinking.  The ones that reflect the true issues that complicate me, but also questions that can bring out very interesting answers.  Effective questions.  They give me…

01 October, 2011

Meet, Cheese and Olives

My first family outing was to a baby shower–it was a solid evening.  By the time it was time to go, I decided my Indian outfit would pass for something unique at least, to avoid the other judgments. It was a nice town-house out in the mountainside with lots of nice people to kiss on…

29 September, 2011


Here we are in to Atlanta – flying over it at the moment.  “Starting our descent.”  Left at 4 am this morning to the extenuating circumstances of leaving 31 soul-mates that I met last week.  I am awake to say the most of this situation, since I have been falling in and out of a doze…

15 September, 2011

Why We’re Here

Training hit hard.  Standing over my 28 lbs suitcase, I only think “I didn’t pack for this.”  I didn’t have the shorts, the appetite or the expectations for two beautiful weeks inStanford University, California. Training hit hard.  It hit with the punch of 56 different personalities from across theUnited States, gearing up for a year…

15 September, 2011

Why I’m Here

Traveling has been always a passion of mine, since those initial bus-rides ‘round the Hydrabadi loop (India), which was all my mother could do to quiet my infant cries.  Even then, the entrancing rhythm of being in motion, underneath the hum and roll of people talking, brought me home like nothing else could, just as…

05 July, 2011

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Priyanka Rao