Rachel Koltsov

Rachel is from New York City, NY and is passionate about reading, astronomy and combat sports. She is involved in a local wrestling club called Beat The Streets and volunteered in a local elementary school to teach 2nd grade students about their community. Her goals for the year are to learn to speak Spanish fluently and open herself to new experiences and adventures. "A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are built for." - John A. Shedd


One month out and ramblings.

When I started packing for my trip to Ecuador, I fully intended to return to New York City. So whenever I faced any difficulty, or any discomfort or homesickness, I would tell myself “Ok, X more months until I’m home.”. And that helped me, because I could look forward to being surrounded by familiarity when…

27 May, 2017


“I vibe with that slide concept” (September of 2016 in Parque La Carolina, Quito) Rachel’s first time eating cuy during a picnic with my host family and their friends. (October of 2016, Paute, Azuay) A panel of glass was removed from this church window. I took this photo during a Christmas celebration for my apprenticeship….

28 April, 2017

A Lesson on Impact

On Monday mornings, I go to the office of the Unidad Social de Gualaceo or I go to the terminal and meet up with the person that I will be working with that week. From there, we go off to do our site visits or group visits, where we do small activities and lessons, depending…

29 March, 2017

Mountains are big.

Mountains are big. Traveling alone is scary. Especially in a country where I don’t speak the native language so well. You start to crave familiarity and wish that the words coming out of your mouth were conjugated perfectly and always understood without having to be repeated 3 or 4 times. Luckily I didn’t travel alone….

23 February, 2017

Life is happening.

This was my first year celebrating Christmas. My host sister and I took part in a christmas “parade” on the 10th of December. We were dressed up as angels with ginormous gold wings. The “parade” was a culmination of 9 days of Navideño, where my host family would gather with their friends and discuss the…

24 January, 2017

Dancing in the Dark

The month of September can be metaphorically compared to a roller coaster. Following a 10 hour trip from the capitol city, Quito, to Cuenca (the busy bee hub of the southern region of Azuay) my host family picked me up and took me an hour away to Gualaceo, which is where I’ll be living for…

12 December, 2016

Arrival of the Birds

I have this nagging suspicion that I am meant to live in the mountains.   Yesterday I climbed a dormant volcano, called Pichincha. There’s actually a plume of smoke rising from it now, possibly a forest fire. Could also be a cloud. At this elevation, both are possibilities. The air up here in Quito is…

20 September, 2016

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Rachel Koltsov