Welcome to my University in Chile. Three weeks ago, Chilean university students took over the facilities in protest of the superior education system in Chile. They call it “toma,” which literally means to take. They enter the buildings and block all entrances, piling chairs and desks behind the doors, and locking the gates (and themselves) inside. They are still camped out in the classrooms, sleeping on the floors in sleeping bags.

After Pinochet’s dictatorship finally ended in the late 80’s, privatization of education slowly reverted and public education was restored. Although there are many public universities in Chile, many students still don’t have access to a higher education. It’s very expensive, and the government provides very selective financial aid.

“They piss on us, and tell us it’s just raining.”

Here are a few of my classmates’ demands:

  • Equal access to quality education with social diversity in enrollment.
  • Increase public funding for higher education as a percentage of GDP.
  • Democratization in the higher education system.

How does that affect me? NO CLASS! But, it’s not as wonderful as it sounds. It’s actually a lot more frustrating trying to finish all of the work for my semester here.

It’s amazing to see student movement like this, something I couldn’t imagine happening in the States. Pure dedication, because if you’re not involved in the movement, you are pretty much a rotten egg.

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