Because of the strikes three of my classes are exclusively international students. This has been a particularly interesting experience for me because all of my classes are political in nature. Luckily the professors of these classes encourage student participation and often ask about how situations differ in different countries. Thanks to student participation I have learned more about how things work in other countries and how some students in other countries think. It is especially interesting to see how people’s personal politics influence the way they view Chile’s past and present political systems. Of course it is also interesting to see how people from different countries view America. Many Chileans do not like America or Americans because the US backed Pinochet’s rise to power. Interestingly, on average Chileans like Mexico a lot more than they like the US. A Czech classmate of mine talked to me the other day about how high the unemployment rate is in the United States, how much poverty there is, and how large the gap between the rich and the poor is. He told me that in his country 80% of people are middle class and that poverty is hardly an issue at all. This guy speaks English, Czech, Spanish, and German and has studied in Spain, Germany, and the Czech Republic. I firmly believe that the US has much to learn from nordic countries. One of the many things we could benefit from is focusing more on languages. One of my professors said that in countries where they are high numbers of immigrants people are accepting of all languages and cultures. Sadly, this could not be further from the truth in the US. The fact that destructive immigration legislation continues to be introduced and passed in the US truly breaks my heart. In my Displacement of the Population class we learned about how some countries are required to welcome all immigrants (aside from those who have committed crimes against humanity, etc.). I understand that that may not be a possibility in the US (as did my professor) but regardless we could do far better than criminalizing people who are trying to make a better life for themselves. We could also encourage people to learn more languages in order to increase appreciation of other cultures and decrease language barriers. Not only do many of these students I have met speak several languages, they speak Spanish very well and have extensive vocabularies. It has been wonderful to meet people who speak several languages by choice. I am sadden by the lack of access to English classes here despite the number of jobs that will not hire you unless you speak English and the fact that you cannot go to college if you do not speak English yet English in not taught in public school (which most people attend). Pertaining to inequality in Chile, in one my classes we were discussing the minimum wage in Chile. An Irish classmate of mine said that it was an injustice that the minimum wage does not allow people to survive. The professor (who typically has leftward leaning views) said that he does not think Chile should have a minimum wage because it increases unemployment. He went on to say that unemployment works very different here than it does in Europe and that one can only be on it for a limited time. It was an interesting conversation because the Irish student seemed to believe that Chile should function more like Europe does and the professor appeared to believe that such drastic changes were not necessary. We also learned that five families in Chile control 40% of the wealth-remind anyone of the Waltons in the US? I am very interested in how the dynamic of having people with such a variety of political experiences will continue to influence the dialogue in my classes.