The next chapter: Santiago, Chile

Having spent the last year studying to be a journalist, I will fly to Santiago tomorrow for what I hope will be a six month journalistic adventure to a country I have visited only once before (briefly in 2008). In truth I do not know what to expect from my journey, so I am trying my best not to expect anything at all.

It is certainly an exciting time to be travelling to Chile as a journalist, with civil unrest at its highest in years. Some opinion polls rank centre-right president Sebastian Piñera as the least popular Chilean president since the restoration of democracy in 1990. Piñera’s free market policies have attracted criticism and anger from many Chileans who feel disenfranchised, despite the country enjoying significant economic growth and falling unemployment rates.

Meanwhile regular protests from students demanding free education from the government recently culminated in 200,000 people marching through the streets of Santiago. High school classrooms across the capital are being occupied by students whose demonstrations are frequently met by violent police resistance. At a time when press freedom is being increasingly curtailed – with journalists being arrested for peacefully covering demonstrations - the role of the independent journalist is more important than ever.

This blog will be used as a platform to display my work during my time in Chile. I hope that by the time I have finished I will have a far richer understanding of the country’s culture, history and society than that which I have been able to glean from literature.