ANU undergraduate student Katya Murphy at the top of Volcan Villarrica in Chile.

ANU undergraduate student Katya Murphy at the top of Volcan Villarrica in Chile.

Travel journal: Chile

The Chilean capital of Santiago is undergraduate student KATYA MURPHY's home for the first half of 2016.

On an exchange as part of her Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, she has quickly settled into life in the South American country, as she writes here.

Staring out the window over Santiago at the end of my 12-hour flight from Sydney, I had already started to fall a little in love with my new home.

The spectacular Andes mountains tower above the city, making even the Gran Torre - the tallest tower in Latin America - look tiny in comparison.

Santiago is often overlooked by visitors in favour of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires but, one month into my semester exchange semester at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago already feels like an amazing place to call home.

For me, going on exchange to Chile is a great chance to study the political science aspect of my degree from a different perspective, while immersing myself in the Spanish language and Latin American culture.

As I write this, I have just started classes but I am already learning about politics from a very Latin American perspective.

My timetable includes courses that vary from political corruption in the region to environmental ethics, which is particularly relevant while living in one of the most polluted cities in the Americas.

Chile also offers a very different view of economic development, as a country with one of the widest gaps between rich and poor.

This inequality was particularly evident to me when I took a taxi from the airport into Santiago past the shanty towns on the city's outskirts.