In the middle of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily and northeast of Tunisia, lies the island of Malta. Together with its neighboring islands of Gozo and Comino and four other uninhabited islands, it forms the miniature state of Malta.
According to 800zipcodes, Malta may be the smallest EU member state (its area is smaller than that of Bremen), but it has long been a fixture in international tourism. Numerous bathing holidaymakers, culture hungry and language travelers are drawn to the Mediterranean island every year. However, there are hardly any large castles here. Instead, there are picturesque fishing villages and unspoilt stretches of coast to discover. Studying in Malta is a special kind of academic experience.
History of Malta
Even before the tourists arrived, Malta was very “international” due to its strategically favorable location: Phoenicians, Romans, Staufers, Spaniards, Arabs, French and British ruled here over the millennia. And the Order of Malta even named itself after the island it held for 250 years. It can still be clearly seen that Malta was under British colonial rule until 1964: English has remained the official language alongside Maltese. There is still left-hand traffic and Maltese cuisine not only combines Mediterranean and Oriental influences, but also bacon and eggs are still part of the classic breakfast menu.
Sightseeing in Malta
Sightseeing should not be neglected when studying in Malta, because the country has a whole range of sights to offer, not least due to its multicultural history. This includes the capital Valletta, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is surrounded by the monumental rampart Fort Elmo, which protects the center with its splendidly furnished churches and palaces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. If you travel from here to the Maltese countryside, you will come across numerous ruins and historical temples from the time of the Phoenicians and Romans.
Malta has long served as a kind of Christian bulwark from the Islamic world. This shaped the islanders, who are largely deeply Catholic to this day. There are regular festivals of the saints with processions through the decorated streets. These end in extensive celebrations with lots of delicacies as well as dancing and fireworks until late at night. The Maltese also celebrate the carnival enthusiastically and extensively.
Language courses in Malta
The combination of language lessons and a Mediterranean vacation has long been one of Malta’s recipes for success. Generations of students have traveled here to improve their English.
Reasons for a language course in Malta
Due to the long colonial period, the English language in Malta is not only theoretical subject matter, but part of everyday life. Malta is the only English-speaking country in the Mediterranean – and learning under its Mediterranean sun is more pleasant for many than in rainy Great Britain, for example. From Central Europe, the island can also be reached much faster and cheaper than destinations with similar climates overseas.
While in the past almost only Europeans came to Malta for language holidays, the groups are now international. The participants now come from over 80 nations.
Due to the long tradition of language schools, the Maltese courses have been continuously modernized and adapted to current requirements. Today there are offers for schoolchildren and high school graduates, students, teachers and other professional groups as well as for senior citizens.
In terms of content, the courses cover all levels from beginners to advanced. Professional and subject-specific English courses, for example in the areas of business, technology and literature, complement the usual programs. Depending on their wishes, participants can choose between standard or intensive lessons, group or individual lessons or special conversation training.
The number of providers is large: it ranges from large chains to individual, smaller companies. The independent organization Federation of English Language Teaching Organizations of Malta (FELTOM) has been monitoring the quality of Maltese language schools since 1989. It checks the mediation and advice provided by the providers and on site the teachers, course offers, lesson plans and rooms as well as the accommodation, which are often included. There are also some other organizations, such as the Association of German Language Travel Organizers (FDSV). These quality controls create a network of high-quality providers who only employ well-trained teachers.
What should I consider when choosing a language course?
When choosing the right provider and course, it is important to take into account the individual language level and age group. A course hour should last around 45-60 minutes and the number of hours per week should be around 20-30 hours. Ideally, the number of participants does not exceed 10 people. This creates an intensive working atmosphere and the teachers can adjust their focus individually to the group members.
For young people, for example, the focus is on age-appropriate learning. The courses often serve as support for school lessons or as preparation for a student exchange or the Abitur. The students can also make new contacts as part of the language course.
Adults can pursue very different goals by participating in a language course:
- High school graduates can get fit for their studies.
- Students can prepare for standardized language tests such as TOEFL or IELTS.
- Working people can improve their conversation skills or receive specific tutoring in professional language.
Work first, then pleasure – leisure activities
A healthy balance to the lessons plays an important role for every age group. Many providers therefore have joint activities on the program in addition to morning learning. This can be, for example, excursions or sports and dance courses. Of course, water sports such as swimming, surfing, water skiing or diving are particularly popular in Malta. Due to the shallow water, the Mediterranean is partly a brilliant turquoise blue. Very popular excursion destinations are the Blue Lagoon and the Blue Grotto, which can be explored by boat.
The inland of Malta and the secondary island of Gozo also have a lot to offer: With their Mediterranean and North African vegetation, the Maltese islands invite you to hike through citrus and olive tree groves, past wild herbs and vegetable patches. The beautiful Maltese cities such as Valletta, Mosta and Medina or the numerous old fishing villages are also very worthwhile. St. Julian, a popular location for language schools, is one such fishing village. In the evenings, the language students can sit together in cozy bars or go dancing in one of the discos.
Costs for language courses, living expenses and accommodation
As different as the courses on offer in Malta are, so are the costs. The following is based on a standard English offering of around 20 hours per week.
- For student courses, you should calculate around EUR 200 for one week of instruction.
- In adult training, such a course usually costs around EUR 180.
- For an intensive course, the costs are EUR 260-320
- A small group course in Business English costs around EUR 350-420.
Special leisure activities such as sports or culture packages cost a surcharge.
The cost of living for studying in Malta is hardly lower than in Germany. Some services like public transport are cheaper. Groceries, on the other hand, are often more expensive because most of them have to be imported. Here it makes sense, like the locals, to buy from either large discounters or small market stalls.
Most language travel providers offer their participants various options for accommodation. Host families are very popular with students. Here the young people can get to know the country and its people in a special way and gather new impressions. The costs are around EUR 160-220 per week for a single room.
In addition, there are usually partner offers from pensions and hotels. Of course, their prices vary depending on comfort and season. Depending on whether you opt for a multi-bed, double or single room, you can plan between EUR 90-240 EUR per week.
Useful information about immigration and health insurance
EU members can easily enter Malta with a passport or identity card. Anyone who has a European health insurance card is also insured in the Republic of Malta in the event of illness and does not necessarily need additional health insurance abroad.