Living abroad: My Experience Learning English in Malta
I have wanted to live abroad since I was at university and I discovered that the Erasmus program existed. What could be more exciting than going to another country and starting a new life? Everything is new and unknown, everything still to be explored. Walking around the streets, admiring every detail for the first time. Sitting on the terrace of a café and observing local life. And the biggest thing, learning a new language and opening your mind to new opportunities.
But at that time, I didn’t do it. I was focused on my studies, and I was working so hard in the afternoons to pay for university. And also, I was afraid to take that step and leave my comfort zone. All my friends, my family, the city where I always lived and that I knew so well (too well, in fact).
So, I didn’t do it and years went by one after another. However, this idea remained in the back of my mind. Somehow, I always found an excuse, and every year a different one. A way to justify me and why I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do.
The truth was that I was paralyzed by fear and the common questions one thinks of before: “What if I won’t be able to learn English? What if I don’t make new friends? What if I don’t find a job?” All these questions (and more) were like a wall between me and my desire to live abroad and learn English.
And then, Covid hit and we were forced to remain in our houses for three months, which gave us a lot of time to think. And I thought a lot! For the first time, I realized how many years I had wasted just focusing on my fears instead of putting my energy and my illusion into making my dream a reality.
I promised myself that after Covid, I would go to another country to learn English. I chose Malta as my destination. Gradually, restrictions decreased and Covid was left behind. I bought my flight. I packed my stuff and I rented my room. I said goodbye to my family and my friends.
The best was just beginning.
I chose Malta because of its warm weather among other things. The perspective of living on an island and being closer to the sea while enjoying the summer weather was really attractive. I’m from Barcelona and I was born and raised near the sea, so this was a must for me. I need the sun and to live in a place full of life outdoors, so I immediately discarded countries like England and Ireland.
I moved to Malta in April, and during the few first weeks, I didn’t feel any warm weather ever. It was raining, cloudy and windy. I had just brought two sweaters with me because I read about the warm weather and I thought I wouldn’t use many winter clothes but luckily I brought them! Everybody told me this year the weather was unusual and that normally in April the good weather starts on the island.
If you’re thinking of doing an internship in Malta or you want to come to follow an English course this summer, don’t worry! Summer has already started and you just have to think about what swimwear you’re going to bring!
Not even the weather could discourage me the first few weeks. At last, I was living my dream! So I dedicated that time to exploring the “neighborhood” that was St Julians, Sliema, and Gzira. One of the good things about Malta is its size: you could walk around 15 minutes and get to the next city. Amazing!
I was impressed by the shades of blue. The blue of the sky (when it was sunny) but mostly the powerful and magnificent blue of the sea. I spent hours just walking near the sea and sitting in front of it just to rest. And also crossing my fingers to have good weather soon and be able to swim in the water!
As I didn’t know anyone here, I spent my first weeks mostly alone. I remember that one afternoon I went to a small, cozy café in Sliema in the afternoon with my book, just to chill outside the flat without any expectation. After around thirty minutes I saw the woman of the café starting to clean the empty tables and sweep the floor so I asked her if she was closing. Indeed she was, but she insisted I could stay longer and we started talking a lot while she was cleaning the place. By the end of it, we were singing and dancing to Cher songs together!
One of my goals for this trip was to start being less shy and more open. So my first “homework task” (given to me by my English teacher) was to go to an event in English and talk to new people. The event was held in a beautiful bar near the sea. I bought the ticket and they sat me at a table with people from different parts of the world (that didn’t share my language) so the only way to communicate was in English. It was amazing! Most of them were in Malta doing an English course or an internship. In fact, it is a good way to start new relations here!
Building a new life
After the first month of exploring alone, I met my first friends and started making plans together. Everything’s better when you can share experiences with nice, friendly people!
Our first plan was a party at Gianpula Village. I’d read a lot about this place and I was curious about it so we got the tickets for a special night there and we went to burn the dance floor! I’ll never forget this night! Although the music wasn’t good at all, (for me, I love techno above all other types of music!) we had a fabulous night and we danced a lot!
We spent one Saturday visiting the famous Blue Lagoon, in Comino. We took the bus from St Julian’s to Cirkewwa (about one hour more or less) and there we went onto a small boat that took about twenty minutes to arrive in Comino. One word to describe this place – is paradise. We were lucky to arrive early in the morning and we rented a sunbed and umbrella near the water (because after 12.00h it was impossible!). We spent our day swimming in this amazing water!
My favorite moment in Malta
If I had to choose the most special moment during these months I have no doubt about it: the night we had dinner at Exiles Beach with my best friend.
It was a Monday, both of us had a bad day and we decided to change our moods by having dinner outside. We prepared roast chicken, a bottle of Maltese wine and some candles (one of them a citronella candle, against mosquitos!) and we went to Exiles on our picnic. And what do you think happened? Our mood changed completely! Being near the sea, under the stars, breathing the fresh air… was the best medicine for our humor!
The goal I am most proud of
And that’s… I got a job! And not just any job, but a job doing the thing that I love the most: writing.
My flatmate sent me the offer and I decided to apply, just on the off chance. I never expected that they would be interested in me because I had a little experience in content writing and I thought they were looking for an experienced profile.
However, week by week, I was successful in every step of the interview process. My first interview (which was in English!), was a writing task, the second interview was with the Country Manager (at least this time it was in Spanish!), and the last one, was with the Team Leader. Every week I was more confident and finally, they called to hire me!
Summer vacation in Malta: Exploring Gozo
So after my goal of getting a job, I thought I deserved some days of vacation in Malta before I started with the company.
Where could I go? I chose Gozo. If you come here, you’ll understand why. The natural beauty and the peace of this cute island can’t be compared to Malta, not even to Comino. I feel there’s something sacred there, in its old streets, in the wild of its coast, in the silence and the sound of the waves.
So I booked a room in Victoria (the main city there) and I spent four days visiting the Cittadella, swimming in the sea at Ramla Beach, reading a good book whilst listening to the sound of the waves and with a glass of wine near me. And writing, of course! The perfect summer vacation in Malta.
After these relaxing days, I am ready for my new and exciting job!
My plans for this summer in Malta
And what am I going to do this summer?
Who knows! At the moment, I just know that I’m going to work a lot! Starting with this company is a dream for me but in the first few months, I’m going to be learning a lot of new stuff and proving myself day by day. And improving, of course!
But I have a lot of things I’d like to do in mind! I want to taste the best Maltese restaurant on the island, go to Valletta for a jazz night, go scuba diving near St Paul’s Bay and go to an open-air festival with good music! Summer here is full of amazing outdoor events and this has just started.
So, what have I learned until now? If you want something, go for it. It doesn’t matter if you think it is difficult or are afraid of it. Try to get rid of all these useless thoughts. Just focus on your dream or your desire and go for it! If you are thinking of doing an internship or studying English outside your country, Malta is the perfect place to improve your skills while enjoying summer life!