Studying abroad in Malta

The idea of studying abroad had always appealed to me, when applying for university two years ago, I made sure my course had this option. I was certain that I would take up the option in my second year to go on the Erasmus+ exchange. Although I originally dreamed of studying in Iceland, I was happy that I was accepted to study in the beautiful country of Malta.

Malta is one of the smallest counties in the world. The main island itself is 40km in length, so it takes about 50 minutes to drive from the top to the bottom. I feel so thankful that I’ve  been given this opportunity to study in such a remarkable country. Choosing Malta over all the other countries that were on offer was something I’ll always look back on and be so grateful.

I moved here at the end of January. Unlike the others on my course, I didn’t have a travel partner so the 8am flight was very lonely, especially when you know you won’t know anyone once you arrive. Moving day was rather weird, I’d been counting down to it for months, but then again, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to leave behind my life in England. Alas, I made it on the plane and after what seemed like the longest flight of my life, I landed on the beautiful island.

I live in the University of Malta’s residence, which is literally home to the majority of Erasmus and Study Abroad students. There’s 12 of us in my flat, and everyone I live with is from America, Canada and Italy. Everyone here for the second semester are a crazy bunch and I love their love for travelling and the endless nights out getting drunk in Paceville (Malta’s party area).

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University itself is great. I don’t have many contact hours, but I really enjoy going in and being around Maltese students. I’m slowly trying to learn how to speak Maltese, yet the language is pretty complicated to learn. My favourite thing to say is il-waqfa li jmiss meaning the next stop is. Every bus journey, you’ll hear this a lot of times as the buses here in Malta are a lot fancier than in England, so you’ll never miss a stop as an automated voice tells you what the next stop is.

I always wondered to myself why I wanted to choose a cold country over a hot one like Malta, but then once summer started in February, I realised why. Trying to get up for lectures and sitting in the library doing an essay is a challenge when it’s 27 degrees outside and your friends are planing a trip to one of the many beaches.

There are so many sightseeing opportunities here. Valletta, the capital city is the most historic and beautiful place I’ve ever been to. Literally everywhere is picture perfect and I’m already certain I want to move out here and work once I graduate.

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Studying abroad was the best decision I’ve made, I’ve made friends for life from all over the world – meaning there’s even more travel opportunities. I also feel so much more independent than how I did before moving here. No matter how indecisive you may be about studying abroad (I was on and off with it since I applied at the beginning of 2015), you have to ignore all the ‘what ifs’ and once you arrive, fight the homesickness and culture shock. You’ll regret it if you leave, and when it comes to your final month, you’ll wish you were staying forever.

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