Malta is one of the world’s smallest countries, but, in a way, that's part of its draw. Its size makes life in Malta relaxed, slow, and has helped maintain community and family as a strong Maltese value. This archipelago of islands (made up of Malta, Gozo, and Comino) is actually growing in popularity for its English language programs, gorgeous weather, and architectural and historical monuments.
The country only just became independent in 1964 so it is home to a large mix of different influences. Even though it is so small, about three times more tourists visit than the local population -- clearly there are some great reasons to visit Malta while in high school.
Malta is best for students who: want to improve their English and want to be in a smaller country (rather than the United States or England), while enjoying the island's warm Mediterranean weather.
The main type of high school study in Malta is language immersion. This is because English is one of the official languages of the country (along with Maltese). Students can choose to go for one week or more at any time of the year -- though summer is the most popular time of the year for these programs. These are usually done through English language schools and programs.
We don’t expect you to only be sitting in a classroom all day learning English, so these programs are usually combined with some sort of teen travel or excursions. You can choose to do between 15 and 30 hours per week of course week and the rest of the time will be spent exploring! Depending on your age, you might have an earlier curfew, but this doesn't mean you can’t explore everything Malta has to offer!
Although the capitol of Malta is Valletta, most visiting students will be located outside of its' fortressed walls. Though certainly worth a visit (just note that busses stop running there around 8pm), the majority of language schools will be in the Sliema / St. Julians / Paceville area.
Sliema covers its own peninsula and is just a few minutes away from the port of Sliema and the main area for nightlife in Malta, Paceville. St. Julian’s is more well known and is more lively than Sliema, and is home to a number of British expats. Keep in mind that if you're staying near Paceville, the noise from nearby clubs can make it pretty noisy late at night.
Student visa requirements
Visa requirements will vary depending on your passport country and how long you plan to stay for. All information can be found on the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Visitors with passports from the Schengen area do not require visas.
Students usually have two options. The first and best for language immersion is with a host family. Some programs even offer the option of living with your English teacher (this is only advised for mature and dedicated students). The other option is in student housing with either a shared room or apartment, usually arranged through the language school.
Hostels don't really exist in Malta.
For a European country, Malta is very affordable -- in fact, it's said that their transportation rates are some of the cheapest on the continent. Malta uses the Euro as its form of currency, making it easier for people from from other Euro zones to travel. Most programs will include your meals and excursions for each day, however you should still plan on having a buffer just in case. Around 30 euros per day for personal expenses will suffice.
Malta is known for having very warm and pleasant weather. It can get up to the 90s (Fahrenheit) in the summer, and drop to around the 40s at night in the winter. Considering most students go over the summer, you will want to bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a bathing suit, along with all of your essentials!
If you travel to Malta in the winter, bring a hat and a coat. Though winters are relatively mild, it does get pretty windy there and heating in houses isn't common.
They mostly use the three-prong rectangular plug is used (like in England), but you'll also notice the two-prong plug (like in nearby Italy and other Southern European countries). For this reason, a universal adaptor is an essential for students to pack with them.
The CDC does not recommend any additional vaccinations besides the routine ones for travel to Malta. The country also boasts a high-end and comprehensive health care system, so if you happen to fall ill or hurt yourself while there, you will be very well taken care of.
One thing to remember is the sun is very strong in the Mediterranean region, so be sure to wear sunscreen at all times when you are outdoors. If you're especially fair skinned, you might want to invest in swim shirts to protect from the sun while you are swimming or doing other water activities.
Malta has a very low crime rate, however some petty theft does occur (such as pickpocketing).
While swimming, stay aware of the currents, which may become strong in some places. If there is no lifeguard on duty, nor a flag system, indicating that it is safe to swim, either ask a local if it is alright or do not swim at that place and choose another.