Malta, a tiny island nation off the coast of Italy, is an often overlooked destination for travelers, students, and interns alike. However, Malta is worth considering. For starters, it's extremely affordable, has a mild Mediterranean climate, and is arguably one of the safest places in Europe.
Also, as one of the few English speaking countries in Europe (with English and Maltese being official languages), it offers a more affordable and off the beaten path alternative for students who want an English speaking internship in Europe, but aren't dead set on the UK.
At the same time, Malta is very small with a population of about 500,000. As such, there isn't the same diversity of internships here as in other parts of Europe. Tourism is the biggest industry for internships and archaeology students will have luck here too. Internships in other fields, such as marketing or education, also exist.
As a small nation, Malta doesn't offer the same diversity of internships as other European countries. However, it's main industry, tourism, provides quite a few options for interns. Additionally, Malta is unique in that it also offers archaeology students internship opportunities.
For the most part, internships will be in one of the following fields:
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Media (Photography, Film, etc.)
Planning Your Trip
The country of Malta is an archipelago made up of three islands: Malta, Comino, and Gozo. Most of the internship opportunities are in Malta, the largest island of the three (no one lives on Comino, and Gozo is mostly agricultural).
The accommodation options vary per program. In general, interns can expect to stay in a shared apartment with other interns, guest houses, or homestays -- though homestays are mostly just arranged for interns who are also in Malta to learn English.
If you have to arrange your housing yourself, the only official student housing option in Malta is the University Residence in Lija. Although it's not very centrally located (and busses stop running there at 8pm), they do provide a shuttle to Paceville (the central area for nightlife) and it's relatively easy to get a room there.
Otherwise, you can look at Times of Malta for listings. However, keep in mind that most Maltese live with their family until they're married, so it's quite hard to find local roommates (the one exception being Gozoites who commute to Malta for the week to attend university but go home on the weekends).
Since Malta is one of the 26 countries in the Schengen area—an area made up of European countries that agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as a single country—U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they are planning in staying in Malta for 90 days or less. It’s advised that your passport be valid for three months after the date you plan to leave Malta.
For longer stays, a visa will be required. For the most up-to-date information about obtaining a visa, visit the websites of the U.S. Department of State, Identity Malta Agency, and the Government of Malta.
While some of the internships are paid, some are unpaid, and most programs include fees of some sort. The prices vary widely depending on the program and its length, but in general, the cost of an internship program for up to 3 months will be $2,000 - $3,000. Once in Malta, the cost of living is quite low.
Three main mobile phone companies in Malta are Vofadone, and Melita. If you’d like, you can purchase a mobile phone specifically for your time in Malta from one of these companies on one of their phone plans. If your phone is unlocked, get a local SIM card so you can use your own cell phone abroad.
A pay-as-you-go plan is the most common and the best option for interns who won't be living permanently in Malta.
Health & Safety
There are no major health or safety risks for travelers to Malta at this time. Overall, it's an incredibly safe country with even small crimes, like theft, being relatively unheard of.
Keep in mind that the tap water in Malta is not potable. Be prepared to drink mostly bottled water during your stay to keep healthy.
Regardless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you be up to date on routine vaccinations like the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
When you travel abroad for your internship, also consider signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the U.S. Department of State. This is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.