Malta is a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean. It is blessed with year-round sunshine, is rich in history and culture, has some outstanding architecture, beautiful beaches, and, believe it or not, it plays host to many students from different countries wishing to learn and improve their English. It really is the perfect place for people to study the English language and combine their studies with some fun under the sun.
Stepping into a new country can make some people feel nervous, especially when language is a barrier to communicate, but Malta is like a small community where nobody is invisible - everyone has an identity. Visitors are welcomed and valued by the friendly Maltese people, who will go out of their way to assist them. In Malta you won’t feel self-concious, because apart from the warm welcome you will experience upon your arrival, you’ll also be able to communicate in English. English is spoken by the vast majority of the Maltese people.
So, why is English an official language on an island in the Mediterranean? Well Malta was a British colony from 1800 until it became independent in 1964, after the Maltese people were awarded the George Cross for defending the island during World War II. The English language as well as Maltese were given official status after Malta became independent, As a result most Maltese people are bilingual.
In general, the education system in Malta is based on the British education system. English is the spoken and written medium of education in most private schools and at the University of Malta too. A significant number of foreign students enrol at the University of Malta every year.
It is possible to hear both languages in the majority of situations, for example, in restaurants, museums, at the bank and even at the beach. Like Australian English and American English, the English spoken in Malta has an accent, nevertheless, there is no great difference between British English and the English spoken on the Maltese islands.
Travelling to Malta is a breeze for any EU citizens, and the currency on Malta is the Euro. In 2004 it became a member of the EU, and it joined the euro-zone in 2008.
All-in-all Malta is sunny, hospitable, rich with culture, with beautiful scenery, it’s safe and it offers students lots of opportunities to communicate in English, both with other students or visitors and Maltese people.
About the author: Tess Giordmaina is from Maltalingua, an English Language School on Malta.