Welcome Back Srabs! A post-confinement update on our experience in Malta, where the Team went in February. We’ve been back quite a few times since then, so I think we’re going to have to do a few reviews of the country, because we all have different opinions, although the main points overlap: the buses are total shit, the weather’s great and the people are lovely! For this one in Malta, KIKI the dictator was on board, featuring Sébass La Menace, as his apprentice, aka Tommy le Petit Coeur, called him: a few days in Malta, meeting you (yes!), and meeting the companies; because at International Horizons, we don’t just find you an internship in Malta: we find you THE internship abroad, and go on surprise visits to our partners to check that everything’s going well! We have no intermediaries, and we visit the companies and host families ourselves. In short, Welcome BACK! A return experience in Malta, guaranteed without too much COVID!

Start of your stay in Malta

We left from Nantes, heading for Luqa Airport: we weren’t sure where we wanted to go, but we decided to pay a visit to Dominique de Villars’ team of young people, who had been sent on a work placement in Malta [thoughts to those of you who were on work placements in Greece, South Korea or Croatia!] Personally [Seb]: it was the last country in the European Union that I hadn’t been to, and Papi was from there, so I had *a lot* of expectations of Malta. Lydia is from Palermo and despite her many years in France, you have no doubt about her origins as soon as she opens her mouth ah ah.

The first day we arrived at the end of the day, in February, in 20 degrees: a very warm welcome! Taxi to the AirBnb in San Gilijan: it’s a great place to stay, ideally situated between all the partners we’d planned to visit, and just a few minutes’ walk from all the public transport: we’re going to start with a little tour of the island! That same evening, we headed for Paceville: for those who don’t know, this is THE area for partying; bars, bars, clubs, and even strip clubs that a certain Jérémy (hello!) seemed to be particularly fond of :3 The place is ideal for partying as everyone joins in, and it’s relatively safe; the atmosphere is good-natured. We went to meet our 8 young people: Nicolas, Jérémy, Théo, Anthony, Sylvain, Julien, Florian and Julien again. It was a lot of fun talking to them and meeting them (and then meeting them again several times during the week!) The exchanges continue (hello Nico & Théo!) and soon Anthony should be visiting us in Nantes now that the COVID is leaving! All in all, great evenings with them! ( Update: By the way, Anthony has since come to visit us in Nantes, and I’ve got to return the favour by going all the way to Spain! )

Weekend in Malta

At the weekend: take advantage of the opportunity to scour the island! Sliema, Valletta, Mosta and also Gozo and Comino, the two ultra-touristy islands that make up the Maltese archipelago. Without spoiling too much, because the whole point of leaving is to discover: Kiki El Dictador loved it, I … a little less. Malta has a lot to offer, and there’s something for everyone: new towns, old towns, UNESCO sites, beaches, even Game of Thrones! It’s a bit expensive for the local wage: there must clearly be affordable places, but they’re not for tourists like us! Alcohol is cheaper than water, a bit like in Eivissa! And I assure you it’s true! What’s more, the tap water isn’t very good, so you’re going to have to spend a few euros on bottles: and make sure you buy some, because the sun can be blazing down on Malta. In 2023, i.e. a few years after this blog, I went back in March: in the same week, I had two sunstrokes among the young people, and one was completely dehydrated. The sun is nice, but you mustn’t forget that it can be a real danger, so if you want to avoid ruining a week’s stay in Malta during your work placement abroad, don’t hesitate to apply as much sun cream as possible, put on a cap and drink lots of water! And what I didn’t like: it looks like a cross between France, Italy and the Arab world: so it’s hard to escape the tourists, even in February. Then there’s the fact that the French in particular have invested in Malta en masse and caused property prices to skyrocket, and the French community here is VERY active, so it’s impossible to miss out. Malta’s biggest drawback: it’s not at all suitable for people with reduced mobility. After that, if you’re between 18 and 25, in good health and want to party and speak lots of languages, it’s the ideal place. EF has invested so much there, you wonder if they don’t run the Archipelago of Malta haha. Anyway, I’m not going to denigrate the competition: that wouldn’t be fair! Malta is really nice when you’re young and want to have a good time, because everything is adapted to your desires. It’s a bit more complicated to go on cultural visits, although a lot of effort has been made in this area recently. During my last visit, in March 2023, I was lucky enough to have Mario – who works with us – who showed me around a good part of southern Malta, in particular the 3 cities and Mosta, and there are lots of fascinating things to discover. At the time, I’d been to Rabat with Kiki, a small medieval city, which was really nice, and it’s also where the scene was shot where Ned Stark gets his head bashed in by Jaime …

Working and living in Malta

As far as work meetings are concerned, it was great: we were invited everywhere and people were really welcoming! Unsurprisingly, it’s a bit of a haphazard affair: the Maltese spirit is still there in the end, there’s very little hierarchy, and as I’m pushing you, I really like the atmosphere! OK, when you make appointments and most of them aren’t kept, it’s a bit of a drag, but you adapt and it’s pretty cool, a bit of Italian Dolce Vita with a Maltese twist. But, as you’re asked to adapt in the host family, I’m well aware that I’ll have to do the same thing ah ah. In spite of these minor shortcomings, Malta is still a very nice country to do your work placement abroad: in fact, apart from being welcoming, the Maltese are very understanding about any difficulties you may have adapting when you arrive in the country, which is a clear advantage, unlike other countries like Germany, which are stricter. After that, everyone has their own kiff: you have to find the country that suits your desires, your language level and your character. You see, a few years ago I had the choice of studying in Finland or Portugal, and for some reason I chose Finland. It wasn’t for me: the people aren’t spontaneous, they’re not very tactile… I clearly need the South! Most of the students we send to Malta are satisfied with their experiences: the only downside is that they don’t appreciate not having a specific programme, or not being confined to their area of expertise. WELCOME in Malta: versatility guaranteed!

If you love sun, party and not getting lost in Malta, go for it! It’s nice, it’s not very big, it’s welcoming, the people are friendly, there’s plenty to do in summer and winter, and you’ll never get bored! There are always new places, new activities and new people to discover: so don’t stress! If you’d like to hear from a student, here’s a testimonial from Jeremy, who went on an internship in Malta through us! We’ll take care of your work placement abroad, just contact us!

For more general questions, visit the International Horizons Internships Abroad FAQ.