Posted by: Students Worldwide
Published on: 20/06/2021Back to Blog
I studied at the University of Malta (UoM), and in terms of modules, it differed greatly to my home university, the University of Portsmouth (UoP). The first noticeable difference was the weighting of the modules. So, at UoP modules were 20 credits whereas UoM ranged from 2-10 credits. At first this was overwhelming as I had to take on 15 modules in total to accumulate the credits required to pass the year yet, it was not as daunting as I thought, and it prepared me for my final year – juggling the workload and working part-time.
Additionally, unlike UoP where I could only pick modules that linked directly to my course, UoM allowed me to pick modules from different disciplines. I really valued this opportunity as I was able to gain knowledge on areas that were accessible back at UoP.
Also, much like UoP, UoM offers extracurricular activities called DegreePlus. These include a range of opportunities, such as sports, placement, academics, arts and more. This was a great way for me to interact with more Maltese and exchange students that were not in my lectures. One of the groups I joined was the Criminology club, where I was able to go on field trips and partake in a role-playing police training day.
The financial side of things were not a burden, as I received money from student finance and the Erasmus funding, which helped with pre-departure costs, such as flights and accommodation. Invest in an international debit or credit card. Most people used Revolut or Monzo, but I was able to use my Santander credit card which produced stronger exchange rates.
In comparison to the United Kingdom, the rent in Malta were cheap – averaging at about £300-£350 a month for a 5-bedroom penthouse apartment. Although it was cheaper, the price of the electricity and water was extremely high despite us turning off all switches when not in use and monitoring our water usage – so that is something to watch out for.
At the time, the exchange rate from euros to pounds was not too bad so things turned out cheaper for us. If I spent 30 euros in the grocery store, depending on the exchange rate, it converted to roughly £20. I did most of my grocery shopping at Lidl or Interspar because of the variation of prices and the selection of items. The restaurants in Malta were not expensive, but surprisingly the savers in McDonald’s does not consist of 99 cent burgers or McFlurrys, they ranged from 1.29 euros to 1.79 euros.
Malta has plenty of taxi services, where they may offer promotions and discounts. The Malta Transport Service, called Tallinga, offers free public bus travel for those in full-time education. It cost roughly 35 euros to order the card and every month, the card is automatically topped up with €40. This was very useful, as every journey cost 75 cents and if you used your card again within 2 hours, your whole journey would cost 75 cents. Also, if you use €20 for the month, the money would no longer be taken from the card until it is topped up the next month.
Malta also has a car sharing/hire app, GoTo, which is perfect for long trips to the other side of the island. It is affordable, all you need is your driving licence, the app and you are good to go.
Although UoM do provide student residence and this was where most Erasmus/international students were going to reside, it was not my cup of tea. The residence adopted an America university style of living, whereby you will have to share a room. For this reason, I opted to go private, yet I did miss the luxury of using the pool.
There is a plethora of accommodation choices all over Malta and on various websites, but I will say Facebook is the best option. My friend (who was also studying in Malta), and I did face challenges looking for private accommodation, as most of the places were not available for the month we needed to move in. Once we found a suitable and affordable apartment, it was the matter of finding 3 other roommates who I still keep in touch with.
I did not have trouble settling into the Maltese culture. The only difference is that the Maltese people are very laid back, which was reflected in some of the lecturers and students at the university. At times this was alright, but sometimes you do need a bit of urgency.
A key fact of Malta is that there are more cats than humans, there are roughly about 700,000 cats. At UoM, the cats are catered for, as they are free to roam about in the classes, study rooms and canteen. The lecturers and the caretakers provide them with large amounts of food and water and provide them with crates for them to sleep in.
The Maltese language is a mix of Italian and Arabic. I learnt Maltese in the second semester, and it was very interesting. I can say it was not too difficult, because throughout the year I had already begun to pick up a few words and phrases but unfortunately, I have not been able to retain the language.
Malta is jampacked with things to do and it is safe to say, you will not go bored. I had the amazing chance to go scuba diving, relax on various beaches on different parts of the island and ride a ferry to the neighbouring islands, Gozo and Comino.
Malta is blessed with beautiful architecture, from the structure of their churches, which they hold to high regard because it is a Catholic country, to their beautiful landscapes.
If you are looking to go clubbing, Paceville (Partyville) in San Gilijan, is the place to and it has FREE entry and sometimes a complimentary shot. Paceville is surrounded my numerous bars and restaurants, so you can experience long term enjoyment.
You can purchase an ESN (Erasmus Student Network) card which will allow to get discount on several events and activities.
Although Malta’s national dish is rabbit stew, yes you read that correctly and I am yet to try it, pastizzi is what you will come to love then to hate and then love again. It is a savoury filled pastry with either curried peas or ricotta, but I was able to eat a chicken fille pastizzi, which was on par with the Greggs chicken bake.
I would say Malta follows America’s variety of foods because I was able to experience new dishes, flavours, smells that I would not experience in the UK. Their large pizza slices, especially after or during a night out, are legendary.
Studying in Malta allowed me to travel to Jordan for 3 nights and having a wonderful experience, without spending more than roughly £120-£150 for my whole trip. Spending time in Jordan was a breath-taking experience because I was able to visit one of the seven wonders (Petra), swim at the lowest point of Earth (the Dead Sea), immerse myself in the culture by not showing much skin or wearing tight clothes and wearing a Bedouin head scarf.
The only downside was not having data, which posed an issue when we were trying to use the GPS to drive to our different destinations. However, it allowed me to not be distracted by technology and to fully appreciate the beauty that is Jordan.
Credit – Lavinia Fadairo