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February 2010 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction I
Direction II
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
Regional Focus
Status

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Malta’s local attractions

Malta’s location and climate make it an ideal destination for holiday makers, although there are also many annual events occurring year-round to attract the out of season traveller, says Bethan Norris.


Malta is a popular holiday destination for Europeans as well as tourists from further afield and its English language industry relies heavily on the short-term junior activity market. However, the country has many year-round attractions and many language schools are attempting to build on the destination’s universal appeal to attract new clients.

Ian Scerri, Director of Studies at the English Language Academy in Sliema, highlights the many festivals and local events that occur almost every month throughout the year in Malta. The yearly events’ calendar kicks off in February with the much anticipated Malta carnival, which consists of “five days of absolute fun and merrymaking”, according to Scerri, who adds, “We encourage our students to dress up for the occasion.”

Following the carnival, other events include the biannual boat race in March and September – celebrating the country’s seafaring traditions – the religious processions celebrating Easter, the Mgarr Strawberry Festival in May, the Valletta beer and wine festival in July and the Malta jazz festival in August to name but a few. Towards the end of the year, Scerri highlights the numerous food related events that occur in October, including the Qormi bread festival, the Marsaxlokk fish festival and the Hamrun chocolate festival. He adds, “In September [is the] Birgu Fest – the night when perhaps the most illustrious of the three cities is plunged in darkness and beautifully lit up with thousands of candles. Birgu becomes an eerie hive of activity where one can experience life in the time of the knights.”

As well as hosting numerous local events, Malta is also well known in some international circles for its thriving music scene and Caroline Castillo, Sales and Marketing Executive at Clubclass English Language School in Swieqi says that the country plays host to a number of international events that take place throughout the year. “With one of the best clubbing scenes in the Mediterranean and our warm climate, the island attracts various top artists to perform here,” she says. “With musical festivals from classical and jazz to dance music. Malta also hosts a variety of international events, sports championships and tournaments.”

For visitors whose interest lies in music and a busy nightlife, the area of Paceville offers many bars, discos and late night parties. Many of the country’s language schools are situated within a short distance of Paceville and offer students a place where they can go to relax after studying in the quieter atmosphere of their schools. Greg Burrell, Director of Studies at Sprachcaffe Languages Plus, says that their school offers students the best of both worlds, located as it is in a quiet residential area within a 15-minute walk of Paceville and St. Julian’s.

“[Our] premises are located in a converted colonial English military barracks around a large swimming pool and common area including a bistro, administration offices, leisure facilities and classrooms,” he says. “Most of our students stay in the school residence and many of them have their meals in our bistro, so, if they want, it is not necessary for them to leave the complex.”

However, for those that do want to explore further, Burrell, who has worked at the school since 1992 when it first opened, recommends visiting a less well-known local attraction. “My favourite tourist thing in Malta is the Hypogeum, an underground Neolithic temple,” he says. “Students have to plan ahead if they want to visit it, however, as tickets must be purchased in advance and the number of visitors allowed in per day is strictly limited to minimise damage to the wall paintings.”

Malta has many historical attractions to tempt the year-round visitor and Elena Micallef Borg, Operations Manager at International House Malta-Gozo, says, “Everywhere you go [in Malta], a unique historic site awaits.” She adds, “Temples, palaces, cathedrals and forts provide a living history you can almost touch.”

Due to its strategic position in the Mediterranean, Malta has an interesting history that includes being the home of the Knights of Malta and colonisation by the British, all of which have left their mark on the buildings and architecture of the country. Micallef Borg says that for her, St. Julian’s is a favourite place to visit. “St. Julian’s was originally a fishing village,” she says. “[It] later turned into a summer residence for wealthy locals… and still retains some of its old dwellings and boat houses. The small bay still shelters numerous coloured Maltese boats that are berthed here all year long. St. Julian’s derives its name from the patron saint of hunters.”

However, for most visitors to Malta, the beaches and almost unlimited water sports are definitely the main attractions. Micallef Borg says that St. Julian’s is particularly popular because of its sandy beach. “Most of the shoreline consists of rocks with areas of fairly flat rocks that you can sunbathe on,” she says. “Swimming and snorkelling from the rocks is also very popular. There are many lidos which offer a variety of water sports, such as diving, hire of boats, jet skis and so much more.”

Scerri in Sliema says that the school organises numerous activities for students, many of which focus on maritime activities. “In the past we have organised abseiling, swimming with dolphins, windsurfing, chartered sailing boats for the weekend, treasure hunts, jeep safaris, country walks, boat parties by night and wine tasting,” he says. However, he adds, “I strongly advise students to make the most of our clean sea and visit the numerous historical places dotting our islands. One must not forget Gozo and Comino – two sister islands with a character of their own.”

Gozo and Comino can be reached by ferry from Malta or by a daily sea plane between Malta and Gozo. Comino is the smallest of the three islands and is famous for its Blue Lagoon, which is a popular attraction with visitors and scuba divers. Gozo’s capital city of Victoria – known as Rabat by the locals – has a central square called It-Tokk [the meeting place], which hosts a market on Sundays and boasts plenty of small bars where visitors can watch the daily flow of local life.

Scerri recommends that visitors visit places that are off the beaten track to get the most from their stay. “I feel that this is the best way to savour the true Maltese hospitality, culture and traditions,” he says.

Agent viewpoint

Denis Baker, Director, Aventure Linguistique, Switzerland
“The main reasons why students choose to study English in Malta are the low price, sunshine and fun. Students like doing English plus courses such as English plus sailing, which is quite popular. The most popular things about Malta are the proximity of the country to their own countries, the ease of access and the sunshine!”

Guido Bellotti, GB Studies, UK
“Students like Malta because it is cheap, sunny and hot and it’s fun. They enjoy going on cultural visits to Mdina, Valletta and Gozo during their time in the country. Malta’s wilderness when away from the cities and the shopping down town are particularly attractive to students.”

 Stefania Pirovano, Study Abroad Coordinator, International House Merate, Italy
“Malta is the third destination chosen by our students after the UK and the USA. When junior students are involved, parents feel safer and consider the island as part of our culture because we share the language, tradition, food and religion. As far as adult students are concerned, they appreciate the fact that the journey is very short – maximum one hour from Milan. This is also very convenient for businessmen, who can reach the island in a short time. Last but not least, Malta is cheaper than the UK. Students like taking part in sports and excursions to the nearby islands of Gozo and Comino and around Malta. They also like the scenery, the blue sea, the temperature and the warm attitude of the people.”

Contact any advertiser in this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
Edusa  
English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
International House
      World Organisation  
MEI Ireland  
Quality English  

EVENTS
Alphe Conferences  
International House
      World Organisation  
British Boarding
      Schools Workshops  

EXAM BOARS
IELTS  

SERVICES
LTM Digital  
StudentMarketing  
Your World on
       Monday  

TOURIST BOARDS
Office de Tourisme
      Montpellier  

WORK EXPERIENCE
Twin Group  
English Bay College

AUSTRALIA
Ability Education  
English Australia  

CANADA
Access International
      English Language
      Centre  
Canadian &
      International Student
     Services  
CSLI  
ECSL  
English Bay College
Global Village  
Public Schools of the
      Canadian Rockies  
IH Tremblant /
      Explorencia Centre  
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
      of Canada  
Public Schools of
      the Canadian Rockies
Red Leaf Student
      Program and Tours  
Richmond School
      District #38  
Rocky Mountain
      School District  
Saint Mary's
      University  
Southeast
      Kootenay School
      District  
Stewart College
       of Languages  
Vancouver English
      Centre  

EGYPT
IH Cairo  

ENGLAND
Anglolang  
Ardmore
      Language Schools  
Beet Language
      Centre  
Cambridge Academy
      Of English  
Cambridge
      Education Group  
Churchill House  
Devon School Of
      English  
Discovery Summer  
Eastbourne School
      Of English  
Eckersley Oxford  
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
      Hove  
English Studio  
Excel English  
Frances King School
      of English  
Hove College
      Brighton
ILS English  
International House
      World Organisation
Kaplan Aspect  
Kings Colleges  
Lake School of
      English
Lewis School of
      English
LAL Language and
      Leisure  
(The) Language
      Project
Living Learning
      English
(The) London School
      of English  
Malvern House
      College London  
Millfield English
      Language Holiday
      Courses  
Plus  
Professionals UK  
Quality English  
Queen Ethelburgas
      College  
St Giles Colleges  
Study Group  
Twin Group  
University of Essex -  
      International
      Academy  
Wimbledon School
      of English  

FRANCE
Accent Francais  
Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France  
Office de Tourisme
      Montpellier  

GERMANY
BWS Germanlingua
F+U Academy of
      Languages  
inlingua Berlin  
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

IRELAND
ATC Language and
      Travel  
Language College
      Ireland  
Cork English
      College  
MEI Ireland  
The Linguaviva
      centre  

MALTA
Alpha School of
      English  
Clubclass Residential
      Language School  
Easy School of
      Languages  
Feltom Malta  
Global Village
      English Centre  
Inlingua Malta  
ETI Malta  

NEW ZEALAND
Languages
      International
      Christchurch  
Rotorua English
      Language Academy
      (RELA)  
Worldwide School
      of English  

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and Activity
      Camps.  

SOUTH AFRICA
EC Cape Town  
EF  
Eurocentres Cape
      Town- One World
      Language school  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town  
Interlink School of
      Languages  
International House
      Cape Town  
Kurus English CC  
LAL Cape Town  
Language Teaching
      Centre  
Shane Global
      Language Centres -
      Cape Town  

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  

USA
Boston School of
      Modern Languages
Educatius  
Inlingua Language
      Centers  
IH New York  
NYC Language
      Vacations  
University of
      California Riverside  
Zoni Language
      Centers  



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