June 2008 issue

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Malta’s warm welcome

Take a warm climate, Mediterranean island and hospitable people and you have an attractive holiday destination. Add the fact that many language schools in the country have impressive facilities and a focus on quality, and the many leisure activities available, and you have an ideal study destination. Amy Baker reports.

With sunshine, beaches and a tourism infrastructure offering discos, bars and watersports, Malta has a reputation as a fun English language learning destination in the Mediterranean. The country, comprising the three inhabited islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino and four others, is also building a reputation for its warm and welcoming local people, according to several agents who work with this market.

It is therefore unsurprising that employees at language schools in the country seem so enthusiastic about their job working with an international clientele. “I’ve had so many opportunities to meet people from various countries and I have learnt so much and keep learning every day,” enthuses Lisa Audino, Sales & Marketing Director at Linguatime School of English in Sliema. She continues, “Our medium-size [school] gives us the opportunity to get to know each student by name and have time to get to know them.”

Linguatime is located in Sliema, one of the main locations in the country for English language schools and part of the main tourism region. Situated on the northeast coast in Malta, the town offers shops, restaurants and cafés. On summer evenings, its seafront and promenade become a popular meeting place for students and locals.

Audino relates that some of the most requested activities for students at the school are cruises such as harbour cruises, full day cruises to the islands of Gozo and Comino, and diving. Cultural visits to Malta’s capital city of Valletta and old capital city of Mdina are also regularly laid on.

Mdina dates back to 4,000 BC and is one of Malta’s many historic sites – students might not realise that as well as sun, fun and frivolity, Malta has some noted historic monuments and settlements that testify to the country’s strategic position in the Mediterranean and various cultures that have colonised it. Gantija on Gozo is said to be the oldest freestanding structure in the world: a megalithic temple dating back to before 3,500 BC.

Another historic site of note is Hagar Qim, an ancient temple-ruin on the southern edge of the main island and nearby Mnajdra, which overlooks the isle of Fifla. Both sites are in a designated Heritage Park. Caroline Castillo, Sales and Marketing Executive at Clubclass Residential Language School, says, “Malta boasts its treasure house of history – there is scarcely another place of its size which offers so many breathtaking archaeological sites, cultural monuments, architecture, artefacts and other treasures spanning the entire history of mankind.”

Castillo emphasises that Malta has a lot to offer students – its climate and beaches, history, safety, cost of living and history of British rule. “Since independence from British rule, daily use of the English language has never subsided and the islands are officially bilingual,” she asserts.

Rebecca Brincat at Bels in Kercem, on Gozo, agrees that Malta’s diversity is an attraction for their language students: “Whether it is culture, history, the sea or friendly, warm and welcoming people, all can be found on Malta, paired with top grade language courses,” she says.

Bels is set in a converted farmhouse in the countryside in a “serene and picturesque environment”, relates Brincat, on the smaller island of Gozo; the only year-round school on this island. Brincat says the school “has a rustic feel to it” and with gardens and a sun terrace, it does offer a relaxing retreat for the committed student.

Another school with a unique selling point for students is Clubclass Residential Language School in Swieqi, which has classrooms, accommodation and many other facilities under one roof. “The school is modern and finished to top specifications with large, bright air-conditioned classrooms, Internet café and self study centre,” says Castillo at the school. “Other facilities include an outdoor pool, fitness centre, indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi, pub, restaurant, games room and launderette.”

Given its similarity to a holiday complex, it stands to reason that the school is near St Julians, one of the prime tourism spots on the island with hotels, restaurants, bars and discos, particularly in the region called Paceville. Castillo says, “Clubclass is situated a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of St Julians and five minutes away lies the vibrant Paceville centre – densely packed with treats that range from huge multiplex cinemas and bowling alleys to nightclubs and a lovely sandy beach.”

Another school that offers a swimming pool to ensure students take advantage of Malta’s climate is Sprachcaffe Languages Plus, located in Pembroke, also close to St Julians. “Our school offers the ideal environment to learn English and use the language to interact with new friends: our campus comprising classrooms, apartments, restaurants and gardens, not to mention the swimming pool and volleyball court, is the perfect place to relax,” states Esther Dohmen at the school.

She relates that she has worked at Sprachcaffe – which is housed in a striking turn-of-the-century building – for over 15 years and has stayed because of the great atmosphere and the physical surroundings. “I don’t think I could work in an office building every day. I like looking out of my office window and seeing palm trees and the swimming pool and being able to get out into the sunshine and fresh air whenever I want.”

Other study options for students are offered by LAL Malta, which was founded in 1985. John Dimech at the school explains that LAL offers a year-round centre in Sliema, a seasonal teenager programme in Sliema Harbour and a summer centre for adults on Gozo from May to October. “From the feedback we get from our students it is evident that our objectives to provide high quality language courses and leisure activities in a warm and friendly environment are being met,” he says. “Students regularly comment on the friendly and relaxed atmosphere of the schools, the helpfulness of the staff and the friendly and professional manner of the teachers.”

All LAL students are offered a comprehensive activities schedule to fill their leisure time with options for adults including five-a-side football, a jeep safari, diving course, harbour cruise and trip to Mdina. Young learners can expect beach barbecues, a visit to the Blue Grotto caves, a boat trip to the Blue Lagoon, ten-pin bowling and a day out at the Splash & Fun Park.

Nightlife is also considered by schools. At EC Malta in Paceville, Catrin Diamantino says, “EC’s commitment to students doesn’t end with nightfall; things are only warming up!” Aside from many festivals with fireworks and bands, she notes, “EC has worked hard to create links with many of the local nightclubs, often hosting several events a week.”

Agent viewpoint

 “Our agency specialises in long-term English courses. Malta offers real value for money: can you imagine any other country where you can study English for 20 weeks at only e3,450 (US$5,440) – including tuition, accommodation, administrative charges, course materials and some other extras? Our students say that one of the greatest attractions of this country is the people. When speaking to the Maltese, you often hear them saying “Tell me!” when they encourage you to share some information with them.”
Natalia Kudryavtseva, Study Flight, Russia

 “Malta has become one of the most popular destinations for Spanish students. We think that the main reason is the climate. They can learn and study English while they enjoy the beach, the sun and the Mediterranean style of life. The alternative options, the UK or Ireland, cannot give the guarantee of good weather and beach environment. I would say that no one should come back from Malta without visiting Mdina, the Blue Lagoon, Valletta, or doing one of the numerous cruises around the islands. Malta is also a paradise for scuba divers.”
Alfonso de los Mozos, Sheffield Centre, Spain

 “Students choose Malta because of the low Korean nationality rate, no visa requirement, its low costs and for a unique experience in a Mediterranean country with wonderful weather. While there, they like to party with new friends and take trips to nearby countries in Europe or Africa. Things not to miss include Gozo and the other islands and various aquatic sports.”
Heather Hwang, IAE Edunet, Korea

Contact any advertiser in the 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.





English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
Quality English Ltd.  

Your World on

Malta Tourism

CEC Network  

Bond University  
Griffith University  
La Trobe University  
Language Studies
      International School
      University of
Universal English
      College (Global
      Village Sydney)  

CERAN Lingua
      (Belgium, France,
      Spain, UK)

Centre Linguista
Four Corners
      Language Institute  
IH Vancouver  
King George
      International College
Richmond School
      District #38  

Beijing International
      Education Institute.
Shanghai Jingan
      Neworld Training

Bell International
      (Malta, UK)
IP International
      Projects GmbH  
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language
      and Leisure  
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Malvern House
      College London  
Oxford Intensive
      School of English 
      (Australia, England,
      France, Germany,
      Spain, USA)
Prime Education
Queen Ethelburga's
Scanbrit School of
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,

Alliance Française
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
      de Montpellier  
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France  
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
      de Strasbourg-
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
      du Val de Loire
Silc - Séjours
      (France, Spain, UK)
Université de
      Paris Sorbonne  

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  
      Kolleg E.V.  

Prime Speech
      Power Language

Swan Training

      Language School  
International School
      of Languages  


Cape Studies  

Idiomas Sí!  

EF Language
Colleges Ltd 
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      France, Germany,
      Ireland, Italy, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      UK, USA)

ALCC - American
ELS Educational
University of
      California San Diego
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)


      House Newcastle  
Kaplan Aspect
Professionals UK  
Twin Group  
      (Ireland, UK)

International House
      Sevilla - Clic