Malta: Tiny Island, Great Possibilities
Malta, a gem in the heart of the Mediterranean. Three islands, a combination of cultural diversity, history and a swimmers paradise. Mainland Malta considered to hide the secrets of the lost city of Atlantis, its sister island, scenic Gozo and the paradise island of Comino form what is known as the Maltese Archipelago.
The landscape of the islands is predominantly noticeable due to the breath taking blue of the sea and sky, and the warm honey colour of the local stone, limestone. A country whose history dates back 7000 years and thus boasts of having some of the oldest temples in existence. Malta is a timeless kaleidoscope of different civilisations, a fusion of cultures and a history like no other.
Malta’s turbulent history led to the birth of a nation that overcame adversaries and language barriers to be one of the very few bilingual countries in the world. Our island boasts a proud history and today is an English speaking member of the European Union. Every citizen, with no exception, speaks in English, the country’s national language.
Malta’s resilience throughout its historical journey has made it a centre for personal and professional growth.
“Malta is the perfect place to study English whilst enjoying the island’s warmth and lifestyle.”
Malta’s history pre-dates almost any civilisation as the stone temples of Hagar Qim and Hal Tarxien were erected thousands of years before the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge.
Throughout the ages Malta has become a harbour for traders and warriors alike. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks and Byzantines colonised, lived and fought on the island, which was the setting for epic battles due to its strategic position in the Mediterranean.
Catholicism has been one of the prominent aspects that helped shaped our culture. The biblical story of St. Paul began the conversion of the island in 60 A.D. Following religious paths, Aragonese, Sicilian, Norman and Arabic conquerors claimed the island for themselves.
In 1530, the country took another step in history when the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem bought the island from Charles V of Spain. Their rule lasted for 268 years which saw lasting changes in our culture, architecture and art. Artists such as Caravaggio, Mattia Preti and Favray adorned baroque churches and buildings, enlightening our culture. Their lasting image is the victory of the Great Siege of 1565 when the Knights together with local militia, halted a European invasion from 40,000 Ottomans.
After the Knights, Naploean Bonaparte took control of the island and his forces stayed for two years. The Maltese rebelled and ousted the French paving the way for Malta to become a British colony. The island became a Naval Fortress and it faced and won the aerial siege of Nazi Germany. The island’s contribution in World War II to the African Campaign was priceless, helping to overturn the battle for the allies.
In 1964 Malta became independent, in 1974 a Republic and by 1979 Malta was free from military association. The Maltese built their own economy resulting in the accession to the European Union in 2004. Malta today is a thriving island whose EFL (English as a foreign language) is of the highest standard.
‘The EFL profession and industry were set on firm footing, with apposite legislation that was the first of its kind internationally. The Monitoring Board visits schools annually and makes its recommendations on EFL teaching standards.’ (eflmalta.gov.mt)
Malta Lifestyle and Climate
Being an island embraced by the Mediterranean Sea, Malta attracts millions to its shores to enjoy its weather. The Maltese islands enjoy a sunny climate with an average of 12 hours of sunshine in summer, which makes Malta an ideal location to study.
“With warm summers and mild winters, the island is always buzzing with activity.”
Summers in Malta tend to be hot and sunny, ideal for more relaxed endeavours by the beach. Winter is usually short, windy and graced with some showers. Spring on the other hand portrays all the beauty of the landscapes, allows for the engaging nightlife to commence and is perhaps the best time of the year to visit.
Annual rainfall is low, averaging 568 mm a year allowing for more outdoor activities to take place. Outdoor and indoor activities on the island are complimented by the fact that the weather gives energy and opportunities for your enjoyment.