As every Muslim should visit Mecca at least once in his lifetime, every fan of the history of medieval knights should visit Malta at least once. So we are flying to Malta.
The islands, collectively known as the Maltese Islands, are a storehouse of information and enjoyment for any fan of history. Not only the oldest buildings of the world—the Prehistoric Temples of Malta—are located here. You will also find here the well-preserved medieval city Mdina, “City of Silence,” and the younger, but still old, Valletta, which was built after the invasion of the Turks called here The Great Siege.
Only the lazy have not tried to conquer tiny Malta: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, and even Normans have been here. Templar Knights settled here in the XII century. What was so attractive to all of them? After all, in 1530, when the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V offered Malta to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, they visited the island and told their superiors that it is a bare rock in the sea which has nothing at all. However, the knights agreed to find a new homeland here after the loss of Palestine by the Christian world. Both the Order and the people of Malta benefited from that decision.
After fending off the invasion of Suleiman the Magnificent, it became clear that the Order needed to build stronger fortifications, because this attack would not be the last. Italian architect Francesco Laparelli had the opportunity—every architect’s dream—to draw a city on paper first and then build it from the beginning and by all the rules. He did it in five years with the generous assistance of the Christian world. Now it is the great city of Valletta, the capital of Malta, named in honor of the Master of the Order Jean Parisot de la Valette.
With the development of Valletta the busy life in the former capital of Malta, Mdina, began to subside. Earlier, it was called the city of aristocrats; now it increasingly turned into a dwelling place of the nobility, something like an elite “cottage settlement” far away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. This silence gives it a special charm—Silent City. Time has stopped here.
Of course, these are just a few of attractions of Malta and Gozo, a neighboring island, and I’ll write a special blog post about them, but today I’d like to speak about one thing that I accidentally realized only recently.
If you are American or British, you can stop reading right here. 🙂
I often heard from my clients comments such as, “I sent my daughter to the English school in Malta” or “My son left for the summer to Malta for an English course.” My God, why go to Malta to learn English?! English courses can be found in any city in the world, but no one is going to go to Turkey or Germany to learn English. Well, it was logical to presume that the best English language schools are in the UK, and the most effective courses are there too. It turned out to be true, but the price to quality ratio is better in Malta.
Great Britain occupied Malta in 1800 and remained there for as long as 160 years. Even now, the second official language of Malta is English. That’s where the secret lies. In those years, the UK built its education system here, and this system is one of the best on the planet. In other words, going to study in Malta, you get the real English education system, but without England’s not-always-blue sky, its not-very-warm weather, not-so-dry climate, and its famous English rains.
Gentlemen, this is the heart of the Mediterranean Sea! Have you ever heard that anywhere in the Mediterranean was a bad place to live? Life in Malta is perfect—everybody speaks English, but the temperature does not drop below +16 even in January; rain is a rarity; clouds too; nobody seems to know what fog is, at all. In addition, everything is cheaper and easier; powerful competition for Foggy Albion.
While preparing for the trip to Malta, I decided to take my 20-year-old son with me. While Irina and I would be exploring our favorite medieval knights’ buildings he would be improving his spoken English. He has studied English since childhood, playing computer games. I tried to direct him into the area of programming, but since not one computer program in the world is written in German, of course, he gradually learned English, but only as a programmer. However, he has to speak also. That’s why we have chosen an English school in Malta. Let him try.
We chose a school near Valletta and managed by the Brits. The teachers are Brits too. Maybe it’s not so important, and Americans cope perfectly with this task in Malta too, but for the first time I would like to give him a British teacher.
English schools and English courses in Malta are as many as dance schools in Vienna, Austria. You can choose any duration, any conditions, any level, from maintaining a polite English conversation about the weather (although there is nothing to speak of the weather in Malta; it’s always great), to discussing contracts for oil field development. Age is also not limited; there are courses for those over 50!
As we know, the most effective way of learning any language is dwelling in a society where no one speaks your native language; and if you work with a good teacher, the speed of language acquisition becomes space. These conditions are fully met in Malta. A few hours in the morning your child learns English grammar, and at lunch and after it he has already practiced in a cafe, gym, museum excursion, or golf club. Very comfortable, is it not? Yes, you can take other courses here: scuba diving, golf, or sailing; but there are definitely no mountain skiing courses. 🙂
Demand begat offer. Tourism is the source of about 25% of Malta’s national income. This includes English courses.
I want to add a few words about seasonality. It is clear that most students come here during summer and would rather have fun in the powerful tourism industry of Malta than to sit in a class room. I think that the focus and efficiency of the teachers are also reduced due to the greater workload. In addition, the summer prices are significantly higher.
But if you come here in January, the group, I think, will have 2-3 students, and therefore everyone will receive more of the teacher’s attention. The weather will be the same—sunny and +16. Not bad for Europe, is it?
Your holidays in Malta can be a very profitable investment.
More about Malta:
Why Not Return the Maltese Islands to the Order of Malta?