Greetings and salutations MUN City Mavericks and MUN enthusiasts alike! Today we take a slight detour from Malta’s gothic capital and focus on a topic which may be of some interest to some of our followers that have a penchant for adventure. As mandated by our MUNPlanet superiors, this first post of July shall give readers a glimpse into the life of Maltese students. Of course, there are many aspects of this experience that cannot be adequately described in a post of this length – so I encourage any MUNer curious about studying in Malta to reach out to me if they want any further information.
So, here’s my two cents on student life in Malta – I hope you find it useful!
Maltese student life
Life in Malta is pretty great. With 300 days of sunshine a year, sparkling seas, a wealth of history, and the high level of proficiency in the English language, it’s not hard to see why this tiny island routinely attracts in the region of 1.5 million tourists on a yearly basis. As the expatriate community grows, Malta becomes more cosmopolitan with every passing day.
Notwithstanding its remarkable popularity with tourists and sun-seeking expatriates, the island is not well-known for its academic standards, at least not in the sense inspired by university rankings and league tables.
Higher education in Malta has however been around for over 400 years, with the University of Malta tracing its origins to the Collegium Melitense, founded by the Jesuit Order in 1592. The institution was eventually re-founded as a State University in 1769 by the Knights of St. John.The Knights Hospitallers’ commitment to medical and sanitary advancement ensured that the students were subjected to the most scrupulous standards of education existing at the time.
But enough about the past. What is it like to be a student in Malta today?
1. English language
The University of Malta proudly boasts that its main language of instruction is the English language, and why shouldn’t it? English is the first or second language of an estimated two billion people, arguably making it the contemporary lingua franca. This provides the institution with a remarkable reach, creating opportunities for international students to hone their craft in a widely understood tongue, and researchers to publish to the widest possible audience.
2. Tuition fees and cost of living
There has been a concerted effort by all stakeholders in Maltese education to ensure access to higher education for students, irrespective of their background. This commitment has manifested itself in a number of ways, but none are as significant as the absence of tuition fees for Maltese and EU/EEA students.
Yes: many Maltese undergraduate degrees, including but not limited to accountancy, economics, management, law, the arts, engineering, ICT, and even medicine can be enrolled for completely free of charge.
Student life is expensive. The staggering cost of furthering one’s studies often educates youths the worth of financial prudence and budgeting, but has been known to cause considerable strife when crippling debt begins to knock at the door.
Thankfully, nothing of the sort has happened here yet. The relatively low cost of living, coupled with low to no tuition fees (at least for those hailing from the EU/EEA) has helped to ease students into adulthood without fear of financial ruin. You could almost say that the Maltese are too pampered; given the small size of the island, many Maltese students continue to live at home throughout their university experience, saving a pretty penny on accommodation.
3. Student societies
The last half decade or so has seen an exponential increase of activity at the Msida Campus of the University of Malta. The combined effort of the University Student Council and the fifty or so highly active student organisations ensure that there is never a dull moment on campus. Opportunities abound! The extra-curricular dimension of Maltese student life will certainly leave you leaving higher education feeling accomplished and more well-rounded.
In this bustling community one can find Malta’s very own Model United Nations Society, a recent addition to the roster having been founded in 2013. The MaltMUN Society will be welcoming delegates to its second annual conference in September 2013.
4. The nightlife
Oh Maltese nightlife, we meet again. Whilst the student experience does incorporate a (significant? Let’s hope so.) degree of hard work and study, we all need some time to unwind and let off steam.
Thankfully, we have just the thing – and once again Maltese students are spoiled for choice! Whether it’s partying away in Malta’s nightclub cluster known as Paceville, a sunset barbecue on one our famed sandy beaches (seriously, how can you say no to that?), or enjoying the fireworks at a local feast, you can rest assured that you’ll be sufficiently entertained throughout your student experience.