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Languages for Expats in Malta

Submitted: November 2013

Malta used to be a part of the British Empire from 1800 until independence in 1964. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that English as well as Maltese are the two official languages on the island.

English is also the international language of business and a would-be expat is therefore wise to gain Basic English language skills prior to arriving on the island.

English language courses are widely available via the internet as distance learning projects and can enable individuals to gain the standard necessary for living and working on Malta. A good starting point is the ‘learn English’ website from the British Council (https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/).  Cambridge English, part of Cambridge University (https://www.cambridgeenglish.org), offers a comprehensive range of language courses designed for beginners, intermediates and those who wish to gain an English language qualification recognised by many businesses.

Another option is to attend an English language school in Malta. English language teaching is well established here and there are 40 or so schools to choose from. Lessons are usually structured not only in a classroom setting but also encompass practical elements such as a variety of social events that include opportunities to talk to locals.

The Malta Education Ministry Monitoring Board (https://eflmalta.gov.mt/en/Pages/EFL.aspx) supported by the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations in Malta (FELTOM) oversees professional standards in language schools.  The Visit Malta website (https://www.visitmalta.com/en/language-schools) lists the various schools situated on Malta and Gozo and provides links to their individual websites.

Although an expat can comfortably get by with a good knowledge of English, one should not forget that Malta has its own language. Learning at least a little Maltese and being able to ask for directions, order a meal or converse with the local neighbour can help an expat to feel a closer connection to his new adopted home. Maltese, also known as Maltese, it part of the Afro-Asiatic group of languages and has its basis in Arabic. It is the only Semitic official language in the European Union.

A good starting pointing in learning Maltese, is a website such as:  https://mylanguages.org/learn_maltese.php. It offers free tuition covering everything from adverbs to nouns, phrases and numbers. The site also offers reading and listening practice.

Online language teaching facilities, either free of charge or fee-paying, are available from a number of different sources. In addition, there are CDs and other audio media available to help the expat language student.

After arrival in Malta, the Malta University Language School (https://universitylanguageschool.com/updates/next-maltese-course-register-now/) is a good option for an expat to learn the local language. The school offers classroom based Maltese language courses for beginners. Courses have a duration of 30 hours and are held twice a week in the early evening.

In summary it has to be said that there are plenty of opportunities for an expatriate to learn the local language either prior to or after arrival in Malta. The obvious choice for better integration always has to be to learn at least a little bit of Maltese - even if English language skills would suffice.



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