I spent my 3 rd semester of M.Sc. in Innovation and Product Management on an Exchange semester in University of Malta. The course was very much similar to the masters course we do in Austria and was called a masters in creativity and innovation with special focus on innovation management, idea generation, research methods, business venturing and leadership in organization. Additional to the academic knowledge the exchange semester helped me to learn a lot about a whole new culture, people, traditions. 

Travel

I took an Air Malta flight from Munich to Malta on 29 th Sep, when I  reached Malta I could already feel the difference in weather as it was much more hot and sunny. I took a cab from the airport to the flat where I was going to live (there is an official government of Malta prepaid taxi service which keeps the prices in control since not all taxis have a meter).

The next few days in the orientation week I made  Arriva Saver card (a student bus card) which gives you a cheaper fare to use the buses in Malta, then I could travel in Malta for 21 euros per month instead of 2.60 Eur per day, The tickets you buy are only valid till 11 pm and if you want to take a bus after 11 pm there is a need to buy an additional ticket. 

Air Malta flies directly from both Vienna and Munich.



Accommodation:

In general, you have many options to choose your accommodation,[1] either a private flat, University Residence or the garden view apartment in sweiqi. In Malta generally it's not so difficult to find an apartment as there are a lot of apartments vacant. A private room is probably the cheapest and most convenient solution. Staying in the University residence has both advantages and disadvantages, The advantage is that you get to know more people more easily, A lot of Erasmus-students live there thus one can always do something like organized trips. As for me, I was an outgoing person and hence attended events hosted in other residences and came to know a lot people, the disadvantage in the University residence is that it is far, even though they provide a free shuttle bus, students normally have a lot of trouble getting to the classes because in Malta traffic is very different than it is in Austria. Secondly University residence is way overpriced for what they offer for the students compared to Maltese rental charges, Keeping the value of money and distance from the University I chose a private flat with my own he room for half the price of the University Residence.

In Malta they charge you a month's rent as a deposit generally, It is normally expected you to take a room for a long let, in case it  shortlet it becomes a bit expensive and you are normally asked to find another student when you leave, but this could be spoken in the beginning so that in the end when you have exams you can focus on the exams and not on finding a next tenant.

Let it be University Residence or even a flat, the insulation of houses is very bad, the rooms get really cold in the winter, even though the temperature is not as low as it gets in Austria.

Transport:

Most of the Maltese have their own car and so the streets are mostly full. Malta has left-hand-traffic which is different from Austria.

The only means of Public transport is the Buses, there are no trains, trams, subways or monorails in Malta.

The buses underwent a major makeover in the last couple of years, but still buses are not the most convenient mode of transportation in malta as the roads are so packed with cars hence buses normally don’t run on time.


The bus company got changed in January 2014 again and because of this the coordination of buses is really a big problem, If you want to travel in the bus you need to plan a lot in advance.

It makes sense to rent a car on the island Gozo where the traffic is less and the island is smaller. Since my class also had Maltese students, most of them owned one or two cars (very common in Malta) so it was easy to go around if we had to go somewhere. Whenever the Erasmus events were organized normally a special bus would be arranged. One such occasion was when a bus was organized to go to Gozo for a Weekend trip.

Costs

Malta is not the cheapest place to do an exchange semester, the rents for the accommodation is cheaper than Austria, but there is no big chain of supermarkets like billa, spar or even Merkur for daily groceries, there is Lidl but the prices are more than its in Austria. This is explained since most of the things that comes to Malta is imported and transportation is not cheap as it is in the middle of the sea. There is no strong network of a shop which sells cosmetics or daily items like DM instead there are smaller shops and hence a higher price per item.

If you go to a  restaurant you can find food for similar/ higher  prices as Austria. Alcohol is cheap in Malta if you like to go out and party. You can get discounts in many places if you say you are a student. The tap water is not recommended to drink by the locals so there will be an additional expenditure to buy bottled drinking water.

The best things in Malta come for free, for example, time you spend on the beach or even going around the old cities.

University:


The University of Malta is the highest educational institution in Malta offering undergraduate Bachelor's Degrees, postgraduate Master's Degrees and postgraduate Doctorates (PhD). It is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The University traces its origins to the Collegium Melitense founded in 1592 making it one of the oldest universities in the World

The present new campus, opened in 1968, has recently been greatly extended to include theater-type lecture rooms and science, language and computer laboratories. The  ports complex  includes  an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a football ground, tennis courts, and a track. Most of the 8,000 Maltese students enrolled in this university not only don't pay tuition fees but receive a state funded student allowance[2].

The Edward de Bono Institute was a very interesting place to do an exchange semester. The lectures and the syllabus can be found online[3]. The difference that I found from other Erasmus students was that, I was doing a full time course which was a full time masters course and did not have to shift through classes, this helped me to integrate into the class as a normal student and also helped to make a lot of friends from Malta and additionally met the other Erasmus students in the events. It is recommended to get in touch with the local students as they can help to expand your vision and give an insight into malta and the university from their perception. It also has advantages in the exam-period because the students can give some advice about the exams as most of them had done a bachelors in Malta.

I got a chance to write a few papers and give a lot of presentations[4].

Conferences

I attended two conferences

The First was on HRs contribution to Creativity & Innovation in an organization

The second was on Small and Medium enterprise growth in Malta.


I visited a lot of companies in Malta and other organizations like Malta Enterprise, Malta Council for Science and Technology as part of a University visits.


Volunteering

At the University of Malta you get a great chance to volunteer,

I took part in the Discover University event held at the University representing the Institute.

The University also has a degree plus program where you can volunteer for external organizations, I volunteered for SPCA Malta in their events to support animals in Malta

At the end of the semester, you need to give the list of volunteer hours and you get a certificate with the transcripts.

Library


The University library[5] is generally open till 11 pm during the exam period, which is really helpful and you also see a lot of other students so you work collaboratively with others even for the exam. The library offers an online Refworks account which is a tool to manage references, they even provide a training session for Refworks which I attended.

 

Malta Post

There is a post office in the University, which is the cheapest place to print in the University, its even a stationary shop.

 University Canteen


Sights:

Malta is divided in three main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. All three islands have a wonderful countryside. In Malta the West and North-West coast is a good place to go hiking, Gozo is beautiful everywhere. Comino is a very small island where the only thing to do is swimming in the blue lagoon, the beaches are very beautiful. Malta culturally has a tradition of a lot of festivals all over the year, visiting which helps you to learn a lot about the place and the people.

Hospital

Malta has a system of free public health service which is very similar to the NHS service in England, the main hospital in Mater die[6] is just opposite the University.

Things not to forget if you go to Malta

- Adaptor for the plug.

- Unlocked mobile

- Dictionaries

- Winter jackets and sweater for the winter semester 

- Good shoes for hiking and slippers

- A good Camera for capturing the moments

The official tourism website of Malta http://www.visitmalta.com/de/ is the best place to find the day to day activity updates in Malta. The university has a lot of additional organizations like AEGEE, ESN, KSU (students' union) who normally organize activities and make sure that you get a chance to go around and see Malta.

Few Online Resources

www.erasmusinmalta.manishabraham.com

  • A trading website in Malta for properties, gadgets, its like ebay but they provide phone numbers so you can pick up items directly.
http://www.maltapark.com/

  • Online shopping is not so popular in Malta, but still if you want to save time and do grocery shopping online there are many websites which does free home delivery, I was comparing the prices and the prices are the same if you go to a store.
http://www.maltasupermarket.com/

  • If you have time and can wait for 30 days for free shipping, then this website is like another Amazon, which does free delivery with a wider range for smaller items, but it comes from Hong Kong so takes some time and is not the best for electronics. 

www.aliexpress.com


References