Whether it’s going on Erasmus for a semester or settling abroad for over a year to get a degree, it can be really tough for students to leave their homes and families behind, even temporarily.
Coming from the tiny and tightly-knit Maltese Islands can make homesickness even more prevalent, even if you’ve gotten used to travelling and attempting brand new experiences.
If you’re planning to take on this brave but amazing challenge, or you’re already experiencing it right now, here are some things about Malta that students will inevitably end up reminiscing about.
Pastizzi, Twistees, Kinnie, Cisk, galletti, imqaret, qassatat, bigilla, all the Sunshine Snacks, the whole menu from New York’s Best and that good old Maltese ħobza. Did we mention everything? Probably not.
P.S. Sending every Maltese person studying abroad a monthly hamper of these should become an obligatory thing.
THE MALTESE LANGUAGE
Even though English is one of our two official languages, you can’t help but get that warm fuzzy feeling inside when you hear random Maltese words or phrases being uttered by other people when you’ve been abroad for a long while. And hearing them from chance encounters with Maltese people who’ve settled abroad just like you is the best thing ever.
GOZO AND ALL ITS GLORY
Some of our fondest memories tend to emerge from those unforgettable Carnival or summer weekends spent in Malta’s cooler sister island. Not to mention the unforgettable views (we won’t mention one in particular, because it’s still too soon), and the accompanying cuisine that’s always to die for in Gozo.
THE EASILY ACCESSIBLE VIEWS
Staying on the topic of astounding Maltese landscapes, being able to drive to any of them in minutes is truly underappreciated and worth missing. It’s true that you can find beautiful scenery in pretty much every single country in the world if you look hard enough, but the incredible vicinity of everything in the Maltese Islands means you can comfortably and immediately switch from a gorgeous sea view to a lovely spot in the countryside, depending on your mood.
THE FAMILY GATHERINGS
If there is one thing that defines the Maltese population (positively mind you) is the great importance we give to family get togethers. Many of us have experienced being with our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, cousins and other random estranged relatives in the same household for hours. We might end up growing restless of this once we experience it one too many times, but as they say you never really know how much you miss something until you lose it.
THE SUMMER MONTHS BY THE BEACH
Do we even need to elaborate on this one? Finding a pleasant beach location on the Maltese Islands is as easy as bumping into someone Maltese when overseas, and that is often much easier than you’d think. Every country has its own beautiful natural spots, but Malta’s picturesque beaches are truly tough to beat.
HATING ON MALTESE TV
Yes, you can still watch every new episode of Xarabank or It’s Morris online no matter where you are. But it really isn’t as enjoyable as when you’re physically part of the Maltese population that’s cringing on the latest comment by Pastor Gordon Manche.
If before heading abroad to study you’ve already been enrolled at University for a couple of years, then you’re definitely familiar with this term. You might find an identical alternative on your new campus, but it can never be exactly the same experience as laying in the sun near Coffee Circus or checking out which new event is suddenly invading Quad for the day.
THOSE SPECIAL LITTLE THINGS ABOUT YOUR VILLAGE
From the cute narrow roads in your neighbourhood to the annoying way the Bigilla vendor invades your street with that ear-aching megaphone recording on that weekend morning when you just want to stay in bed, it’s always the little things that have been part of your everyday life since your childhood that you end up missing the most.
Is there anything else we left out? Let us know in the comments!
Johann Agius is a fourth year law student who is currently the CEO of Insite after fulfilling the roles of Public Relations Officer and External Relations Officer in previous years. He joined Insite as a writer and photographer in 2013 and was elected in the executive for the first time a year later.