A "Normal" Week in Malta

Luther’s Malta and the Mediterranean Program, currently in its 26th year, offers students the opportunity to spend a semester exploring Malta's rich history and traveling to other countries in the Mediterranean region. Coursework includes Paideia II: Ethical Issues in the Mediterranean, a Service Learning class, where program participants teach English to recent immigrants to Malta, Maltese History and Culture and additional classes taken at the University of Malta.

To learn more about the program, visit the Malta Semester website.

I fall more in love with Malta every day. Whether I am walking by the sea, wandering through historical streets, or stumbing upon a fort, I can't get enough. This semester has gone by way too quickly. With a return flight back to the Midwest looming in the distance, I've been taking in every second on the island.

My week really feels like it starts on Wednesday. Each Wednesday I have six hours of class and nearly an hour of service learning. My first class, Youth and Social Inclusion, starts at 9 a.m. so I leave the flat around 8 a.m. I like to take my time during the long walk to campus (and give myself an extra ten minutes in case I need coffee). After classes are done for the day, I walk home, go for a run along the Promenade, then make dinner.

On Wednesdays at St. Francis School, I observe the teacher-led reading discussions. Twice a week, the Year 3 classes have reading discussions — one in English and one in Maltese. Due to my class schedule, I'm only able to observe during the Maltese session. Although I don't understand anything anyone says, it's fun to see the students interact in a classroom setting.

Thursday morning I head back to my placement at St. Francis School, which I wrote about in my last blog post. After service learning is over, I like to hop on a bus and go somewhere new on the island! I keep coming across exciting places to visit, but my absolute favorite is Valletta. Since the main bus terminal is outside the Valletta City Gate, I usually end up in the fortified city by the end of the afternoon.

On Friday afternoon I have both my Paideia and history course. Since the classes don't start until later in the day, I get to sleep in! I usually like to get up and start my day early, anyways. It's difficult to spend time inside while living in such a beautiful country!

Saturday is the beginning of a four day weekend! When I'm not traveling off the island, I really love to spend at least one day a week at the beach. Malta has a rocky shoreline with a few stunning, sandy beaches hidden away. Just a half-hour bus ride away is Golden Bay, located on the Northwest coast of the island. The quaint cove reminds me a lot of the Southern California shoreline, but with crystal clear water and tourists talking in languages from all around the world. I'm still trying to comprehend that it's only April and I'm already swimming in the Sea!

The rest of my weekend (Sunday-Tuesday) consists of more exploration. After getting back from spring break, I started writing my finals papers. Living in Malta is both a blessing and a curse — the island is gorgeous but that makes finding motivation to study so difficult! Luckily, I can rely on Malta Public Transit to bus me around the country so I can see a new place each day while still finding time to work on my finals.

As I get closer to my return flight date, I can't help but think about how much I've been able to explore the island. Although Malta is small, the country is dense with history and spectacular views. Each morning I'm eager to see more, and each evening I struggle to grasp that this is real life and that I actually live here. My weeks have become so ordinary, but what I get to experience during each week is extraordinary.

I truly believe that it was love at first sight when I landed here in Feburary, but my love for Malta just continues to grow.

A "Luzzu" in Marsaxlokk
View of Birgu from the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta
Golden Bay
A typical street in Valletta
View of Fort Rinella from Fort St. Elmo