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Diren during his internship on Malta

"It is best to become friends with local people. You'll learn the most from them, both about the city/environment where you live and from the country and culture." - Diren on Malta!

  • Adventure
  • Internship Abroad
  • Studying Abroad
  • Living Abroad
  • Working Abroad
  • Europe
  • Malta
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Hey! Who are you and where are you from? Where do you study/live/work?

Hi! I study International Business and Management Studies in Utrecht. Currently I am doing an internship on Malta with a shipping agency.

What was the first thing you thought when you arrived on Malta?

"Hellll nooo, British road network!?!"

What was the most shocking difference between the Netherlands and Malta?

I have not experienced a "shocking" difference. There are a number of things that you may be annoyed by. Maltese can be rather "tranquilo" in their actions, while the Dutch are more direct in their approach. Furthermore, things are less organized here than in the Netherlands. On the road it is often a mess, too many cars on the island. Crossing a road often did not go easy because of the fact that Malta has a British road network.

What does your daily work day look like?

The working days are comparable to those of the Netherlands. My workday started at 08:00, I usually arrived at the office 10 minutes earlier. I was a lot behind the computer processing documents, doing administration and entering information in systems. At 13:00 everyone went for lunch and you could enjoy an hour of your break. Then I continued with my work and around 17:00 the working day was over.

How is the working atmosphere at your internship company?

The Southern European and Mediterranean work culture is more relaxed compared to the Dutch. Maltese are generally also relaxed people, so it also reflects on the work floor. However, there were also enough busy days in the office where sometimes there was no relaxed work mentality. Maltese are friendly and sociable people. There were always good vibes on the work floor.

Have you ever been homesick? How did you handle this?

Not really, I have been abroad for a longer time, outside of Europe. If you have experienced that, it is easier to deal with it and there is less chance that you will get homesick. If you experience it, I would advise you to make sure that you are busy, keeping your mind and yourself occupied.

Do you feel at home on Malta? Why (not)?

Yes of course. Maltese are extremely friendly and the climate is also really nice.

Is there a typical local dish that you really can not eat (or really like)?

Because Malta is an island, there is a lot of fish to eat. I do not eat fish and seafood, but fortunately there are plenty of alternatives. There are many pasta restaurants, which are similar to small bakeries. You can go there for all sorts of snacks and pizza!

Give us tips on who to become friends with abroad. The Russians? The Irish? The Chilean?

It is best to become friends with local people. Also with expats who have lived here for a longer time. You learn most from those people, both from the city/environment where you live and from the country and culture. Furthermore, the local people know the best hotspots.

Describe the people of Malta in three words.

Friendly, helpful, and relaxed.

What did you learn from your experience abroad? Was it the beloved community that you liked? The cheap cocktails? The beautiful nature? Or was your experience less than expected? Details, we want details!

By exposing yourself to a different culture for a longer period of time, I believe that it contributes enormously to your self-development. You get to know yourself better, you improve your intercultural skills and you experience how it is on a foreign work floor. You will take this experience with you in your career, which I think will make a positive contribution.

What is also nice is that the majority here speaks English. As I said, Maltese are friendly, sociable and relaxed, which of course makes your stay more pleasant.

What I found less fortunate about Malta is that the country is fairly densely populated. You can see that especially in the amount of cars on the road (which can irritate you a lot) and how close everything is built together. I noticed that I started missing the Dutch style of how cities are mixed with green. For example, there were only a few parks here.