Marek Nečesal | Big small Malta | University of Malta, Erasmus 20/21
"My ideas of Malta as a small flat island with sandy beaches, where it is close to everywhere, faded the very next day, when we came to the nearest beach. Instead of white sand, there were rocks and strange railings sloping under the water. Even with the walking distance, which I checked on maps before departure, it was not so good. There are hills and confusing streets of a wild city everywhere. Behind the houses is a rolling landscape interwoven with stone walls, sometimes alike Scottish Highlands. However, the idyllic idea is always replaced by a feeling of loss from the confused, rather non-existent, marking of tourist paths and ubiquitous signs forbidding access to private land. Everyone here has a lot of time for everything and they are in no hurry (unless I count the frantic car traffic on the left).
But I would not want to describe Malta in a negative way. Of course, it surprised me, but at least I'll have an even greater experience. We found sandy beaches lining the rocks and the endless sea horizon with the setting sun only added to the beauty. A non-functioning tourist signage is not harmful if you don't mind ending up in the middle of a rock and carefully descending, which I took as a pleasant change. The seemingly confusing system of streets conceals far more unexpected discoveries than the regularly designed capital city of Valletta. People are kind here, and although it is difficult to meet anyone in this pandemic time, it is not impossible, thanks to the ubiquitous English, which is their second national language.
Lectures are also conducted in English, so it is not a problem to participate in a discussion or just listen to the opinions of locals. I chose subjects from all over the university across all grades, so it was not difficult to find an agreement with our faculty. On the one hand, this means that I usually spend every subject with other classmates, but on the other hand, I learned at least a little more from the local culture, which is not easy to experience at the time of coronavirus. Although Malta is a well-known destination for Erasmus, this is not the case for studying architecture, I was more of a rarity. Sometimes I was asked too many questions (one per hour is enough :)), how do we solve it at home and the like. I think I learned new things not only from me but also from my Maltese classmates… but I could write about that for a long time."