Malta has fast become one of Europe’s premier EFL destinations, as the island’s ties with the English language, coupled with its fantastic natural resources have made this an attractive location for agents and private students alike.
With its rich history of been visited, and often invaded by empires throughout the ages, Malta, as a nation, has learned well the importance of resilience, communication, and adaption to new cultures, and cultural influences. When Malta acceded to the British Empire in 1800, English, together with Maltese began to replace Italian as the nation’s dominant language. By the time Malta gained its independence from the British Empire in 1963, English had become one of Malta’s two official languages, the other being Maltese, and the judiciary, medical services, and government all used English as well as their native tongue.
The effect of this on modern day Malta is a legacy of linguistic ability and familiarity throughout the island, and EFL schools have been increasing in number steadily as word has spread of both the nation’s academic standards, and its beautiful location in the Southern Mediterranean. As the number of schools has increased, major franchises have shared the market place with a number of smaller, privately owned schools, and the choice for students has become wider and more comprehensive, which in turn has increased the island’s appeal in both Europe and globally. New markets, such as the Far East, and South America are discovering Malta’s schools, and major numbers of students are arriving to learn English in Europe.
In the past, Malta’s major language markets were located much closer to home, with European neighbors sourcing most of its EFL clients, but nowadays, Malta’s definitely extended its reach, in line with the nation’s own political and social transition into the European Union in 2004, and adoption of the Euro as its official currency in early 2008.
The courses offered by the various English language schools in Malta vary widely, but most give a general English course, with many accredited by Cambridge, IELTS, and TOEFL. Other courses include more specialist areas of English usage, such as Elanguest Ltd in St. Julians, who have worked to develop Medical English courses with the European Union, and offer business English and Medical English courses along side their general English syllabus. With English now used as the ‘lingua franca’ of International business and medicine, Malta’s schools have seen and begun to realize their potential to offer the very best in EFL training, and draw upon the island’s location and human resources to meet this new challenge.
While the Maltese EFL market is growing, it is also well established, with many schools operating for a number of decades, and the skills of local teachers, coupled with their natural linguistic ability and the nation’s general character, will ensure EFL training will to continue to prosper and expand in Malta in the years to come.