My Guide to moving to Malta

From the language to the food, embrace everything Malta has to offer.

When Taylor Gabriella Sutherland was considering her university offers, the thought of “adventure” made Queen Mary, Malta a compelling choice. After all, when else would she have the chance to spend five years studying medicine on a Mediterranean island? Now in her third year, Taylor is well-settled in Gozo, and that’s why we’ve asked her to share her top tips for relocating.

Student Taylor Sutherland by the sea

What do you want to say to students planning to move to Malta? 

Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Immerse yourself in the experience, make new friends, discover Gozo and say ‘yes’ to everything offered in those first few weeks. The university has a discount scheme, meaning you can try the local cuisine and participate in lots of activities. In first year, I went scuba diving with friends and kayaking at Xlendi, all at a reduced price.

Where should students live in Malta?

Victoria is the perfect location for medical students with plenty of shops nearby and in close walking distance to the university and hospital. Regarding best options for students on a budget, I would recommend living with two others as the price for accommodation when split between three students is affordable. In Victoria, there is a square hidden off the high street called St George’s Square. During the day there are many brunch restaurants to explore, but at night it doubles as a hub for bars and nightlife. Go to Grapes for drinks and cocktails.

What was the first challenge you encountered and how did you overcome it?  

Adapting to the pressures of studying medicine. I implemented a weekly routine which allocated time to my studies and personal activities. Having the opportunity to meet with a study skills advisor through the university allowed me to have a personalised study plan. This gave me better balance and significantly eased my stress. For example, I am now part of a ladies’ hockey team in Malta and do more things with friends, like playing laser tag. Balancing the grind with good times has made my journey through med school more enjoyable.

What key resources or support systems should students know?

For me, the student experience coordinator, one of the members of the Student Office, was a lifesaver. He provided essential information regarding accommodation, residency applications and helped answer my general questions during the process. The whole team is available to contact prior to visiting the university, so make sure to reach out with any pressing questions about general aspects of the university.

Students swimming at Blue Lagoon, Comino
Students swimming at Blue Lagoon, Comino

Could you share insights on budgeting effectively while studying in Malta? 

Budgeting is different for every student, but for me, I do a big food shop at the start of the week so I can follow a structured meal plan. I also do batch cooking with friends which I find is another great way to budget in Malta. Recently, I started having Gozitan cheese and tuna on toast instead of beans on toast to start my morning off.

What can’t be missed during one’s studies in Malta? 

Don’t miss out on discovering nearby islands, like Comino and Gozo. Equally, try new activities like scuba diving, bouldering, wine tasting and local cultural festivals. The boat and villa parties offered at the start of the year are one of the many ways to get to know people and have a unique and unforgettable time in Malta. What other university has a boat party?

I also go bouldering with friends in Malta on the weekends. I find it particularly enjoyable due to its location by the sea, and simultaneous opportunity to socialise and bond with my friends whilst doing some exercise. Abseiling is also available to do outside on the cliffs, which is fun and a great way to get a tan.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

Applying for your residency card early each year is vitally important. Unfortunately, I did not realise this in first year—missed the memo—and it resulted in me having to stay for the Christmas holidays. So do not delay, apply for it as soon as possible as there is no guarantee that you will receive it on time.

I ended up having a great time. Malta is a Catholic country which means they celebrate Christmas on a larger scale than other countries. Every town is lit up by many Christmas lights, the park in central Victoria is particularly festive due to the presence of the Christmas market and food stalls. You haven’t truly experienced Christmas until you’ve done it the Maltese way.

“Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Immerse yourself in the experience, make new friends, discover Gozo and say ‘yes’ to everything offered in those first few weeks.