For those students across UEA who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or year out their degree, I’m sure the same thought has crossed your mind, what is it really like? Is it worth it?
A quick introduction: I am currently a second-year international relations student here at UEA, for my semester abroad I will be travelling to the University of Malta, which is situated just outside the capital city, Valletta, in the smaller town of Msida. I am at that stage in the process where everything has been sorted, and I’m just trying to catch all my UEA pals before I disappear into the unknown. I’m going to rewind though and try to talk you through how I reached this point.
When you first apply to study abroad, most people tend to pick somewhere they either have fond memories of, or have romanticised over for some time, for me both applied. Malta was one of the best places I’ve visited, it’s local enough that I can pop home if need be, equally family/friends can visit, and I’ve very much romanticised the Mediterranean lifestyle. With 300 days of sunshine, stunning coves and bays to be explored, Malta really does sound attractive. So, I know where I’m going, what’s next? What seems like mountains of paperwork and discussions with the Study Abroad office (who are actually fantastic at guiding you through the various things you need to do), then start thinking about insurance, flights, accommodation and money.
You’d think most of these would be easy, but faced with the uncertainty of Brexit, at the time of applying, Erasmus funding was hanging in the balance amongst other uncertainties around visas and what have you, but luckily all these seem to have been ironed out, for now. I booked flights first, as I figured accommodation could be worked around when the flights were cheapest and being flexible with dates (and times) for flights certainly reduced the cost. I managed to secure flights for just £20 out, and £14 return. What a bargain. Accommodation was actually secured through AirBnB in the end, which provided more security than local agents and allowed me to pay in GBP (saving exchange or risky international bank transfers). It is not only significantly closer to the uni, but also about €200 per month cheaper. So as with any form of purchase, shop around, you will have plenty of time to plan.
Next time I will be writing to you from Malta itself!