Congratulations on deciding to choose Malta as your destination and IELS as your English language school!! We would like your time with us to be as enjoyable and safe as possible and have therefore listed a few points which we feel will come in handy when at school and also touring the island.
Malta is an ideal location to study English. Referred to as the jewel of the Mediterranean, it not only has a colourful and interesting history, but is also an extremely safe place for students to be.
Malta is considered very safe for tourists. Crime is rare, though theft from parked cars and handbag snatching can occur. Local driving conditions are poor so exercise caution.
Malta has an excellent health service. Hospitals are modern and supported by a regional network of health centres. Travellers do not normally require certificates of vaccination or immunisation to enter the Maltese Islands. Visitors from EU member states should make sure that they have a European Health Insurance card. It is advisable that all visitors, irrespective of their nationality, take out a personal medical insurance policy. Malta has reciprocal health agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom. Nationals of these countries, visiting the Islands for no longer than one month, are entitled to free medical and hospital care in both Malta and Gozo.
Visitors receiving special medical treatment should bring a medical prescription or a letter of introduction from their family doctor, in case they need to purchase particular medicines.
Tap water is safe to drink.
Mater Dei Hospital
B'Kara MSD 2090
Tel: (+356) 25450000
Gozo General Hospital,
Tel: (+356) 21561600
Fax: (+356) 21560881
Pharmacies are found throughout the Islands and are open during normal shopping hours. On Sundays, chemists open on a roster from 09.00 until 12.30 in Malta and from 07.30 until 11.00 in Gozo.
The Maltese coastal waters are generally clean and safe for swimming as there are no tides. Some bays are exposed to north and north-easterly winds which do produce some strong undercurrents at times.
Useful Tip: Malta's beaches and seas are safe, however if you are new to the Maltese Islands, swim where the locals do.
The Maltese Archipelago lies virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean and has a latitude more southerly than that of northern Tunisia. You are therefore advised to take precautions to ensure you avoid over exposure to the sun. Even in winter it is advisable to wear a suitable factor sunscreen for your skin type. This is important if you are out walking, or taking part in water sports. A sun hat is a must. Children and especially babies need extra protection from the sun. If you are sunbathing, it is advisable to avoid the strongest sunlight between the hours of 11am and 3pm in peak summer months.
Useful Tip: Do not wear bathing suits in public areas. Beachwear is for beaches only.
Local time is GMT 1 (GMT 2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
240 volts, 50Hz. UK-style three-pin square plugs are used.
English and Maltese are the official languages.
If a service charge is not included in the bill, a gratuity of 10% would be appreciated in hotels and restaurants. Most services are tipped at 5-10% (including taxi drivers).
The wearing of skimpy clothing away from the beaches should be avoided, and dress should be conservative to enter churches.
Business in Malta tends to be conducted as elsewhere in Europe; formally and politely. Punctuality is important; dress should be formal with suit and tie the norm, unless weather is hot when one can forgo the jacket. Handshakes and the exchanging of business cards takes place on greeting. English is widely spoken and so a translator is unnecessary. Business hours can vary but are usually 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some businesses open for a half-day on Saturdays.
The country code for Malta is 356, and the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are not required. Local and international telephone calls can be made from hotel rooms, and most hotels also offer fax and Internet access. Maltacom telecommunications offices also provide these services in the main towns, and coin and card operated telephone boxes can be found all over Malta and Gozo. The islands are covered by two comprehensive GSM 900 and 1800 mobile phone networks. Internet cafes are to be found in all the main towns and tourist resorts.
Travellers arriving in Malta from non-EU countries do not need to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco; 1 litre wine and 1 litre spirits, or other goods up to 150 EUR. Any large items or electrical equipment should be declared on entry (video cameras and televisions for example), and currency must also be declared. Prohibited items include firearms, pornography, meat, poultry and their by-products, plants and drugs.
Sliema has the feel of a quiet seaside resort, but is in fact a major commercial and residential area and houses several of Malta’s most recent hotels. It is a centre for shopping, restaurants and cafe life. There are a number of food stores, appliance outlets, and pharmacies, as well as a number of souvenir shops. It houses the major banks and main post office. A sub-post office is situated opposite the school.
The Plaza Commercial Centre is centrally located in Sliema and is only a 2 minute walk from our Adult Centre. It comprises a mix of retail shops, catering establishments and office suites spread over several floors built around a central atrium.
The Point is another commercial centre which has recently opened and is located within 1 minute walking distance from our Adult Centre. It has several new shops, cafes and a beautiful large piazza where one can enjoy the lovely Maltese sun.
At night, you can walk along the lively Sliema promenade and enjoy the sea breeze in the cool summer evenings. The neighbouring village of St Julian’s - known locally as Paceville - is Malta’s main nightlife zone. Paceville comes alive at night with its multitude of pubs, discotheques and a number of night clubs with different themes; namely salsa, rock, disco music and even live bands.
In St Julian’s you can also find a modern bowling centre and a large cinema complex, showing films in the English language.
The small size of the Maltese Islands makes getting around easy and hassle-free. The public bus service on Malta and Gozo is a good way to get around as buses serve the major tourist areas, go practically everywhere and are inexpensive and efficient.
Renting a car is a good option if you want to get to the farther reaches of the island. All the road signs are in English and driving is on the left. Major international brands and local car hires are located on Malta and Gozo. International and national driving licenses are acceptable.
Renting scooters, motorbikes or bicycles are also an option, but be aware that bicycle lanes on major roads are rather limited.
Taxi services can pick up passengers from anywhere, except bus-stops. Taxi services from the Malta International Airport and the Seaport Terminal to all localities in Malta are based on a fixed tariff. For more information on taxi services ask at Leisure Desk.
A regular ferry service links Malta to Gozo, taking about 20 minutes each way. A sea plane service links Grand Harbour in Valletta to Mgarr Harbour in Gozo. There are also regular boat services between each island and Comino.
A water taxi service using the traditional Maltese 'dghajsa' boat is also available in Grand Harbour.
Ask at a Leisure Desk for more information on prices, schedules etc. on all the above services.
The following is a list of useful telephone numbers when you are visiting the Maltese Islands:
Flight and Weather information services are also available, free of charge, on www.maltairport.com or the Information Channels on local TV networks.
IELS is the biggest English Language School in Malta.
IELS supports Puttinu Cares Foundation, Island Sanctuary and Inspire Foundation.
IELS is affiliated with Coca Cola Malta.
One of our teachers wrote a romantic novel about two war torn lovers.