We sat down with Florian from Germany to talk about expat life in Malta. In the 15-minute interview, we’ll talk about the positives and the negatives of living in Malta, as well as tips for other newcomers.

Watch the video above, or read the transcript instead!

Video Transcript:

JK: I’m sitting here in the lovely Smart City Malta with Florian from Germany, and we’re here to talk about what’s it like to live in Malta as a foreigner.#00:00:20.42#

JK: It’s a bit of a windy day here so my apologies if there’s a bit of wind [sound] on the background, but hopefully it’s going to be fine.#00:00:24.33#

JK: How are you, Florian?#00:00:24.33#

FH: I’m good, thanks.#00:00:24.77#

JK: Do you want to first give us a bit of a background [on] yourself and what brought you to Malta in the first place?#00:00:36.75#

FH: I’m 27 years old, I’m German, I was born in Munich, and I moved here in December 2014. I was studying in Germany and I wasn’t very happy with the choice of my studies, so I decided that I just need a break [from] the environment in Germany and I was looking for places abroad.#00:00:54.03#

FH: Malta seemed like a reasonable choice so I decided to give it a shot!#00:00:57.30#

JK: Did you move here alone or did you bring your family?#00:01:01.69#

FH: I moved here with my girlfriend.#00:01:01.69#

JK: And did you ever visit Malta before that?#00:01:05.91#

FH: No, actually I didn’t#00:01:08.62#

JK: That’s very brave of you!#00:01:08.62#

FH: I  mean I had heard good stories from you at the time, and together with the pictures and the videos it was enough to convince me.#00:01:20.66#

JK: Thinking back to the very first days that you spent here in Malta when you first arrived, can you remember what was your very first impression of the place?#00:01:30.83#

FH: I think my very first impression was when I stepped out of the airport and, [at] the airport in Malta you have loads of palm trees standing there, and I was really surprised as I expected the whole country to be full of palm trees but it feels like you have exactly two places where you find palm trees – the airport and here in Smart City.#00:01:49.53#

FH: I got here in December so the weather was amazing. I got here from Germany where there was already the winter mood and everything, and getting here with 20-something degrees was amazing, I really loved it.#00:02:00.99#

FH: Obviously in the beginning it was sort of like a vacation feeling.#00:02:08.07#

JK: Has your impression of Malta changed in those two years that you’ve been here.#00:02:10.65#

FH: Yes, of course.#00:02:12.84#

JK: Would you say that it was easy to adjust to living in Malta and to living in a foreign country altogether?#00:02:23.64#

FH: Yes, definitely. I did live abroad before and obviously I can compare it now, so living in Malta and starting a life here in Malta is a lot easier, as English is an official language here so you don’t have a language barrier, which is a huge advantage.#00:02:38.98#

FH: There was virtually no problems adapting here, finding every day convenience shops and things that you just need to get used to in a new environment. I was very happy, it was very easy.#00:02:58.21#

JK: Were the locals helpful towards you when it came to adjusting?#00:03:01.07#

FH: With locals, you you mean residents who live here or Maltese people, because I think with Maltese people – I do know some here, but the vast majority of people I know here are expats.#00:03:17.74#

FH: I got here with a job that I got already in Germany, so residents yes, but not really the Maltese people.#00:03:24.28#

JK: So most of your friends here are other expats?#00:03:30.55#

FH: Yes exactly. I do have Maltese friends – people that I play squash with and so forth – but the vast majority of the people I’m around are expats.#00:03:38.23#

JK: That’s usually how it is with expats, however I speak to and myself included. But why do you think it is that expats tend to stick together and not communicate that much with the locals? Do you think it has to do with those other people bring of a similar mindset or ..?#00:04:02.98#

FH: Exactly. I think that’s the main reason that you already have so much in common without talking even one bit with each other as you’re both new in the country so you’ve probably experienced the same problems as well as good things. I think that just gives you a bond if you already have common interests and common experience, that’s probably the main reason.#00:04:31.33#

JK: Absolutely. Again going back to when you first got here, would you say it was easy to find a job here?#00:04:38.26#

FH: For me it was quite easy because after I made the decision to move to Malta I was already looking to have everything set up here in Malta for me. Maybe that’s the German in me who wants things organised so I wanted to have an apartment and a job already before I move to Malta to make things easy for me.#00:05:02.13#

FH: I started applying for some jobs here in Malta already in Germany an it was fairly easy to get a job.#00:05:06.10#

JK: take it you were looking for jobs online and did phone interviews and so on?#00:05:15.16#

FH: Exactly.#00:05:15.61#

JK: You mentioned an apartment. Did you look that up as well before you arrived here?#00:05:21.64#

FH: Yes, and we already had everything sorted out so when we got here we moved straight into the apartment, met with the landlord and everything was sorted out very smoothly.#00:05:33.54#

FH: We found the apartment actually through Facebook, we just started looking at various Facebook groups for expats in Malta, accommodation in Malta, etc and it was quite easy to find something.#00:05:44.93#

FH: Luckily, in December there aren’t so many people looking so it’s a lot easier for you than in the summer.#00:05:49.08#

JK: You mentioned that it was through Facebook groups – was it then directly from the owner or did you still go via an estate agent?#00:05:57.98#

FH: No it was actually the previous tenant. They wanted to move out and I assume they had a deal with the landlord that they can get their deposit back if they find somebody to take the apartment once they leave, so they took care of that, we got introduced to the landlord and we moved in straight away.#00:06:14.55#

JK: Getting a little bit more serious, in your 2 years that you’ve spent in Malta, have you ever felt that as a foreigner you’ve been in some shape or form discriminated against?#00:06:32.41#

FH: (Sighs) I’ve heard some stories. Personally, I did have some experiences where, I’m not saying that I’ve felt racism towards me or something like that, but you can tell that some people have certain feeling towards foreigners.#00:06:59.17#

FH: As a German, I think the stereotype of Germans is not as extreme when it comes to difficulties like racism, but I did notice some intolerance here and there. Not very extreme though and only very rarely.#00:07:17.92#

FH: The majority of Maltese people that I’ve been around with, they’re all incredibly friendly and very helpful. If you ever need help then you will always get it.#00:07:23.19#

JK: I personally think that the Maltese are one of the most helpful people in Europe.#00:07:28.88#

FH: Yes.#00:07:32.88#

JK: Do you miss Germany?#00:07:32.88#

FH: Malta is a very small island so I try to go back [often]. It’s not so far from Munich anyway and there are direct flights so I do manage to get back home every couple of months and that’s enough for me to keep [from] the home sickness.#00:07:49.10#

JK: To get your dose of Germany.#00:07:49.10#

FH: Exactly.#00:07:52.06#

JK: What would you say are the main things that you think are better in Germany, compared to Malta?#00:07:59.02#

FH: It’s hard to say what things are better or worse. When it comes to beureucracy that is obviously a very German stereotype. It’s very true that things are often complicated, but they get done. They make sense and they work.#00:08:18.09#

FH: Here in Malta, things very often seem to be a little bit more random. Sometimes you feel like you get different information from the same office from different people and it’s hard to plan with things.#00:08:29.95#

FH: Another thing is obviously traffic and the roads. It’s a huge different in Germany where roads are perfect, whereas here in Malta very often you would find roads in bad condition, which obviously doesn’t help the Maltese traffic, which is already a little bit of a headache, to say the least.#00:08:45.11#

JK: Can’t really go 230km/h on the Maltese Autobahn#00:08:47.25#

FH: No, that’s a shame yes. I do miss that!#00:08:50.59#

JK: What about the other way around? What things you would say are significantly better in Malta, as opposed to Germany?#00:08:57.09#

FH: I think one thing is obviously the scenery here. When you just look at the background, it’s beautiful. The sea – I’ve never seen sea which is more beautiful and clearer than here so snorkeling and diving, for example, is just amazing here.#00:09:14.21#

FH: The weather in general is obviously a lot nicer than in Germany. If you like it, that is. I love the sun, and that’s nice. I do occasionaly miss the snow in winter, but I can always go back home for that.#00:09:28.03#

JK: What about things that are simply different, or maybe even things, if there are any, that you had trouble adjusting to when you moved here?#00:09:37.65#

FH: There aren’t so many things, to be honest. In the beginning, at the place where I used to live, traffic and transportation was really hard to get used to, as in Germany with the suburban trains it’s very easy to get from a small village to Munich within 35-40 minutes without any problems.#00:10:05.71#

FH: Considering that Malta is as big as Munich, it might take me double the time here in Malta to get from Santa Venera to Sliema. So this is something that was very hard to get used to, but the only obvious choice was to move then, or to get a car, and I decided to move instead.#00:10:26.42#

JK: So you live in Sliema now?#00:10:26.99#

FH: I live in Sliema, yes.#00:10:28.89#

JK: How do you find it living in Sliema compared to Santa Venera where you lived before?#00:10:36.45#

FH: Many people told me that usually it’s the other way around when you move to Malta, you first move to Sliema and then after a year or two you get sick of the super-touristy area and then you’d rather move somewhere to the outskirts where it’s a lot quieter.#00:10:48.65#

FH: I did it the other way around and I have to say I prefer it a lot because I didn’t want to get a car here because regardless of whether you live in a popular city like Sliema or St. Julian’s or in Santa Venera or Mosta or some other place, finding parking spots at any time is always going to be a problem if you don’t have a garage or your own parking spot.#00:11:16.89#

FH: So I thought that I don’t get a car, so I wanted to move to the area where I am most of the time anyway. Now, living right next to the sea with restaurants, bars and many of my friends in the neighbourhood, I’m very happy about the decision.#00:11:24.62#

JK: On a personal level, how and in which ways would you say your life has changed since moving to Malta a few years ago?#00:11:33.63#

FH: I have to say, it felt like back in Germany it was a lot more stressful for me very often, because you’d think about what you do in life, how to get a career, you have to get a job, you have to get promoted and you have to have this big plan for your life sorted out.#00:11:59.65#

FH: In Malta, it feels like with just having a little paradise in Europe, life seems a lot easier, not as stressful. You don’t worry about things as much and you just enjoy your everyday life a lot more than you would back in Germany.#00:12:17.74#

JK: If there’s one thing that you would say is keeping you in Malta, what would that be, and you’re not allowed to say ‘the Weather’.?#00:12:26.13#

FH: It’s the people. Obviously, after nearly 2 years I’ve made a lot of good friends here and life has been good. As always, life has ups and downs but now reconsidering the time that I’ve been here so far I have to say that life has been good.#00:12:53.93#

JK: And now on the flip side, what’s your one biggest annoyance with Malta?#00:13:02.35#

FH: The lack of forests and greenery. I used to live in a very small village close to Munich, surrounded by forests and green fields. I miss that. I really miss the nature and just being in the forests. That is something that I do miss because you do have some greenery here and there but that’s something completely different here.#00:13:30.33#

JK: And it’s always a drive away.#00:13:30.33#

FH: Exactly.#00:13:32.11#

JK: To wrap this up, what would you say is your #1 reccommendation to those people who are currently thinking of moving to Malta or who have just landed here and are about to settle in?#00:13:52.28#

FH: For people who are planning to move to Malta, I would just say “go for it”! Malta is a good place. Yes, you will find annoyances here, but you will find them everywhere in the world. There’s no country in the world that has only positive things. It’s about you if you can adapt.#00:14:11.05#

FH: I would say just go for it. Malta treats you well, it has a lot to offer and after a couple of months it would already be enough time for you to know if Malta is for you or not, so you should just go for it.#00:14:24.95#

JK: Thanks so much for your time on behalf of myself and our readers. And if you guys like the video and you’d like to see similar videos going forward then please do let us know, and like/share it on Facebook so we’d know to keep on doing what we’re doing.#00:14:44.08#

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Janar, been following your blog for a while and absolutely love it! You seem to always post the things that interest me most, like just recently ‘Malta vs Cyprus’ (I do like shopping around when it comes to new countries to live in :D) or now this expat interview. Had to laugh when I heard Florian mention the palm trees – those were exactly my thoughts! I’m German as well so I agree with the majority of what he said about the pros and cons. Overall, I found this blog to be the perfect mix of candor and positivity. No point sugar coating everything, people need to be informed of what’s not working – something that sadly many Maltese take as complaining and which usually gets the response of “If you don’t like it leave” (sigh) 😉

    • Thanks for your kind words Melanie! It’s always great to hear from people who like what we’re doing – very refreshing from the typical “Progression? What? Shut up and go back to where you came from. We like things how they are and have been for the last 5,000,000 years” kind of comments that any content about Malta that doesn’t say “Malta is the greatest country in the world and has no flaws” usually tends to get over here 🙂

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