Tag Archives: Malta

Bonjour!

I’m doing my internship in Malta for four months. I’ve been here now more than three months and I still have about three weeks left before flying back to Finland. I’m working in a reception of a hotel and I have enjoyed my stay more than I could even imagine before coming here, the weather is amazing and these people I’ve met are so great. Working in a reception is something completely new for me so the first 2-3 weeks were super intensive and I learned a lot of new things, so after the shift I were really tired.

Working in Malta has opened my eyes, here they do some things so different ways and people act different. The working environment is international, we have employees from all over the world, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Africa, India, Pakistan, Poland, Germany, Turkey, France, etc. Everybody is used to different kinds of ways to work and solve problems. It’s so great to have people around the world, you learn all kinds of new things from different cultures and you also learn about your own culture.

I have couple day off per week, so I’ve had some time to travel around the country. Malta is very small country, so I’ll have time to see the nicest places even twice. Usually when I have a day off I travel somewhere to spend the day. The town I live in Malta is very small so I usually walk to the nearest city or take a bus to the other side of the island. Sometimes it’s also nice to just relax at the pool or go to the nearest beach. Although Malta is a small country there are really nice places to visit, beautiful beaches, little villages, big rocks, super clear light blue water, historical places and beautiful cities like the capital city, Valletta. The sunsets in Malta are also worth to see at least once… The nature in Malta is a bit unfertile so I miss the nature in Finland a lot. There aren’t many trees in Malta and the nature is not very green, but the views close to the sea are breathtaking.

I couldn’t be happier that I chose this place to do my internship, I got a lot of new friends from around the world, my German roommate Janine is amazing, it’s like we have known each other always. I learned new things about different cultures, even my own. I got to prove my English and I learned new things what comes to the life at work. In a few weeks it’s going to be really hard to say good bye to all this…

Turning Maltese

HELLOOOO!

Welcome to my Maltese adventure! It’s been an amazing ride, and definitely one of my life’s best decisions and craziest experiences. Totally recommending this programme for anyone who’s interested! Let’s get cracking!

So…. I’s my first time abroad… alone… EVER. I have only visited Sweden and Estonia when travelling outside Finland, so this has totally been an jump into the unknown. My choice to go on an exchange to Malta was a mixture of curiosity towards the southern European culture and learning practices, the need for a total change of scenery and people, and also a small wish, that I could experience some warm sunshine after a grimy winter in Finland. I’m happy to admit, that I got exactly what I wished for, and a whole lot more!

The day I landed to Malta, the weather was amazing, +20 degrees in January during the day. I was so excited and happy I couldn’t believe it. For the first time I saw the big cactus trees and southern plants in nature, and saw the Mediterranian sea. I got to experience the open and helpful nature of the Maltese people pretty soon, when getting into the bus for the first time, three people started advicing us without even asking. Also one day I had my hands full and was struggling with my glove; so a stranger looked at me and put on my glove for me without asking or saying a word. It was funny and totally unexpected, thank you, strange Maltese dude!

The temperature at night surprised me completely, because one it got dark, the temperature dropped to about 9 degrees. In an extremely humid climate that feels so so so cold. Also, the houses don’t have any heating, because they are built for the hot summer, so at night I had to sleep with 2 blankets to keep myself warm. February is considered winter in Malta, and I can see why. But it got better quite quickly.

My placements for physiotherapy practise have been

  1. Musculoskeletal outpatients unit – St Luke’s Hospital
  2. Children Development Assesment Centre (CDAU), St Luke’s Hospital
  3. Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Center (SAMOC), Mater Dei

In musculoskeletal ward I got to assess, treat and observe patients who had various musculoskeletal issues. I had a lot of shoulder and knee patients, and I also got to see some ankle, back, neck and general mobility cases. For one day I visited the hydrotherapy pool.  I had an amazing supervisor and got so much experience by going out of my confort zone and dealing with the patients first with my supervisor, and then on my own. I was happy to get self-confidence and reassurance.

In the children’s ward the patients were mostly cases with cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome or some other syndrome, spina bifida, or children with general developmental delay. We visited the Helen Keller special school for severely disabled children/adolecents in Qrendi also every week to assess and do therapy with the students. The childer were all very adorable, and the physiotherapy with them is done always through play and games. We had nice therapy rooms full of toys and equipment, and I believe the children really liked the fun excersises we came up with.

In SAMOC we had 2 general cancer wards, haematology ward, palleative care unit, children’s ward and the outpatients ward, that we worked in. I got to experience the ward physiotherapy, and also treat patients in the outpatients unit with lymphaodema. We did complete draining therapy manually and using a PCT machine, that passively inflates a external sleeve, to get the lympf liquid moving. I got to perform manual lymph drainage on a few patients of “my own”, do measurements of the upper limb and try some assessments as well. For a few times I had a survivors gym group to instruct, that was a lot of fun and I connected with the people well! For a good-bye and thank you, some of my patients gave me gifts, which really moved me and made me extremely grateful. After work I went to the beach every day to swim and sunbathe… Can’t get better than that!!!

The work hours for me were from 8 am till 2 pm, so only 6 hours. Maltese have short work days, and because the physiotherapy is free, sometimes patients don’t bother to come, and you end up with a lot of free time on your hands. So the system is a bit different compared to Finland’s. As what comes to the physiotherapy, I think it is mostly the same in Finland as well. The Maltese university students have a 4 year degree in physiotherapy to get the bachelors degree, whereas in Finland we only have 3,5 years. The Maltese have a very good education system in physiotherapy in my opinion, they have a lot of testing, practice and training. When they graduate, the physios working for the government will do a 5 year long rotation, where they work for 6 months in a certain department, and then switch. This way every physio gets experience in all major areas of physiotherapy, f.ex. children, neurology, musculoskeletal, geriatry, and so on. I think this system would benefit many in Finland as well.

In my spare time I liked to adventure around the island; Malta is a very very small country, but there are many amazing places to see. We got to go on hikes on Sundays with a fun tour guide for only 3,5€, that covered the busrides there and back, and hiking was a fun way to spend the day, see rare sights and make new friends! I also participated to many of the offical ESN – groups fun activities, including scavenger hunting in the capitol Valletta, speed dating in the University, and a full weekend tirp with a big Erasmus group to the Malta’s sister island, Gozo. I made a big bunch of friends from all over the world!! And there was always someone to text and go out with!

I also got to participate in the University of Malta’s Student’s Fest, which is a annual, big musical made by the university students. This year we depicted the Little Mermaid, with a little twist. There was a couple of hundred people participating, and I got the opportunity to perform in the main chorus. We practiced a lot, and it all was worth it in the end, because the finished product was amazing! We had 4 shows in total, and there I got to get to know many Maltese students and see part of their University experience!

The night life in Malta is crazy and so fun. Paceville is the most popular place to go have a good time; it’s a small area full of bars and nightclubs, and it doesn’t cost anything to go in to the bars.  And the drinks are so cheap!! You can get a beer for 1 € and cocktails for 3,90€, and usually there are people handing out free drink tickets outside the bars. There are always people having a good time there, and you always bump into some people you know! And there are always some student parties around, you wont be bored, I swear!

Though there are some problems and things to grow accustomed to for example not being able to drink tap water, everything being late from buses to meetings, almost dying every day due to the crazy driving manners of the people, and LACK OF OAT BREAD AND GOOD VARIETY OF PICK AND MIX CANDY, Malta is a great place to do your exchange in. The people, the extremely active ESN-group, very professional physio supervisors and great, historical places to visit, made the experience one that I will always cherish. I truly loved the experience, 3 months was way too little for me!!

Grazzi ħafna!

Nina

Mela, in Malta…

Practical training

I’m doing a three month practical training in Malta. Those three months are divided to three placements, each lasting four weeks. That has given me a nice overview about physiotherapy in Malta.


Maltese fishing boats “Luzzus” in Marsaxlokk.

Spare time

I am working morning shifts from Monday to Friday, as physiotherapists in public hospitals most often do. It gives me the evenings and weekends off.

I came here with my wife and son, so most of my spare time we spend together. Sometimes we go around Malta and see all the interesting and beautiful places but most of the time we do what we would back home, spend time in playgrounds, go around shops and flea markets, eat out, hang around in our home etc. of course now in a totally different environment.

I have made many friends with other Erasmus students and I/we also spend time with them. Fortunately we’ve had many visitors from Finland and it’s been nice to go around Malta with them also.

Blue Lagoon, Comino.

Differences with Finland

Working as a physiotherapist in Malta is mostly the same as doing it in Finland. Techniques are the same and in hospitals physio’s work mainly on morning shift. I think the biggest difference is the paperwork. Because actually there is quite a lot of actual true paperwork. In Finland all the medical files are digital and you add new reports straight to an electronic medical record softwares like Pegasos, but here it is all still done on paper.

View from the hospital office.

Summary

It has been a very interesting, educational and in every way a good experience. My Erasmus experience has most probably been very different from others experiences in Malta, due to that I came here with my family. Malta offers something for everyone and I recommend coming here for Erasmus to anyone who is open to different cultures and experiences. Malta truly is something different, compared to Finland or other northern European countries.

Caw!
-Markus

Il-ġurnata t-tajba

We have had so nice time here in Malta and soon it is time to come back to home. Life here has been great experience and I’m not really ready to go home yet! But I guess I have to return to the reality. Thank god there is still some time to enjoy this pretty Island.
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We have done 200 hours clinical practise here in Mater Dei hospital. Mater Dei hospital is the biggest public hospital here in Malta. Medical Imaging Department includes skeletal imaging, ultrasound, mammography, CT, PET-CT, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, bone density etc. We had one week placement on every modality. We had also 12 ECTS of normal courses. We did couple courses about pharmacology, professional issues and Maltese culture and language course. Those courses included lectures, presentations and exams.  
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When I have had spare time I have visited different places. I have seen Valletta many times which is capital city of Malta, Mdina which is old capital city. I have been also in Maltas two little islands called Gozo and Comino. I have spend time also with my Finnish school friend Tiia and with my new Erasmus friends. We have enjoyed the sun!!
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Working culture is pretty much same here in Malta than in Finland. The most different thing is that Maltese takes working easier. Some times they are even slightly lazy. They can take nap during the night shift which is never a option in Finland. But sometimes I like this way of working more than the Finnish way. Even working is easier here Maltese education is very strict and studying here is very hard.
-Anni

Greetings from Malta

So far me and my classmate Anni have lived over two months here in Malta and we have enjoyed our time here very much. The saddest thing is that we have only three weeks remaining and atleast I’m not ready to go back to Finland just yet. Luckily I have only one week of clinical placements left and then I have two weeks of holiday!

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Sliema

Malta is a very small country, which consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino with population of over 400 000 people. The main island Malta is only 27 km long and 15 km wide and it is located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea directly south of Sicily.

Sliema
Sliema

Our exchange consists of 200 hours of clinical placements and teaching. We are studying at the University of Malta and working at the Mater Dei Hospital. Mater Dei is the main general and acute public hospital in Malta and our placements takes place at the Medical Imaging Department. We are studying e.g. pharmacology, professional issues, Maltese culture and language and last week we had exam week which wasn’t that horrible than we thought. We had only three exams, pharmacology, Maltese language (oral and written) and two presentation.

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Comino

Maltese lifestyle is very relaxed but extremely lazy! A family may have as many cars as family members because they are too lazy to walk from one place to another. That is one of the reason why the traffic is so crazy in here. Maltese are typically welcoming, warm, friendly and willing to help other peolpe. They speak so loud and passionately with lots of arm-waving that a normal conversation may seem to turn into a huge fight in seconds. 

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Valletta

-Tiia