Despite the faults they may encounter, many foreign nationals who live in Malta still speak endearingly of the island as their home. Their optimism persists despite an International Expat Insider survey that ranked Malta 50th out of 59 countries for the best places to settle.

It was the second time in two years that the island was placed in the bottom 10 since being included in the survey for the first time in 2015. That period has seen a gradual slide for Malta in the good graces of the expatriates who voted: seven years ago it was ranked the third best place to live.

But while admitting they sometimes had a problem with the island’s shortcomings, expats who spoke to Times of Malta said there is still a lot to love about living here.

‘No Dealbreakers’

Charlotta Palmroos, from Finland, has only lived permanently in Malta for eight months, choosing to resettle after a visit to a friend blossomed into romance.

Charlotta PalmroosCharlotta Palmroos

“I’ve never stayed in a hotel or tourist area, so I think I have a fairly good idea of what day-to-day life in the community is like here,” she said.

Admitting it was a bit of an adjustment to transition from the way things are done in Finland, she is determined to embrace the Maltese way of life.

“Nothing came off as negative to me at first, but in time I started to notice the negatives as well. But I haven’t found any dealbreakers yet and I am still very set on changing my high, Scandinavian standard of living to this colourful Maltese life,” she said.

“The only major issues that bother me personally are the amount of garbage left outdoors and the rather high cost of living.

“I’m hopeful that the housing market will stabilise in the coming years as my partner and I are looking forward to purchasing our first home in Malta.”

She said the ambience kept her coming back to Malta.

“The Maltese are probably some of the kindest people I’ve ever encountered, and even though I am saddened that some have let racism thrive among them, there are many Maltese who still appreciate friends and family and welcome strangers with open arms.

“It’s like the Mediterranean sun lives within the Maltese people, and as a Finn, it’s something I’ve never seen in my home country.”

Adding that while no country is perfect, she understood others who were frustrated when dealing with persistent issues such as housing.

 

‘Things improving’

Bulgarian national Adam Kern, who moved to Malta from Costa del Sol in 2018, said the country has ticked all his boxes.

Adam KernAdam Kern

“I was looking for something new, and after someone mentioned Malta to me, I did my research and moved basically three weeks later,” he said.

“I really love living here. The island is beautiful, the weather is perfect, there are plenty of things to do, there are a lot of foreigners, beautiful beaches, a lot of places to visit and we enjoy a really low crime rate.

“But on the flip side, expensive housing, high cost of living and corruption have been persistent issues.”

Kern left to live in Florida after experiencing problems related to housing but ended up returning to Malta nine months later. “At least here I don’t have to worry about a visa,” he said.

“But it does seem like things are improving lately and there have been posi­tive changes. They’re regulating things they didn’t in the past, and if you’re having an issue like getting scammed by a landlord, you can just report them. Before there wasn’t really anyone you could go to for help. Malta might have a bright future after all, let’s hope.”

 

‘Very safe here’

Coming from the UK, Emma Smart said that one of the things that drew her to Malta was a feeling of safety.

Emma SmartEmma Smart

“I chose to come to Malta after holidaying here. I found it tranquil, beautiful and full of tradition, and the Maltese people are kind, reassuring and down to earth,” she said.

“I love living here because everything is relaxed and I feel safe, even as a single woman. Work is easy to find and rent is reasonable. Although groceries and everyday items are a little expensive at times.”

She said that one of the most challenging things she encountered was navigating bureaucracy in getting her documentation sorted out.

“As I’m not from an EU country, things are not explained very well and are confusing at times. There are so many different departments and it’s hard to figure out. I do understand why though, and I feel bad that Maltese people are being priced out,” she said.

I feel bad that Maltese people are being priced out

“When I look at every country, each one has its own problems, but I know that the right choices are generally made in the end.”

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