Ninety-year-old Swiss Max Jutzeler decided that, if he wants to communicate with other people during his travels, he needs to brush up on his spoken English.
So, determined to break the language barrier that was hindering his socialising prospects, he came to Malta for two weeks to learn English – and practise it while making new friends.
“I am here to improve my English and to be in a position to communicate with people... Last August I was on a cruise in the Mediterranean and came in contact with a lot people and realised that I lost a lot of the English I had learnt,” Mr Jutzeler says, faltering and pausing between words but eventually stringing together nearly flawless sentences.
Then, last January, as he was flipping through a newspaper at home, he came across an advert of English language courses for adults in Malta organised by the travel agency Touriqum Group at ESE language school.
He had been to Malta three times in the past 15 years and saw it as an opportunity to revisit the Valletta fortifications.
So Mr Jutzeler, whose wife passed away last year, told his two daughters and son he was off to learn English in Malta.
“They were very surprised,” he giggles. “But they were happy.”
He travelled to Malta as part of a group of adult students over 50, led by group leader Marghreta Mueller, who helps him out during the interview especially since he has problems hearing.
“He is an inspiration,” she says adding that he told her how he lives alone in Switzerland, does his own cooking and laundry and even drives himself around.