I want to start this post by apologising for how long it is……
The end of our time in Copenhagen:
Our hostel in Copenhagen was actually extremely nice, although you would expect so as it has only been open since the start of the year. The staff even offered to keep our gas cylinder because we didn’t know where to dispose of it, and we couldn’t fly with it.
We arrived at the airport at 6pm, checked in my bag, quickly got through security and then went to find some dinner. We had dinner in Starbucks, where we both decided to have a “breakfast wrap”, which was very nice! Our flight was not until 11:40pm so we spent a lot of time sat around the airport watching all the shops slowly close around us!
We arrived in Malta at around 3am and got picked up by our AirBnb host, which was extremely nice of him! Despite being so early in the morning, it was still extremely humid in Malta, as they were experiencing a heatwave during our time there; so our host gave us 2 fans to sleep with as he didn’t have any air conditioning in his house.
When we woke up, we were provided with some breakfast and then we decided to head into Valetta to explore. We went to find the bus stop but didn’t know where it was. However, a local woman saw us and clearly thought we looked lost, so she asked us if we needed help. After trying to explain where the bus stop was, she eventually decided just to take us to the bus stop herself which was extremely nice of her!
We got into Valetta, where the temperatures were well above 30 degrees Celsius, and we decided to explore. The interesting thing about Valetta, is that 3 of the directions you go, all end up by the sea with amazing views. Due to the heat, we kept having to stop to go in cafes and bars for drinks. The first one we ended up in was a café/restaurant. We ordered a sandwich/pasty each but the woman got a bit confused and so we were convinced that we would only end up with 1 of them, and then I ordered a sangria whilst Alfie had a beer. When the woman brought over our order, it was lucky there was only one of the pasty/sandwiches, as they were absolutely covered in sesame seeds which Alfie can’t eat. We weren’t the only table that had order issues, we must have watched 6 people walk out the restaurant with issues, whilst others put in complaints. Gordon Ramsey definitely needed to go in and help that restaurant!
We then decided to explore by the water, which happened to have a lot less to visit and see than we thought. However, we managed to find a nice quiet outside bar, overlooking the water. I ordered a cocktail (which was disgusting so I had to order some water too) and Alfie had another beer. The view was absolutely stunning though.
We then decided to head back towards the bus station, as we hadn’t had much sleep and the sun was very hot, and in Valetta there is not much shade. When we finally found our bus stop we went back and found dinner in the only restaurant in Balzan (or so TripAdvisor told us). The restaurant looked like it should have been very expensive, however, it was very reasonably priced and the food we ordered tasted great! I had a goat’s cheese ravioli, whilst Alfie had a risotto, and both of us very much enjoyed what we had. We then headed back to the AirBnb to get some sleep, ready for Angloville to start the next day.
My Angloville Experience
Our AirBnb host dropped us off at the University residence (where he happened to have been a teacher at the school opposite, and a lecturer at the University). We checked into our room and dropped our luggage off, before introducing ourselves to the other native speakers and one of the coordinators.
Angloville is a Polish organisation which happens to be “the biggest provider of English language immersion programmes in Poland, Hungry, Czechia and Romania”, whilst also running international camps in England, Malta and Ireland. Our camp basically entailed talking to lots of juniors (aged 12-18, from Poland, Hungry and Italy), encouraging them to speak lots of English, ultimately improving their English considerably by the end of the 10 days we spent in Malta. Every day also involved playing games, doing group activities (like coming up with our own superhero) and having a “field trip” or sports activity!
The first day, we spent a considerable amount of time waiting for everyone’s flights to arrive with the coordinators, so it was a chance for us native speakers to interact and get to know each other for a bit over lunch. After lunch, we had “ice breaker” sessions/games with all the participants so that we could try to learn each other’s names…needless to say, it still took me ages to learn everyone’s names, as an hour isn’t really long enough to learn 70 people’s names!
Day 2 of Angloville started with breakfast at 8:30, followed by some 2 on 1 conversations (1 native speaker with 2 participants), group activities and games. After lunch, we had 90 minutes free time before coaches picked us up to do some group activities in Valetta. We were put in groups (in my group there were 4 native speakers and the rest were participants) and the participants had to ask 8 different questions to Maltese locals. Eventually, we decided to let the participants buy ice creams (which became a frequent occurrence on these trips) and go for a paddle in the sea!
Day 3 was generally a repeat of day 2, except instead of 2 on 1 conversations, we had 1 on 1 conversations and mentor meetings. We were given our mentees that morning (they had to choose who they wanted to mentor them, with the aim of creating a presentation about a topic of their choice, which was to be presented on the final day to the group). I had two Ukrainian brothers, who both wanted to do presentations about their favourite football teams, with one choosing Dynamo Kiev and the other, Real Madrid. Our first session was really easy as both of them knew exactly what they wanted to do their presentations on so they got straight onto planning and research! The afternoon was then spent at the beach sunbathing, whilst all the participants were swimming. It was a bit of a lazy afternoon, without any interaction with the participants, definitely making it feel more like a holiday.
Day 4 we had a mixture of mentor meetings, games, 2 on 1 sessions and a cultural session. This was also followed by sports activities which were a choice of basketball or swimming, due to having use of the residences pool and the basketball court.
Day 5 on the timetable included a trip to Mdina for group activities, followed by a trip to a waterpark. Mdina was absolutely beautiful, however it would be nice to do it on a holiday without having to do tasks and look after the participants. The group activity for Mdina was to recreate scenarios and take photos of them, for example: “recreate a Disney scene”, “pretend someone is being arrested”, “make a human pyramid” etc. This was quite fun for some of the group we had, however, there was a far too big a list meaning they found it quite tedious after a while. Therefore, we did end up just taking them for more ice cream…!
The afternoon they spent at the waterpark…however, I hate waterparks and do have a slight fear of drowning. So, I spent my time eating food and sunbathing with another English native, who happened to have studied at the University of Worcester previously (where I currently study)! However, everyone that did go on the slides seemed to have good fun!
Day 6 was another mix of 1 on 1 conversations, mentor meetings and sport activities! The 1 on 1 conversations each day were really useful in order to get to spend half an hour each with 4 different participants, getting to know them and hearing their English improve!
Day 7 was basically the same again….(notice a pattern with every day yet?), however the afternoon timetable said “Boat trip to Sliema”. This actually happened to be nothing to do with Sliema. We got dropped off in a town (somewhere, who knows where) on a public holiday, so barely anyway was open, and had to take the participants around. Once again this just meant letting them go in a souvenir store, and eat ice cream.
We then caught a 10 minute boat from the towns harbour, to Valetta, which they’d all already seen anyway. Once in Valetta, we all went up an elevator to the highest point and saw some amazing views over the water. Once again, we then took our groups for more ice cream, McDonalds and henna tattoos.
On day 8, we had the same morning again, however the afternoon was used for group activities and archery sessions. They used the afternoon for mentees to have a final mentor session if they wanted to (mind didn’t need or want one) and they rotated a signed-up list doing archery. Us natives had to pay 5 euro to partake, so as I’ve done archery before, I decided not to! Instead, we were given free time, which I spent with some of the other natives by one of the pools!
Day 9 we all had to be up really early for breakfast ready for a day trip to the island of Gozo. They had hired a couple of tour guides to take us round on coaches to see various parts of Gozo, with churches appearing to be a strong favourite of the tour guides.
We also visited some blue caves which could be explored on boat trips. This was an amazing experience! Lunch was spent in a bay where people could explore and swim in the sea, as well as buy lunch and ice creams, or sit on the tiny little pebble beach area (which happened to be what I did).
Day 10 was the final day, which consisted of the participants doing their presentations. I was really proud of my mentees, they did an amazing job presenting! Even watching the other presentations, you could tell a difference in their English from having speaking sessions with them during the rest of the week! My mentees went 13th and 14th, and at the end made a special thank you to me which was really nice of them and did make me blush massively!
In the middle of the presentations, there was a break, in which 4 natives and a group of participants went to the Mediterraneo Park. Now I want to make it clear that I do completely disagree with dolphin shows and keeping huge sea animals in tiny captivity; however, I went because I saw how few natives had agreed to go, and thought it was unfair on the participants to lack interaction with us, when their parents have all paid to send them away to Angloville to interact with us to learn English. So, I watched the dolphin show…and was really upset to see that to the side of the “performance pool”, was a tiny round pool with a dolphin trying to injure itself by whacking itself off the pool edges and the water, clearly in extreme distress! What also made this such a difficult viewing was that the 2 dolphins in the show both had lots of scars on them in weird shapes, some like stars. If humans are given a choice to perform dance or gymnastics, why should dolphins be forced to perform just for our entertainment? It didn’t help, that the “performance area” itself looked out over the sea, which is obviously a vast expanse of water compared to the tiny areas that these dolphins are being kept in. After the “show”, we went and found the seals…to our disappointment and disgust, they were being kept in a tiny windowed box with a really tiny stream of water running through it. I just don’t understand why any company can think this is an acceptable way for them to make some money.
When we got back, we had lunch and then finished watching everyone’s presentations. We were told that the box of certificates had been stolen, so the certificate ceremony involved them calling us up with our mentees to have a photo with them, as well as giving them their feedback forms (we had to write feedback forms about our mentees for them to take home). After this, they had a Belgian dance and a mini disco with Cotton Eye Joe and the Macarena, before letting them have a pool party. The pool party ended with everyone taking lots of photos together and hugging goodbye…a lot of the participants were in absolute tears!
So far, I haven’t mentioned any social times. Social time occurred at the end of every day, and usually consisted of fun games (such as mafia/werewolves), sports, and on one occasion a pool party with music which was good fun and a great way to end the long days! There was also a talent contest (Angloville’s Got Talent) that was definitely very entertaining and amazing to watch too!
However, I may have portrayed this experience to be a really great one during this blog post, but I have to be honest and say at times I hated it (and ended up crying at least once a day), and at times I loved it, and have met some amazing people. By the end of the week it did get easier, because everyone got to know each other that bit better. I also could not have asked for better and more polite mentees; they thanked me multiple times at the end of every single session which was an amazing feeling and they were an absolute credit to their family!
However, my bad experience was not helped by absolutely appalling and sometimes inedible food (one night I just ate a pile of rice because I couldn’t eat the meat), a lack of sleep during the 10 days and sometimes a fair bit of disorganisation by the coordinators! Looking back though, it really wasn’t as bad as it felt at the time, and I would definitely go back to Malta on holiday so I can explore it better!
Our final day in Malta
On Saturday (19th) all of the participants left at varying intervals during the day with the coordinators to the airport to fly home. This left us natives to do as we pleased before our flights out of Malta. 4 of us had flights out of Malta at around 7am on the Sunday morning, so we decided to spend the afternoon together with an American native, watching the football in a sports bar. We then invited the other natives still in Malta to go out for dinner (back at the same restaurant Alfie and I had previously eaten at in Balzan) before we headed back to the airport. This was a nice opportunity to say goodbye to the other natives before our flight to Gdansk!
Alfie’s YouTube channel: