Jennifer Attard, a 26-year-old who recently finished school, never missed an opportunity to go abroad and experience the world. She’s been to countless places, both for work and to further her studies. She recently was granted an Endeavour Scholarship for her PhD in York, in the UK. The scholarship is run by the Maltese government and the EU.
She also took up an internship offered by the international exchange organization IAESTE in Austria for four months at a materials chemistry research organization in Weiz.
The differences we experience in different countries can be significant or somewhat less pronounced. In York, the drinking culture is quite different than it is here in Malta. Jennifer explains that the Maltese start drinking at a young age, which also happens in York. However, people in York tend to drink even when they get older up until they’re 70 years old, something which isn’t so common in Malta.
She adds that there are many festivals that are hosted by the students who live there in contrast to here in Malta where it is mainly the older generations who take care of the feasts. York also hosts traditional Christmas markets, something which doesn’t exist here in Malta.
Evidently the culture is quite different. In York, even within the university itself, one can find multiple students coming from different cultures from around the world. Jennifer explained that Malta is dominated by Maltese students. In York, the different societies all come together to celebrate each other’s cultural differences. This is done through events organised by various societies. Such events include days dedicated to experiencing a particular culture, such as Chinese culture.
A student’s life there is unalike that of students who attend university in Malta. Jennifer said that upon arriving at a university in York at 9 am one would be among the first few people there. Conversely, in Malta, lectures may start as early as 7 or 8 am and end at 7 pm. This indicates how life for students and even the general population moves at a slower pace in York. She also adds that even the driving in York is different, saying that people drive slower than those driving in Malta.
In York, students lived close to the university and independently. They respected each other, being quiet during the day and night.
An important aspect of trips like these is that life is much harder than that at home since one is living completely alone. Cooking, good navigation, and remaining calm are key skills for living a good life, having fun, and experiencing such a trip in a positive manner.