5 Powerful Tips to Learn English Fluently

What’s the best way to learn English? Read our tips!

The golden question that all students ask. We’ve asked our in-house experts, and here are their list of ultimate tips to learn English.

1. Have the right attitude

The first and most important to tip to learn English, or any other language. It’s not all about books and papers, having the right attitude and mindset can make all the difference. That means embracing the fact that you are going to make mistakes.  Students who aren’t afraid of making mistakes are the most successful at learning English. Unless you try, you can’t improve. Learning a language is a self-development experience as much as an academic one. Look at your errors as a growth experience and a way to better yourself.

2. Get out of your comfort zone

Great things rarely happen in the comfort zone. Be silly with the language and find creative ways to learn. Whether it’s singing in shower or joining a karaoke night, the more methods you try the more success you’ll have.

3. Don’t stress yourself…too much!

Challenging yourself is necessary to learn, but setting unrealistic expectations or goals will just stress you out. Stress hinders progress . If you’re too nervous your performance won’t be as good as when the level of nerves is just right. It’s all about balancing it out. Remember, learning happens when you’re having fun.

4. Find out where you are at the moment

The first step is to find out your current level of English based on the language learning framework. This will allow you to properly assess yourself, and find materials that are suitable for your level. You can use our free online test here. 

3. Create a plan to get to your desired level

Once you know where you are and where you want to be, start setting goals to get you there. Goal setting and habit tracking is a sure-fast to make progress. And when you set your goals, remember to make them S.M.A.R.T ones (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound).

4.  Focus on all language skills and areas

An essential tip to learn English. From our experience, this is one of the things students rarely unless they’ve attending an English course.

The four main language skills are reading, writing, listening and speaking. You can find various guides online that focus on each specific skill.  The areas of language refer to grammar, vocabulary, phonology and discourse. These all need to developed in terms of accuracy and fluency. Give them equal importance as they are all essential support one another.

5. Practice, practice and practice!

It can never be enough. When it comes to practice, you need to have a variety of controlled practice (like gap-fill exercises, multiple choice activities, repetition drills, matching exercises) and free practice exercises where you use the English in natural and real contexts.

6. Don’t rely on the books too much

Hitting the books is just one way to learn a language.  Watch movies, read newspapers, change your phone settings to English and find ways to make it a part of your daily routine. Yes, learning can be fun and watching movies can be productive.

7. Live the language

Immersive yourself in English and everything that is English, or American. Learn about the culture, try English dishes and drink English beers. Make friends with natives, join expat events. And even better? Travel to English speaking countries.

8. Experience an English school, trust your teachers

The ultimate tip to learn English – they know best. Be open to a different methods of learning that vary from your traditional classroom. This might be your first, or second time learning English, but it’s the millionth time your school has helped others in your situation. At times you might feel frustrated, feel that you’re in the wrong level, or that you’re not learning English quickly enough, but have a little faith. After all, your school is an accredited centre with many success stories, and your teachers are experts in what they do.

Are you curious about learning English in Malta with BELS? Write to us and we’ll answer all your questions.

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10 Exciting Adventure Sports to try in Malta – BELS Malta

Add some Excitement to your trip! Try these adventure sports in Malta

There’s a lot to choose from! Here are the top 10 extreme sport activities in Malta:

1. Rock Climbing

Climbing in Malta is a memorable experience, with thousands of bolted routes located in some of the most picturesque valleys and sea view cliff sides you can imagine. When most climbers in northern countries are forced indoors due to weather conditions, Malta’s fine weather allows for outdoor climbing all the year round. South facing crags are ideal to bask in the sunshine during the winter, while north facing crags allow for shade during the hot summer.

2. Abseiling

Most of the crags used for climbing also have top access for top rope climbing, which are also ideal for abseiling. There are several beautiful locations for abseiling in Malta, which are suited for beginners and children as well as the most experienced.

3. Deep Water Soloing

Deep water soloing is a form of rock climbing on sea cliffs, which make up 60% of Malta’s coast. It relies on the presence of water at the base of a climb to cushion against falls, and a certain confidence about how to fall in water and climb without a harness is essential. DWS is the preferred climbing option for many climbers during the hot season – there is nothing more refreshing than dropping straight into the sea after a hard climb!

4. Bouldering & Coasteering

Too scared of heights to climb or DWS? Then do it sideways! Bouldering requires no equipment but your climbing shoes and bare hands. Coasteering involves climbing and bouldering along the coast until one can go no further, jumping into the sea, and swimming to the next suitable climbing point – a truly exhilarating way to explore the dramatic Maltese coastline.

5. Kayaking

A wonderful way to explore cliffs, caves, arches and bays is with a kayak. Toned down compared to coasteering, but adventurous nonetheless … and you can go much further than you could on your own steam. A little practice and you’ve already mastered the hand paddles, and that’s all you need to focus on. Kayaks come in singles and doubles for a solo or shared experience, and allows space to store goodies so you could make a day of it.

6. Diving

Diving is a huge sport in Malta. Boat dives and underwater caving are popular ways to experience the best of the sea. The fantastic limestone cliffs continue down to a depth of up to 100 metres into the water, with several caves and tunnels to tickle the curiosity of divers. Boat dives to inaccessible stretches of coast, reefs and wrecks reveal a wonderful abundance of marine life, such as seahorses, eagle rays and even blue sharks. Gozo, in particular, is a world-renowned diving destination, and free diving is becoming increasingly popular locally.

7. Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is one of the most accessible adventure activities to enjoy and an excellent way of discovering what the islands themselves have to offer. Winding country roads will take you through picturesque valleys and along cliffs with stunning views, past prehistoric temples and other places of interest. Mountain biking as a sport in Malta is best done from October to May, when the weather is cooler and the islands are lush. In the hot months of summer, you could always stop for a refreshing swim along the way!

8. Hiking

Hiking gives you access to all those wonderful places where no roads even venture. While a number of recommended walking trails are laid out to help the visitor make the most of a hiking experience, there is no limit to where and how far you can venture.

9. Quad-bikes and Segeways

Quad-bikes or four-wheelers go hand in hand with the island life. This can be done for sport in Malta, as a way to discover paths off the beaten track, or just a means of transport. There are many rental places set up with quads. You can rent one of your own or join an organised tour.

Segways are for those who want some adventure, but not too much! Segways are the nifty  way to cover a lot of ground with the least effort. Explore the same as you would while cycling but with the comfort and speed of this stand-up two-wheeler. Take one of several fun sightseeing segway tours; you can even pimp it up with other adventure activities, such as horse-riding, archery, go-carting, jet-skiing, anything really!

10. 4×4 Jeep Safari

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Grab your team and your gear and get ready to explore rural Malta and Gozo in a 4×4 Jeep. You have a driver, but you ultimately drive your journey. Explore several kilometres of coast and countryside in comfort and with little effort – save it to enjoy a swim or take a walk at the areas you opt to stop.

Looking for more activities and sport in Malta? Have a look at our article about diving in Malta and top suggestions for waters ports in Malta. 

free time while studying english abroad with BELS Malta

10 Brilliant Reasons to Study English Abroad in Malta

What do people Study English Abroad?

There are endless reasons to study English abroad. For starters, if you live in a non-English speaking country, it’s difficult to maintain or improve your level of English. Languages are alive and that means they need to be used.

And even if you do speak English in your country, you’re constantly shifting between your first language and English. Switching between languages hinders the learning process since you keep on thinking in your first language.

When studying English in an English speaking country, you’ll get a fully immersive experience that will boost your fluency. And you won’t only be practicing with other second language speakers of English.

So you’ve decided to study English abroad and now you’re faced with countless destinations to choose from. Why choose Malta?

Malta known as being a global destination to study English abroad. Here’s why:

1. You get two for the price of one

Learning holidays are becoming more popular in this age of easy access to knowledge and skills, because they are clever ways to have fun. Malta is not only interesting and a lot of fun, it is one of the top destinations for learning English worldwide. Learning English in Malta is an all-round solution to make the most of your free time while improving your skills.

2. You open to new experiences and cultures

Being in Malta is a cultural adventure. The little islands are a melting-pot of cultures – in Malta traces of Greeks, Normans, Arabs, the French and the Spanish come together with a British influence and a Mediterranean lifestyle. The locals are welcoming, and love telling their stories to anyone who’ll listen. Then there’s the food, nature, warm climate and the diversity of sports that comes with it.

3. The people are the nicest

An added bonus for travelers who like to discover the culture and connecting with locals. Maltese are family people, and most of them are willing to welcome anyone as their own. That opens you up to hard-to-reach beautiful locations, plenty of mouth-watering home-made food, and gives you a window into the local history and traditions. You’ll get a better rendition of the Maltese story than any museum can offer. One way to meet and mingle with locals is to look for host-family accommodation, dine at local restaurants, and shop locally.

4. Everyone speaks English

Learning English feels is effortless when you’re studying abroad in an English-speaking country, making memories with new international friends. Apart from the tourists and students, with the ever-increasing number of expats the population is very diverse too. There is a huge British and European expat community in Malta so naturally, English is spoken almost everywhere. The locals mostly speak flawless English as well, with the exception of some elders in more rural areas. That’s where the small island charm comes in.

5. The whole island is your classroom

When you’re in Malta, learning English happens naturally. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to speak English outside of the classroom environment. In a school you can develop your level of English in a formal setting and focus on your fluency and accuracy skills. After class you can try out the new skills and language learnt as you go about your day. Nothing beats an immersive experience when it comes to language learning.

6. Studying English abroad improves your prospects

English is essential skill in today’s world. The skills you learn during study-trips in Malta help you communicate better in English, both in a social and educational context. You can spend time exploring a top destination while also improving life and work relationships and prospects. It’s an excellent addition to your CV, both due to adding language skills and having experienced living abroad.

7. The sea is amazing, and never far

Malta and Gozo are surrounded by the clearest blue sea you can imagine. This makes way for enjoying all kinds of activities: swimming, snorkelling, diving, watersports, boating, cruises and fishing are just a few. The all-year-round mild weather means the beach and the sea can be enjoyed no matter the season. With its great visibility, mild temperatures, sea life, underwater caves, and diving wrecks, the sea in Malta is definitely one of its top attractions. The marvellous coast, with its cliffs, coastal caves and beach coves, also offers opportunities for deep water soloing, trekking or relaxation.

8. The weather is sweet

Maltese weather is always fine. It may get a little windy and wild from time to time, but bursts of thunder and rain are brief and you can be sure to soon welcome the sunshine. The generally good weather means you are unlikely to miss out on the fun during your learning holiday due to bad weather. So you can enjoy more of what Malta and Gozo have to offer. Who said that you must choose a place to study English based only on the ins and outs of learning the language? There are many extra benefits to enjoy if you choose to study English in Malta.

9. There’s a lot to enjoy, day and night

If Al Fresco dining and open-air theatre is your thing, you will find it here. If it is bars, clubs, gigs and music festivals you like, you will find them here. If you believe that night-time is for sleeping, and prefer daytime activities, you will find plenty to see and do: archaeological sites, historic cities, museums, theme attractions, adventure sports, beach activities, cultural events, and more. Whatever your holiday mood, you can enjoy a variety of  things to do in Malta – you will never be short of entertainment.

10. Prehistory lives on to the present day

English is just one of the few things you can learn in Malta. Malta and Gozo have 7,000 years of history to discover. From Neolithic Temples to Medieval cities to WWII, Malta’s story is rich and varied. Even if history has never fascinated you, the history of Malta is so unique and fantastic that you may just find yourself immersed in a wonderful exploration of the history of mankind in the Mediterranean region.

For example, the Neolithic temple of Mnajdra is one of the world’s oldest freestanding structures, older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge, and has phenomenal astronomical alignment which makes it an accurate calendar of the Equinoxes and Solstices since 5,500 years ago to this very day. Isn’t that marvellous?

Furthermore, Malta’s location has made it attractive to many for various reasons since time immemorial, and you may enjoy the stories related to sea trade, piracy, human trafficking and strategic war plans. We’re glad it is only fun-loving tourists who wish to admire and enjoy the islands that make it to our shores these days.

11. The distances are short

Whatever you choose to do, whichever activities you fancy and wherever you choose to go, you will never have far to travel. That is rather handy when you go to class in the mornings and have limited hours of day-time left to enjoy what you will. When you study English abroad in Malta, you will spend less time travelling and more time having fun. In addition, you can tally back and forth to your accommodation several times a day quite easily. It’s practical and you get the most comfort and enjoyment out of your available time.

12. There are endless certified English schools to study with

Since Malta is an ex-British colony, it’s a prestigious destination for study English abroad programmes. People of all ages, from all over the world come to study English in Malta, all year round. The standards of English language schools in Malta are high because there several organisations that regularly monitor language schools.

Would you like to learn more? Get personalised advice and quotations from our team.

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a diving experience in malta

8 Things to know about Diving in Malta and Gozo

Malta is a well-known destination amongst anyone who’s interested in diving, or learning English. The island has a number of qualithy diving schools spread across the island, and the same can be said for English schools. So if you’re looking to learn English and try diving, you can do both in a trip to Malta.

Diving in Malta and Gozo is most certainly one of the highlights – the islands are well-established on the the global diving map, and with good reason.

Here are 5 thing you need to know about diving in Malta.

1. Malta is an award winning diving destination

Over the years Malta has been named the best diving destination in the Mediterranean by various organisations across the world.  There’s the two won in 2014, another in 2017, and once again in 2018 to name a few. There’s so many we lost count!

2. There are options for every level

Whether you are a seasoned diver or diving for the first time, you are in for a treat – there is a fantastic new world to explore beneath the surface of these warm, clear waters. Diving in Malta and Gozo offers any diver just about everything he or she could hope for – there are over seventy dive sites around the island, offering different dives for all levels of experience. Deep water diving, night dives and free diving are also veritable options.

3. There’s plenty to discover

Discover the local marine life and let yourself be amazed by some rather unique geological features as you explore underwater caves, tunnels, arches, natural reefs and pools. Investigate an unusual heritage from World War II consisting of historic wrecks, from submarines to destroyers and bombers, as well as some passenger ferries and patrol boats. Probably the most renowned natural dive site is the Inland Sea and Blue Hole at Dwejra, Gozo, while the Um El Faroud, in the south of Malta, is probably the most famous wreck dive.

4. Diving conditions are fantastic

Malta is blessed with some of the most amazing sea! The Mediterranean here comes in different shades of crystal blue and green, always clean and clear with great visibility. The sea is generally calm and relatively warm. Few diving destinations offer such great diving conditions all the year round.

5. The sea is safe

It may not be much, but it’s comforting to know that there is nothing out there that might eat or kill you! Malta’s sea creatures and plants are mostly harmless, and you will be instructed regarding the ones to steer clear of in case they could harm you. Sea conditions are rarely hazardous, in which case local dive instructors know not to put you at risk.

6. There is a high standard of diving safety in Malta

Most diving centres in Malta offer a high level of competency and professionalism while knowing how to make your diving experience fun and memorable. Before descending on a dive, you will be required to provide a medical certificate. Adequate training is given to first time divers, while seasoned divers wishing to dive unaccompanied will require a buddy and the appropriate PADI Advanced Open Water certification or equivalent. A hyperbaric chamber is readily available in case something does go wrong.

7. It’s affordable

Diving in Malta is very affordable compared to what you could expect to pay in other countries, so you benefit from excellent value for money.

8. It’s easy to combine English courses with diving in Malta

If you are planning to dive while learning English in Malta, you may choose to stay in either Malta or Gozo. BELS has English language schools on both islands and you may even opt to spend a week in each, while continuing your English course, to make it easier to discover the diving sites on both islands. In any case, the two islands are separated only by a thirty-minute ferry ride.

Planning a diving trip to Malta? Learn about combining your diving experience with English courses.

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10 Practical IELTS Exam Listening Tips

Follow our tips to prepare for your IELTS listening exam successfully

As you may already know, the IELTS exam has 4 main sections: listening, reading, writing and speaking. Each section has its specific requirements and guidelines to consider when preparing for the IELTS exam.

For many students the communication sections of the test are often the most challenging parts of the exam. This includes the IELTS listening exam as well. We’ve asked our teachers to prepare a list of their advice for success. Here are the top 10 tips:

1. Read the IELTS listening instructions diligently

In the IELTS listening section you’ll have separate instruction for each task. You’ll often see an instruction that says ‘write no more than 3 words’ or something similar. Keep an eye out for these, and follow the instructions carefully. Marks will be reduced if the instructions are not adhered to in the IELTS listening tasks.

2. Get used to British English

A large part of the IELTS listening tapes use British accents. Sometimes you’ll find Australian or Canadian accents as well, but the majority of the time the accents are British. In order to familiarise yourself with these, you could listen to the BBC regularly. Because of this, the IELTS listening tasks also tend to use British vocabulary – learning British versions of certain words (lorry (uk) – truck (us) will be helpful for the IELTS listening exam.

3. Spelling Counts

The IELTS listening test is not just listening actually utilises other skills, like writing and reading. When you’re writing you have to be very careful with spelling—misspelling words counts as an incorrect answer. Practice your spelling, learn spelling rules, and test yourself beforehand.

The speakers in the IELTS listening test also spell out words sometimes, like names or surnames. When they do this, they might say ‘double’ – ‘Allison’ will be spelt out as ‘A, double l, i, s, o n’ – keep this in mind.

4. Plural vs. Singular

Listen carefully to weather you need to write down a plural or a singular. If the question in the task requires a singular answer (cat) and you write the plural (Cats), it will be incorrect.

5. Take IELTS listening practice tests

By doing practice test you’ll familiarise yourself with the structure and language used in the IELTS listening exams. Do as many as you can, even if you don’t do well at first, just keep practising. All IELTS preparation books come with a CD that has IELTS listening tests.

6. Predict Answers

Sentence completion tasks and gap-fill tasks are common in the IELTS listening exam. These sentences are usually easy to predict. Predicting the answer increases your chance of getting the answer right.

For instance, if the sentence says— ‘The woman will travel on ___________’ – it’s easy to predict a logical answer (a train, a plane, a bus, a ship). Write down some predictions in pencil, then when the tape is played you’ll have an idea of what to listen out for. If the answer is one of the predictions, you’ll save time.

This can also be done in the IELTS listening gap-fill sentences task. If you have a sentence like – ‘He has three ________’ – predicting the answer is not as easy. However, it’s easy to predict whether a noun, a verb, or an adjective is needed. Being prepared will help you distinguish the word easily.

7. Be aware of changes

Often in the listening exam, they might say an answer and then change it. They might say a telephone number, and then correct it. So be careful throughout.

8. Numbers

Get used to listening to large group of numbers in sequence. Listen for the difference between 13 and 30, 15 and 50 etc., as they often sound similar, especially when feeling stressed during an IELTS listening exam!

9.  Develop your listening skills, communicate with others

Apart from preparing for the exam set up, it’s essential to improve your all round listening skills. And remember that listening and speaking go hand in hand – you can’t improve one without the other. To develop your communication skills, you must spend time speaking English in a variety of contexts. You might also benefit from attending group courses in English schools or spending some time travelling in English speaking countries.

10. Join a preparation course

Self-study is essential, but IELTS is very technical and academic, and having input from a professional is essential. A private teacher can assess your level, and help you create a study plan to reach your final goal. You also need someone to assess your work and provide constructive feedback – otherwise it may be difficult to make progress from one band to another.

To learn more about IELTS preparation courses, write to us at [email protected] and our team will counsel you with the whole process.

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snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of maltese beaches

Top 10 Beaches in Malta and Gozo

Looking for swimming spots? Here are the best beaches in Malta

By now you must have come across that images of beaches in Malta with crystal clear waters. Maltese beaches are known for their clean and fresh waters that accompany all kind of beaches – rocky, sandy or pebbly.

Three varieties of limestone rock, blue clay, and greensand together form the marvellous coastal landscape of the Maltese islands: textured cliffs, mysterious caves, jagged rocks, crumbly or sticky clay hills, smooth curved stretches of limestone and fine beaches adorned with different qualities of sand. Maltese beaches may be dressed in soft golden sand, as found at Golden Bay, or burnt orange sand, as found at Ramla in Gozo, or thick white sand, as found at the Blue Lagoon in Comino, as well as other textures and colours, each lending a beach a particular character.

Most of the sandy beaches are found in the north of the island, but rocky beaches, like Għar Lapsi and St Peter’s Pool in the south, are blessed with excellent snorkelling opportunities, with great visibility even in the height of summer. Depending on the colour of rock and sand, Malta beaches give way to a sea of varying hues of blue and green. The sea is crystal clear around the entire coast, and bathing in it is akin to being in a swimming pool, only much more beautiful.

A number of Malta beaches now have acquired a Blue Flag status, which guarantees a level of safety and service. Secluded beaches are hard to get to but really worth the effort. We would like to share with you the top beaches in Malta, including some of its best kept secrets.

1. Riviera Bay (Għajn Tuffieħa)

Riviera is located at the north-west of the island, just near Golden Bay. Roughly 180 steps take you down to a beach of golden sand and clear green sea surrounded by hills. Or head down the path which leads all the way over the other side to a jutting rock known as Ras il-Qarraba to see a secluded beach with the same name below and Ġnejna Bay across the sea. This beautiful area is also ideal for trekking and for enjoying the sunset.

2. Ġnejna bay

Ġnejna is both a sandy beach and a rocky beach, while clay hills line its far right side. Though located very near to Riviera, the access to Ġnejna Bay is via the typical Maltese Village of Mġarr. A series of boat houses line the left side of the golden beach, a walk beyond which reveals wonderful landscapes. To the right, a trek takes you to secluded swimming areas. Ġnejna is popular with Maltese families and many of the boat houses become beach houses during summer with several BBQs scattered along the beach.

3. Fomm ir-Riħ

Fomm ir-Riħ – the mouth of the wind – is one of the wildest of all Malta beaches and includes a pebble beach surrounded by grand cliffs. The very secluded beach, located at the west of Malta, can be accessed via a series of winding country roads in the area of Baħrija and a 15-minute trek down a steep path. When most beaches become thronged, you can still find tranquility here, but there are no facilities so take food, drink, and something to create shade. The beauty and tranquility of the place and the excellent snorkelling are worth the effort.

4. Il-Kalanka, Delimara

Another hard-to-get-to rocky beach, but this time at the south of Malta. With less options available in this part of the island, more locals from the area make the effort and it may still get busy. However there is ample room and even some shady areas along the smooth curves of limestone, while the azure sea makes for excellent snorkelling.

5. Mellieħa Bay (Għadira), Mellieħa

The largest of all Malta beaches is at the far northern end of the island. It is well-served by a road, equipped with sunbeds, umbrellas, food and drink, and ice-cream, and the sea is shallow for many tens of metres. This makes Mellieħa Bay ideal for families with children and it may get very busy. There are also water games and canoe and paddle boat rentals.

6. Mġiebaħ, Selmun

With a pinch of luck, you’ll have the entire beach to yourself – this one is as secluded as it gets. What’s more, the environment is just stunning: nature here is pristine and beautiful, the beach dark golden and the sea a brilliant blue. Driving there can be tricky and parking is limited, which puts many people off, but it is definitely worth the effort getting there, via a narrow country road and a trek down to the beach. There are no facilities here, so think ahead.

7. Slugs Bay, L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa

Probably the tiniest of all Malta beaches, Slugs Bay has just enough sand to lay down four towels. But not to worry: the little beach is set by a pool within the jagged rubble that fell from the cliffs at Aħrax eons ago and there are several areas to settle down quite comfortably. Spaces are limited but this beach is hard to get to via a 10 minute trek from the top of the cliff almost at the far end of Aħrax point and it rarely gets more than three or four groups of people at its busiest. Take everything you need as it is a long way from any facilities.

8. Paradise Bay, Cirkewwa

The azure waters and white sands of Paradise Bay are reminiscent the Blue Lagoon in Comino. This small cove is surrounded by lush vegetation and therefore a natural delight. It is, however, well-served by a restaurant and lido. It is reached via the same road that leads to the Gozo ferry and a long flight of steps.

9. Blue Lagoon, Comino

By far the most stunning of views in the entire Maltese islands is the brilliant sparkle of the sheet of turquoise water lying between Comino and Kemmunet islands. The water changes hue from aqua to almost a clear white in different areas, becoming brilliant blue in deeper areas. The clarity offers amazing snorkelling to fully enjoy the many caves and thriving sea life. Prepare to spend hours in the water, which is probably better than sitting in the throng of tourists on land. Be on the first ferry of the day to enjoy the Blue Lagoon when it is still tranquil. Of all Malta beaches, make sure you do not miss a swim in this one.

10. San Blas Bay

On Gozo, San Blas is relatively undiscovered compared to its more famous big sister, Ramla. San Blas offers the same beautiful environment but on a much smaller scale and is far more secluded. Burnt orange sands against a green backdrop and a bright blue sea are a delight to the senses, and tranquility is guaranteed. The trek down to the beach is steep and long, but Jeeps take visitors back up during the summer months, for a token fee. A rudimental kiosk built from bamboo and palm leaves serves a few basics like beer, coffee and toast. You can’t get much closer to raw Paradise.

More tips?

There are several other Malta beaches to explore, such as Armier Bay in the north, Baħar ic-Cagħaq to the east, and St. Thomas Bay in the South. Or Ħondoq ir-Rummien and Xlendi Bay in Gozo. Rest assured that you will find a beautiful beach and beautiful water wherever you go!

Planning a trip here? Check our essential tourist information tips for anyone travelling to Malta. 

study english in malta and travel europe during a gap year

Gap year Goals: Study English in Malta and Travel in Europe

Discover Europe while studying English in Malta

A lot of students we’ve met over the years came to BELS to study English in Malta as a gap year before enrolling to University or committing to a full-time job.

If you’re contemplating whether taking a gap year is the right path for your future, think about how (or if) a year abroad can positively impact your life. Taking a gap year can help discover what really matters to you, your values and the direction forward in your life.  This inward-looking period is also the ultimate time to gain skills that will help you reach your life goals, whatever they may be.

Two recurring reasons people take gap years are to travel the world and advance their career opportunities.  If you’re looking for something along these lines, you should consider taking a gap year to study English in Malta.  Here are some reasons it could benefit your future.

1. Flexibility and Personal Development

The best time for a gap year is right before starting University, or straight after graduating. Since it’s a flexible period in your life, it’s the perfect (and perhaps the only) time to continue your education in a different and meaningful way. Once you find a full-time job and settle into your life, leaving becomes more difficult. Especially if you have kids and a family to think of!

How will a gap year help? You’ll have time to slow down and think about what you really want to do in life. You can experience the world, discover new possibilities and different ways of living. You’ll meet new people and grow as an individual based on all these experiences.

2. English is (nearly) a global language

By taking a gap year before University or starting your career you could learn a new skill, like a language. Why English? It’s an official language in 53 countries that’s spoken by around 400 million people as a first language globally. If you know English well, traveling becomes more enjoyable and less complicated. That’s 53 places you can easily travel to and a whole lot of potential new friends.

3. Improving your Resume

Being well travelled and having experience living abroad are both considered assets on a resume. Taking a general English course or business English course at the same will be a bonus. We also provide interview training and lessons focusing on writing a resume in English. At the end of each course you will be given a certificate with the course duration, final level of English, and a personal note from your teacher.

4. Advancing your career

English is the language of business and the demand for it is every-increasing. Most jobs these days require English in daily tasks – be it internal or external. Being successful in a business environment without fluent English can be a struggle. Taking a gap year to study English in Malta will look wonders on a resume.

5. Malta is a great place to live, work and study

A physically beautiful and sunny country, with a culture that’s an infusion of its varied history. The lifestyle is Mediterranean – wherever there’s the sun and great food, there’s happiness. The people are friendly, and as an ex-British colony with a large expat community, English is widely used.

It’s easy to have a balanced life because everything is near – you can have a swim or go on a run before school or go to the shop or cook between school and work. Finding a part-time job is relatively easy, especially during the summer time.

6. Obtaining a student visa

If you are not European and require a visa to enter Schengen areas, you can get a student visa to study English in Malta. The requirements for a student visa vary depending on the country but are generally accepted. If you’re a student at BELS, we’ll help with all preparation and applications needed.

7. Travelling in Europe from Malta is easy

Malta is in the middle of the Mediterraean sea – travelling to other European countries is quick and inexpensive. There are regular direct flights with major low-cost airlines, so it’s also possible to escape for the weekend without missing lessons. If you’re a long-term student, it’s also possible to take a week of study-vacation to travel.

Planning your gap year? Get in touch for more information on courses, prices and registration to study English in Malta.

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how to improve everyday english conversation skills

5 Tips to Improve Everyday English Conversation Skills

Make effective progress in your everyday English conversation skills

Having an everyday conversation in English can be more challenging than learning grammar. But with a few tips and by following some techniques, you can easily make progress. Read our guide for useful tips written by our teachers.

1. Memorise plenty of phrasal verbs

Have you noticed how adding one tiny word (a preposition or particle e.g. to/out/up) to a verb can entirely change its meaning? Phrasal verbs change the meaning of a verb, some have a literal meaning and others create a whole new phrases and meaning!

It’s worth learning phrasal verbs and looking out for them when you are having an English conversation to familiarise yourself. Phrasal verbs might look confusing at first, but when you learn the basics, they’re logical. They’re very common in spoken English, so get a list and start learning them.

For example, ‘up’, and the verb ‘stand’. Stand means to already be in a position on your feet, but when we add the word ‘up’, it suddenly means to move out of your chair and stand. Up can be directional (climb up e.g. ladder), completion (use up all the milk – no milk left), fulfillment (full up- had enough to eat/drink), increase (turn up e.g. the volume). Speaking is by far the best way to learn phrasal verbs naturally in English Conversation.

2. Spice up your speak with idioms and phrases

English conversations have some truly bizarre phrases. You might be confused as to why your friend arrives on your doorstep with an umbrella and announces “it’s raining cats and dogs outside!”. Before you check for any animals falling from the sky, first check that it’s not simply an idiom. Idioms are very common in English conversation and a quick Google search will inform you of the most common ones used.

3. Exaggerate!

A surprising number of learners neglect this in their English conversation and it sometimes does stop them sounding like native speakers. Simply modifiers (e.g. extremely, very, so, really) for adjectives and adverbs with a little bit of emphasis can change a sentence and create more engaging English Conversation. You’ve heard native English conversation, with intonation that creates interest and better interaction. We tend to exaggerate facts (e.g somebody who is pretty will often be described as really pretty) for better English conversation.

4. Somethings are just there for politeness

This often applies mainly to English conversation in Britain, the country stereotyped for unwavering politeness. Saying sorry for any appearance of misunderstanding, and please and thank you for everything whilst queuing will have you looking and speaking like a British person in no time.

Sometimes simple statements are made confusing just for take sake of politeness. This includes the use of indirection questions, using language of speculation and many other grammatical structures to complicate matters.

5. Use common responses

One of the golden rules of small talk is to always respond to statements to show that you are listening, and actively engaged in the conversation. One way to achieve this is by using a list of common responses.

Here’s a list of common responses to get you started:

that’s fantastic!, I’m so pleased for you, I’m glad to hear that, lucky you!, I’m glad to hear that, that’s so true!, have a good time, good luck, Congratulations, Oh no!, I’m always here for you, oh dear!, you’ll be fine, cheer up, I’m sorry to hear that, just do your best, no way!, are you serious? I know right!, I can’t believe it.

6. Use question tags

Another way to engage listeners is to use question tags. Question tags are a common occurrence in English conversation and they have a two main purposes. The first is to verify that information is correct, so to clarify information. For example, ‘You said you are coming back at 8, didn’t you?’. The second is to engage the listener into what you’re saying, for example ‘This restaurant is brilliant, isn’t it?’

Learn more about when and how to use question tags.

7. Practice, practice and practice!

To learn, you need to practice. You can start off by speaking to yourself in the mirror, then move on to recording yourself, and finally, practice with a human! You can find others who are also learning like you, make friends with expats, join a language course, or find a private teacher.

Do you feel more confident to have everyday English conversations? Get in touch if you wish to learn more about English conversation classes.

water sports and activities in Malta

17 Water Sports to Try in Malta and Gozo

Enjoy the sea with a variety of water sports in Malta

Malta is a well-loved holiday destination for people of all ages and travel interests. We could list tons of reasons Malta should be on every travel bucket-list out there. But the main reasons will always be the sea, water sports options and the language in Malta. Due to the climate and clean, clear waters, you can try any kind of water sport imaginable, throughout most of the year.

Here’s a list of water sports to try in Malta

1. Stand-up Paddling

This reminds me of many wonderful adventures with friends or family, when a group of us would take out to sea, a paddle at a time. We would take turns at steering and paddling, which is akin to cycling, exploring the entire bay and stopping in various places to take a dip. Paddleboats are available to rent at many beaches by the hour and make for a memorable group experience.

2. Kayaking

Kayaking is an adventure sport of sorts but takes only a little practice to master the hand paddles. Once you are on the go, it’s just awesome. The kayak is small enough to gain entry to smaller spaces and explore cliffs, caves and bays along stretches of coast. A single kayak gives you full independence and offers space to store some goodies so you could make a day of it. Double kayaks create a team experience for the two people sharing a kayak.

3. Windsurfing

Windsurfing is certainly not as easy as it looks, but once the wind is in the sail, the experience of riding the wind on the waves is incomparable to anything else. You may need a few lessons to get the hang of it but, if you are inspired, persist – it’s worth the effort.

4. Kitesurfing

This water sport is probably best suited for the wildly adventurous and those who already have some experience standing on a board on water. Having flown a kite before probably helps too. The wind catches the kite and drags you along the surface of the water, and if you are really expert, you can show off a few acrobatic skills too.

5. Bodyboarding

Okay let’s tone it down a little. Bodyboarding is accessible to anyone, including children. You can purchase a polystyrene foam bodyboard for very little and simply take it with you to the beach and wait for the waves. Lean on the board and catch a wave at the right moment and it will take you all the way to the shore at full speed!

6. Flyboarding

Of all the water sports in Malta, this is one of the most exhilarating solo activities. Beat the laws of gravity with flyboarding, a nifty little jetback that allows you to move through air and water. Get ready for a bit of excitement!

7. Parasailing

For a more gentle experience of wind and water, glide through the air wearing an open parachute while being towed by a motor boat. You’ll finally discover what it feels like to float in the air.

8. Water-skiing

Go back to the days when it was not boards but skis you wore to ride the waves. It’s not as difficult as it looks: apply the skis at a suitable angle against the water as you are being towed by a motor boat and, before you know it, you are skiing on water!

9. Jet-skiing

If you prefer to hold the power, opt for a jetski ride. Akin to riding a motorbike on water, riding a jetski is a high adrenaline adventure sport and not for the faint hearted. One word of warning: this is so much fun that you may just get addicted to indulging in such water sports in Malta!

10. Renting a Speedboat

Extend the power to a boat to share with a group of friends and spend the day riding from beach to beach as you fly above the waves at great speed. There is little as exhilarating as riding the open sea in a high powered speed boat. A licence may be required to rent one, or you could just rent a ride!

11. Chartering a Yacht

Treat yourself to some luxury with a yacht charter, complete with skipper, and gain a taste of the rich man’s life. Yachts of many sizes may be chartered for days or weeks and may turn out quite affordable between a group of friends.

12. Sailing

Nothing beats the silence of sailing through the waves with just the wind whistling through the sails, the constant clank of rope against mast and the whoosh of the waves beneath the hull. Sailing is a unique experience and, if you can’t sail, just go on a sailing trip with your very own skipper.

13. Fishing

Learn English in Malta and take the opportunity to also learn about deep sea fishing during a fishing trip in a local fishing boat. You may head so far out at sea that you may lose sight of land. Then it is just the sea, the sky, you, and the fish. There is nothing quite like an offshore fishing experience.

14. Deep Water Soloing

This one is for those who adore a physical challenge. Deep water soloing is a form of solo rock climbing on sea cliffs, which relies on the presence of water at the base of a climb to cushion against falls. A certain confidence about how to fall in water and climb without a harness is essential.

15. Scuba Diving

Diving in Malta is a big deal! Malta and Gozo are well-established on the the global diving map, and with good reason! There are over seventy dive sites around the island, including wrecks, artificial reefs, underwater caves, tunnels, arches, natural reefs and pools, all teeming with marine life. There are several competent and professional diving centres that serve the first time diver and seasoned diver alike.

16. Snorkelling

For those a little less adventurous but keen to take a look beneath the waves, there is also plenty to discover. A simple mask and air pipe allows you to peek at fantastic rock formations and marine life from a new perspective and gains you entrance into a whole new world.

17. Swimming

And if you want to just unwind and enjoy relaxing time, there is nothing quite as refreshing as a dip in the sea. Swimming ranges from energetic exercise to allowing the water to support your dead weight as you float on its surface (in my books). There is nothing quite as wholesome as the feeling of the water’s embrace and, sometimes, that’s just enough.

Find out more information about water sports in Malta.