A Polish perspective on coming to Malta
The decision to move to Malta from Poland was a spur of the moment decision in my case.
I studied Finance and Accounting while working as a waitress and handling the accounts of a couple of non-governmental organisations. When I got my Master’s degree I decided – no more waiting tables, I am going to get a stable nine-to-five office job. And this was the point where I hit the ground. I went to a couple of interviews, another couple of final interviews and got to ‘talk money’. In my country the amount of highly educated people is growing and the market cannot accommodate more, I was offered only a third of the amount I was easily earning as a waitress. It hurts to have given all of yourself for 5 years of study only to realise that you won’t be able to make a living for the next 10. It’s understandable that you have to gain working experience, but in that moment, it felt like a slap in the face.
When I returned home from this interview, my fiancé suggested we move. At first it was a joke from his side, but we sat down and started searching for the cheapest flights available. Our criteria was easy – preferably EU to avoid any hassle with work permits and close to the sea as my fiancé is a diving instructor and we had to be sure that at least he wouldn’t have a problem finding a job. Malta popped up as a good option for us and as we had been to Malta before on holiday, we decided to book the tickets for a one-week trip and see what happens.
A huge advantage is the language, as in Malta everyone speaks English and in almost every work place the functional language is English. On arrival in Malta, It all came together easily for us. Within the first two days we rented an apartment, I got a waitressing job (just to start off) and my fiancé spoke with couple of diving centre owners. We booked our next tickets, went back to Poland for two weeks to sort out our lives there and then made the final move to Malta.
I can’t say whether we are here for good. It’s been 1.5 years now and I am not sure if we are fully adjusted to the way of life here. There are a lot of things that are amazing in Malta, however there are challenges, particularly for someone raised in a well-organised and big country:
- You can feel everyone seems happy in Malta. In Poland we are always complaining – this hurts me, my boss is like this, my friend does that… In Malta the reply to ‘How are you’ is almost always ‘Orrajt’ ?. On the other hand, I have a feeling that because of the differences in mentality, it is hard for us to truly connect with the Maltese.
- Malta is an Island of opportunities. The economy is growing fast and Malta is not able to produce enough qualified staff. This provides a huge window of opportunity for foreigners to enter, but once you are settled there is always a problem of people coming and going.
- Beautiful weather and breath-taking views. It’s very nice and relaxing to spend the day at the beach and swim in blue water, but at some point, you realise that this is all there is. I miss the diversity of different landscapes and how easy it is in Poland to have a change for the weekend.
- There is this charm of small villages, narrow streets and colourful balconies, but if you crave ice-cream at 11pm, all the shops are long closed and the petrol stations sell nothing but fuel and car parts.
I could go on like this for ages and all these opinions can be found on multiple Facebook pages created by foreigners for foreigners.
We are staying here for now, as I feel that I have grown so much as an accountant and I have much still to learn that outweighs the everyday issues that you have to deal with. I can say that we are proud that we took this step, you can always return home, but the experience you gain will definitely help you find your place in this world.
– Paulina Zolnik