Articles in this blog may be ESE news, academics pieces written by our team or events in Malta of general interest.
Travelling – an urge to move on
Initially, I admit of a personal confession. In my early teens I used to sit on the rocks or pebbles of Malta’s northern shores and gaze out at sea. It was mostly in the early evenings when the galleon-like clouds took on a changing hue with the setting sun on the horizon. This gave birth to a deep-down feeling of envy towards those clouds because they seemed to be enjoying the rolling landscapes below, the verdant vales and the mountain slopes that I wished to see and, eventually, it did come. I took to travelling and this brought about an urge to move on.
Travelling develops the feeling and need to change the world’s scenarios, the environment and a wide variety of cultures. Targets are set from one year to the other and people get down to plans and considerations aimed at leaving behind, at least for a brief or long time, feeling the sensation of having had enough of this or that and crave for a change.
By train or by plane they go, by ships or by motoring across borders seeking to place sufficient distance from where they stood to their chosen destination. The seasons, the four of them, have a tendency of splitting the dreams and plans while climatic conditions play an important role and weight upon their choices. People travel singly, in couples or in group form. In the case of the singles, the positive aspect swells much more than the negative. Singles seek utter autonomy in choosing and deciding. There is freedom of movement involved and the avoidance of discussions or arguments. However, freedom has a negative aspect when singles “have no one to discuss with” their appreciation, feeling and reaction towards what they see or observe in their voyages. Ideally, a good dose of “give and take” is of absolute need when people travel together.
In my travels, I have come across a particular form of this action which I shall never forget. At the time I was serving Malta’s Embassy in Washington D.C,.in the early 70s, our Mission used to receive many requests for tourist brochures of the Maltese islands from many parts of the US. An odd case was a letter of thanks from an elderly couple which singled itself out from the others. It read: “My husband and I, both well in our 80s, always preferred to read your brochures in the sitting-room, by the fire, and went through them from cover to cover. We are much too old to travel any more so we enjoyed the colourful photos which almost came to life before our eyes, we seemingly heard the winds, tasted the salt of the sea and heard the silence of the desert”. I thought that was specially heartfelt.
After a long working stint and retired from the Malta Government service in 1995, I decided to be a teacher and chose teaching for my twilight years enjoying it immensely both in Italy and here. At this language school there is much to offer the foreign students who choose to come here, over the years and very many have returned for the second or fifth year. We teachers make it a point of asking them upon arrival “Why Malta and not elsewhere”. They seem to reply in a similar manner: “It has a long summer season with much sunshine, an English-speaking population that is known for its hospitality and kindness, a historic culture and heritage”.
Among the many plusses this school offers the foreign students is the constant opportunity of meeting foreign applicants who decided to come to Malta to learn the English language. They really come from the four corners of the world because I have not stopped hearing of a departure from the expected ones but from the in-between ones and some of which I have never heard before. The far-flung distances immediately are cut down to a zero as soon as the student takes a full immersion into the new idiom from page one. It is not surprising that the majority of the students declare that their motive of their local stay is “to be able to land a good job” when they return to their home country. And the English Language is a portal as wide as a church door and a key to posterity. Oral skills are imparted to ensure sufficient fluency beyond the “working knowledge” level.
Apart from an optimal tuition, ESE promotes several opportunities towards a variety of side activities that range from the visual enhancement to the physical and health-giving entertainment. Local guided tours of the three islands are the most popular choices followed closely by the visits to museums and the displays of the multifaceted heritage that the Maltese archipelago proudly presents.
Sporting activities are not lacking on the list of the school’s availability. It includes golf, football, tennis, hand-and volleyball, squash, horse-riding, body-building and rock-climbing. Moreover, the overall opportunity provided as a side-line to the tuition programme by the school is the opportunity for students to forge bonds of friendship under the “umbrella” of student equality and easy exchange. With this availability, students can make life-long and often be able to keep in touch after their visits end. Reminiscing, of course will be a lifetime joy.
Isn’t it a wonder how the student movement around the entire planet is vaulting the national barriers in an enthusiastic outburst of enthusiasm to discover the novelties and progress in other countries? What the people in general and the student body in particular are achieving is the discovery of freedom and light where previous despotic rulers or dictatorial regimes confined both within impenetrable walls and barriers. That same “outburst” could very well be translated into the innate urge “to move on” which is manifest more than ever before.
However, it can be repeated, as it has been said before in my readings “The World is a Geography Book, and for those who travel, there is but another page”.
Author: Adrian Mercieca About the Author:Adrian Mercieca is a full-time teacher at the European School of English and was a former Law student at the University of Malta, then turned Journalist in Malta, winning a 3-year scholarship in Journalism in the US, and later in Italy broadcast at RAI and the Vatican Radio. He came first in a Maltese Public Service Examination (Diplomacy) in Malta and obtained a year’s scholarship in British Diplomatic Studies at Oxford University. Served as career-diplomat until appointed ambassador.
Articles in this blog may be ESE news, academics pieces written by our team or events in Malta of general interest. Please feel free to write to us with any comments, suggestions or any articles you may have written and would like to share with us and our students.