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InterNations Expat Community in Malta

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Are you one of the lucky ones who chose Malta as his or her expat destination? If so, you may like to know about InterNations, an active, diverse community of expats who’ve settled in Malta for all sorts of reasons. It’s free to join and easy too!

InterNations is now the number one expat network worldwide, with over 1 million members in 390 cities all across the globe. Of these members, almost 3,000 have chosen Malta as their expat destination.

InterNations gives you the opportunity to:

  • Connect with like-minded people in Malta in an online and offline environment
  • Learn about expat life in your new country by browsing through the Malta Expat Guide on InterNations
  • Attend top-class events and activities to meet fellow members in person

Alessandra Cresti, an Italian expat in Malta, explains how the community helped her: “Being an expat is not always easy, even in a small and friendly country like Malta. InterNations gave me a worthwhile chance to spend my time getting in touch with a lot of people, mostly expats but not only, suggesting and receiving tips and good advice to enjoy this period of my life and discovering this country better. InterNations gave me a deeper and wider meaning to be an expat.”

Events

Exclusive events are organised on a monthly basis. Next Tuesday, 30 September 2014, more than 70 people will meet at QEII in Valletta to celebrate InterNations Malta’s 7th Birthday. Stay tuned to find out the theme for the upcoming event in October!

Are you a foodie, sporty, interested in culture or simply just social?

The Activity Group consuls in Malta organize regular activities to satisfy your interests and for you to meet great friends along the way! Below is a list of the three most popular activity groups in Malta, make sure to sign up to InterNations today to join these following activities! :

  • DinnerNations Malta – Enjoy great food in the most beautiful parts of Malta.

The next get-together is planned on Friday, 3 October 2014 at a stunning location.

  • Malta Social Nations – Get to know the Maltese culture by becoming part of this activity group.

Recent get-togethers included an exhibition of classic cars of the Valletta Grand Prix at Mdina’s main square and visiting ROCKESTRA; which is a rock concert by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Keep your calendars open on Saturday, 11 October 2014. Live Bands and delicious food will be awaiting you!

  • Sports & Social Club – A mixture of being active and exploring Malta’s culture.

InterNationsSign up for the next activity to get some exercise, support a great cause and meet fellow members.

On Sunday, 5 October 2014 InterNations is taking part in a charity walk in aid of Action for Breast Cancer.

To stay updated on all events and activities, register with InterNations today!

 

 

 

 

[Photo: Pixabay]

 

Hen and Stag Party time in Malta!

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Born and bred in Malta, Alexia and Steve, the founders of Hen Club and Stag Club are planning to get married in 2015.   While probably not organising their own hen and stag nights, as that will fall to their nominated seconds, the two are not newbies when it comes to knowing a thing or two about planning the ultimate bachelor or bachelorette party.

By profession, Alexia and Steve are lawyers in Malta, but setting up a travel agency together had always been a dream of theirs.  Steve has been in the entertainment industry for the past five years organising some of the biggest parties in Malta (Sunglasses at Night) and thought it only natural to ask Alexia to head this new project on account of her passion for entertaining and organising.

We asked the enterprising duo to give us an insight into what makes a memorable (in the best possible sense) hen and stag party, and why Malta makes the ideal venue in which to hold one.

Hen & Stag Parties in Malta: the insiders’ view 
Growing up and living in Malta definitely helps a great deal when planning unforgettable hen and stag parties. First-hand experience in organising parties, coupled with our knowing Malta like the back of our hand, means we can put our local, insider knowledge to work in devising itineraries as action packed, or as leisurely, as the brides and grooms to be and their friends desire.  We’ve a long spec of exciting activities, top-notch dining venues, ‘in’ watering holes and party places on the island to choose from.

Our Hen Club and Stag Club websites make the organisation and planning of hen or stag parties in Malta easy. We’ve devised them as one-stop-shops to get the celebrations rolling.  The reason behind our venture is simple… we know that planning a stag or hen party for one of your best friends can be a rather overwhelming experience and accommodating all of your mates may be a daunting and stressful mission. Organising and booking activities, dealing with any food and accommodation issues, and booking transport – even fixing the budget  – can prove quite a task.  This is where we come in, taking up the challenge so you can relax and enjoy your friend’s ‘party of a lifetime’ as much as they will.

Why Malta?
In recent years, Malta has established itself as an entertainment hub in all respects but it truly excels in nightlife.  With top DJs and clubbing brands flocking here, these tiny islands in the Mediterranean are giving some other top, party islands a run for their money.

Beaches in Malta

The traditional reason people come to Malta. But the islands have far more to offer.

While other well-known destinations like Ibiza are becoming more and more expensive, Malta remains an affordable place to enjoy a short holiday with your friends.  If you’re here in the summer there is literally something going on every day from MTV’s massive, free, flagship event, Isle of MTV, to Malta’s very own clubbing brand Sunglasses at Night.

What to expect
When planning a short trip abroad for a stag or hen do it is easy to get distracted by the fact that you are travelling to a new destination and consequently forget to plan the trip to make it that extra bit special.  It’s a cliche’, but who doesn’t think of strippers when there’s the mere mention of planning a stag party! But there are so many different activities that can be planned and which could make your trip so much more memorable.  Zorbing and archery, for example, are just a few of the activities that can add novelty factor.

Pool club party in Malta

Nightlife aplenty for hens and stags.

Our dedicated team of party organisers is there to ensure you have a smooth, problem-free stay. You can simply choose from the easy-to-book packages but if you’d like to add or tweak anything just let us know and we’re happy to accommodate your requests.  No matter what kind of stag or hen do you’re looking for,  we’ve got it covered. You may also opt to create a personalised stag or hen package by filling in the Booking Request Form and simply choosing a la carte style from the list of activities listed on our websites.

Planning your party in Malta couldn’t be easier; all you need to do is book your trip, sit back, relax and enjoy!

 

 

‘Porn – The Musical’ is back

Monday, August 18th, 2014

PORN - Logo blackAs many folk who tread the boards of Malta’s theatres know, it can be tough sustaining a two-, let alone a three-weekend run of a show.  Rare indeed then for a totally home-grown production to not only return but also to have done so via the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the London stage. Porn – a Maltese-made musical – is making its comeback this weekend (22-24 August). If you missed its previous runs, head to Valletta’s Pjazza Teatru Rjal (open-air theatre) to find out why it took you so long to see it.

Brief synopsis

PTM Poster, 2014First produced in Valletta in 2009, ‘Porn – the Musical’ is a locally written comedy that tells the story of the hapless Stefan Bugeja, a young Maltese man who goes off to America hoping to follow his dreams and start a new life. What he finds though isn’t entirely what he was expecting. It soon becomes clear that Stefan got far more than he bargained for as he unwittingly finds himself starring in a groundbreaking adult movie.

The show features such songs as ‘Everyone in Malta is Related’, ‘The Kind of Girl I Am’, ‘Naked on a Sunday’ and ‘I got a PhD’. Written by Malcolm Galea, Kris Spiteri and Boris Cezek, the show will star the original Edinburgh cast: Max Dingli, Sarah Naudi, Louis Cassar, Toni Attard, David Ellul, Eliza Borg Rizzo and Malcolm Galea.

Tickets:  purchase from ticketline.com.mt

Reviews…

Following its original production, ‘Porn – the Musical’ went on to be performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2009 before transferring to London in 2010. The show garnered a great many positive reviews and in 2011 won the Off West-End Award for Best New Musical.

“A cult classic to rival such shows as Rocky Horror.”
Hairline

“Take it in the spirit in which it’s intended and you’ll laugh your rocks off.”
Time Out London (Critics’ Choice)

“Thoroughly entertained its audience from foreplay to the final money shot.”
Whatsonstage

“Revels in its lack of depth and budget, sending up musical conventions, breaking the theatrical ‘fourth wall’ on occasion, and turning the crass dial up to 12.”
Fringe Review

“A great musical, for a wider range of audience than you would think.”
Remote Goat

“The fusion of seedy smut and puckish comedy is divinely inspired, and the show gleefully mocks every target available, including itself.” The Spectator

“This new musical … has all the right ingredients for a hit.”
The Stage

Sweet-toothed holiday: Malta’s dental tourism

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Savina Dental Clinic, Skyparks, Malta When a hi-tech dental clinic sets up in one of Malta’s most prestigious new business locations, Skyparks, right outside ‘arrivals’ at Malta International Airport, it’s clearly a sign of the interesting times in one of the country’s sectors earmarked for growth – health services and bio-medical technologies.

Savina Dental & Implantology Clinics opened its door around a year ago at Skyparks realising a long-held ambition of Dr Joseph Xuereb, Savina’s Principal and founder dental surgeon. Having started out in Victoria, Gozo, where the first clinic still operates, Dr Xuereb was always driven by a desire to see his practice keep at the forefront of dental industry advances. Importantly, he wanted also to make a mark on how dental services are delivered in Malta, not only to local residents and expats, but also to the growing number of overseas patients.

The airport business park location and Savina’s professional team, which includes speakers of French, German, Arabic, Italian, are key to gaining overseas business. However, to compete internationally takes more than providing convenience for prospective clients. For a dental practice in Gozo to make the leap of faith took serious professional and financial commitment. We spoke to Dr Joseph Xuereb about his passion for his work, the aims of Savina at Skyparks, as well as his deep fondness for Malta, and especially his home island of Gozo.


Q. What attracted you to dentistry in the first place as a career?
I had always been inclined towards the caring professions, but to be quite frank, had never relished the prospect of pursuing a career in medicine. A word of encouragement from my father nudged me in the direction of dentistry.

Dr Joseph Xuereb, Principal, Savina Dental Clinics, Malta

Dr Joseph Xuereb, Principal, Savina Dental Clinics, Malta

Q. What has surprised you most about the dental industry over the years?
Right from my first involvement with dentistry, I was amazed at the rate of progress and new developments in the sector in the 1980′s. The introduction of new materials, techniques and equipment was happening at a steady rate back then, but is nothing short of frenetic now.

Q. And what avenues has dentistry opened up to you that you couldn’t have imagined in the early days?
To name a few, but perhaps among the most important fields dentistry is now unrecognizable in, dental implants, CAD/CAM and 3D dentistry and the myriad applications of lasers in dentistry must rank right up at the very top of innovation in our discipline,

Q. You are Gozitan born and bred and launched a successful career from Gozo managing to attract not just local but also overseas patients. What drew people to Savina as a clinic based on a tiny island?
It is difficult to reply to this without sounding like a trumpet-blower! I was always fascinated by the new developments in dentistry and was quick to implement them at Savina. In the late 80’s we introduced porcelain laminate veneers to the local scene, quite a revelation in those days.

Over the years, we introduced new ways to administer dental anaesthetics, became a mercury-free dental practice, pioneered gum surgery as an alternative to losing teeth and were among the first practices in the Malta to provide tooth whitening and dental implant treatment.

More recently, in 2009, Savina introduced stem cell banking from teeth to Malta, in 2010, installed the first-ever 3D Cone-beam CT scan for dental practices in Malta, in 2011 started implementing digital shade-taking for optimum aesthetic dentistry, in 2012 we were one of only three practices to adopt 3D digital impression taking for same-day porcelain crowns and bridges.  In 2013 we invested in laser technology for use in periodontal (gum) and implant surgery as well as inaugurating our new practice at SkyParks Business Centre at Malta International Airport.

Savina Clinics, Malta Q. Technology aside, what else do you think is important in giving patients, particularly overseas clients, the confidence to opt for Savina Clinics?
On a personal level, I think my post-graduate qualifications from the Royal College of Surgeons of England culminating in my Fellowship in 2004 must help in gaining patient confidence. In 2007, Savina Dental Clinic was accorded International Visiting Centre status by Zimmer Dental Implants in recognition of our record and commitment in the implant field. On a human level, our staff surely make an impact on patients with their professional and caring demeanour.

Q. Medical tourism is a term bandied about a lot. It’s clearly a business niche Malta has been exploiting. How new is the concept of dental tourism though? And why do you think Malta – Savina in particular – has a clear offer in this niche?
Way before the Internet and low-cost airlines made it easy for patients to seek dental treatment outside their immediate environment, Savina Clinic was treating the local expatriate community, who responded by encouraging their own friends and family not only to visit them but also recommending us as an alternative – this as early as the late 1980’s. This was a spur for us to keep expanding and investing in technology and training and this experience now serves us well in gauging patient demands and rising to their expectations.

Malta has the advantage of excellent connections with several key European cities as well as a reputation for being a centre of excellence across many disciplines. Our patient base has served us very well in that key aspect of advertising that is word of mouth – their personal and online recommendations are an important source of referral.

Savina Dental Clinics, Skyparks, Malta

Q. Savina Clinic became ‘Clinics’ with the opening last year of a state-of-the-art practice at SkyParks, Malta International Airport’s business centre. Why there and why now?
In the short quest for a suitable location SkyParks entered the scene quite early, and from then on, it was no contest. Where else could be more central, with excellent parking facilities, in a state-of-the-art, iconic building, an address in one word, and above all absolutely perfect for our clients, both local and visiting? SavinaClinic is in a process of expansion and its business plan is entitled “Placing Malta at the Forefront of the European Dental Tourism Market” At a time when we are seeking to reach out to more of these visiting patients, for us, locating our clinic in SkyParks is being at the right place at the right time.

Q. What has Savina at Skyparks meant for your patients? 
Designing the new clinic in an open space has given us the opportunity to produce an optimum functional and aesthetic result. The premises have a relaxing yet professional atmosphere, are equipped to provide any service relating to dentistry under on roof, both in terms of equipment as well as staff, with dentists specialising in all fields – surgery, restorative, periodontal and orthodontic – as well as highly-trained multilingual ancillary staff. As far as is possible, patients are treated by one dentist, who is their point of reference at all times but who can draw upon the experience of the entire team should the need arise. This is highly appreciated by patients as they feel secure and pampered and have the peace of mind and security of being treated in the most comprehensive manner under one roof

Q. We sense Savina Clinics is becoming a family business.
My daughter Alison, who graduated last year and joined the practice features prominently in our plans for the future. She will be pursuing her post-graduate education in the UK, but in the meantime forms part of a six-strong complement of dental surgeons and specialists who together run the Savina Clinics. In her own words: “This is what I have always wanted to do. I am sure dentistry will give me the same pleasure and satisfaction it has given my father and I look forward to the ever-present exciting new developments that make it so much easier to give our patients excellent all-round care”.

Q. Talk to us a little about ‘Dr Joseph Xuereb’ when he’s outside the Clinic? 
There is never enough time, not enough hours in the day to do all the reading, walking, tennis, swimming, squash, following football and motor racing, eating, tasting exotic food and wine from around the world, travelling, relaxing and spending time with loved ones – but one must adapt and make the best of what time can be planned within the clockwork of the day’s limits. Music oils these wheels perfectly. Most importantly, one’s glass need always be half full!

Q. And finally, what are your favourite places and aspects of the Maltese Islands.
What a fantastic place Malta is to live in.  So many magical locations, foremost among which is Gozo! Sailing in or out of Grand Harbour, ambling around Mdina at night, swimming in Comino’s Blue Lagoon, dining on Victoria’s Citadel at sunset, walking around the islands’ southern coastline must rank in my top ten list of all good things Maltese. All this and sampling our excellent produce and hospitality would surely round off any visitor’s checklist.

Savina Clinics – Further Information

savina logoContact Savina Dental & Implantology Centres at Skyparks, Malta, and Victoria, Gozo. See the Savina Clinics website for full details of services and how to book an appointment.

Tel (+356) 2165 7323 / 7965 7323

savinadental.com
reception@savinadental.com

Easter in Malta, a photographic prelude

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

As a prelude to the Easter weekend and its considerable street festivities and events, we’re posting up some evocative photos taken on Our Lady of Sorrow’s day, which marks the official start to Easter.

Our Lady of Sorrows procession, March 2013

This was shot at Valletta’s renowned event which saw streets closed as hundreds of participants filed to Our Lady of Sorrows church in the city. If you missed these street processions or are flying into Malta only now for your Easter holiday, these photos give you a good idea of the religious mood. The photos depicted here are sombre and will be echoed in many of the upcoming Maundy Thursday and Good Friday events (see our Guide to Holy Week) and in personal celebrations of Easter as people make a type of pilgrimage visiting seven churches.

our Lady of Sorrows March 2013

Easter in Valletta, March 2013

About the photographer
Imsouchivy Suos (G.V.) is a street photographer originally from Phnom Penh, Cambodia who was in Malta as a student. This makes the sequence all the more fascinating as we see a well-known Maltese event captured by the lens of an outsider looking in on this timeless scene. To find out more about him and his work click here.

Easter in Valletta, March 2013

Easter in Valletta, March 2013

Living in St Julian’s: property buying & rental guide

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

It’s not uncommon for would-be expats to Malta to ask us where’s best to live when they move here. Typically, they ask for an overview of property, whether it’s best to buy or rent, and for a low-down on the des-res areas. Malta’s main coastal resorts, in particular St Julian’s, tend to be firm favourites for expats, but why exactly? Here, Dragana Rankovic, an expat herself, now helping others to find their ideal new home on the islands, provides a helpful guide to property and lifestyle in St Julian’s.

Choosing St Julian’s

St Julian’s, located on the north-eastern coast of Malta is a popular living area that caters to tourists, expats and locals alike. Because Malta is an all-year-round holiday destination, St Julian’s is a town that is just as alive and dynamic in the winter as it is in summer. Despite being such a popular district, St Julian’s still retains a peaceful quality and its charm.

Today, St Julian’s sits snugly around a bay with its colorful Maltese luzzus giving a hint as to the traditional focus of the town. A walk along the seafront shows St Julian’s contemporary face with its restaurants, souvenir shops and boutiques. Don’t be deceived into thinking it’s just an expat-tourist area though as locals also enjoy the benefits of this lively resort. In 1854, there were just 600 residents of the town whereas today that figure is almost 8,000, creating a strong sense of community into this rocky inlet that was once a sleepy backwater.

Even though St Julian’s boasts many restaurants, bars and nightclubs, it also manages to offer a safe retreat for residents who live and work in this area. From families to retired couples, St Julian’s really does have something for everyone.

Where to live in St Julian’sSt Julian’s is a multi-faceted town which manages to fit together its various offers quite nicely. Deciding where you want to live in St Julian’s depends on what you are looking for and which ‘face’ of St Julian’s appeals most.

From new developments and penthouses to residential houses and apartments, there’s a location to suit, regardless of whether you wish to rent, buy or let a property in Malta. This makes St Julian’s a particularly lucrative area for fledgling landlords and experienced property moguls looking to invest.

Below, is a brief summary of the main areas in and around St Julian’s:

Paceville
The areas around Paceville after the war were mostly farming communities surrounded with fields, and Paceville itself only had a few restaurants. Unlike today, parking in Paceville was relatively straightforward as people used to park their cars in fields, one of them being the field on which the St. George’s Park hotel was built.

Paceville’s slow transition into a tourist hub commenced in the 1960s, when two major hotel corporations, the Sheraton and the Hilton, developed five-star hotel properties in the area. Paceville offers great opportunities for investors who want to buy apartments for holiday lets as well as for young couples and professionals who either want to rent or buy property in Paceville.

Portomaso
Portomaso is one of the main new developments in Malta which offers luxurious residential accommodation overlooking the marina and which also provides a leisure centre, a beach club, shops, a Hilton hotel and a conference centre. It is here that you’ll find Malta’s only skyscraper, Portomaso Business Tower; coming in at 98m it houses a club on level Twenty Two.

Pender Gardens is another popular lifestyle development in St Julian’s, which offers a wide variety of residential and commercial property. With access to a fitness centre, pool and car park, apartments in Pender Gardens are highly sought after by both investors and residents looking to rent, buy or sale property in Malta.

St Julian’s Environs

Swieqi
Swieqi is close enough to Paceville to take advantage of the many amenities and events on offer, but far enough away to offer a quiet, peaceful residential environment. There are many great properties available for rent in this easily accessible location. Public transport into Valletta and other parts of Malta is excellent and one of the park and ride schemes is located here. Properties in Swieqi include maisonettes, apartments and terraced homes.

Madliena
Madliena is another desirable area near Swieqi-St Julian’s and rumored to be the place where Mary Magdalene was shipwrecked. Madliena is undergoing development with Madliena Village; a number of luxury apartments offering superb sea views are being developed nearby, along with high-end properties in Madliena Ridge. Such interest is turning this quiet village into one of the most sought after areas to live in Malta.

Spinola Bay
Spinola Bay lies on the other side of St Julian’s and encompasses the traditional quiet bay with its luzzus and fishermen. There are still plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants, but the pace of life here is quieter and more conducive to those who wish to dine al fresco with a bottle of wine watching the sun sink over the horizon. This is the place where retirees find their escape and there are more traditional Maltese properties to be found in this region.

Public Transport in St Julian’s

Buses are plentiful in this district with several routes going to Sliema, Valletta and Paceville and stopping at various locations along the way, although they might operate a lighter schedule in the winter. There are also night buses on at the weekends and buses to the airport.

The new park and ride in Swieqi is also a handy way to get into town without worrying about parking. There are several taxi companies too, but these can be an expensive option unless you’re sharing.

Schools in St Julian’s

The most popular school in St Julian’s is the Sacred Heart Foundation which runs both a primary school and a senior school for girls. There is a good mix of local and expatriate children here and lessons are primarily in English. There is also the St Vincent School on St Julian’s Hill and a few public schools as well as a huge scattering of English language schools. Even if the locality doesn’t have the school of your choice, Maltese schools all over the islands are within striking distance; all run minivan transport for pupils at a reasonable rate per term.

Local Amenities in St Julian’s

There is always something to do in St Julian’s. The Spinola Palace Gardens offer a quiet retreat during the day with breathtaking views. Portomaso marina is full of luxury yachts, restaurants and bars and from here you can get to the beach which is popular in summer with sunbathers and swimmers.

For shops you need to head to Bay Street which also offers large-screen and an IMAX cinemas and a bowling alley. It was the closest Malta had to a shopping mall before The Point in Sliema, and you can get most things here from household goods to clothing.

For supermarkets there is an Arkadia supermarket beneath the Hilton Hotel. However most of the local butchers and grocers often have cheaper deals and can be fresher and there is no shortage of local food shops. There is also a Lidl in San Gwann not far from St Julian’s Bay.

Need some help with property in St Julian’s or elsewhere in Malta?

Dragana Rankovic can guide you in your search. Feel free to contact her directly by email or tel: (+356) 79791976. This video gives an overview of the Maltese Islands,  of various places and moods, dawn to dusk, not just St Julian’s.


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