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Embracing the Local Culture: The Best Ways to Make Friends While Travelling in Malta

01 August 2023

When travelling to a new destination like Malta, it's essential to immerse yourself in the local culture and connect with the people who call the place home. Making friends with locals is not only a great way to experience the authentic essence of Malta but also enriches your travel journey with unforgettable memories and meaningful connections.

However, cultural differences and language barriers can sometimes make this task challenging. In this article, we will explore some of the best ways to meet locals, establish friendships, and also shed light on what to avoid saying to ensure a positive and respectful experience.

Participate in Local Activities and Events:

One of the most effective ways to meet Maltese locals is by actively participating in community events and activities. Malta is a country rich in cultural celebrations, from vibrant village feasts to traditional dance festivals. By joining these events, you'll not only get a glimpse of Malta's unique customs but also have opportunities to interact with the friendly locals who are more than happy to share their traditions with you.

Engage in Volunteer Work:

Engaging in volunteer activities while travelling in Malta is a fantastic way to make friends while contributing positively to the community. Many local organisations and NGOs welcome travellers who want to lend a helping hand. Whether it's beach cleanups, animal welfare projects, or educational initiatives, volunteering provides a chance to bond with like-minded locals who are passionate about making a difference.

Attend Language Exchange Meetups:

Language is a powerful tool for communication and connection. Attend language exchange meetups in Malta to practice the local language, Maltese, or improve your English-speaking skills. These gatherings create a relaxed atmosphere for travellers to meet locals eager to exchange cultural insights and language tips.

Embrace the Local Cuisine:

Malta's culinary scene is a treasure trove of flavors and delights. Make it a point to dine at local restaurants, street vendors, and food markets. Engaging with food vendors and chefs can lead to delightful conversations, where you can learn about the history and significance of Maltese dishes while also making new friends who share a love for good food.

Socialise at Cafes and Bars:

The Maltese love to socialise over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer. Cafes and bars, particularly the village band clubs and village political party bars (każin/i), are popular spots where locals gather to relax and chat. Strike up conversations with friendly faces, and you'll find yourself in lively discussions about everything from local traditions to the best spots to explore in Malta.

Things to avoid saying

While building friendships, it's important to be mindful of cultural sensitivities. Here are some topics and phrases to avoid:

1. Political or Religious Insensitivity:
Malta's views can be very polarised, and discussions about politics or religion should be approached with caution. Thread carefully.

2. Stereotyping: Avoid making generalisations about Maltese people based on preconceived notions or stereotypes. Every individual is unique, and assuming otherwise can be offensive.

3. Ignorance about Maltese History: Demonstrating interest in Malta's history and heritage is appreciated. Avoid expressing ignorance or dismissing the significance of certain historical events or cultural practices.

Making friends with locals provides an intimate and authentic experience of Malta that you wouldn't find in guidebooks or popular tourist attractions.

When you connect with locals, you gain access to insider knowledge, hidden gems, and personal anecdotes that enrich your understanding of the culture. Through friendships, you'll witness the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Maltese people, making your travel experience more meaningful, unforgettable, and rewarding.

Incorporating these best practices to meet locals and make friends while travelling in Malta will undoubtedly enhance your experience in the country.

Be open, respectful, and eager to learn about the Maltese culture, and you'll find that the friendships you build will become cherished memories that will last long after your journey ends. So, embrace the opportunity to connect with the vibrant community of Malta, and your travel adventure will become a journey of a lifetime.

Choose where to stay:

On your holiday, it helps to stay somewhere amongst locals as opposed to a hotel. The people in Birgu and the rest of the south are some of the friendliest you'll ever find. Don't be afraid of striking a conversation, starting with a simple Bonġu (bon-jew).

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