21 July 2016

Bibiche Rath - Expat in Sliema, Malta

Bibiche Rath - Expat in Sliema, Malta

Bibiche Rath is a 26-year-old Dutch content worker who currently lives in Sliema, Malta. Originally from Leiden, Netherlands, Ms. Rath moved to Malta in search for a new adventure, warmer climate and for a more relaxed lifestyle. Ms. Rath has lived in Malta for 3.5 years now. She enjoys her standard of living, describing the people as very laid back and friendly. “People are out and about since the weather is great. I meet people easily - at the beach, on a terrace, a bar, or at the gym,” she said.


When asked about socializing with other expats, Ms. Rath said that everybody has their network. “Since we're all foreigners in a strange country we help each other out.” Miss Rath also noted that one negative side of living in Malta involves gathering and processing the required formalities to relocate there. “Knowing the right people makes things move quicker,” she said, adding that she was lucky that she was well-connected before she arrived in Malta.


It can be a frustrating experience for expats to arrive in another country and find obstacles that prevent the speedy processing of important documents. Hiring professional immigration services can help expatriates handle their application papers and deal with the various laws and policies that different countries have. Coupled with the right international moving company, expats will not only have their items professionally packed and ready for shipping, but can avail of visa processing services as well.


Find out more about Bibiche Rath’s experiences in Malta in her full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Leiden, a small city in the Netherlands


Q: What made you move out of your home country?

A: Fast paced city, stress and rain, versus beach, stress-free and sun. A no brainer, don't you think?!


Q: Where are you living now?

A: Sliema - one of Malta's most vibrant cities, yet the fact that it's situated right by the sea, makes it the perfect blend of lifestyle.


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: A past relationship, a new adventure and warmer climate.


Q: How long have you been living in Malta?

A: 3.5 years


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in your host country?

A: The hardest part was -and still is- finding the right balance. Juggling reality, work and responsibilities with fun, sun and all the other distractions that seem to be endless in Malta's extended summer. As a result, procrastinating is always a distinct possibility and avoiding is perhaps the hardest thing of all. 


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in your host country? What was your experience with these?

A: Malta is one of the most obvious cases that in knowing the right people things move quicker. Luckily before coming here I was well connected. 


Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: Alone, though family and friends visit regularly. 


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Malta? How did you manage to find a social circle in Malta?

A: People are out and about since the weather is great. I meet people easily - at the beach, on a terrace, a bar, or at the gym. I have worked in a betting company, with people from all over the world. Everybody has their network and since we're all foreigner in a strange country we help each other out.


It took a few years before I understood what a Maltese friend once said 'You know people come and go, it's a gipsy lifestyle that makes me enjoy the moments more, because you never know when it ends.' I totally understand her now, because after living here over 3 years I have also bittersweet experiences with friends leaving the island.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: It all starts with enjoying the simple things like the sun and the sea. From beach to bbq's on the rocks, taking boat rides or simply driving around the island exploring Malta's rich history.


The best partying place in Malta is Paceville, which is filled with bars, clubs, casinos, cinemas and restaurants and much more. Though I personally prefer wine bars with live music. So the best place for this would be Valletta. The city has a new found buzz about it which is a result of large investments mainly due to it being selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2018.


Q: How does the cost of living in Malta compared to your home?

A:  A cup of coffee costs € 1.30 compared to € 3.00 in the Netherlands. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs €10 to €15 with a glass of wine compared to € 27,50 for a set menu in the Netherlands. A meal in an expensive restaurant costs around € 100 a head both in Malta and the Netherlands. As for wine, a nice Gavi costs around 15 euros but local wines would cost less. Cigarettes max €5.50 euro. In the Netherlands you have a decent wine for €4.50 and cigarettes are around € 7.80.


Q: How do you find the local culture and people in your host country?

A: Very laid back, friendly and enjoying the simple things in life.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Malta?

A: Customer care has much to be desired but it is getting better slowly. Big positives, as stated before, are the weather, the cost of living and the lifestyle.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Naturally I do, however, they visit quite often and I also go home a couple of times a year. Plus Skype helps a lot.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: No because this is now home and the moment I miss family or friends I get in touch.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: I don't plan, I'm living now and I enjoy every single day on this rock.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Working in an office through summer when everyone is at the beach.


Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Don't stress about buses being on time. You have to be OK with the pace of the place. 


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about your host country?

A: www.visitmalta.com and www.mydestination.com are perhaps the best for somebody visiting Malta for the first time. As for myself, I love looking out for Malta on websites such as www.cntraveler.com.