Resting pristinely in the Mediterranean Sea just 50 miles south of the coast of Italy, the small island nation of Malta can be a rewarding destination for volunteers from all over the world to make their impact felt. With tremendous scenic beauty, a richly complex history, and a diversity of cultural influences stemming from all over the Mediterranean, volunteering abroad in Malta has the potential to be the meaningful and educational adventure of a lifetime in an off-the-radar European country.
While the island archipelago of Malta encompasses a total land area of just 122 square miles, it is also home to nearly 450,000 citizens, making it both one of the smallest and one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Nearly the entire country is covered by one large interconnected urban area, a modern manifestation of Malta’s long legacy as a city-state.
What technically constitutes a “city” in Malta thus remains indefinite, and the word is used commonly simply to refer to regions within this encompassing metropolitan area. Valletta is officially the country’s capital and, along with the surrounding metropolitan area, is home to nearly the entire Maltese population. With a high standard of living and home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Valletta remains a perennially popular destination where to volunteer abroad in Malta.
If you’d prefer to volunteer abroad in Malta within a less bustling and densely populated region, you might also look into smaller towns such as San Gwann. Because the country is so small, you can easily get about from destination to destination in very little time (Malta maintains an extensive bus system which was just recently re-hauled to become more efficient).
Projects & Placements
Malta is a prosperous country, benefitting from a high degree of equality along with high ratings on most measures of human development. Nevertheless there are still sectors of the population which remain overlooked and underserved, and so volunteers are welcomed from all over the world to lend a helping hand in areas such as education, infrastructure, and grassroots movements.
As an island nation that is largely developed, it is also a popular choice to volunteer abroad in Malta within fields such as marine conservation, biological research, and wildlife surveying. Giving your time to volunteer in environmentally-oriented placements such as these can help minimize the damaging effects of urbanization and human expansion on local ecosystems, while also proving an immensely educational experience.
Because Malta has been continuously occupied since ancient times, undergoing many cultural and regime transitions during that time, there is also a concentrated effort in the city to keep its unique past alive through various historical preservation efforts. Volunteer projects in Malta of all kinds tend to run year-round, during which time it’s possible to volunteer for as short as just a few weeks or as long as several months.
Costs & Affordability
Living costs in Malta are generally on par with those of other Western and Southern European countries, so you will want to be mindful of your budget while living abroad here. Fees for different volunteer programs in Malta will also range in their affordability; for information on how to get started covering all these expenses, be sure to check out our fundraising page!
Accommodation & Visas
Homestays and group-living situations in an apartment or flat are generally the most popular forms of accommodation while you volunteer abroad in Malta. Usually your volunteer program will take care of securing housing for you, so you will thankfully not have to worry in advance about finding your own place to stay.
Malta is a member of the European Union, and so shares a common visa policy with other EU countries. Citizens from the EU will not have to apply for a visa in order to volunteer abroad in Malta, while volunteers coming from outside of Europe will generally have to apply if they plan on staying for longer than three months. For more information regarding your individual situation, check out our Maltese Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Mediterranean Fusion. As a major island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has always been at a strategic location for European, Middle Eastern, and North African powers. The result today is a fascinating diversity of cultural influences.
Meaningful Travel. Malta is a destination that should be on every world-traveller’s bucket list, and volunteering abroad there is the perfect way to additionally leave a positive impact behind you.
Island Lifestyle. The entire nation of Malta is constituted of two fairly small islands within a balmy Mediterranean backdrop; no one said volunteering abroad has to be all work and no fun!