Something you should know about Malta in the winter: it sucks.
The Maltese will tell you otherwise. They’ll point out the fact that the sun isn’t harsh enough to blister. They’ll invite you to winter barbeques and treks along the cliffs and coasts and across Gozo. They’ll inform you that the temperature is still in the teens (centigrade) and will stay that way for most of the season. But none of this–NONE OFTHIS–makes up for one simple, god-awful truth:
In the winter, it’s too cold to swim.
Even in summer, the island has considerable… idiosyncracies that can easily get on your nerves after a few months trapped on the rock: a mangled bus system, a lack of indoor temperature control, the hive of scum and villany that is Paceville… But none of that matters in the summer, because you can literally come straight from work, or the bus, or your humid house, go to the beach, and jump into the Mediterranean. But in winter, there is no such option for stress relief.
Which is why, for the past two years, I’ve done everything in my power to escape the Rock during the cold, wet months of winter. Last year, I fled to the olive groves of Andalucía. This year, I was looking for opportunities in Central Europe–mainly Germany and Austria, though I was also looking at Poland or the Czech Republic–to get a real winter experience (snow included), maybe pick up some German, and earn some experience teaching at a long term post.
And then I found SIDAS.
It was not quite what I was looking for. It was exactly what I needed. It promised none of the above things (except, of course, the real winter experience), because what SIDAS does is a program called Active English Weeks. For a stretch of three to six months, teachers work with SIDAS Language School to provide English lessons at public schools throughout Slovakia, one week at a time. So, you travel from one town to another on a week-to-week basis, and teach intensive lessons to groups of students from the government schools.
Teaching one-week courses while travelling to a dozen towns in a country I’ve never been to before?