This week we heard from Julz over at Wandering Expat Family all about expat life in Mauritius. We’ve never even thought about life in Mauritius before so this Mauritius Expat Interview was a real eye opener for us here at The Wanderlanders (and we think it will be super interesting for you all as well).
Now for what Julz had to say……
Mauritius Expat Interview- Please give a few sentences of background info. Who are you? Where are you from? Fun facts about you?
My name is Julz, I am in my early 40s with a husband and 2 kiddos! We live in Belle Mare on the east coast of Mauritius, a tiny island in the western corner of the Indian Ocean – off the coast of Madagascar. I am Danish, born outside Copenhagen; but I grew up in the South of France. So I am from a bit of both, without really being from either.
A part from a little break in Paris during my 20s, I haven’t really lived in the same spot for much more than 2 years in a row, and that for the past 23 years. My feet get itchy very fast.
Mauritius Expat Interview- Why did you decide to move to Mauritius?
We are moving every two years or so for my husband’s job. Before Mauritius, we were in the Maldives and I was homeschooling our 2 children. The oldest is a very social little one and it was starting to get difficult for her, so I decided to move to Mauritius, my husband’s home so they could start school. We were lucky enough that my husband got a job offer not long after and he decided to accept it. So here we are.
Mauritius Expat Interview- What do you love about living in Mauritius?
I have known Mauritius for the past 20 years and it is as much home (or even more) than Denmark is. It is a beautiful country, with beautiful people. The nature is amazing and there are so many things to do! It is also, for me at least, an easy place to live: I love island life.
Mauritius Expat Interview- What is not so great about living there?
Traffic and pollution are 2 not so great things. We live a bit remotely and it takes a long time to get around the island. When you are on holidays it’s exotic, but when you live here it’s a bit tiresome. Recycling is lacking on the island and people are used to others cleaning up after them, so some areas can be dirty.
Mauritius Expat Interview- What do you do for a living there & what was the job search process like?
I am a stay at home mum – and I love it: I enjoy being with my kids! This was the main reasons we became expats so I could be home for them. I don’t think it’s possible to come to Mauritius without either big funds or a job lined up before hand. They are very strict on the visa rules, and things have changed a lot the last years. The government has decided to promote Mauritians more and have fewer expats.
Mauritius Expat Interview- How was the visa process?
Well, my husband is Mauritian, so I have a permanent residency. I had to make that in Port Louis at the immigration office. Fun hours spent queuing and waiting and queuing some more! But after a few months, I finally got it. I am sure if you come for work the employer will take care of it and for family members as well. The procedure is lengthy though. If you have enough money (that’s about $500k to spend on a house) just to move here, there are a few schemes you can come under.
Mauritius Expat Interview- What is the cost of living like?
A destination like Mauritius can be as expensive or as cheap really as you want. You can rent a small house for Rs10k (that’s $300) or a bigger one with beach access for Rs100k. The same goes for food: if you go to the local market and by local produce, it’s cheap, if you eat only imported meat or fruits and veg then you triple the price.
Mauritius Expat Interview- Would you like to stay there long term?
Yes and No: My feet are starting to get itchy and we will most certainly move again. But Mauritius is our home and we will come back to settle down when it will be time!
Mauritius Expat Interview- What are your fave traditional foods that we should definitely try if we go?
Wow so many and for a reason: Chinese, Indian and African influences make Mauritius the ultimate fusion food destination – it was here before anybody thought about fusion food. Local Chinese dumplings called ‘boulettes’ are fun to try. They are made on Chayote, a vegetable from the gourd family and steamed and served with or without a broth. Briani, the local Biryani is a bit different to the Indian one. Pickled fruits and veg (with chili) and of course the Dhall Puri, a split pea crepe with curries inside.
I don’t know, I can’t choose: the list is very long!
Mauritius Expat Interview- What are some places we should definitely visit?
Mauritius has something for everyone. The northern coast for its quiet and serene beaches. Port Louis for a cultural and historical fix. Domaine de l’Etoile for the longest zip-line or Casela for a walk with the lions. The south is also beautiful with the Morne Braband and the earth of seven colours. Oh and rum: you have to visit a rum distillery – the one in Chamarel is beautiful.
Mauritius Expat Interview- What are some things about the culture we should know before going?
Mauritians are pretty easy going, it is a very diverse culture. They are very happy to help and are courteous.
It is also a very religious country: Hindu, Muslim, Christians mix, but you have to be respectful of everyone’s beliefs.
People are still poor here and disparities are growing – so even though there rarely are any problems we still keep jewelry and expensive bags at home – not everyone does of course.
There are many expats on the island, in communities and Mauritians tend not to like that very much: but if you are friendly and open towards them, they will be so back! A few words in Creole go a long way on the island.
Mauritius Expat Interview- Would you recommend Mauritius to other people who are interested in moving abroad?
Yes! of course. I love Mauritius and it is a great place to live: sunshine all year round, good schools, fab out door life and decent health care. It has all I need and I know many come here and don’t really want to leave again!
Be sure to check out Julz blog Wandering Expat Family for more info on life in Mauritius. She has tons of great posts about Mauritius. Also, definitely check her out on social media! ↓
Want to be interviewed for our Expat Interview series? You can find out more here!