Moving from a European school to a Mauritian school can be quite a challenge for young expats!
We often share with you the experience of parents who find happiness in Mauritius, but ....
What about the youngest?
Meet Lou who shared with us a few words about moving to Mauritius with his family 👇
The testimony ofLou
Let's talk about you!
Who are you?
I'm Lou and I'm a 16 year old high school student, living in Mauritius since 2016 with my parents and my 12 year old brother! I am French and Mauritian, I have dual nationality thanks to my father who is Mauritian. My mother is French, coming from Guadeloupe. I grew up and lived a good part of my childhood on my mother's side in Guadeloupe before we moved to Mauritius.
Why did you come to live in Mauritius?
My family and I moved to Mauritius mainly to spend more time with my Mauritian family whom I had only seen twice in my life! It was also an opportunity for us to get a change of scenery and discover a new life of islands in the Indian Ocean! From one ocean to another!
How did you feel about the news of the move?
I was more than willing! Moving = New adventure! It's always exciting with a bit of apprehension: leaving friends, family, home, habits... It's still a great opportunity!
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been looking for a new adventure and this was one of the best ones for me! My parents obviously made their decisions based on my opinion and that of my brother. I wondered for a long time what my life would be like on the other side of the world, in a country other than France...🤔
Have you ever been to Mauritius before?
I had the opportunity to come twice to Mauritius. The first time, for my parents' wedding. The second time, I came alone, at the age of 6, to spend a month with my paternal grandparents.
The Guadeloupe transition ➡️ Mauritius!
What is the difference in lifestyle?
Guadeloupe and Mauritius are two very similar islands despite a rather impressive difference in culture. Mauritius, being a multicultural island, one feels more the mix of culture, religion and traditions.
The lifestyle in Mauritius, as in Guadeloupe, is very chill. Everyone takes their time and enjoys life to the full.
I would also say that in Guadeloupe, we are very independent. Everyone does their own thing! 😅 We go surfing, we walk barefoot, we live simply! It's always hot and we're always in swimming costumes, unlike in Mauritius, where there are two seasons. And Mauritius is very family-oriented! We spend much more time with family and friends. It's an island of sharing and generosity.
What is your relationship with your family here and your family there?
I have always had a very close relationship with my maternal family (the one living in Guadeloupe) and I was also looking to create the same links with my paternal family. This encouraged me enormously to come and live in Mauritius!
The distance was difficult to deal with at first, but with the new technology it makes communication much easier.
Are you still in contact with your friends in Guadeloupe?
I am still in contact with four or five of my childhood friends (European high school and neighbourhood). Some of them I can reach regularly by phone and others I write to from time to time. In my opinion, to keep a long-distance relationship with friends, there is no secret, you have to give news, send photos and invest a little bit in it. Distance is hard, but the bonds as strong as they may be, will not break and you will end up finding each other sooner or later 😊
Are you happy today with this Mauritian experience?
Of course! I'm glad I had the opportunity to live in two different islands because the lifestyle, pace of life, culture, activities and freedom are totally different. I feel grown, matured and changed by this adventure!
Your integration in Mauritius!
How was your arrival?
We were met by all my family who greeted us at the airport with signs which was a real surprise to see everyone again!
How did you manage to integrate "amicably" in Mauritius?
My integration with the young people of my age in Mauritius was complicated. It's normal at the beginning, you don't have any reference points and you feel a bit unsettled. It took me some time to find the right group of friends. As time went by, I met young people with the same interests as me. So you have to keep going and it pays off in the end 😉
My parents enrolled me in dance, which allowed me to meet a lot of girls my age, one of whom later became my best friend. That's why it's so important to do the sports and activities you love. It helps you meet wonderful people! One thing led to another and she included me in her group of friends and then in others...
Are Mauritians welcoming and easy to integrate foreigners?
Between young people, integration is difficult because the groups of friends are already created because they have grown up together. But over time, when you get to know them, they let down their guard and become much more welcoming.
Just be yourself and the power will flow 😉
As a teenager, how did you manage to get accepted into the school?
The school facilitated my integration into the Mauritian community. Coming from a European/French high school, it was not difficult for me to adapt to the school rhythm. Adolescence is not an easy period, we change physically, as well as mentally and we build ourselves as an individual. Being well surrounded at this time of our lives is very important and the school facilitates a lot of exchanges.
How are you feeling today? Are you comfortable in Mauritius? Have you made your place?
Today, I feel more than good! I have found my place, I have great friends and a very busy lifestyle, I never stop discovering my island and its people.
And the activities to do in Mauritius are endless! 😊
Life in general in Mauritius
What is your daily routine like in a few words?
High school - activities - sleep! 😜
- I wake up at around 6 o'clock.
- I take my school bus to and from school.
- Then it's time for my homework. I also go to the boxing gym three times a week.
- In the evening I go home, have dinner with my family and go to bed.
- I spend most of my weekends in Tamarin where I meet up with my friends with whom I do a lot of day and night activities.
What were your favourite activities in Mauritius?
I had the opportunity to do many activities! The most memorable experiences were swimming with dolphins, learning to play the ravanne which is the traditional instrument of Mauritius, the many excursions to waterfalls such as the 7 cascades (black river) and learning Creole.
What does Maurice bring to your personal development on a daily basis?
Mauritius has allowed me to have a much more relaxed daily life and lifestyle than in the big cities in Europe, for example. One of the great advantages of Mauritius is its pace of life, the freedom we have as young people and its safety too. It puts all water sports to good use with its safe waters surrounded by the reef.
School: a few words about your experience at the European/French school
What was your schooling like in Mauritius? How did it go overall?
I came from a European/French high school. It was not too complicated for me to adapt to the system. I did my first year of secondary school in a French school: l'école du nord where I did my secondary school years (from my sixth to my third year). I then went to the Lycée Européen des Mascareignes (I'm currently in première.) On the whole, everything went very well, the Lycée Européen des Mascareignes is very welcoming and puts a lot of emphasis on the integration of new students within the school.
How is the school run? Is it a private school? Public?
The Lycée des Mascareignes is a private French school that offers classes from the seconde to the terminale. I chose this European/French school, not only because I have many friends there, but also because it is located in the centre of the island, so it is very accessible.
As a freshman, I had to choose three SPEs (cav, geopolitics and humanity) which will also accompany me in my final year. The choice at the Lycée des Mascareignes is very vast and includes many different possibilities that will suit all tastes!
What are the relationships between parents? How is the interaction here, being a small island?
The Mauritian parents have always grown up together and their relationship has continued to evolve, although they lose touch with each other during their studies. Most of them end up in Mauritius afterwards to start a family.
In Mauritius, parents often get together for a good barbecue or a boat trip on weekends. They have big lunches where they are very numerous (because they bring their children) and share their childhood memories together...
What extracurricular activities do you do?
Since my arrival in Mauritius, I had the chance to do many extracurricular activities, such as horse riding, dancing, boxing (Thai and kickboxing), piano, swimming ...
Dancing allowed me to meet a lot of girls, who were in my school as well, and helped me to get closer to them. Through boxing, I have also had great encounters with totally different people. It's essential for me, to do activities because I meet a lot of people around my age, who have the same interests as me!!! 😊
What did you learn today?
Despite my many doubts and apprehensions about moving to Mauritius, an island that is still almost foreign to me, I realised that it was no use! Life deserves to be lived as it should be lived without worrying about what tomorrow will bring.
Live! Have other life experiences!
Seize your opportunities! And make memories!
What do you recommend for the next people who want to move abroad?
For future young people like me who are coming to Mauritius, I encourage you 100% to do so. It is a new adventure and believe me, living in Mauritius as a young person is the best thing ever. The living environment is idyllic, relaxed and you can have an incredible amount of freedom while being in total security.