Testimony: Fanny and her successful family expatriation

family expatriation

Many of you want to experience expatriation as a family.

It is a rich and exciting experience to have at least once in your life. 😍

Fanny, Vincent and their 4 children will not deny it!

This travelling family decided to settle in Mauritius and start a new life.

They share their experiences and feelings with us. 👇

Who are you?

Tell us about yourself! Introduce us to your family.

We are a family of 6, we, Vincent and Fanny, are 39 years old and our children are respectively 12, 10, 5 and 2 years old.

We were living in Toulouse before coming to Mauritius. Vincent is on business creation leave for 2 years and I decided to do web marketing in Mauritius. We are a travelling family. In fact, we went on a world tour with our two elders between 2014 and 2015. During this trip, we stayed 1 month in Mauritius and we fell in love with the Mauritians and the gentle way of life.

Were you already familiar with the world of expatriation?

This is our first expatriation as a family. In the past, we had wanted to live an expatriation, without success. Today, it is a dream come true.

How did you break the news to your tribe? 

Our children are used to travelling and changing regions. After our world tour, we moved from Paris to Marseille and then Toulouse. They welcomed the news with great excitement. Vincent and I are driven by our desire to help them discover the world, that it is vast and that the possibilities are infinite. I don't feel that it is more difficult with a large family to envisage such a project. For us, it was obvious and rather fluid.

Professionally, what are you doing today? Is it a driving force in your installation in Mauritius?

I, Fanny, am in the process of setting up my infopreneurship project on plant-based food. The schools in Mauritius were closed for at least two months and the children had a month's holiday. It was very difficult to find time to work on my project.

This was frustrating. It is only now that I have been able to free up some time to realise this entrepreneurial project. Vincent will certainly invest in a project here in Mauritius.

The birth of your project

How did your plan to move abroad as a family come about? What was the trigger for this family expatriation?

Every 3 years I feel the need to move! Initially, we wanted to move to Canada, but the COVID situation did not allow us to immigrate as easily and quickly as we wanted.

Vincent always wanted to do an MBA and a friend of ours told us about this institute in Mauritius, in partnership with leading French schools, which offers an MBA recognised by the French state and internationally. So we decided to go to Mauritius with this project. On my side, I wanted to work on the internet and the project of creating a web marketing company emerged. We decided to go to Mauritius in March and arrived in August. It took us at least 5 months of preparation before we could put our bags down.

Did you have several ideas for destinations at the outset? Why did you choose Mauritius for your family expatriation?  

Yes, our first choice was Canada. Life put us on the path to Mauritius and looking back, we are very grateful.

With two small children, living in the sun and in shorts all year round is much easier logistically! We chose Mauritius as a destination for a family expatriation because of its English-speaking schools, its people, its climate and its land of opportunity.

Did you have any fears before embarking on this expatriation with your family? What were the first questions you had to answer in order to make the adventure a reality?

We had no fears! The first concern - which is still valid today - is to have income by the end of 2022 in order to be able to plan for the next few years. We want to stay in Mauritius for the next 6 years.

I think the first thing we did was to get a visa, and the second thing we did was to register our children in schools.

The formalities

 

You have finally chosen the Self-Employed permit You have finally chosen the Self-Employment Permit, which allows you to be self-employed in Mauritius, to reside there with your family and also to pursue and build your professional project there.

Was it an obvious choice?

Yes, we had hesitated with the Investor Permit, but it was easier to choose the Self-Employed Permit because we had already started the procedures for my infopreneur activity. This visa is better suited to this activity in our case.

Was your activity in France the same or did you leave everything to start your own business? Tell us a little about your professional project, what is it? 

I have not been an employee for 6 years. With our 4 children, I made the choice not to go back to work as an employee or entrepreneur while they were small.

Our last one goes to school here and so the idea was to create an online entrepreneurial project so that I could still be there for the kids while working. As I explained above, it's not going as planned at the moment. The children have been at home for three months and they are asking too much of me to be able to go ahead as I would like.

My entrepreneurial project is to offer information on plant-based nutrition to people who want to have a healthier lifestyle and be healthier. Vincent has put his salaried activity on hold and wants to start his own business. He has a "dependent" visa for the moment and will transform it into an "investor" visa later on.

Do you think Mauritius is a good place to develop your project? What are the opportunities in your opinion?

Yes, Mauritius is conducive to this kind of project. For example, having a home help (very reasonable salary) is a real plus to lighten our mental load and focus on the work. Moreover, the environment is conducive to business (taxation, administration, infrastructure, service, network, mutual aid, investment, time zone, economic dynamics, development project, migratory flow...)

Support

Why did you decide to be accompanied in this process?

We wanted our children to be able to start school at the end of August. We were pressed for time. In addition, with all the deadlines (house sale, removal), we had to delegate certain tasks. The price of the service was well placed for the service provided.

👉 If you too want to settle before the start of the school year in August, it's HERE   

How did the first exchanges with our team go?

Great, Anaïs understood our project right away and was very responsive.

Did you embark on this project straight away? How long did you have to think about it before did it take before you said GO?

When we contacted SmartTraveller, we already had our GO in mind.

How did you find the administrative procedure? Did you encounter any difficulties? How did you overcome them?

Yes, it was not easy and a bit stressful, but the SmartTraveller team was present, patient and positive all the way.

How did you feel when you got your licence? Was it a relief? An achievement, a relief, the beginning of a great adventure?

A relief!

A few words to describe your support with SmartTraveller?

Simplicity, authenticity, benevolence, listening, professionalism, rigour.

 

The organisation beforehand!

How did you organise your arrival in Mauritius? Had you already started your visa, school, health insurance procedures, and had you planned your accommodation for your release from quarantine?

So, as the visa was late in arriving, we managed the accommodation and the car at the last minute.

Schools and health had already been taken care of before we left. I think at the beginning of the last week of quarantine we had no accommodation and no car.

I admit that this last stretch has been intense 🙂

For the accommodation, we took a short term rental (a few weeks) to give us time to find our long term rental (1 year). As we were in quarantine, we could not visit the properties and we therefore preferred this solution to choose our accommodation.

For the vehicle, we used a car rental company to start with, before buying a used car from a dealer.

In your opinion, how long before the big departure should you start?

 

It's really personal. For us, 5 months was good, we like things to go fast.

What was the biggest challenge for you in this installation?

Finding our accommodation, we were pressed for time. In addition, we were looking for accommodation close to the schools and there was little available.

Finally, we are further away from the schools (15 min by car) but as they don't go there...! All the visa procedures, internet, water, car purchase, buying some furniture took a lot of time in our family expatriation / installation.

Happy to have arrived in the sunshine and got your "pass" for 10 years 🙂  

 

We are very happy in Mauritius, life is good here. We enjoy doing many activities with our family on this beautiful island and we hope that our plans will come true in 2022-2023.

Life in Mauritius as a family

Your arrival with the quarantine box...

 

You went through the compulsory quarantine in a hotel, a few words to describe your experience? How did it go with the children?

We were at the Beachcomber Trou aux Biches. Great hotel, great staff, great facility!

The children loved their stay at the hotel.

On the parents' side, it was a bit more challenging. As I mentioned, we were still unsure about the visa. Adapting to the hotel's meal times was complicated with our two youngest children, who were so tired. Eating out with them every day was also a challenge in its own right.

The good thing about this quarantine was that we met other expats who were able to help us with our settlement.

Mauritian life begins!

How was the reception with the locals? Did you manage to find your bearings? 

Yes, after 5 months, I can say that we are finally settled. The Mauritians are lovely. Afterwards, with the Covid context, it is not as simple as before. We don't meet as much and the fear of illness is a big factor in the way we meet people, I think.

In which part of the island did you settle? Why did you do it? How did you make this choice?

We are in Grand Bay. We chose this town because the children go to school in Mapou. The highway allows direct access. The services are complete for daily life (food, shopping, pharmacy...).

This is a question that often comes up when moving to Mauritius, do you have any advice on choosing one location over another?

 

We have always chosen our accommodation according to the children's schools...

How did you find your house to rent? Did you encounter any difficulties? Do you have any recommendations?

Real estate in Mauritius is really special. There are many agents and they work together. We don't have any particular advice. I admit that it is not easy! You need patience and luck.

In terms of food and daily products found in Mauritius, are you satisfied? Where do you do your daily shopping? 

So for us, Super U in Grand Bay is the number one store, with many French products. For vegetables and fruit, we get deliveries from local producers who do organic produce. The cost of food is higher there if we keep our habits. You have to adapt!

What is the family's family's favourite Mauritian meal so far?
family expatriation

Fanny enjoying her Mauritian meal

The favourite snacks are Faratas and chilli cakes!

👉 Discover a culinary day in Mauritius 

Were you able to easily meet people on the island (locals and expats)? Did you manage to build up a network on the island in the context of your profession?

Not easy in this context. The expats we met in quarantine, whom we continue to see, and a few families from the children's school are the main people who make up our network.

Do you have any advice on this?

 

Ask to be part of expat WhatsApp or Facebook groups - it's a great way to get information and to ask for a wide range of information (babysitting, activities, meetings, buying/selling second-hand goods...).

Make us dream! Your weekends...

A typical weekend at home since you've been here?

family expatriation

Children at sport and the beach

With the kids: taking our kayak and snorkeling, discovering the marine fauna (dolphins, turtles...), and also the protected rainforest parks, the animal refuges, enjoying the beautiful beaches/islands and doing outdoor sports, meeting up with our new friends in picnics or in the villas. Without the children (or only the older ones): hotels and restaurants...

What is the children's favourite activity?

family expatriation

Une balade à cheval en famille

Being outside is the favourite activity of every member of our family.

Compared to France, what is the difference for your children living on an island on a daily basis?

Simplicity, vitamin D, sports activity, English are the 4 big advantages of our life here.

Important topic! The school...

If we go into the subject of schooling, how are your children doing here? What level are they in?

Levels: 5th grade, 4th grade, kindergarten and nursery. The schooling is going well, the schools are good and the atmosphere is friendly.

Which schools did you choose and how did you make this choice?

English schools, we always wanted our children to be bilingual in English.

Why did you choose one system over another? 

I asked around in our network, there is little choice so it was quick!

How did the the adaptation?

Children in uniform at the start of the school year

The adaptation was particular with the Covid but overall the children adapted very well.

Children also mean after-school activities! Are they enrolled in after-school activities? Do you find that there is an interesting choice of activities or workshops/camps during the holidays...?
  • My oldest son plays basketball.
  • My eldest daughter is a horse rider and volunteers at an animal shelter.
  • All 4 children are swimming.
  • The three older children have also started playing tennis.

Yes, we are satisfied with what is here. There are quite a lot of sports centres for children.

Would you have any advice for a family wishing to settle in Mauritius?

It takes time to set up, you have to be confident and adaptable.

How long do you plan to stay in Mauritius? How do you see yourself in Mauritius?

 

6 years in order to make the most of this beautiful adventure and for our 4 children to be bilingual.

Any final words? 😃 Do you have any advice for people who are hesitating to take the plunge into expatriation with a large family?

 

Go for it, we only have one life and it deserves that we live it by taking risks, by leaving our comfort zone so that the magic operates. Mauritius remains a controlled risk 😃 and its living environment allows us to live this experience in good conditions.

A family expatriation in sight this year?

Like Fanny and Vincent, move on to this beautiful island!

Let's discuss your project HERE! 😊

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