Applications for LE Mauritius PY20 are now CLOSED!
Tentative Dates: July 13 - August 16
Orientation: July 13-17
Midpoint Break: July 31-August 2
Closing Ceremony: August 15
- Location: Albion, Bambous, Flic-En-Flac, Case Noyale
- Language Requirement: None, French recommended
- Setting: Rural
- Duration: 5 weeks
- Volunteers: 6-10
- Living Conditions: Mostly basic, living conditions are highly dependant on host family
Volunteers will arrive one week before their teaching programs begin for an orientation held on the West side of the island. Orientation provides opportunities for volunteers to get to know each other, share teaching ideas, and introduce volunteers to the beauty and excitement of Mauritian culture! Volunteers will have ample time to prepare for their classes as well as take day trips to various sites, such as hiking to the summit of Le Morne, swimming in the Indian Ocean, and visiting the United States Embassy in Port Louis!
After two weeks of teaching, volunteers will come together again over a weekend for midpoint break. This weekend is meant to serve as an opportunity for volunteers to reflect on the first two weeks, their successes and failures, and collaborate with fellow volunteers on how to improve their classroom. Midpoint break also allows the volunteers to reconnect with the Program Director to share any concerns or amazing experiences that they have had thus far in the program. Volunteers will once again have the opportunity to participate in excursions across the island, from surfing at Tamarin beach to attending a religious festival in Chamarel.
As all schools are usually within a 20-40 minute bus ride of each other, volunteers often meet up during the afternoons to discuss teaching and help problem solve for new solutions in the classroom. These afternoons also result in excursions to new parts of the island, meeting new host families, and trying all sorts of Mauritian food!
- Adaptable: Mauritian students will be in your classroom over their school’s winter break, which can sometimes be challenging to keep them focused. Volunteers should be prepared to change lesson plans to best suit the students and their interests. LE Mauritius is all about making these English courses fun!
- Empathic: Living in a new culture can be difficult, but volunteers with the ability to be empathic with students and host families will likely be able to adjust better. Understanding the opinions and mindset of Mauritians is extremely important in the cultural immersion process.
- Patient: It may prove difficult for teachers to be teaching in a language the students do not understand, while also having to control 20-30 young children. Volunteers should be able to handle all of this stress while maintaining a calm and patient demeanor.
- Out-Going: Mauritius has so many amazing experiences to offer to volunteers, and many committed host families willing to take them! Upon arriving in Mauritius, volunteers should be ready to take in the culture in the entirety of their 5 weeks through many opportunities presented to them.
All volunteers will be staying with one host family for the entire duration of the teaching portion of the program. Mauritians are well known for their warmth and hospitality, and are very excited to show volunteers around the island and accept them as another member of their family. Mauritians are family-oriented, so volunteers can expect to attend many events with extended family such as weddings, baptisms, and birthdays.
Albion is a small village just south of Port Louis. It is known for its famous lighthouse.
Bambous is an inland town where a majority of volunteers will teach.
Flic-En-Flac is a small coastal village known for its plethora of tourists. Volunteers often meet here on afternoons as it is the halfway point between Albion and Case Noyale.
Case Noyale is a small fishing town just south of Flic-En-Flac.
It is highly encouraged that volunteers spend as much time as they can with their host families. Living with a host family offers volunteers a very immersive and meaningful experience. These families will be very excited to have volunteers living with them and it shows great respect to show effort to experience their daily lives.
A majority of Mauritian households will have plumbing, electricity, and internet. While these amenities are provided, they are basic and are not similar to the modern versions that you may see at home. Electricity is expensive in many areas of the country and extraneous electronics can cause an unnecessary burden on hosts. Therefore, volunteers are encouraged to bring as few electronics as possible. Classrooms will not have laptop accessibility so laptops and computers are discouraged.
The Mauritian program is held during the African winter. Do not be fooled though, as temperatures will still average between 70-80 degrees fahrenheit every day!
Teaching Mauritian students is by far the most cited aspect from volunteers that made their experience meaningful. Volunteers will teach from 9:00AM-12:00PM either in a community center or church setting. The curriculum is dependant completely on the strengths of each volunteer and classes are encouraged to be diversified to what the volunteer thinks is most beneficial for students.
A typical classroom will have 10-40 students ranging from ages 5 to 13 years old. Many of these students will have little to no knowledge of conversational English, but may have some academic language from their schooling. Learning English is critical to most Mauritian students and many families cannot afford the extra schooling to ensure that they succeed, so Learning Enterprises plays a vital part in helping students. In the classroom, volunteers should expect to only have a whiteboard or chalkboard with markers or chalk. All paper, sports balls, and any other materials you would like to use should be brought from your home country. Mauritius does have some shops for purchasing small supplies, such as paper, but it’s encouraged to bring what you need!
Learning Enterprises employs a fun, game-oriented teaching style that is aimed at not only improving student’s English, but fostering an interest in the language. Remember that these classes occur of the student’s winter break, which means they are not expecting to step back into a traditional classroom setting. By fostering a fun and creative environment, volunteers will form lasting relationships with their students that will stay with them well beyond their time in Mauritius.
The Mauritius program emphasizes service both inside and outside the classroom. Each volunteer should come to the island with a drive to help serve their community, family, and students on a daily basis. Past examples of these projects have been one on one lessons with struggling students, art courses after the English lessons, and volunteering at a local Women's Shelter. The possibilities are endless and your Program Director will be here to guide you.
Each volunteer will have the opportunity to create his or her own project that addresses a need in the community. This includes planning, organizing, and implementing an idea during the 4 weeks of teaching. This summer, this service project will be of utmost importance in our program to gain exposure in our communities as Learning Enterprises volunteers and to bond with community members that we traditionally would not come in contact with.
NOTE: While there are NO language requirements for the program, having the ability to speak French is an advantage that may be taken into consideration.
The native language of Mauritius is Creole, but nearly everyone will speak French as a second language. Many families, especially those with children, often have a member of the family that can speak some English, but this is not guaranteed. Attempting to speak the language, whether that be Creole or French, can be a very important part of assimilating into Mauritian Culture and you will earn respect from many Mauritians for trying to speak Creole and using French instead of resorting to English. However, French is also most Mauritian’s second language as well, so volunteers should not worry about making mistakes, as they will be made on both ends. That being said, many Mauritians will jump at the opportunity to improve their English and often will take the opportunity to speak with volunteers in English to practice their skills.
Some Awesome Things About Mauritius!
- Mauritius is the home of the Dodo bird and you will see it across many of the symbols of Mauritius.
- Mauritians are known to be some of the most hospitable people in the world. They will go out of their way to make sure volunteers are welcomed and feel at home.
- The island is only 28 miles wide 40 miles long, which makes for great opportunities to explore its world famous beaches, beautiful rainforest, and abundant waterfalls!
- The food offers a unqiue blend between Hindu, Creole, and Muslim cultures. Volunteers can buy the most amazing Mauritian Roti for only 40 cents!
- Mauritius recently celebrated its 50th Independence Day in 2018. Mauritians love to talk about the history of the island and the triumphs they have made as an independent country.
MEET YOUR PROGRAM DIRECTOR, KARI!
Kari Fischer is a Junior studying Political Science, English, and TESOL at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Through her experience volunteering in Mauritius during PY 2018, Kari found a deep love for the island and its diverse culture and heritage. She is ecstatic to lead a new group of volunteers and reconnect with her former students and their families. Kari is excited to bring her experiences back to Mauritius as a Program Director, including her research work on English Language Acquisition in her university’s Education Department. LE has shown Kari the importance of education and cross-cultural experiences and hopes to help volunteers in their self-discoveries as well. Besides education and travel, Kari is passionate about international politics, accessibility to the internet, and gothic literature.
Interested applicants can contact Kari at firstname.lastname@example.org.