Applications for Mauritius PY24 Open!
2024 Program Dates: July 12 - August 14th
July 12 - 16
July 30 - 31
August 13 - 14
- 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 dependent on host family
Volunteers will arrive a few days before their teaching programs begin. During these few days, the volunteers will engage in 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 their service projects. While also having the opportunity to 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 the capital, Port Louis!
After two weeks of teaching, volunteers will come together again over a weekend for the midpoint break. This weekend is meant to serve as a moment for volunteers to reflect and share their thoughts in regards to 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 their day to day 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.
The Ideal Volunteer:
All volunteers will be staying with one host family for the entire duration of the teaching portion of the program. The volunteers will be located in one of the four following towns:
- 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 in 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.
Mauritians are well known for their warmth and hospitality. They 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. 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 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM either in a community center or church setting. The curriculum is dependent 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, please note that these numbers can fluctuate depending on the town you teach in. Many of these students will have little to no knowledge of conversational English, however may have some academic knowledge in regards to the 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 a 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 during 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.
NOTE: While there are no language requirements for the program, proficiency in French is an advantage that may be taken into consideration.
The native language of Mauritius is Mauritian Creole or Morisien, but nearly everyone will speak French as a second language. Many families, especially those with children, often have a member in the family that can speak some English, but this is not guaranteed. Attempting to speak the language, whether that will be Mauritian Creole or French, can be a very important part of assimilating into Mauritian culture. You will earn respect from many Mauritians for trying to speak Mauritian Creole and using French instead of resorting to English. However, French is also a second language for the Mauritians themselves, 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.