From Spain to Mauritius: A journey of adventure and growth 

Expat interviews
Published on 2023-11-16 at 10:00 by Veedushi
In this interview, we speak to María Cánovas, a dynamic individual hailing from Spain whose passion for travel and new cultural experiences led her to the enchanting island of Mauritius. Armed with a background in Tourism and Economics, María's journey unfolds as she takes us through her transformative six-month marketing internship at a prestigious hotel and the subsequent decision to return for a longer stay. 

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background? 

I'm María Cánovas, and I'm from Spain. Currently, I'm living in Mauritius.

After completing my university degree in Tourism and Economics, I decided to do my internship on the beautiful island of Mauritius. I have always loved traveling and learning about new cultures, so Mauritius was the perfect place for my next adventure.

What brought you to Mauritius? How long have you been here?

I arrived in Mauritius on the 14th of September 2022 to start my marketing internship at One&Only, Le Saint Geran Hotel. I stayed for 6 months with my student visa to work and learn in one of the best hotels on the island. During this time, I explored the island and got to know it better. Ultimately, I fell in love with it and decided to come back after my internship.

After finishing my 6-month internship, I returned to Spain, where I decided to come back to Mauritius in June 2023 to find a job and stay longer to improve my French and work skills.

What were the main challenges you faced when you arrived in Mauritius? Was it difficult for you to adapt?

I won't lie; the first few weeks in Mauritius were quite challenging. Everything was so different from my life in Spain that I had to get used to it.

The first challenge was the language. Although I have a good level of English, I didn't understand French or Creole, which made it difficult to communicate with other staff in the hotel.

Another challenge was driving in Mauritius! As I wanted to explore the whole island, I decided to rent a car for myself, so I had to get used to driving on the left-hand side and the Mauritian driving style (not easy).

As I said, only the first few weeks were challenging. Once you get used to a new way of living, communicating, or even driving, living in Mauritius becomes an amazing experience where I have been able to grow both personally and professionally.

In terms of bureaucracy and formalities involved in moving here, have you encountered any difficulties?

The process of getting a student visa was quite long and complicated. I thought the process would be easier, but you have to present a lot of medical, bank, and certificates to be accepted for the visa. Meanwhile, I was looking for a new job; I stayed here on a tourist visa, which is very easy to get.

How easy is it for expats to make new friends and build a social circle in Mauritius?

As everyone says, the people of Mauritius are some of the friendliest and most open-minded people I have ever met. If you are an open-minded person who likes to meet new people with different values, religions, and customs, you will have no problem making friends. I had the opportunity to meet both locals and other expats living in Mauritius, which made my experience here unforgettable.

Tell us what a typical day in Mauritius is like for you.

Every day in Mauritius is a unique adventure. I love driving around the island and discovering new places! The island has so much to offer that I never get bored.

I am a big fan of adventure activities, so hiking up a mountain or going to a waterfall is one of my best day plans!

I also love spending the day with friends on some of the island's incredible beaches. A good barbecue and music are also some of my top days here.

I always try to experience new things, and Mauritius is the perfect place. I have swum with dolphins, gone catamaran sailing, and started my scuba diving course to become an instructor.

What are your most and least favorite things about Mauritius?

As I said before, what I like most is Mauritius's incredible landscape and nature! Compared to Spain and European countries, being able to see this amazing landscape every day is such an amazing thing!

Having the mountains and the beach so close also makes me love Mauritius more. I like being able to do a hike and go to the beach on the same day! The thing I like the least is the food. I don't like spicy food, and it's very different from the Mediterranean food I grew up with!

Is there anything you wish you had known before you moved here? If you had to start all over again, what would you have done differently?

Before I moved to Mauritius, I thought it would be a cheap country, similar to the cost of living in places like Bali or Thailand. But when I arrived, it was quite the opposite! Living in Mauritius is expensive, including food, car, house, fuel, etc. I wish I had known this before I came so I could have saved more money.

What do you miss most about your home country?

Moving to the other side of the world on your own is difficult. I miss my family and friends, but I know they support me, and now coming back home is much more exciting!

As I said, I miss Spanish food so much!

Is there any advice you would give to anyone planning to move to Mauritius?

My main advice would be to open your mind and take into account that this is not your home country, and everything is different. So, don't expect to live like you did before you came.

If you are an open-minded person and make an effort to meet new people and get involved in their way of life, you will have an amazing time in Mauritius.

What are your plans for the future? Are you planning to stay here for a long time?

Today, my future is unknown. I want to continue to travel and grow personally and professionally, but I would love to stay in Mauritius longer!

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