Through schools, you can live on this beautiful island, with information I'll share, down to cost of living.
1. Answering Your Questions
I always receive the same questions from friends in Nigeria regarding how I moved to Mauritius, what the weather is like, and cost of living. This blog will do justice to them, and If you have friends who are interested in this topic all you need to do is share this post with them (shameless request). All the information I will give are based entirely on my experience living here for 8 months.
2. A Little Backstory
I was part of the 99.99% of working class Nigerians who were desperate for a change in environment, but spent more time complaining than acting. The reason for slacking is because I was living a fairly comfortable life in Lagos - my grandmother gave me a house, I owned a nice Audi sports car, I earned a decent salary, and I had a few steady video gigs. You never really make up your mind that enough is enough until you're fed up with the system. Plus, my mum had been ringing it in my ears to get a masters degree for 6 years. I took these occurrences as my cue to "kill two birds with one stone."
3. How I Moved to Mauritius
I was looking to enroll in a postgraduate degree in a place with amazing scenery, perfect weather and fascinating culture, with English as one of their main languages, and moving wouldn't break the bank. So I made a list of places; Middlesex University (MDX) Dubai seemed to be the best option, however, Mauritius was like "hold my beer," as it too had a Middlesex Campus. After applying to Middlesex University Mauritius I received my acceptance letter within a week, and my Student Visa within a month, and before I knew it I was on the next plane to Mauritius, from Dubai. Tuition cost me RS 320,000 ($8,000 | NGN 3,008,000) in total for a full academic year. Part time students have a slightly difference rate.
A humble plea - If you gain residence permit through your university, make sure you attend classes. Don't ruin this opportunity for other people, Mauritius is strict with its residence permits, and will not hesitate to kick you out once they sense foul play.
4. The Weather
The weather is perfect! The sun always shines, but never scorches. The breeze smells clean, but has a hint of sea salt to remind you that the beach is near. This beautiful island has only two seasons - Summer and Winter. In summer (November to April), temperatures can rise as high as 29 degrees Celsius, especially in the hottest months - January and February. It rains mostly in February and March. In Winter (June to September), temperatures drop to 16 degrees Celsius especially in the coolest months - July and August. I arrived in September of 2019, and got to experience a bit of winter, people's dressings didn't change; guys still knocked about in t-shirts, cargo shorts, and slippers, while the ladies had their spaghetti straps, denim bum shorts, and leather sandals on.
5. Cost of Living
This is the one you have all been waiting for. I will break this down into different categories - accommodation, transportation, feeding, and flex! This is really all what you will spend your money on after savings, because many of the activities Mauritius is known for are mostly free (refer to WHAT CAN $100 DO IN MAURITIUS?).
The cost of getting a roof over your head can rack up pretty highly depending on the area you wish to settle in. Majority of people live simple lives here, so you aren't under any pressure to keep up appearances (*coughs* Lagos). Most of the international MDX MUR students prefer to live in Flic en Flac or Quatre Bornes. Flic en Flac is a tourist area, things are more expensive, and happens to be where I live, so I can provide an accurate cost breakdown that you can use as reference wherever you find yourself.
The cheapest houses or apartments to rent are 3-bedroom units, they cost an average of RS 35,000 ($875 | NGN 329,000) per month. You will share the space and split the bill with two other students, costing each person RS 11,700 ($293 | NGN 109,980) per month. Half of the time bills like electricity, WiFi and gas aren't included.
The slightly more expensive space is a 2-bedroom unit, which you can get for an average of RS 25,000 ($625 | NGN 235,000), costing each person RS 12,500 ($313 | NGN 118,000) per month excluding bills.
A studio apartment tends to be the most expensive, and will cost an average of RS 15,000 ($375 | NGN 141,000) per month. The cost of renting majority of studio apartments should have bills included. You can definitely find cheaper apartments, but chances of you finding a vacant one are slim.
MDX MUR also offers accommodation for students "Student Life Residence (SLR) just opposite the campus, you can check the SLR website for cost.
Your best bet as a resident is to ride the bus! MDX offers its students a bus pass for just RS 100 ($3 | NGN 940) which gives you a discount of 25% on any bus ride for the whole year! The buses here are like Nigerian BRTs, with only a few built with air conditioning. For your destination, a typical ride should cost an average of RS 15 ($0.4 | NGN 141) without the bus pass discount. The routes buses will take are labelled boldly on the windscreen, so you can't miss it. You can also confirm from the conductor who can be spotted handling a portable ticket machine (looks like a POS machine). The main limitation of bus service is that they close pretty early, we are talking 6 pm Mauritian time (GMT +4), so if you have to be somewhere after 6 pm then you have to use a Taxi, or rent a car. No Uber or Taxify here. In a month you are likely spending just RS 100 ($3 | NGN 940) after the bus pass discount.
I'll let you in on a secret, if you live in a 3-bedroom apartment with two other housemates, you can jointly rent a small car (like a Kia Picanto) long term for RS 15,000 ($375 | NGN 141,000) per month, and split the bill three-way, costing each person RS 5,000 ($125 | NGN 47,000). Trust me, you can NEVER regret renting a car in Mauritius.
There are two options - eat out or buy groceries to make your meals. From experience, the latter is cheaper, better, and will last longer. On average you will spend RS 5000 ($125 | NGN 47,000) on proper groceries per month, and still have a few items to carry over to the next month. The popular grocery shops are Winners (Nigeria's equivalent is Shoprite) located in Cascavelle, and Jumbo a.k.a Spar.
For the option of eating out, you get discounts in McDonalds or KFC by showing your MDX student ID card. An average meal in any fast food joint costs about RS 120 ($3 | NGN 1,130) excluding drinks. Three meals a day for one month costs RS 10,080 ($252 | NGN 94,800), almost double the price of groceries for a month. In other words, you are eating someone's rent money - Mad oo!
9. Flex (Hangouts)
This is where your spending will be tested, because it is easy to get carried away! I have split flexing into two categories - regular and extravagant flex.
Regular flex is the usual hangouts where spending doesn't exceed RS 1000 ($25 | NGN 9400) - few drinks at the bar, dinner date, bowling, cinema, recreational center, etc. They seem harmless but when they stack up, oh boy, that's when brokenness reveals its face. In a month, I spend an average of RS 3000 ($75 | NGN 28,200) on all regular flex combined. Most of the other things I like to do like cycling, the beach, hiking, etc are free.
Extravagant Flex is like a shotgun, one hit kills you. It is anything from RS 1500 - water sport, sky diving, safari, weekend resort, boat cruise, fashion shopping, etc. I try to limit this to one extravagant flex per month, so I'm spending a minimum amount of RS 2500 ($63 | NGN 23,500) each time.
Students are eligible to work 20 hours a week. There are a variety of jobs to pick from, and the university is always sending out alerts, and also hosting events to boost student's CVs and skills. If you are someone like me with 6 years work experience then you can tidy up your CV and send to companies you would like to work with. Majority of the employers will respond to your mail, either to invite you for an interview, or simply reject your application politely. But I swear to you that if your skill set is popping like Coco Pops (bars. LOL), and the company recognizes your worth, you CAN land a managerial role earning about RS 45,000 ($1,125 | NGN 423,000) monthly. No bullshit. If you don't have the extra time to dedicate to a full time job, you can work in a restaurant as a server boy/girl, or front desk in a grocery store, or take orders in McDonald's, they pay fairy ok, with an average salary of RS 10,000 ($250 | NGN 94,000) monthly.
The two places I have felt the safest are Dubai and Mauritius, but I must give the award to Mauritius. Ever since I moved here, I have not heard a single case of violence or theft, I have also not heard a police siren and can't tell you what it even sounds like. I always make jokes to my friends about the police, that they are so bored, they sometimes help animals cross the street. LOL. Of course this isn't the case, but it is a good laugh nonetheless.
The people are the friendliest and most trustworthy I have ever interacted with, it's almost unbelievable. The Police officers are also very polite, and professional. Mauritius is one of the safest countries in the region for resident and visiting foreigners. "The national crime rate continues to be low, but the increase of drug use remains a growing problem. Most violent crimes are “crimes of passion,” or attacks resulting from the escalation of domestic or neighborhood disputes. While violent crime involving tourists or business travelers is not common" (OSAC, 2019).
12. Don't Leave These Items Behind
No long talk, bring your driver's license in case you need to rent a car, bring as many clothes as possible because shopping can get expensive, bring garri because you won't find it here. Gbam!
13. The Summary
Based on the breakdown above:
The minimum monthly amount I recommend is NGN 150,000 ($400), the person will make many sacrifices, but can pull it off. To survive with this budget, you MUST stay in a 3-bedroom house or apartment where your individual monthly bills (rent and utility) MUST NOT exceed RS 9,500 ($238 | NGN 89,300). Don't think of renting a car monthly, just take the bus.
The ideal amount I recommend is NGN 200,000 ($532). With this budget, you have the luxury of staying in any type of house or apartment and renting a car for a month, however, it will be wise to stay in a 2-bedroom space to save even more cash. Look out for spaces where individual monthly bills (rent and utility) wouldn't exceed RS 11,000 ($275 | NGN 103,400)
The optimum amount I recommend is NGN 300,000 ($800). With such a budget please you can do as you wish, you don't need advise from me, instead I need advise from you. LOL.
Get a job, the extra money will save your butt. It will also keep you busy. Being busy will take your mind off flexing. Taking your mind off flexing will save you money. Saving money means you never go broke. Never going broke means you can focus on things that matter. Focusing on things that matter means you can get married. GO AND MARRY! (I play too much. LOL)
Make sure to check all your conversion rates on TransferWise, figures are bound to change depending on when you read this article.
14. Subscribe to my blog
If you found this information useful and have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me privately. In addition, kindly subscribe to this blog to stay updated on new posts. More content to come around Mauritius.
See you in the next post!
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