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International Friendship Day : Expats building strong friendship bonds in Mauritius

Observed on 30th July, the International Friendship Day advocates the role that friendship plays in our lives and in promoting peace among people and nations. This week, our expats speak to News on Sunday about how friendship impacted their lives in various ways and how their Mauritian friends helped them better adapt to their new island lives.


Dr. Mariyam Ather Siddiqui: “Friendships have been invaluable in navigating my new life as an expat in Mauritius”

mariyamDr. Mariyam Ather Siddiqui has been living in Mauritius for six years. The expat shares that she decided to move to Mauritius in 2017 after completing her Pharm D degree and after getting married to her. Husband. The couple is blessed with a beautiful 4-year-old son named Rayaan Abdool Carrim. “The decision to settle down in Mauritius was motivated by love and the desire to build a life together with my husband’s family. We wanted to create a loving home for our son and enjoy the beauty of Mauritius, with its stunning landscapes and diverse culture. Living here with my family has been a fulfilling and enriching experience,” she explains. 

The Pakistani expat utters that adapting to the Mauritian lifestyle has been an exciting journey. “The friendly and welcoming nature of the people here made the adaptation relatively easy. I have blended my Pakistani culture with the Mauritian way of life, cherishing both my roots and embracing the local traditions. Celebrating our cultural festivals and sharing our traditions with our friends in Mauritius has brought us closer together.” She adds that Mauritius has indeed been a land of opportunity for me. “Professionally, I have had the chance to work as a pharmacist, contributing to the healthcare sector and helping people in need. The island’s growing economy, stable job market, and supportive community have provided a conducive environment for personal and professional growth. Life in Mauritius has been a beautiful mix of family, career, and a vibrant social life.”

The pharmacist confides that her work in the healthcare sector in Mauritius has been indeed fulfilling. “After completing my Pharm D degree in 2017, I started my career as a pharmacist in Mauritius. I chose this field because I am passionate about healthcare and the well-being of individuals. It has been a fulfilling path, working in healthcare and making a positive impact on people’s lives. My profession allows me to apply my knowledge and expertise to serve the community, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of others.”

When it comes to friendship, the woman expat states that friendship holds immense importance in her life. “Friends are like a support system, providing comfort, understanding, and companionship. They make life more meaningful and enjoyable. On International Friendship Day, I celebrate the bonds I have formed with friends in Mauritius and around the world,” she affirms. 

She adds that since settling on this beautiful island, she has been fortunate to make really good friends. “I have found amazing individuals who have become like family to me. We share laughter, support each other during tough times, and create lasting memories together.” Dr Mariyam adds that the friends she has made have been of great help for her as an expat. “These friendships have been invaluable in navigating my new life as an expat in Mauritius. My friends have been my guides, helping me understand the local customs, traditions, and language. They have made me feel at home and supported me through the ups and downs of expat life,” she asserts. 

For Dr Mariyam, making local friends has been nothing but positive for her. “Making friends in Mauritius has been a positive experience overall. The warm and friendly nature of the Mauritian people has made it easier to connect with others. However, like in any new place, there were initial challenges, such as language barriers and cultural differences. But the openness and acceptance of the community helped overcome these challenges,” she states. 

The woman expat advises other fellow expats to have an open heart and mind when it comes to building friendship bonds. “To my fellow expats, I would advise embracing the local culture and being open to forming new friendships. Engaging in local events, activities, and volunteering can be great ways to meet like-minded individuals. Remember that genuine friendships take time to develop, so be patient and invest time in building meaningful connections. Celebrate diversity and cherish the beauty of cultural exchange as you create your new life in Mauritius.”

Jayasankar Seshadri: “We have made some really wonderful friends in Mauritius”

jayasankarOriginally from India, Jayasankar Seshadri has been in Mauritius since 1998. The latter runs a company called Campus Abroad, an educational consulting firm which has been in existence for over 20 years. “I visited Mauritius several times before deciding to set up shop here. Mauritius is a fabulous place to reside. It also has a very conducive business environment. I live here with my wife,” he explains. 

According to Jayasankar, Mauritius is a very easy place to settle in. “The people are very welcoming. We had no issues at all. Culturally Mauritius shares a lot of values with India,” he says. He shares that he is very optimistic about Mauritius. “I call it a land of opportunities. There is so much happening here that at times that I wish I was 30 years younger. On the Education front in which we are active, Mauritius offers a lot of opportunities and also is a great point of entry to Africa.”

The Indian expat is proud to say that his education consultancy firm has extensively grown since the launching over twenty years back. “We started as a small consulting firm about 25 years ago and now we have grown into possibly the biggest educational consultancy in Mauritius. We initially started with outward student recruitment, then got into inward recruitment and finally into consultancy helping universities set up base in Mauritius, helping with their marketing among others,” he states. 

Speaking about friendship, Jayasankar says that he has made really good friends in Mauritius. “We are very well networked in Mauritius having formed some really close friendships over the years. Friends play the most important roles in one’s lives,” he utters. He confides that many of his friends have been really helpful to him while he was in his adaptation phase in Mauritius. “Many of our Mauritian friends have eased the process of our transition considerably. They have helped us settle down, explained the Mauritian cultural nuances, fed us some great Mauritian food and networked us with others,” he declares. 

The expat asserts that despite certain reserves at the beginning of the friendships, he and his Mauritian friends were later reassured that the bond was truthful. “Initially there were reservations on both sides However once we got to know each other friendships developed fast,” he says. Jayasankar strongly advises expats to make efforts to mix with the locals. “I would advise expats to make an effort to move out of their comfort zone and mix with the local Mauritian population. Believe me this will really help you integrate and settle down.”

Muhammad Umar: “My local friends have been my shoulders to promote my business”

umarIt’s been nearly ten years since Muhammad Umar settled in Mauritius. The lecturer by profession says that he decided to move to the island after seeing the many advantages Mauritius offers. “Mauritius is a scenic, full of tourism attractions and adventures place and is covered with blue and green lagoons. It also has a perfect stable market for businesses and is a politically stable place to carry on day-to-day activities. Its slow pacing helps lot to writers, authors and artists to move with the flow. I live here with family and in fact I feel all Mauritians are my family, and I mean it,” he utters.

Originally from Pakistan, Muhammad says that he adapted quite easily to life in Mauritius. “From food to my hobbies everything represents both cultures, namely that of my origin and Mauritius. It was not very difficult to adapt here as there are lots of similarities interestingly and I felt very warm treat from locals and I still experience it after years of residing here.” 

Writer, public speaker and entrepreneur, the expat shares that Mauritius has opened many doors for him. “I did my two art exhibitions, I started an online Arabic news webpage, I wrote several articles in local journals, I go almost every week to fish or to the sea to surf or boating, I started a business, among others. In Mauritius I have time for myself and my family as working hours and personal life have a balance here,” he utters. 

When it comes to friendship, Muhammad confides that his circle of Mauritian friends as well as expats has grown bigger with the years since he first settled. “My friendship circle is big enough, real life friends, friends by mutual interests, social media friends, friends we make in early ages, neighbours, school friends, pen pals and many more. But I guess we just don’t make friends, it’s like love, we fall into it and that’s the beauty of this wonderful relation.”

However, the Pakistani expat confides that he has been careful as well when making friends. “Due to the nature of my profession, I have been selective, but given the friendly nature which I inherited from my family, my close circle of friends is large and they are people who come from all walks of life. In general, I prefer friends with wisdom and creativity, so that during every get together there is a learning opportunity,” he declares. 

Muhammad also asserts that the friends he made have helped him navigate in his new life as an expat. “Friends in need are friends indeed. So, in case of any help or advise needed, we reach to them first. Of course, my local friends have been my shoulders to promote my business and also many of my former students share the thick and thins of life with me and we enjoy a very friendly and enduring relation.” He adds that his friendships have brought many positive things in his life in Mauritius. “It also helped me keep being social, outgoing and understanding to the local culture, the language and kept me away of home sickness,” he utters.

His advice to expats who are adapting in Mauritius and looking forward to making friends here is to be openminded. “Distance means so little when, when someone means so much. For my friends from across the globe, I say you all,  I am impressed by your choice of choosing me as your friend and am thankful to you. 


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