Print Edition: February 22, 2012
UFV is proving to be a great education destination for a number of Mauritian students as more and more come to Abbotsford.
Mauritius is a very small island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, close to Madagascar. Mauritius is comparable to Vancouver in terms of population (approximately 1.3 million). Having been taken from the French by the British in the early 1800s the official language of Mauritius is, in fact, English. However, the majority of Mauritian media is in French due to a lasting French influence. This bilingualism is one of the reasons UFV’s International department viewed Mauritian students as ideal candidates to study in Canada.
Ravi Phillips, Head of International Marketing (particularly in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa), explained that he was in charge of marketing to Mauritius and played a key role in attracting so many students from this seemingly-obscure island nation. “We started marketing UFV in Mauritius in 2008, the reason I chose Mauritius is because of its vibrant East Indian diaspora, who have been living on that island since late 1800s. We felt UFV would be a perfect fit for Mauritian students,” said Phillips.
“I have been going to Mauritius every year since 2008 and promote UFV in recruitment fairs. So far we have eight Mauritian students currently studying in various programs, the number was much higher before as some students have already graduated.”
Another reason specifically that Phillips envisioned Mauritian youth fitting in well as UFV students was because of the quality of their primary education. “Mauritius has [a] very good school system,” noted Phillips. “They follow the British Cambridge model of schooling and have good skills in English and French.”
Because mostly all educated Mauritians are bilingual, The Cascade was able to interview Loic Emilie, one of the several Mauritian students studying at UFV, switching back and forth from English to French without any difficulty.
“I am an international student. It’s been almost six months that I have been [in Canada]… I’m studying Business Administration currently to obtain a diploma and in two years I will work on a Business degree.”
“I lived for 18 years in Mauritius without really discovering the world. I am an adventurous person so I wanted to travel and leave Mauritius for a bit. Also, I wanted to study in an English-speaking country, and everyone speaks English in British Columbia,” said Emilie. “I hope that when I return to Mauritius I have a bit of an English accent.” Emilie noted that although English may be the official language of Mauritius, if you speak English well in Mauritius it is a sign of being highly educated.
Emilie admitted that one of the principal reasons for studying at UFV as opposed to in the United States or in England is because of the fairly weak exchange rate of Mauritian currency and compared to the US dollar or the British pound. Additionally, UFV’s international rates are so low in comparison to those of universities in those countries.