Living and working in Reunion Island as a Language Assistant #1

St. Gilles

This is my island number 3 and counting!!! I am excited to share on the few topics I think are of importance especially if you are looking to move into the Island or just being a tourist 🙂

-Accommodation

Ste. Clotilde neighbourhood

I believe looking for accommodation in a new country especially while not physically there is the hardest thing. I thought I was prepared for this especially after Guadeloupe. But nooo, the French are interesting beings. It was such headache for me to have to work with a rental site, Leboncoin, and a few Facebook groups that I was referred to in order to scout for a place. I didn’t even know the addresses of most of these places I was interested in, so you can imagine how difficult it was to even get the owners to answer my emails, actually I only got 1 response out of the zillion inquiries I’d made. 

Lucky for me with some help, I was hosted for a month (big up to that family) as I was still figuring out the island and knowing what’s where. It really helped me a lot since by the time I moved out and settled I knew my way around and I owe some of it to Google Maps ha-ha.

I love my location in St. Clotilde, I’m 3-5minutes walk from all the important things to me;  the church, bus stop, the market, the bank and just 15minutes from my 2 schools.

Ps: save the Leboncoin site, might come in handy in case you decide to make the move. Another advantage is most people renting out their places don’t ask for a deposit. Good luck!!

-Transport 

Let me just start by filling you in on a life saver I came to learn about called Reunipass. If you’re ever in Reunion Island for a long period of time, I’d advise you to apply for this annual bus card that allows you unlimited use of most public transportation. Makes your touring escapades and adventures very easy. Unfortunately I didn’t know about this till after I’d bought my one month pass, but we live and we learn. 

It is effective especially, now with covid and limited cash handling in the bus. Though the island doesn’t have that many cases of corona, wearing of the mask while on board is compulsory.

I really find the bus schedule flexible and very accommodating. The buses are numerous and always on time. I have been told that Reunion Island has one of the most advanced transport system of the French overseas departments. Some people though would prefer to rent/buy a car since most buses stop running at about 7.30pm plus they have quite a relaxed schedule on the weekends and public holidays.

Something I’ve also noticed is that buses and taxis have their own pathway on the main roads; this is a really smart way of avoiding traffic.

St. Denis Centre

A reminder, always make sure you have a valid ticket while on the bus because I’ve noticed there are some operation officers (contrôleurs)who just enter the buses at random just to confirm if the tickets are valid. I don’t know what’s the charge for the offense of lack of a ticket or an invalid one but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

-Religion 

Eglise st. Gabriel – La Montagne

Laicity (laïcité) is also a thing here since Reunion is part of the French government. However, I find more religion diversity here. I see Muslims wearing their hijabs; I’ve also seen more mosques here unlike Guadeloupe.

I have recently started attending mass and even though I don’t understand everything or most of the things I just love the ambiance, singing and the sound of the church bell. If you ever get a chance, attend mass in Église St. Clotilde and thank me later.

I like how the island has a mixture of all the nationalities and ethnicities, Europeans, Africans, Asians you name it, hence the name Reunion – which basically means meeting. I happen to have randomly made a Kenyan friend who was eavesdropping my Swahili conversation with another Kenyan assistant. Isn’t that just amazing!

Being a French overseas department, besides speaking French they speak Creole too.

St. Denis Centre

…continued in the next article

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