There’s no doubt in Aylen’s mind that Nelson is the place she belongs. Ever since her first visit from her home in Argentina in 2009, she couldn’t help but travel back for ski trips and summer adventures. She’s grateful for the chance to live in Nelson permanently, which she accomplished through the West Kootenay Rural Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program.
“I completely adore Nelson,” she says. “It’s such a gorgeous town, and I feel very welcomed by the community. I also really love the outdoors and skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. Nelson is the perfect blend between the outdoor lifestyle and the community vibe. I feel like I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world like it. It’s the land of everything.”
Aylen’s interest in taking a social work program at Selkirk College encouraged her to take the plunge and come to Canada finally. “Argentina is very conservative and has a different approach to mental health. I just wanted to be exposed to different theories. I kept hearing about the program from friends, and it sounded very interesting and like it would be a good fit.”
She’s now the proud owner of a diploma in social work and a certificate in mental health and addiction. Selkirk College also provided her with some memorable years. “They have a strong mandate to support and empower their students. It was a beautiful experience.”
She was offered a job with Nelson Cares during her second year and now helps the vulnerable populations in Nelson by connecting them to local resources as her full-time job. “Before, I was just working for money. Now I find meaning in my work. I like being there for vulnerable people in the community, and it’s helped me grow a lot. I really like my team, too. It attracts some really cool people.”
“I think the RNIP program is amazing,” says Aylen. “It changed my life dramatically. There are so many immigration programs and point systems, and with this one, it was nice having someone there to answer my questions. It felt really safe.”
Aylen received her permanent residency (PR) just a few weeks ago. “It’s something I don’t have to worry about anymore. It’s hard to explain. When you don’t have your PR, you can’t settle into your life, right? I wasn’t going to buy a really comfortable mattress because I didn’t know if I would be able to stay. It’s kind of ridiculous. I could have bought it before, but it’s this thing where you just don’t know. I couldn’t mentally settle.”
Aylen, get yourself the most comfortable mattress you can find! You deserve it.
Aylen is one of the many deserving applicants that successfully made it through RNIP, a program that changes lives.