With Welcome Week now underway in Weyburn and across Canada, we took the opportunity to chat with a local woman who just last week officially became a Canadian citizen.
Grecia Tessier moved from Mexico City to Canada in 2016 to study nursing. She said of all the challenges during her seven years of paperwork, the permanent residency application process was the longest.
"During my first semester I was here, I met my husband, [Trevor]," she shared. "So we lived together for about two years before we could qualify for common law, and then I still had to apply for my permanent residency. You have to qualify for a program, so there are certain programs that you can apply to to become a permanent resident, which is quite long."
In fact, she said her application was 300 pages long.
"For example, for us as a couple, we had to submit evidence that we were dating. Conversations with friends, pretty much every single interaction that we had documented, we had to submit for the application, on top of medical exams, an English exam, and security clearance. So that was pretty long, and that took about a year," she explained. "After I got my permanent resident card, about three years ago, I had to wait another three years just living in Saskatchewan, paying my taxes, doing all that stuff, and then I was able to apply for citizenship."
Tessier said the citizenship test was fairly straightforward.
"You submit your application, write a test, like a general politics, ethical responsibilities, Canadian knowledge, and then you get the ceremony and then you become a citizen."
She said the ceremony was online, but prior to COVID, they did do them in person.
We asked Tessier about her impressions of Canada.
"People are really welcoming, very respectful. It's super clean," she commented. "I would say safety is probably the biggest component of my decision to stay here in Canada. Everywhere you go, it's super safe."
"We have nothing to worry about here, my [three-year-old] son can play outside while I'm watching him, but I don't have that concern that something wrong is going to happen to him," she noted. "And friends in the community, we've made really good friends here."
She said they made the decision to settle here in Weyburn because her husband's family all live within an hour's drive, and they plan to stay for the people here.
"We have made lots of good friends here in the community, and it's super safe. I honestly love the community."
Tessier said Weyburn, in particular, has shown her a strong sense of community, which is something that you don't get in the bigger city.
"I lived in Mexico City, and life can be quite chaotic, but here in Weyburn it's so chill, and people are just so nice all the time."
While she lives and works in Weyburn, Grecia is pursuing a nursing degree at the University of Regina, where she commutes every week and will complete the accelerated program by August 2024. After that, she said she is hopeful she will find employment here in Weyburn.
Welcome Week, she shared, is certainly part of Weyburn's community appeal.
"Being a newcomer, I always try to be super mindful of those people I see, like new immigrants, because it's a really hard process. You leave your family and your supports behind."
"People might think it's not as important, but when you don't have anyone else to rely on, having these type of events really bring a sense of belonging to newcomers, so I think it's awesome that it's something that you guys continue to do this and hopefully that makes other people feel more welcome and they get to stay in the community."
She said she's planning to attend the 'Taste of the Nations' event being held on Friday at McKenna Hall. Read more HERE.
Tessier said, "Something I noticed and it's a big change from when I first came here in 2016, there weren't many Mexican ingredients at the grocery store, but nowadays you can buy it. You can pretty much find everything. So I have been able to cook some Mexican food at home. I like my pozole. My husband calls it Mexican soup."
She added the pozole is a homily (corn)-based soup that also includes spices, meat, and veggies.
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