International Nursing and the Path to Schlegel Villages

Word travels fast in caregiving circles around the world about opportunities for internationally-educated nurses to come to Canada and build a new future while fulfilling a heightened demand for healthcare workers. It was early 2022 when Michael and Michelle Mabalot heard from friends from The Philippines with whom they’d worked in Saudi Arabia. These friends had settled in Guelph working for Schlegel Villages at The Village of Riverside Glen, and Michael and Michelle were intrigued by the idea that they could potentially make their way to Ontario and offer their children a new wealth of opportunity. 

Michael and Michelle stand alongside the sign for The Village of Tansley Woods. Michelle was pregnant when they began the application process, and their other child was six years old at the time. As a couple who began their life together as high school sweethearts and would eventually study nursing together, they saw a future in Canada where education and exciting new prospects abounded.

It was helpful that they had friends who had been through the process and informed them what they could expect.

“We know people who are already here,” Michael says. “They are living proof that they are having a good life here in Canada and they say Schlegel Villages is very good.”

Their friends shared pictures and explained what caregiving is like in a senior’s environment and how much they enjoyed the community at Riverside Glen; Michael and Michelle were convinced.

“We know this kind of job;” Michelle says. “It fits for us.”

They were well prepared before they formally began the application process, as their friends informed them of the various background details required in order to speed the process up.

“It was like we were already prepared when we received the list of what we needed,” Michael says, “so the process was quite fast.” It did take some time and effort to gather the materials, however, especially some of the qualification details from The Philippines because they were coordinating the application from Saudi Arabia, but once they had it together, the Canadian process was quite efficient.  

When asked what advice they could offer others who might consider applying for work as a caregiver in Canada, Michael says to be prepared in advance before even applying.

Their transition to a new home in February of 2023 was made easier because of the welcome they received by Schlegel Villages and the team at The Village of Tansley Woods, where the couple was offered a place to live temporarily while they found an apartment. Six months later, Michael and Michelle reflect on their settlement in Canada as Personal Care Assistants striving towards Canadian nursing accreditation. They have an apartment not far from Tansley Woods and they bought a car. They miss their children deeply, as they are being cared for with family back in The Philippines, and outside of work they are navigating the detailed process to become permanent residents in Canada, but they are happy.

“When we came here, it was all prepared,” Michelle says. “When we arrived here at Tansley Woods, we were amazed . . . and we are so thankful.”

They’ve become a part of Village life and they love working with seniors. As they look forward to the fall when they hope to write their practical nursing license exam, they say they’ve found a place with Schlegel Villages, where they know many doors may open in the future.

IEN Pathway at Schlegel Villages

If you are an internationally-educated nurse considering a role in Canada, consider beginning the National Nursing Assessment Service process here: Home - National Nursing Assessment Service (