Study in the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region

The learning centres in the region offer diverse courses in music, digital arts, yoga, traditional Chinese medicine, and much more. Industry and trades training is also plentiful, including electrical, carpentry, and wood working.

There are weekend retreats, certificates, and diploma programs, and several institutions offer the option of studying full time, part time, or online.

Some highlights include:

  • Oxygen Art Centre, an artist-run multidisciplinary centre and community arts organization
  • University of British Columbia's West Kootenay Teacher Education Program
  • Yasodhara Ashram's yoga retreat and study centre
  • Nelson Waldorf School offers alternative early childhood schooling for Canadian and International students
  • Selkirk College serves more than 11,000 students in nine locations around the West Kootenay/Boundary region. They also provide Community Education, Workplace Training and offer Outdoor Academy courses which can be found here.

Where can I find these institutions?

Living in Nelson and Kootenay Lake

Student life here is idyllic. Away from studying there is everything from wilderness adventures to renowned cafes to a vibrant bar and live music scene. Our region is a place that truly celebrates diversity, and is constantly abuzz with the energy of the people who live here. 

All seasons also bring different offerings. Enjoy the many local beaches in the summer, find boutique shopping, dining, live theatre and festivals all year round, and ski at Whitewater Ski Resort or the nordic centres in the winter.


The public transit system in the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region is inexpensive and reliable. The rural nature of the area means there are bus routes and stops in many smaller communities and roads, not just in the larger centres—for example, there is a regular service along Kootenay Lake all the way to Balfour. All regional buses are bike-friendly.

Exact schedules change with the seasons, so see the official BC Transit bus schedule for the latest information, or check out our detailed transit page.

The Region

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Read our visitors guide online or order a copy of the official visitor's guide and map for our region.