Incoming Exchange Students

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Incoming Exchange Students are our international partnerships in action, bringing opportunity for intercultural learning, networking and global engagement. You're going to love learning here!

Join us on an Exchange!


Incoming Exchange VIU Fact Sheet

Studying at VIU

Located on Canada’s west coast in the city of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island University is surrounded by coastal mountains, ocean and forests. Students experience an active, exciting west coast BC lifestyle as they explore the region, taking advantage of world-class recreation while studying at VIU. Surfing, hiking, scuba diving, camping? Yes please! Authentic cultural and arts experiences? You’ll find it all at VIU and beyond.

Vancouver Island University is a student-centred community where excellence in learning is the primary goal. We welcome and value the contributions of students from around the world who create the rich cultural tapestry on our campuses. Our faculty and students gain valuable international experience through engagement in innovative projects and partnerships worldwide. Our vision is shaped by the ideals of a just, equitable and sustainable global community.

This is a place of acknowledgement and fair access, achievement and personal attention – a special blend of a caring, nurturing environment sets VIU apart from other universities. It’s an essential ingredient for a values-based education that creates an environment balancing academic accomplishments with the goal of developing students' social and relationship skills to last a lifetime, make a difference, and model others to do the same. In doing this, VIU is making an invaluable contribution to much stronger and healthier communities and a better world.

VIU is a comprehensive university with more than 120+ programs. Explore our full list of programs

Please see our Fact Sheet for the list of programs that are open for Inbound Exchange students.


The exchange program is open to all international students nominated from our Exchange Partner Institutions, who meet the English language requirements as well as applicable admissions criteria depending on the faculty and program of interest.

Exclusions: Incoming exchange students are not eligible to register in any courses or programs offered by Masters/Graduate programs or the English Language Centre (ELC).  

If your university does not have an exchange agreement with VIU, you may be able to apply as a fee paying international student.

Application Procedure

Step 1: Confirm your eligibility

Explore the list of VIU Exchange Partners and confirm that your home university is listed as a current VIU exchange partner.  Note: If your home institution is not listed, a formal exchange agreement is not in place. Under these circumstances where exchange eligibility has not been met, incoming students may be able to apply to VIU as a fee paying international student.

Step 2: Apply at Home 

Contact your home university's exchange and study abroad office for specific application details. All students applying for the VIU exchange program must be first nominated by their home university prior to applying to VIU.

Step 3: Apply to VIU

After you have been nominated to study at VIU by your home university exchange office, detailed instructions and a link to an online application form will be sent to you directly by email. You will be instructed to complete the application form and submit the supporting documents.  The application fee is waived for incoming exchange students.

Application Form: Fill out the online International Application for Admission Form.

Important! When filling out the form:

  • Use Firefox or Chrome browsers (the form is not compatible with Internet Explorer).
  • The application fee is waived for exchange students coming for one or two semesters from an exchange partner institution. To override the payment of the application fee,  select either Cheque/Money Order or Electronic Transfer "Method of Payment."
  • Once VIU has received your application and admitted you, the International Admissions department will send your Letter of Acceptance (LOA) to the email address you have used to apply to VIU.

Application Deadlines

For entry in September or January, the Registration Centre begins accepting applications on November 15 of the previous year. The application deadline is March 31 for most programs, unless otherwise indicated in the Start Dates and Application Deadlines for each program.

Course Selection (academic students)

International students must be enrolled as full-time students at VIU for the duration of their studies. Full-time student status is defined as being enrolled in a minimum 9 credits which is normally 3 courses. 

As an exchange student from a VIU exchange partner university, tuition fees are waived up to 15 credits (usually 5 courses). Students who enroll in more than 15 credits are responsible for paying tuition for each additional credit they are registered in.


  • Follow the instructions given in Web Registration or Web Registration Tutorial.
  • You need your VIU student number in order to access your Student Record.
  • Once you have worked out your courses and program schedule, print it off (ctrl-P) for your records.
  • There are a set number of seats in each class so you may not be able to get into all the courses you want to take at VIU. Have a few additional courses approved and on your list.

If you have questions or issues when registering for courses, contact and one of our International Student Advisors will be happy to assist you.

All incoming international students to VIU (including exchange students) are subject to a mandatory VIU inbound insurance policy through International Insurance.  Students will be enrolled in the program automatically, and the minimum cost of $249 (CAD) per semester applies.  Payment for this fee can be completed upon arrival online through your VIU Student Record.

Please note: Incoming exchange students are ineligible for medical insurance through the VIU Student Union (VIUSU)

The insurance policy details will be sent out before the start of studies at VIU.  See: the Medical Insurance for International Students webpage for more information.

We strongly recommend students still obtain travel medical insurance to cover their journey to and from Canada.

Studying at VIU for 2 semesters: Exchange students are unable to opt-out of Guard.Me, even if they attend VIU for more longer than 3 months, as they will not meet the 6 month BC residency requirement to be eligible for a provincial medical services plan until mid way through their second semester of Guard.Me coverage — see Eligibility for MSP - Province of British Columbia (

Please note: VIU will verify that Guard.Me insurance has been paid for PRIOR to arrival and could impose cancellation/withdrawal from the Exchange program and any VIU courses if payment is not received in advance.

Fees and Living Expenses for Incoming Exchange Students

The living costs related to studying on exchange are paid for by the student. All fees and costs provided are general estimates. Cost of living may vary based on individual preferences, living arrangements and lifestyle.

VIU Fees for Incoming Exchange Students

Fee TypeAmount
Application FeeWaived
TuitionWaived up to 15 credits; students are responsible for tuition fees over 15 credits
Lab, Supply and Other Course FeesVaries by courses
Medical Insurance (Guard.Me)$249.50 per semester
BooksApproximately $600 per semester; varies by courses and program

Estimated Living Expenses for Incoming Exchange Students (Per Month)

Fee TypeAmount
Housing - Application Fee$200 - 250
Housing - Rent$500 - 1,000
Housing – Damage Deposit$150 - 400
Food$300 - 600
Student Bus Pass$65

All fees are quoted in Canadian Dollars (CAD) and are subject to change without prior notice. You can use the Google Finance currency converter to compare the cost to your local currency.

Education Abroad Office

Faculty of International Education, Building 255 
900 Fifth Street
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
V9R 5S5
Phone: 250.753.3245 Ext: 2494

Education Abroad: Where your learning takes flight