ISO Fall 2019

International Students Orientation

Welcome to Vancouver Island University!

Smooth sailing VIU orientation logo





Each semester the Faculty of International Education provide a specialized International Student Orientation (ISO), known as Smooth Sailing.  Also, we offer workshops, activities and day trips to help our arriving students in undergraduate & graduate programs get connected with peers, feel at home on campus and settled in the community.

All incoming international students in undergraduate and graduate programs at VIU are invited and expected to attend Smooth Sailing: International Student Orientation.  This includes students transitioning from English language studies in Canada, as well as exchange and study abroad students. 

Please note, if you are starting in the English Language Centre (ELC), please visit the ELC Orientation webpage for more information about that orientation program: ELC Orientation.

Intended for new international academic students attending VIU in Spring semester.

Our Smooth Sailing: International Student Orientation begins with the International Student Orientation Welcome on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 from 7:30 to 9:30am (Pacific Time)

This is your opportunity to connect with other international students from around the world and learn about VIU Services, academic and immigration information, health and safety and upcoming orientation programming with events starting from January 5, 2021. It is a great way to start your first semester off in the right direction.

Follow these steps:

  1. You are required to Register in Advance using Zoom.
  2. Smooth Sailing will be taking place over Zoom, so please ensure that you have downloaded the application on your device or computer prior to January 5, 2021. Zoom application is free for all students. More information on how to download Zoom.
  3. Smooth Sailing: International Student Orientation Spring 2021. Save Event Schedule and Description to use during weeks of orientation. *Please note that the event schedule and description file has been updated as of January 6 at 11.30am.  The session Success in Intercultural Classrooms on January 12 has been added to the schedule.  
  4. A way to connect as a group of peers we would like you to check out the VIU Co-Curricular Involvement App as a way to do this.  Follow the instructions to download and start connecting.  This app is a great way to find events, resources, International Student Services, the Smooth Sailing: International Student Orientation and RockVIU Welcome to Campus schedule.

Nanaimo Airporter

Nanaimo Airporter is a van service from Departure Bay, Gabriola and Duke Point Ferry terminals as well as the Nanaimo airport.

You can access their Booking on-line or call 1-888-758-2133. When booking online add "VIU international student" under the "Special Instructions" window


From the airport: For the first 2 passengers (whether there is 1 or 2) the cost is $26, and each additional passenger after the first 2 is $5 more. For example 3 passengers $31 (or $10.35 per person) 4 passengers is $36 (or $9 per person) all passengers must be going to VIU to get this deal.

Departure Bay ferry: (Students must book in advance) The cost from the Ferry to the University is $15 for the first passenger and $5 per person after that.



RockVIU: Welcome to Campus is an opportunity for new students to explore the campus, meet their faculty, and make new connections with their peers. This year's orientation will consist of a full week of Virtual events aimed to explore the theme of Connect, Engage, Discover.

Co-Curricular Involvement App will have both the Smooth Sailing: International Student Orientation and the RockVIU schedules.  The Co-Curricular Involvement App is created for students to utilize and transform their university experience. Students can use the different features to get involved on campus, find helpful VIU resources, and communicate with their peers.

You can download the Co-Curricular App or log on to the desktop version of the application.

Future International Students Orientations



First Day of Classes

Spring 2021Tuesday  January 5Thursday January 7
Fall 2021Sunday August 29 
Spring 2022Tuesday January 4 


Spring 2020

Group photo

Fall 2019

ISO Fall 2019

Fall 2018

ISO Fall 2018

Fall 2017

Fall 2017 orientation

Fall 2016

Orientation group

 For more pictures visit our WorldVIUISS Facebook Album 

Upcoming Activities + Day Trips

Orientation Information

Smooth Sailing

The term smooth sailing refers to navigating through a task with ease, like a boat travelling on calm waters.  As a campus situated on the West Coast of Canada, our proximity to the ocean inspires us as we support students who are transitioning to this new environment, culture and academic landscape for the first time.  Our goal is that this day of welcome for international students will provide the tools to have a successful first year at Vancouver Island University (VIU) and beyond.