VIU International students

Living in Canada

Things to do and see - Get involved!!

Do you want to meet new people? Do you want to have fun? The students who have the best experiences are those who study hard and play hard. Join activities and enjoy your experience at VIU. A variety of activities are posted regularly on our International Student Activity Calendar. When you are in Nanaimo you can also check out the student activity information board and brochure display wall at the main reception in Building 255 (International Education). Come visit us and ask one of our helpful receptionists for information on upcoming events.

VIU is located on beautiful Vancouver Island, where recreation is a way of life year round. Have fun and learn while you participate in activities with Canadian students and students from around the world. Some activities could include:

Swim in an olympic-size swimming pool at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. Enjoy the water slides and wave pool, or relax in the sauna or steam room. The Aquatic Centre, playing fields, tennis courts, bicycle trails, a 400-metre track, and baseball diamond are all located next to the campus.

Canadians love to skate and play or watch hockey. For information , call the number in the City Services Directory.The Nanaimo Ice Centre is located right across the street from the Aquatic Centre. Learn to skate or watch a game!!

Local Transportation and Driving in Canada

Nanaimo's transit service provides transportation directly to VIU and throughout Nanaimo. See BC Transit for Information about bus passes, routes etc.

To drive a vehicle in Canada, you will need:

  • International Driver's Permit (apply for in your home country)
  • Your original driver's license
  • Your student card

To learn about Canadian driving laws, vist the ICBC website.

Living in Canada

Now that you have decided where you want to study, you will need to know what to expect when you arrive.

It is important to have an open mind when you come to Canada. Remember that your home country and Canada have different customs, beliefs, educational systems, food, and so on. You will have the exciting opportunity to experience and understand those differences.

Living in a new culture takes patience and understanding. Do not be quick to judge others or situations. Try to keep a positive and open attitude.


Canada is a very large country and Vancouver Island University is located on the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island in a city of 85,000 people called Nanaimo. The west coast of Canada is known for its’ mild climate and beautiful scenery. We have many national, provincial and municipal parks that we can enjoy throughout the year. Most people from Vancouver Island lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

Canada is a multi-cultural country, which means that we have many different cultures represented here. We have people from Asia, India, Europe, as well as Central and South America, and the United States. When they come to Canada they bring their own customs, traditions and languages. Some people you will meet, even if they were born in Canada, still keep traditions from the countries of their parents or grandparents.

Canadians are friendly and we welcome people from all over the world.