Living in Nanaimo and Canada

At Vancouver Island University (VIU) you’ll be located in the centre of the Island’s great natural beauty with access to year-round activities like kayaking, hiking, ocean and snow sports, mountain biking, and more. At VIU, our goal is to set you up for success and guide you to amazing experiences on- and off-campus. Students have many opportunities to pursue their passions, develop career skills, and build relationships that will last a lifetime. Also a trip to Vancouver is a breeze with a short plane or ferry ride! 

Saysutshun/Newcastle Island

Vancouver Island University is located in the city of Nanaimo. 

Located in the central part of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a busy, beautiful harbour city and a welcoming community of over 90,000 people. The city offers the best of two worlds: urban opportunities and natural environment. Nanaimo has over 1,400 hectares of protected open green space and offers an abundance of parks and trails to explore, which attract tourists from all around the world. From hiking and walking in old-growth rainforest to kayaking, canoeing, paddle-boarding, sailing, surfing, whale-watching, and scuba diving - Vancouver Island has them all. With the mild and warm climate, students get to enjoy outdoor recreations all year round. The friendly and multicultural community welcomes thousands of international students every year. 


Climate and Weather 

6 degree celsius average winter high 

24 degree celsius average summer high 


How to get to Nanaimo

Airplane: 20 minutes flight from Vancouver

Ferry: There are two car/passenger ferry routes linking Vancouver to Nanaimo 

Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (1.5 hours) & Tsawwassen to Duke Point (2 hours)

Float Plane: There are two float plane companies that link Vancouver and Nanaimo 

Harbour Air (20 minutes) & Sea Air (20 minutes)



Canada consistently ranks as one of the best countries in the world to visit and live. Choose to study in Canada, and you’ll receive an internationally recognized education that will be a life-long asset. 


There are so many benefits and perks for international students studying in Canada!  It may lead to a career and a future abroad or in Canada, or perhaps better career prospects at home. It will also give you access to our four beautiful seasons, multicultural diversity, wide-open spaces,  clean environment and wonderful quality of life.

Canada is rich in diversity, with a multitude of ethnic, religious and linguistic groups. This diversity is especially unique as Canada was the first country to officially adopt multiculturalism as a policy.

Canada has over one million people with aboriginal identity, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. Our Nanaimo campus is situated on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw people, and the campus is home to our Centre for Aboriginal Education & Engagement. We acknowledge and thank the Coast Salish and Snuneymuxw people for the opportunity to learn and live on their traditional territories.

With such rich diversity, there are many different perspectives on what is considered a “Canadian” trait. Come with an open mind and discover more about the many people and cultures of Canadians as part of your journey.