Peer Helper program


The Peer Helper program provides leadership opportunities to Vancouver Island University students who are inspired to volunteer and make positive contributions to our diverse campus community. 

Peer Helpers operate from the Faculty of International Education, and contribute to welcome events and cultural programs that serve to support and connect over 2,000 international students with the campus and the community.

The application period for the Peer Helper program is December/January of each year. The program is a one year volunteer commitment from February to January with a break over most of the summer. The volunteer term consists of training sessions, workshops and a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service. The primary volunteer role of Peer Helpers is to support the various English Language Centre orientation events that take place at the beginning of each term (6 terms per year).

Role of Peer Helpers

Peer Helpers are experienced students that provide a warm welcome and offer a helping hand to new international students during their first weeks at VIU.They also volunteer to support or host special events that help students build community and make connections on campus.

Duties include:

  • Actively participate in peer helper training & leadership development sessions.
  • Assist with orientation duties including new student check-in, ESL testing support, campus tours, computer account set-up, event support and occasional one-on-one support.
  • Use skills from Peer Helper training to provide cultural adjustment support to new students.
  • Be knowledgeable about campus and community resources to be able to refer to new students to appropriate resources.
  • Participate in International Education initiatives including Culture Couch, panel discussions , workshops and special events.
  • Encourage new students to participate in campus life programming

Rewards of Participating in the Peer Helper Program

  • Receive valuable leadership skills and gain experience to help build your portfolio.
  • Increase your network of friends and connections on campus.
  • Make a difference on campus and in the experience of new students
  • Earn the Peer Helper Program Certificate of Completion
  • Become eligible for one of three $1,000 tuition credit awards for your next year of study.

How to Apply

Peer Helper recruitment takes place each December/January. Selected students serve a minimum one year term as volunteer campus leaders. To be selected for the program, applicants must demonstrate a positive attitude, a commitment to volunteering, and a genuine interest in helping fellow students.

Applicants will be assessed based on their application and initial participation and attendance.  Eligibility requirements are:

  • Must be currently enrolled in a full-time graduate, undergraduate, or upper-level English Language Centre programs
  • Must have completed at least one full semester of studies at VIU.
  • Have at least 1 year of studies remaining (students in their last semester are not eligible).
  • Must be in good academic standing in the previous semester (2.0 average or equivalent).
  • Possess reasonably strong English communication skills.
  • Interested in learning about cultures different than their own


Notices for the application period are delivered to students each January via campus newsletters (International Point of VIU and Compass). It is also promoted through VIU Cultural Connections Facebook Page.

For more information, please contact Simon Schachner by email at, phone (250) 740-6315 extension 2978 or Facebook at "Viu Simon"

Click on link below for 2020 Peer Helper Application Form:



New students have the opportunity to connect with Peer Helpers during International Student Orientations. If you would like to connect with a Peer Helper you may email the program coordinator at