Student Life & Activities

At VIU, we know that students participating in at least one extracurricular activity enjoy a more fulfilling university experience.

We encourage you to start out the year right, and join one activity, event or student life program that interests you!

We've highlighted below the programs we offer through WordlVIU and the Faculty of International Education, in addition to some of our favourite programs, activities and events happening around campus and in the community:

Content Sections

Check out these student life programs offered by WorldVIU and the Faculty of International Education at Vancouver Island University!


VIU Cultural Connections Road Trips
Saturdays - Ongoing All Year

Join our Cultural Connections Road Trips and discover Vancouver Island's vibrant communities, local cultural events and attractions.

Being connected, active, and engaged in the local environment is healthy. It can help with the cultural adjustment process for students who are new to Canada or new to the community.   Every semester, we prepare a schedule of seasonal weekly Saturday activities available to registered VIU students.

Culture Couch 
Tuesdays 5-6:00pm (September-April)

Culture Couch is a student-led weekly event.  Each week is different, often consisting of sampling traditional foods, sharing music, and engaging in conversation. By attending, you can gain more understanding about the world and about each other in a casual and fun setting.

 Free, Food, Grocery Shuttle, Groceries, VIU, Vancouver Island Univeristy, VIU International Education, VIU Residences, Student Residences

Grocery Shuttle

Two Days a Week (September to April) Mondays & Tuesdays

Mondays (May to August)

6:25 pm from the Residences Cedar Centre.

The VIU Grocery Shuttle – sponsored by International Education and VIU Student Residence - is an opportunity for VIU students to get out and get some shopping done.  The shuttle runs to Superstore (in the North end of Nanaimo) which features a large variety of local and International foods and household items, a pharmacy, clothing and much more.  

Bring a reusable shopping bag and sign up at VIU Student Residence Cedar Centre (Building 4).  

Peer Helper Program
Ongoing All Year

Peer Helpers are the international student volunteers who support new student orientation events and cultural programming throughout the year. They are dynamic leaders who possess the experience, training and skills to support VIU's newest international students during their first few weeks on campus and beyond.

WorldVIU Days
First week of November Annually

The purpose of the week is to raise awareness and build appreciation for the cultural diversity that we have on our campuses.  It is also an opportunity to celebrate culture and to recognize the richness that diverse perspectives bring to our campus and community.  The week concludes with the WorldVIU Festival - a celebration of International Education, with cultural exhibits, performances and a world fashion showcase by VIU Students.


Global Groove Concert Series

The first Thursday of each month from September to April at Students' Union Pub

Global Groove is a FREE monthly concert series that takes place the first Thursday of each month  the Students' Union Pub (1st floor of Building 193). Each month features a live band that plays a different musical genre from around the world. The events start at 9PM and go until midnight. You must be at least 19 years of age to enter the pub and you will be required to present government issued photo ID such a passport, BC ID or Driver's License.


Subscribe to receive weekly announcements and reminder in our newsletter "International Point of View


VIU Students' Union Clubs & Events

Share your interests with others and join one of the several clubs that operate under the guidance of the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union (VIUSU). The VIUSU also organizes campus social events such as BBQs, welcome festivities and movie nights. Weekly events are held at the Students’ Union Pub.

Cultural Connections

Join other VIU students from all over the world in exploring the community and Vancouver Island. Experience day trips, cultural events and activities while in the company of new friends.  Organized by our International Education faculty, the activities and experiences are available all year long, and new day trips are available each semester!  Find out more online and visit Building 255 to sign up.

Campus Recreation

Campus Recreation offers you the opportunity to foster meaningful connections, healthy practices and holistic learning while you’re at VIU.  Stay healthy and happy by participating in fun events organized by Campus Rec. A wide variety of activities are offered, from intramural sports leagues to fitness classes and outdoor recreational activities.

Our gymnasium offers lots of sports options with basketball courts, volleyball courts, badminton courts, convertible racquetball/squash courts and more in addition to the fully-equipped fitness and weight rooms.

Past Intramural Leagues & Events:

  • Amazing Race
  • Co-ed Volleyball
  • 3-on-3 Basketball
  • Badminton
  • Indoor Soccer
  • Paintball
  • Mount Washington
  • Ski/Snowboard Trip
  • NHL Road Trip to watch the Vancouver Canucks


Outdoor Recreation

  • Past Outdoor Rec Opportunities:
  • Surfing Day Trip to Tofino
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • River Rafting
  • Hiking Trips
  • Caving
  • Snowshoe Day Trip
  • Back Country Skiing
  • Avalanche Awareness Day Trip
  • Nanaimo and Vancouver Island has a wide range of hiking trails to experience from beginner, intermediate to advanced abilities
  • Explore the beaches of Nanaimo and surrounding areas. 
  • Enjoy Nanaimo’s recreation facilities from swimming, skating, outdoor tennis, beach volleyball courts, drop-in basketball and more. 
  • Meet up with a friend at one of Nanaimo’s many coffee shops
  • Nanaimo restaurant scene offers a variety of cuisine with options of take-out or casual dining. 
  • Visit one of the many farmers markets on the Island where local growers sell their produce and artisans sell their unique pieces. 
  • Check out Nanaimo’s live music scene where local bands are featured in cozy cafés to larger venues.
  • Attend seasonal events in Nanaimo from Bathtub races, Vancouver Island Exhibition, Dragon Boat races and more. 
Being in the mid-Vancouver Island region gives you the opportunity to be near it all — forests, the ocean, lakes and trails, small communities and big cities like Vancouver.

Are any of these activities on your list of things to do in the next year?
  • Surf at Long Beach in Tofino
  • Mountain bike on groomed trails like Doumont or the Abyss
  • Run the Westwood Lake and Morrell Nature
  • Sanctuary trails
  • Geo-cache all over the mid-Island region
  • Get active and check out the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, with an Olympic-size swimming pool, water slides and wave pool.  You can find it within a 5-minute walk of the campus. Playing fields, tennis courts, ice skating, bicycle trails, a 400-metre track, and baseball diamond are all located next to the campus.
  • Check out the local yoga and acroyoga scenes
  • Hang out on any of our Gulf Islands – three are just a short boat ride from the Nanaimo harbour
  • Do some indoor or outdoor rock climbing
  • Join a soccer league – you can play year-round here
  • Kayak around Newcastle Island Marine Park
  • Stand up paddleboard on the ocean or lakes
  • Explore the waterfront, grab a coffee and take in the glorious scenery
  • Check out Nanaimo’s thriving music scene –live bands play all over town most nights of the week
  • Appreciate healthy and local food choices by visiting a farmers’ market
  • Get your hands dirty – we have an active, local DIY culture that embraces creativity
  • Ski or snowboard at Mount Washington
  • Explore the white sands of Rathtrevor Beach and campground in Parksville
  • Hike up Mount Benson or Mount Tzouhalem ridge for amazing views of the coastal mountains
  • Live the west coast lifestyle where your options are only limited by your imagination!