Study Abroad on Vancouver Island in Canada

Nanaimo and surroundings

The port city Nanaimo

Nanaimo (located in British Columbia) is the second largest city on beautiful Vancouver Island with about 80,000 inhabitants, after the city of Victoria.

Thanks to its central location on the island, Nanaimo has two major ferry connections: The BC Ferries regularly depart to Vancouver and back every day from both the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal and the Duke Point Ferry Terminal. The ferry ride takes about 1.5 hours. Alternatively, the airport in Nanaimo will also get you to Vancouver. The flight from Vancouver to Nanaimo offers a fantastic view and takes about 15-20 minutes. Flying by seaplane is also a popular option to get to the main land. Here, you will take off in the port of Nanaimo and land downtown in the port of Vancouver – an ideal way of transport for a shopping trip to the big city.

The student city Nanaimo offers a pretty downtown area as well as the picturesque harbor promenade with great shopping opportunities and good restaurants. Why don’t you try a burger and have a drink at the Dinghy Dock Floating Pub on Protection Island? A small boat takes the guests there once every hour – a small island directly across from Nanaimo. We recommend taking the boat to the island during sunset.

Fun fact: The treat “Nanaimo Bars” (small chocolate slices filled with vanilla and coconut), are known throughout North America. The bars were named after Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is over 450 km long and about 100 km wide and has a similar size as the European country Belgium.

The island is just like the rest of the west coast of Canada: breathtakingly beautiful and has something to offer for nature lovers. Whether you prefer surfing or skiing, whale watching in the Pacific, cycling, stand up paddling (SUP), kayaking or climbing in the mountains – during a semester abroad or full study in Canada, you will definitely not be bored. The university also offers various excursions and trips to explore the area during the semester. Particularly popular with students are trips to British Columbia’s capital Victoria, the surfing village of Tofino, the metropolis of Vancouver and the Olympic Park Whistler. Private organized trips before and after studies often go to the US, due to the close proximity of the border to the United States.

Outdoor Recreation Program

Outdoor Recreation Program

Student Experience Report by Theresa F. Recreation at VIU For anybody who wishes to explore the island, to get outside and to be active I recommend signing up for the programs offered by the university's outdoor recreation team. They are super nice and they have a...

Favorite Places on Vancouver Island!

Favorite Places on Vancouver Island!

Student experience report by Theresa F. If you love nature and being outdoors, you're going to love Vancouver Island! It offers anything any outdoor-person has ever dreamed of. A gorgeous coastline, rivers, lakes, beaches, forests, and even mountains can be found on...

The Beauty of Nature: Banff National Park

The Beauty of Nature: Banff National Park

Banff National Park student story by Marvin E. Banff is probably one of the most popular areas to visit when going to Canada. The Banff National Park is located in Alberta, the province east of British Columbia. During your semester at Vancouver Island University, you...

Downloads & further information

Brochures and forms:

Please find more information as well as forms and guides for your study abroad term at Vancouver Island University in Canada below: