Arrival Planning

Finding a suitable place to live will be a top priority for you. Currently, North Island College does not have student dormitories.

Off-Campus Housing

We have partnered with Places4Students to help you find a place to live, a roommate or a sublet – all you need is your NIC email address to register. The service is free. Helpful features include a distance calculator to NIC campuses and detailed listing of amenities.

Landlords can post listings online or call 1-866-766-0767 (toll free) to speak with customer service staff. This service is free.

Rental listings for Comox Valley

Rental listings for Campbell River

Rental listings for Port Alberni

You must live in the same community as the campus you are attending. Transit systems do not allow you to commute between campuses.

The average rent in our campus communities can range from $1,300 to $1,600 for a 1 bedroom suites/apartment and $600-$800 for a single room in a house; rent does not include WIFI and utilities such as electricity.

We highly recommend all students become familiar with the BC Tenancy Act before committing to an rental/lease agreement and become educated to identifying potential rental scams.

Steps to follow before moving in:

  1. Sign a Residential Tenancy Agreement (a rental or lease agreement)
  2. Pay the deposit (usually first and last month’s rent)
  3. Inspect the property and do a condition report (write down if anything is damaged or not working)

We highly recommend making temporary arrangements to stay a local motel for one to two weeks after you arrive. For more information about affordable local motels in your campus location, please see information below. Please budget accordingly.

Short-term Accommodation

If you are looking for a temporary accommodation when you arrive, you can stay a local motel or Air BnB. Check the web links below to search for options:

Campbell River Motels

Comox Valley Motels

Port Alberni Motels


Be careful to check map and location carefully — you want to be sure your accommodation is close to campus and on a bus route to get to the college)

If making a motel reservation, be sure to reference that you are an international student attending North Island College. Some motels such as the Super 8 in Courtenay may have discounts available for students who stay a minimum of 28 days, pending availability.

Additional Search Options:

NIC international students looking for a shared accommodation or students who have are seeking a roommate can post on the International Students of North Island College. This is a private group hosted by NIC students and not monitored by Office of Global Engagement (OGE).

Craigslist and Kijiji in your campus community are also options for finding private rentals. We strongly recommend that you do not enter into a rental agreement or send any money until you have seen the space for rent in person and have met the landlord and feel comfortable. Beware of scams or who will request your money up front without providing you with a tour of actual rental unit or a contract.


North Island College provides this information as a service to its students but does NOT take responsibility for the agreements made between students and landlords. North Island College does not screen, inspect or approve any landlord, student or accommodation.

To protect yourself, always visit the accommodation in person before signing a rental/lease agreement and before giving the landlord any money.

As a new student to North Island College, you need to attend the mandatory International Student Orientation. Please ensure you follow the instructions in your letter of acceptance email and be sure to check your NIC email regularly for orientation information.

The Comox Valley enjoys a coastal marine climate with warm, dry summers and short, mild winters. Average July high temperatures are 22.5C (72.5F) with average January temperature of 0.3C (32.5F). It is one of the few places in Canada where you can both golf and ski in winter. Because of the coastal wind it is a good idea to come with at least a wind breaker in the summer and be prepared for heavy rain or occasional snowfall with rain jacket in the fall.

The temperate coastal climate requires a raincoat or water-repellent windbreaker in spring, summer and fall, and a warm coat or jacket in winter. A collapsible umbrella will also be helpful for you. Most students walk around the city most times, so a pair of comfortable walking shoes and maybe rain boots or waterproof shoes are recommended.

Credit cards are widely accepted in our community, and there are a number of ATMs available for you. Have enough access to funds on a credit card to pay for your expenses for the first few weeks; including accommodation, rent, damage deposit, food, text books, and a bus pass. Some cash in hand will be helpful for the first week until you are settled.

OGE is not able to provide financial assistance to international students. Please ensure you have enough money to cover your time in Canada.

We anticipate you will set up a bank account at one of our major banks, allowing you to transfer funds into the account as needed. Major banks in each NIC community include the Royal Bank (RBC), TD Canada Trust, Scotia Bank, Bank of Montreal (BMO), and CIBC.

The Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) and the Campbell River Airport (YBL) are accessible with direct flights from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Air Canada, Central Mountain Air and WestJet connect our regional airports to Vancouver International Airport. You can also fly from Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Comox Valley Airport (YQQ).

During the Spring and Summer months, you can fly from downtown Vancouver to Comox Harbour in 45 minutes on a floatplane with Harbour Air.

Pre-booking taxis and shuttles is strongly recommended to get from YQQ or YBL to your accommodation. Please visit Comox Valley Airport Transportation or Campbell River Airport Transportation.

Some students are adventurous and choose to travel to the island by bus. It takes about 5 hours and is a very beautiful trip.

The route uses BC Ferries to travel from the City of Vancouver to Vancouver Island. TransLink, the public transit system in Vancouver can take you from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to the BC Ferry terminal in Horseshoe Bay. From there you can take the ferry to the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo. From Departure Bay you can take an Island Link bus to the Comox Valley. Reservations are required for Island Link, and highly recommended for BC Ferries.

For general information on travel restrictions to Canada, please visit