Arrival Planning

Find a suitable place to live will be a top priority for you. At this time, North Island College does not have student dormitories. There are two options avaialbe to students Homestay/Roomstay for Private Rentals.

We highly recommend that you make temporary arrangements to stay a local motel for 1-2 weeks after you arrive. For more information about affordable local motels in your campus location, please see information below. 


NIC has partnered with the Canada Homestay Network to provide homestay/roomstay services in Campbell River, the Comox Valley and Port Alberni. Live with a local family to experience Canadian culture in a safe, friendly environment. A variety of placement options are available.

Private rentals

If you would like to find your own private space or live with another student, we recommend you do some online searches. Our campus locations offer a wide variety of housing options if you wish to rent off-campus. Apartment rental costs can vary depending on living arrangements. Please use caution when entering into any rental agreement with other students or with community members. We suggest you read the Renters guide prior to signing any rental agreements.

Short-term Accommodation

Most students secure accommodation before they arrive because it’s easier to prepare and plan a budget. When it's not possible to get living arrangements organized before arrival, a student needs short-term accommodation. There are several affordable hotels in each region. Please see the following links to help you find temporary accommodation:

Campbell River Motels

Comox Valley Motels

Port Alberni Motels

As a new student to North Island College, you will attend the mandatory International Student Orientation. Please ensure you follow the instructions in your letter of acceptance email and be sure to arrive no later than the arrival date provided in your Letter of Acceptance.

Suggested arrival date may change due to COVID-19 quarantine requirements for international students travelling to Canada. Monitor NIC’s Travel to Canada during COVID-19.

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 gold 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 flight from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Air Canada, Central Mountain Air and WestJet all connect our regional airports to Vancouver International Airport. You can also fly from Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Comox Valley Airport (YQQ)

International students who are staying in a homestay or roomstay should contact their host family to make arrangements for pick-up at one of the Island Link stops.

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 the BC Ferries system to travel from the City of Vancouver to Vancouver Island. The Island Link bus will pick you up at the Vancouver International Airport. It will take you 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, but not mandatory for BC Ferries.

For students planning to stay in a hostel for the first few weeks while you look for an apartment or roommates, you can arrange airport pick up to take you to the hostel by using one of the services at the airport. They are all listed on the Comox Valley Airport Transportation page. Be sure to book your room at the hostel ahead of time!

International students who are staying in a homestay or roomstay should contact their host family to make arrangement for pick-up at one of the Island Link stops.

Currently all international students arriving from outside of Canada are required to complete mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Once you are approved for study permit and we have determined your eligibility to travel to Canada, we will provide you with further instructions on how to travel to Canada.

Please do not arrange to travel to Canada without first contacting us and receiving the approval from NIC. For more information please refer to the NIC’s Travel to Canada during COVID-19.

For general information on travel restrictions, please visit IRCC’s website.