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 large variety of trips organized throughout the semster – and I bet there’s something for everyone.
Their trips include things like surfing, hiking, caving, hockey games, rafting, snorkeling and in winter even snowshoeing and skiing and much more!! I mean, what more could you possibly wish for? They are always cheap and if you don’t have a car it’s the perfect way to get out there and even meet some new people outside class. Every trip is accompanied by two to three guides/instructors that work for the university. They are very nice, competent and know what they’re doing, so you will most definitely be safe no matter what you do.
I have always had a great time exploring the Nanaimo area with other students and getting active! I went on a total of five trips but only because I was too late to sign up for more. So note: ideally go sign up online before the semester starts (if you are coming for the fall term) or at the latest go down to the gym to sign up on the first day of school. Be sure not to miss the deadlines! Their trips are booked out rapidly and especially the good ones ;)
My favourite activity was surfing. I liked it so much I went twice, on a day trip in September and an overnight trip in November (yes you can surf in November – even in Canada!). The equipment is provided by the school and if you have never surfed before (like me) you get an introduction and safety instructions by the guides. After that there’s nothing left but trying yourself. It’ll be awesome! I managed to stand on the board right on the first day and on the overnight trip I caught many waves.
The overnight trip includes a night at a hostel close to the beach. We went into town for dinner and breakfast at the hostel was included again. I also went on two hikes, one to the Cowichan River and one to the Juan de Fuca trail.
Then I also wanted to do an activity called ‘swim with Salmon’ which happens when the salmon’s are on their yearly journey stream-upwards but the weather conditions caused the river to be too muddy to see anything but the guides improvised and instead offered a ride down Nanaimo river in a raft.