How to prepare for your trip to study English in Victoria

Downtown Victoria

Congratulations on making the decision to come and learn English in Victoria! You must be getting ready to travel and wondering what you should pack.

Maybe you’re an experienced traveller but you’ve never studied abroad before. Maybe this is your third time studying English in a foreign country, but your first time on Vancouver Island.

Whatever your experience, the following guide will provide you with the 16 essential items to pack for Victoria.

(And don’t worry, it won’t be your own kayak!)

Discover more things to do on Vancouver Island here.


Essential documents

When you arrive in Canada, you must be prepared to show certain documents to the immigration officials. Be sure to carry them with you and do not pack them in checked luggage.

Here is what you should bring:

  • Your passport (and, it’s a good idea to have a photocopy of it, as well).
  • If you applied for a visa before coming to Canada, bring your visa documents such as the Point of Entry Letter of Introduction.
  • Global Village Letter of Acceptance. (Why would you want to study anywhere else!?  ?)
  • Global Village homestay information. If you aren’t in a GV homestay, bring the full address and contact information of where you’ll be living and who you’ll be living with.
  • Proof that you have enough money to be in Canada.
  • Health insurance card.  All international students in Canada must have health insurance. It’s your responsibility to purchase and maintain your medical insurance if you don’t already have emergency coverage. Canadian immigration officials don’t usually ask you to show you’re covered, but they’re within their rights to do so. I strongly advise having no less than $500,000.00 CDN insurance coverage for your visit to Canada. Better safe than sorry!

You MUST have appropriate medical insurance if you want to participate in all the fun sports activities that Global Village organizes for our students, such as this:

GV Victoria students kayaking near Victoria

Check out more of our fun activities on our GV Victoria Facebook page.


Essential clothes

Victoria is described as the mildest city in Canada and the weather is generally very comfortable. This chart shows you the average temperatures in Victoria throughout the year:

Victoria BC Average Maximum and Minimum temperatures

However, you’ll find the temperature somewhat changeable, especially during the transition from winter to spring.

The day can begin cloudy and rainy, then change to sunny with blue skies around lunchtime, and be back to dark and rainy when you’re walking home after school.

The following list may change slightly depending on the time of year you’re arriving, but generally speaking, here’s what you should pack:

  • Layering tops. Due to the rain and changeable weather, bring a few layering pieces like tanks, short-sleeved tees, long-sleeved tees, and pullovers. Even in the middle of July when the thermometer reads 23C, you may need a light sweater if you go for a walk along the windy coast.
  • Comfortable all-weather shoes. For rain or shine. Victoria is a great city to walk around!
  • A rain jacket and/or umbrella. You’re coming to Vancouver Island – a part of the Pacific Northwest! And guess what? It rains here! If you come only during July and/or August, then raingear might not be necessary, but I highly recommend a lightweight, waterproof jacket for the spring, fall and winter months.
  • A hat. Either a tuque (as Canadians say) to keep your ears warm in fall and winter, or a hat to protect you from the summer sun.

Of course, you can always buy any clothing items you may need at the many stores in Victoria. Check out this great read on shopping in Victoria.


Essential study materials

When was the last time you were a student in a classroom? Regardless of your answer, you may think essential study materials are fairly obvious. However, I’ve seen new students show up on their first day at Global Village with nothing but a bright smile and a big lunch.
So, to help you make the most of your time in the school, I’d recommend you pack the following:

  • A few pens and/or pencils. On your first day at school, you’ll be taking a written assessment test to help determine your level, so these are necessary from day one!
  • One or two notebooks. Nowadays, most students take pictures of the teacher’s notes on the whiteboard. This is very convenient, but the acts of listening, reading, and then writing down important information all help you to remember the vocabulary and grammar better. Plus, you should have at least one vocabulary journal to write down the English definitions of all the words you’ll be learning.
  • One or two highlighter pens. You’ll be receiving handouts from your teachers. Being able to highlight important grammar forms or the words you don’t know always makes the learning process go a little smoother.

GV students studying in the classroom


If it’s been a while since you were in a classroom, you’re probably relieved to see that not much has changed. Or you may be curious why I haven’t included any technology on the list, such as a laptop or translator. If you have them, then by all means bring them with you, but the focus in the classroom will always be about communicating with the people around you. Sometimes technology acts as a barrier to reaching out to the person sitting next to you.

Which brings me to my last checklist….


Essential attitudes

I realize that you can’t exactly “pack” an attitude. Or can you? Let’s visualize a tiny little suitcase in your heart, where the following behaviours should get carefully stowed away:

  • A positive attitude to learning. Everyone comes here to learn English for lots of different reasons.  Whatever your reason, staying positive towards English helps you to relax, remember, focus and absorb all the information you learn.
  • A willingness to share. You’ll be in a classroom with students from all over the world. You’ll all be here to learn English, but a big part of that learning will involve talking about your culture and yourself. Make sure you have pictures on your cellphone of your family, your friends, your city and even your pets!
  • A sense of adventure. There will be lots of new and wonderful, or new and strange customs for you to discover. (You eat sandwiches for lunch every day in Canada?!?) Be open to experiencing different ways of doing things. Remember that the teachers and staff at Global Village are here to answer any questions you may have to help you get used to Canadian life.

International students from Global Village Victoria jump in front of Confederation fountain in Confederation Garden Court

Read more about the local people you might meet in Victoria.


Welcome to Victoria!

I hope this list has helped you to prepare for your time here in Victoria. I promise you won’t regret your choice.  You’ll be studying in one of Canada’s most charming cities, at an English school well known for its caring staff.


Learn more about the fun things to do at Global Village Victoria.

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