One of the best experience I have ever done! Meeting so many different people and being apart of University life was awesome! I had the best experiences and met the best people. The teachers were absolutely amazing and everyone was so friendly. I didn’t want to leave, it was a journey!

- Lydia Barri, former AIM Overseas participant

Applications are now open for this program for July 2020! Click here to apply now.

The Public Health in Canada program will include an exploration of public health considering both Canadian and global contexts. Along with an overview of the Canadian Public Healthcare System, students will be introduced to a number of health programs available on Vancouver Island, and the roles these programs play in the social determinants of health. A review of the key determinants of health as they relate to Canada and Australia will also be discussed. The program will include a range of exciting visits to health facilities in surrounding areas as well as cultural trips to immerse students in Canadian culture.

Over the course of the program you will likely cover the following topics:
- Canadian Healthcare System – Public Health, Health Promotion and Prevention
- Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) – Foundations and Theory
- Mental Health, Substance Use, and the Assertive Community Treatment Program (ACT)
- Overdose Prevention Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
- Diabetes in Childhood and Youth
- Seniors Health Services
- Indigenous Health Services
- Intersectionality and the Determinants of Health in a Canadian Public Health Context

Students will participate in a number of relevant fields trips and activities, focusing on the many elements related to public health. Half-day trips include visits to the Nanaimo Public Health Unit, the Nanaimo branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, and Kiwanis Village (senior care). Full day trips include a Nanaimo “Happy Spots” tour (community health), a visit to Cowichan Valley (Indigenous Health), and a visit to Saltspring Island (rural health). Finally, students will be able to unwind through a number of recreational activities, such as kayaking, yoga, and participation in a "Wild Edible Plants" workshop.

In addition to the trips and activities outlined above, students will also participate in one regional day trip each Saturday with the Cultural Connections program. Tentative trips scheduled include a visit to beautiful Victoria (BC’s capital city), a trip to Tofino on Canada’s rugged west coast, and a mid-island tour, including a visit to the beautiful beaches in Parksville and the quaint town of Qualicum Beach. Cultural Connections trips are open to all VIU students.

In addition to the above day trip, participants will have full complimentary access to the VIU Gymnasium with their VIU Identification Card. Participants may choose to use the fitness equipment, or to drop-in and play basketball, volleyball, or other court sports.

Vancouver Island University

 VIU's Nanaimo campus lies on the lower slopes of Mt. Benson and offers views overlooking the city of Nanaimo, the Straits of Georgia, the Gulf Islands and the mountains of the Coast Range on the mainland. The campus is located on Fifth Street and easily accessed off the Island Parkway, which passes by its western perimeter.

VIU’s infrastructure is built to accommodate today’s modern day student:

  • wireless internet access is available throughout the campus

  • food service outlets are open throughout the day on most days of the week

  • student lounges are located in most buildings

  • security officials are on-campus and available 24/7 

This information is still be confirmed, the information below is based on the 2019 program details
Ann Holroyd is the lead lecturer for the program. Ann started at VIU in 1995 as a sessional instructor in the Practical Nursing program and joined the BSN program as a full-time faculty member in 1997. She has worked in a variety of clinical nursing positions with the majority of her clinical practice in emergency medicine. In 1997, Ann completed a Master in Adult and Community Education at the University of Calgary before starting doctoral studies in 2000. In 2005, she received a PhD in Health Sciences from Monash University in Australia. Ann has been involved in a variety of community based research projects related to older adults and chronic illness. Most recently, Ann was one of two primary investigators on a collaborative evaluation of the Enhanced Seniors Team Initiative on Vancouver Island. The research team received a $225,000 Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Award for this project, which was completed in partnership with the Centre on Aging, VIHA, and the University of Victoria. Ann’s areas of expertise are interpretive phenomenology, chronic illness, and qualitative research approaches.

Mackenzie Silem is the lead instructor for the intercultural studies component of the program.

Western Student Housing Ltd., the management company in charge of VIU Residences (located on the Nanaimo campus), is pleased to accommodate participants of this program. Participants will be placed in private, single rooms, with semi-private bathrooms and common kitchens and lounges. Daily breakfast will be provided, and linens and two sets of towels will be delivered to each room (linens and towels will be replaced once per week).

It's 2011. I'm 18 years old, straight out of high school and into uni. It's a couple of weeks in and I'm sitting in the uni's International Office at lunchtime to find out more about how I can study overseas. Three minutes in and it's becoming overwhelming very, VERY quickly. The cost, the lengthy application process, the organisation of everything (from finding my own accommodation to picking my own classes that match exactly with the subjects in my current degree) forced me to realise that I definitely wasn't ready for my overseas study adventure just yet... 

3 years later, I'm in my second last semester of my communications degree and I discover that overseas short-term study experiences are possible, and it really sounded too good to be true! Spending three weeks in America studying social media and marketing from expert professors in their field, visiting and networking with companies, whilst being immersed in American college life sounded like an absolute dream to me! Thanks to AIM Overseas, it was all possible! 

So, if you're tossing up between an exchange or a short term overseas study experience, here is what I've learnt about why you should consider a short-term experience:

1. It's financially a great choice if you can't afford exchange
2. You can work it around your current commitments
3. You can still absorb a whole damn lot in 3-4 weeks
4. It still looks AMAZING on your resume
5. It's a great way to get outside of your comfort zone... but not too far out


Vancouver Island University (VIU) is located in the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, off the west coast of beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Just over 460 kilometres long and 80 kilometers wide, Vancouver Island is the largest island on the West Coast of North America and is blessed with beautiful beaches, mountains, temperate rainforests, freshwater lakes, and rolling farmland. Considered one of the top vacation destinations in Canada, Vancouver Island also has the mildest climate in Canada. With temperatures ranging from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius in the summer months and 0 to 10 degrees Celsius in the winter months, Vancouver Island is known for its accessibility to year-round outdoor pursuits, including hiking, kayaking, surfing, mountain biking, caving, rock climbing, whale watching, camping, and much more. As an added bonus, skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing activities are also available in the winter months by driving a short distance to the popular Mount Washington Ski Resort just 1.5 hours north of Nanaimo.

The City of Nanaimo is home to over 90,000 residents and is considered a mid-size city by Canadian standards, yet still offers all of the amenities and services that one would expect in a major city. With numerous public recreational facilities, shopping malls, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, public parks, art galleries, wineries, outdoor attractions, and local markets, visitors to Nanaimo find that there is always something to see or do. In addition, visitors can choose to attend one of the many public festivals, sports competitions, or multicultural events that are held throughout the year, showcasing Nanaimo’s commitment to a safe and caring community and highlighting devoted community partners.

Nanaimo is close to Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle, and is truly accessible and central. Due to this, visitors can easily travel to Nanaimo by air or sea.


All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.

Your course convenors will not be able to approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive the syllabus upon being assessed as eligible for the program.

For more information, see our Credit and Funding pages.


You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.

Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.

We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, which we further outline in an email following your Initial Consultation. 

You can also find more information about OS-HELP on our Credit and Funding pages.

Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.

Applications for our July 2020 intake are currently open. You can apply online for a program here.

You can also REGISTER YOUR INTEREST for a January 2021 program, meaning you’ll receive more program info and updates.

The application process for this program can be seen in the mindmap below.

mind mapPrograms are usually over-subscribed, so it is really important that you take care of things as quickly as possible. We’re here to help and will provide you with information and reminders about what you need to do at various stages.

For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions. Alternatively, you are welcome to submit an enquiry or register your interest. Registering your interest means you’ll receive updates (via email and phone) prior to the application deadline.