Pre-Departure Information

Things to do before you come to Canada

  1. Apply for a visa (if necessary) and check your passport has more than 6 months from your arrival date in Canada before it expires
  2. Register for PAL (Pre-Arrival Learning) with the code given to you on your Letter of Acceptance
    • Do pre-arrival placement test
    • Online English program (You have one month to complete this program. You can improve your language ability by one level before you arrive, if you complete the course!)
    • Watch pre-arrival videos
  3. Arrange for custodianship through Sterling College if you are under 19 years old
  4. Arrange medical insurance
  5. Email your future host family in Canada to introduce yourself. The more you communicate with them before you arrive, the better the first few days of homestay are likely to be. Try telling your homestay family about yourself, and then ask them what their household is like. Talk to them about the following things:
    • Describe family, pets, age, job, personality
    • Daily routine and weekend activities
    • Food preferences, usual time of eating, type of weekday lunches, favorite lunches etc.
    • House rules, routines such as shower times, process for doing laundry
    • Hometown/Victoria- things to do, is it big/small, clean/safe/friendly?
    • Previous trips, homestay experiences

Checklist of things to take on the airplane

  • Passport
  • Visa (if necessary)
  • Letter of Acceptance
  • Return ticket
  • Bank statement (showing you have enough money to support yourself in Canada)
  • Address and phone number of homestay in Canada
  • Important contact information- school, agent in home country, homestay family
  • Medical insurance
  • Custodian forms if you are under 19 years old

Things to bring to school on the first day

  • Passport and visa
  • Proof of Medical insurance
  • Pen and paper
  • Lunch, drink and snacks
  • Comfortable shoes for activities

Getting from Vancouver Airport to the Vancouver or Surrey Campus

Once you have gone through customs and immigration, walk toward the exit in the International Arrivals Greeting Area and follow the signs marked Canada Line. Right before the parkade entrance, there is an escalator and an elevator that will take you up to the Skytrain platform.

For detailed instructions please visit google maps:

From YVR to our Vancouver Campus
From YVR to our Surrey Campus

**Travel time from Vancouver Airport to Downtown Vancouver: 30 minutes. 
**Travel time from Vancouver Airport to Surrey: 1.5 hours.

Getting from Vancouver Airport to Victoria by bus

Pacific Coach Lines offers bus service from Vancouver Airport to Victoria. They are the only bus company with ticket counters located at the International Arrivals areas of the Vancouver Airport. You will find them beside the bottom of the escalator at International Arrivals. They are located immediately after you clear Canada Customs and Immigration.

Check out the website for the Vancouver International Airport at and for BC Ferries at for travel from Tsawwassen to Schwartz Bay, Victoria.

**Travel time from Vancouver to Downtown Victoria: 3.5 hours

Arriving at Victoria International Airport

If you are flying in to Victoria, Sterling College can either arrange for a pickup service (Beaton’s Meet and Greet) to meet you at the Victoria International airport and take you directly to your host family’s home or you can take the YYJ Airport Shuttle service to downtown where you host family will meet you.

YYJ Shuttle

When you arrive at the Victoria International Airport, you will need to pick up your luggage from the baggage area. The YYJ shuttle bus ticket counter is located next to the baggage area. If you have prepaid for the YYJ Shuttle when registering at Sterling College, you will have a voucher which you can show to the ticket agent and they will give you a ticket for the next bus. (If you have NOT arranged this through Sterling College, you can purchase a ticket directly.) This bus will drop you off downtown at the bus depot where your host family will meet you. If you arrive later than planned, please contact your host family to let them know. The host family’s telephone number is provided to you in your Host Family profile. If you cannot reach your host family you can call our emergency numbers:

  • Monday to Friday 9am to 5 pm: (1) 250-388-7774
  • Weekends or weekday evenings: (1) 250-884-2777 (Randy) or 250-857-1585 (Kristina)

It is a good idea to enter these numbers into your cell phone right now, to make sure that you have them!

Beaton's Meet and Greet for Victoria Campus Students

If you have arranged for Beaton's Meet and Greet service when you registered at Sterling College, you will be met by a representative of Beaton’s Meet and Greet in the arrivals area of Victoria International Airport. They will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will then be driven directly to your host family home.

The Beaton’s representative will wait up to 4 hours for students at the airport but if you know you are going to be late, please call 250-580-5455 or 1-604-377-5455 to tell them your new arrival time.

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