Health and Safety

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Student Health Insurance

All students are required to have health care insurance. Private insurance is provided for most students through our office by Guard Me (Student Guard) 1-877-873-8447 or The student’s insurance coverage card will be sent to the school and given to the student.  Our office can also provide you with this information. Private insurance companies generally require that the student pay the fees for service at the time of treatment and get reimbursed by submitting receipts to them for payment. Please call the International Student Program office if you or your student need to be reimbursed for an expense. A typical visit to the doctor’s office should be approximately $70.00 (Drop In Clinic – Medical Arts Clinic Nanaimo), where a visit to the local health centre will cost a minimum of $800.00.  Students are responsible for paying these fees if needed. If this is not possible, please contact our office. Note that Under Guard Me private insurance plan, a student is covered for emergency medical problems (not pre-existing conditions)

Some students purchase their own insurance before they arrive or it is provided by their Agent for the duration of their stay. Please have the student present their proof of coverage on their first day of school for photocopying.

In the case of a medical emergency:

Take the student to a hospital or clinic. Phone the Guard Me number on the insurance card immediately and follow instructions.

If the student is ill and needs to visit a doctor:


Click here for medical information and a list of walk in clinics.  If you have to drive to Nanaimo, you will be reimbursed $30.00 for fuel. take the student to the clinic.

When you fill prescriptions for your student from a Pharmacy, they bill Student Guard directly.

Medical Care: In the event of an illness, please seek medical care as needed. If your student is seriously ill or has a medical emergency, please go directly to the hospital, or the Urgent Care Clinic and contact the homestay coordinator as soon as possible.

Guard Me Claims:

Some clinics will charge the student, and the student will need to pay.  The student will then submit their claim to Guard Me and be reimbursed. Or, some clinics may send a bill in the mail.  This too would need to be submitted to Guard Me.
Students will need to be responsible for sending in their claims (with their homestay’s help)

Guard Me has given us our own webpage for submitting claims and it is very simple to use.  They also have the policy summary in 14 languages.  They also have a clinic search if you need to find one close by, however please note that the Urgent Care Clinic is to be used for emergencies only.

The link to this website is:


Note: If your student does not have their Guard Me card, we have a copy of it on file at our office.  You may contact our office for this information, but claims must now be submitted by the student.


Health and Safety

Safety is an important concern with parents, students and others. Students will be instructed about these issues, but it would be a good idea for you to review safety procedures with your students, both for your home, for example, fire escape routes, and in the community, (without alarming them unduly)/ If you become concerned about any safety issues involving your student, then please inform us.

Drugs and Alcohol: Student use of drugs and/or alcohol is strictly prohibited. If you become aware that your student has used alcohol or illegal drugs, it is your responsibility to inform the District Principal immediately.

Relationships: Personal relationships are discouraged, but may inevitably form with some students. It is important to keep us informed if you suspect your student is becoming involved in a serious personal relationship so that the student can be counseled appropriately.

Culture Shock: Culture shock is a very real psychological process everyone experience upon arrival in a new country. There are four stages of culture shock and they affect everyone differently. The key to coping with culture shock is to understand the stages and that the feelings associated with each one are normal. Some become frustrated with how different things are in Canada and how tired they become having to use English all day, every day. The good news is that almost all students get past these feelings and end up having the time of their lives.

The Honeymoon Stage: When students first arrive in Canada everything that is new and different is also wonderful and interesting. This is the only stage most tourists experience because they never have to settle into a new culture. This stage can last anywhere from a week to a month or more.

The Distress Stage: This is the stage where the reality of being abroad for a longer period of time hits home. Cultural differences that a student found interesting earlier in their stay can become taxing. They may feel confused, isolated and/or overwhelmed during this stage. This stage can be exhausting, particularly if learning English is proving a challenge as well. Students may begin to spend more time in their rooms or with same culture group friends.

The Transition Stage: This is the most important stage to understand. During this stage, some students become angry or frustrated with Canadian life. They constantly compare it to their home culture and begin to lament the differences. Don’t worry, this is normal. The key is to recognize the symptoms of this stage and not give in to them.

The Integration Stage: Cultural challenges and language issues begin to subside as students accept and embrace the differences that previously frustrated them. This is the stage when their study abroad experience becomes everything they hoped it would be; they feel confident and relaxed in their community, their school and in their homestay.

While it is important to be aware of the stages listed above, it is equally important to point out that not everyone goes through every stage. Some students arrive and are immediately homesick. Others never experience the frustration of the transition stage and skip quickly to the integration stage. The key is to be aware of what is happening and to remember that people are available to help you, like your Homestay Coordinator and school counselor.

TIPS AND TRICKS (to minimize the effects of culture shock)

Please read and help your student to:

  • Be open-minded. Tell them not to judge or compare. Canada is different from their home country. That’s one of the reasons they chose it for their study abroad experience! They should challenge themselves to learn about different ways of doing things; instead of dismissing them as wrong or inferior.
  • Get involved. Encourage them to participate in school clubs and/or sports teams and, if possible, to become active in the community.
  • Be patient. Help them to adapt to their new surroundings and to make new friends. Remind them not to put pressure on themselves; it takes time to acclimate.
  • Keep active! Feeling good physically will help them to feel good mentally. Encourage them to make physical activity part of their daily routine and/or school timetable.
  • Make sure their day includes time set aside for mental rest. Studying, speaking English and navigating the day-to-day realities of a new country and culture require a lot of energy. It is ok for them to spend some “down time” each day listening to music, surfing the internet or reading a book in their first language.
  • Manage their connections to home. Keeping in touch with family and friends is vital and can be a valuable support during an overseas stay. Too much contact, however, can be counterproductive. They should keep in touch but not at the expense of making new friends, participating in activities and/or keeping up with their studies.
  • Stay healthy. They should eat foods that are healthy and well balanced. Encourage them to get enough sleep at night, and consider taking a vitamin supplement. They shouldn’t wait too long to visit a clinic if they are feeling ill.
  • Ask for help. If they are feeling sad, lonely or frustrated, encourage them to talk to their International Coordinator or a teacher at their school.

Most important of all: help remind them why they came to Canada! It is supposed to be different and challenging. If Canada was the same as their home country, there would be no reason to come.