Courtenay hotel acting as dormitory for international college students

The Best Western Plus Westerly Hotel in Courtenay is home to a number of international North Island College students.

Although the average guest may not notice, the Best Western Plus Westerly Hotel in Courtenay is home to a number of international North Island College (NIC) students during their time in the Valley.

The hotel devoted an area of the hotel to longer-term dormitory-style student housing just before the fall semester started, and the new initiative has been a big success so far, according to hotel general manger David Rooper.

“I’ve been very impressed with the transition and the rollout of this — it’s relatively new, we’ve just started it, and it’s been fantastic,” says Rooper, adding hotel staff have gotten to know the students during their stays.

“That’s the fun part because they’re so unique because they’re from all parts of the world — so that’s been actually an eye-opener of the different cultures and their needs.”

Rooper notes 12 rooms are available for international students to stay in, and they’re located in their own corridor on the river side of the hotel so there’s an NIC wing of sorts for them to stay in.

One- and two-bedroom self-contained suites offer students a chance to live alone or with someone else, and each suite has a kitchenette and balcony.

Students also have access to hotel facilities such as the pool, hot tub and fitness room, and they have the safety of 24-hour security.

He notes occupancy rates vary from month to month but the rooms have generally been full.

“The phone’s ringing, we’ve got lots of demand for the next semester and we really like what’s going on — and they’re a really great bunch of kids,” he adds. “We hope to double our capacity (of international student rooms) in the new year.”

North Island College International associate director Colleen Hanley also says the new accommodation option has been working out well.

“The students who have stayed there and moved on or the students who are continuing to stay there speak very highly of the experience that they’re having there,” says Hanley, adding the hotel has been a great business partner in this endeavour.

She notes different students prefer different living situations so it’s important to be able to offer variety to them while they’re in the Comox Valley.

“It’s an opportunity, from our perspective, for students to have an accommodation opportunity different from homestay and different from peerstay,” says Hanley. “Some students are interested in living on their own and interested living in a more dorm-type of environment where they have roommates and people that they cook meals with, and so the Westerly provides a great opportunity for that to happen.”

For more information on the college’s international program, visit www.international.nic.bc.ca.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland Brewery is looking to expand its patio space temporarily for the summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland Brewery looks for temporary patio expansion

Move would allow business to spread customers outside in summer months

School District 71’s final budget for this school year showed more revenue from distance learning students but less from traditional classroom registration. Record file photo
Comox Valley Schools’ budget grant almost $5.5 million higher than planned

Increase came from a boost in distributed learning rather traditional registration

A&W on Ryan Road confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 at their restaurant and temporarily shut its doors. Google Maps photo
Courtenay restaurant temporarily closed due to COVID-19 exposure

It’s the latest business in the Valley to be affected by the virus

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Strathcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read