Published on October 6, 2022

What does it take to pack up your life and move abroad? Past student Raven Sandow (2014) did just that when feelings of stagnancy in study and work forced a change of scenery and the trip of a lifetime to Canada.

Raven shared more about her experience starting over in a new country and how she overcame some of the cultural differences many people experience moving overseas.

alumni profile raven sandow


What is the most significant difference between Australia and Canada? 

I wouldn’t say there’s a vast, definitive difference, but there are many little ones.

America heavily influences the food portions here, so they’re much bigger. The weather systems (of course) are very different, and it seems everyone drives a Ford Explorer or a Honda CRV – complete with a cracked windscreen sustained from damage from the gravel laid down in the wintertime. In Canada, drip coffee is the standard, tipping is expected, and you never (ever!) wear shoes in the house. Here, school starts in September and finishes in June, and there’s no “hip hip” after the birthday song. We drive and walk on the right, and Vegemite is an expensive commodity. Canadians also love Hockey. It isn’t just a sport – it’s a way of life!

What is your big dream in life?

I have a few micro dreams. I want to go back to school eventually and do some more travelling with my husband-to-be, but my big dream was to put myself out there and be happy, and I really think I’ve managed to do that.

“I’ve had so many wonderful experiences and crucial learning moments here in Canada, and it’s definitely the place I’m meant to be.”


Raven Sandow

What has been the most significant cultural adjustment moving from Australia to Canada?

For the most part, Australians and Canadians are incredibly similar. Canadians take politeness to the next level and live up to their reputation of apologising for absolutely everything. The biggest cultural adjustment for me though has been getting used to reading a product label that’s both in French and English. There have been many times where I’ve stalked the aisles of the supermarket, trying to find a product with its French side facing out rather than the English side.

Do you speak French?

I don’t – apart from the old product label here and there.

alumni profile raven sandow


What is your best memory from HVGS?

I have a few! 

The Presentation Balls in 2013 and 2014, the Tasmania Music Tour in 2013 and The ‘Inspired’ showcase in 2014. Two-thirds of these memories involved the music team: Steve Gidney, Jack Machin, Belinda and Steve Morton and Shannon and James Laundon, and getting to play alongside them and be instructed by them was the highlight of my schooling years at HVGS.

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