Alison Chapman

Alison works with pupils with autism at the New England Centre for Children in Abu Dhabi.

BSc (Hons) Physical Activity and Health, 2012

How did you end up working in the United Arab Emirates?

It was actually another Abertay student who suggested the job to me! We both worked at the same summer camp in America for kids with disabilities and he said I might be interested in it.

I’d spent four days in Abu Dhabi on my way to Thailand but it wasn’t somewhere I’d thought I’d ever live, but I love it.

Was the move abroad difficult?

Being away from home wasn’t hard as I’d spent a lot of time travelling. The culture was more of a challenge. I didn’t really think about it until I arrived and at first it was difficult.

Once you get settled though it isn’t as different as people make it out to be. As long as you’re understanding of local beliefs, people there are very understanding of you.

My degree has been massively helpful. I wouldn’t have got my job without it.
Alison Chapman | New England Centre for Children | Adapted Physical Education Teacher

Tell me more about your job and what it involves?

I work at a school for pupils with autism. It’s an American school but it’s for local children in Abu Dhabi.

The children have varying levels of autism. Some of them can be really violent, some are really high functioning and vocal while others are non-verbal.

I work in the PE department, doing gym with them and I love it. It’s an amazing job, and it’s quite a new school so it’s very up-to-date.

We’ve got a brand new swimming pool and an amazing gym, the facilities are incredible.

It sounds like it’s a very rewarding job?

Oh yeah. I love it. I’ve been out there for four years now. The UAE isn’t somewhere I’d like to live forever but leaving the job will be hard. I could get the same job elsewhere, but I don’t know how it would compare.

How did your Abertay degree help you get to where you are now?

I work in the PE department which is what I wanted to focus on. My degree has been massively helpful. I wouldn’t have got the job without it.

Did anyone or anything at Abertay have a particular impact on you?

I loved university. I’m a very sociable person and I was part of the football and hockey teams. They had a massive influence on me and increased my interest in sport.

The lecturers were also very friendly.

What are your future aspirations?

Eventually I want to come home and do a postgrad in teaching.


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