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Alisha wasn’t happy with her Queensland uni, so she switched to CDU

This article appears in:
Student Stories, Education

What’s it like to switch from one university to another after you’ve already begun your degree? CDU graduate Alisha Chapman has a few words of advice for anyone who’s thinking of doing just that. Read on to learn how Alisha switched gears and found the path to her passion.

Alisha Chapman has taken a rather circuitous route to end up in her current role as a primary school teacher in Nhulunbuy. That said, her goal was always clear. “I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was a child,” she said. What hasn’t always been as clear is how Alisha would reach that goal.

My lecturers at CDU supported the integration of local culture in my learning and they taught me to include culture wherever you can.

Alisha earned a Certificate in Education Support from TAFE when she was living in Queensland. But she and her family soon moved to the remote community of Nhulunbuy, in north-east Arnhem Land.

“I went to work as a support worker at the local primary school,” Alisha said. “One day one of the teachers told me I was destined to be the teacher and not the teacher’s aide.”


There was only one problem. “I didn’t think I was clever enough to go to university,” says Alisha. “I didn’t have the confidence, but the teacher told me I would surprise myself with how much I already knew and that university would consolidate the learning I’d acquired on the job. I decided to go for it.” To get her teaching degree, Alisha enrolled in a Queensland university that offered the degree online, but she soon ran into problems.

My life as a remote teacher is exciting, rewarding—and exhausting. I’m blessed to live in a place where Yolngu culture is so strong that it is incorporated in our teaching and learning.”

“I wasn’t happy with the support from that university. I was in a remote place and they didn’t understand the conditions I was studying in. I transferred to Charles Darwin University even though I would lose six subjects that didn’t correspond with CDU’s catalogue. It was worth it to me to study with CDU though, because the lecturers understood my context and provided me with the support I needed,” Alisha said.


“Living in Nhulunbuy, I had no option but to study via correspondence. I started my degree part-time and always studied in the summer semesters. After a while I started studying full-time. It took me six years to get my degree and in that time I had a life, had a baby, and raised a family,” Alisha reflected.

The highlight for Alisha came when she graduated from CDU with a Bachelor of Education Primary. “By far my greatest experience was walking across the stage at the Darwin Convention Centre and receiving my degree as my children, husband and parents in the audience cheered me on. My eldest daughter Tiana, 14, told me that I inspired her. I showed her that following your passion and your dreams is achievable at any age.”

Ready to take your passion for change to the next level? Study Education courses with CDU.

This article appears in:
Student Stories, Education

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