I arrived in the UAE in 2006 from a small town in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. When I was younger, I dreamed of travelling the world and meeting new people and learning about different cultures, but I never thought it would be possible. I watched many films growing up in college, one was titled, “Dubai”.

It was a film about a Filipino’s life working in an Arab country far from home, a place I never thought I would travel to. My mind was opened because of the blend of people and freedoms that I had yet to experience in my life, and it fascinated me. I had never considered the Middle East as a place to add to my list of adventures.

I decided to spend some time studying and learning about Dubai and UAE in general. I found out that a cousin of mine was working and living in Abu Dhabi. After some discussion and a lot of convincing my family, it was my time to see in person, what the Arab world was about, and what it had to offer me. This was my first time away from home, but the excitement of becoming independent and free sounded wonderful.

During my stay in Abu Dhabi, I found the culture and people were more than I could imagine and knew that the UAE was for me. I could start a new life here. I began the long process to become part of the foreign workforce from the Philippines. To me, this was going to be the adventure of a lifetime. I was seeking independence, security, freedom, and financial stability to support my family back home, and the UAE was the place that could provide that for me.

My first jobs were small in the beginning, in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, working the service industry and cashier management. Once I got my feet settled I wanted more - greater responsibility and higher education. I was always curious about the medical field but never had an opportunity to cross over into that field. I continued to search for the right job and position to fit me and the needs of the industry. It took a while and some perseverance but in 2012, I was offered a position with The Physio Centre in Dubai.

I have worked here for almost 10 years now and have loved every day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always perfect but the team of Physios I work with have always challenged me and kept me focused. They allowed me to grow and learn so much in the world of physiotherapy. I have been given the opportunity to learn and join several pieces of training to manage and sustain the office.

The Physio Centre has provided me with growth and understanding through trust and confidence. Every day I have the opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life and learn something new.

Being away from home is not easy for anyone but learning to make a new home in the UAE has made me a stronger, more independent woman and has given me a sense of self. I have learned many things working in the physio setting; patience, perseverance and adapting to ever-changing environments which in turn has given me purpose in life.