Reaching out to overseas students

Farouk ‘Rook’ Bello has created a support mechanism to help with the challenges faced by international students 

Farouk Bello
Farouk Bello is a physio at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

Being a physiotherapy student takes hard work and determination as we all know. Now imagine traveling thousands of miles to a whole different country, and then being in a worldwide pandemic. 

I graduated from Coventry University in 2020 right around the start of the pandemic. Now I work as a community neuro and stroke physiotherapist.

Getting to where I am now was not an easy feat by any means.

As an international student, I already knew that I had to work harder when it came time to apply for a job. I could not have even predicted how much more difficult it would be trying to do this during a pandemic. 

During my final months of study, the uncertainty of the whole situation was more punishing. I understand that everyone else was going through the same pandemic issues but when you are paying double the tuition fee and missing out on certain learning experiences it hurts a bit more.

Most people don’t know this but if you are an international student, getting job rejections for reasons out of your control is very painful when you have studied here for three-five years and it feels like you are being chased out of the country. When I was applying there were multiple barriers to getting jobs; the biggest one was visa sponsorships. 

Going through this myself I wanted to try and ease the process for other international students because I know how difficult it can be. That’s why I started to make videos on Rooks Health and talking to as many people that need help through this process in any way I can. Fortunately, there is a special visa for health and care workers which makes it easier to get a job but the issue is that a lot of students are not aware of it.

I strongly think that more focus and support should be provided to international students that want to work in the UK, by universities and governing bodies. I was lucky to have a physio who had gone through this process help me. 

My videos and podcasts can be found on YouTube, my podcasts here and all at 

  • Farouk Bello is a physio at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and an audio and video editor



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