Brazilian lands dream job at Nottingham hospital after battling 'stupid foreigner' jibes as a child

By Olimpia Zagnat

A young man has proved his detractors wrong by securing the job of his dreams after being told he was a "stupid foreigner" in school.

Jorge Cabral, originally from Brazil, has opened up about his journey of becoming a physiotherapist despite struggling with dyslexia most of his life.

The 24-year-old, who has recently secured the job of his dreams at the Queen's Medical Centre, said it was not until the end of his second year at university until he received the diagnosis.

Jorge, of Nottingham city centre, said: "I moved to UK from Brazil when I was 6-years-old, and all the way through primary school I was struggling.

"I moved here quite young so I could not speak a word in English.

"Pretty much all the problems I had with dyslexia when I was in the educational system were put down on the fact that I was foreign.

"I actually remember in Year 3 that my primary school teacher told me that there was nothing wrong with me and I was just stupid because I was foreign."

Jorge lived for most of his life in Oxford and said that he "struggled through education".

He added: "It was very difficult for me to understand some tasks.

"For example, if we were given an essay to write mine would be slightly off-topic.

"I pretty much failed everything at school.

"I got 4 GSCEs above C, I went to college, I did a course I absolutely hated, I did sports coaching.

"But I always wanted to do physio."

One day, Jorge has eventually decided that he would follow his dreams and prove everyone wrong.

He recalls: "I really struggled at school and I could not wrap my head around it so I took a few years off.

"Luckily, spurred by my own decision, I decided that I would apply for university.

"I only had one option for physiotherapy and I went to University of Bristol for a foundation year.

"And very fortunately they have offered a place for two people every year - and I was one of those people who got selected.

"I was very lucky that I got selected and the I obviously struggled in my first year so I decided that I was dyslexic and needed help."

But because of long waiting times and delays due to Covid, Jorge did not receive a diagnosis until the end of his second year in 2019.

After an online medical investigation with a private educational psychologist based in Bath, he received the news.

He added: "That changed everything, I was a lot easier on myself.

"Before that I always asked myself: why am I not doing as well as everyone else?

"Why am I working so hard, why have I been told I was stupid when I was 5?

"It made me understand that I just learn in a different way to everyone else.

"And all this time I have been learning in a system that is designed for people who are not dyslexic.

"So I actually started to do better at university because I learned more about the way I learn."

Jorge has graduated with an Upper Second-Class Honours in May earlier this year, and got his job shortly after in July.

He added: "I feel like I proved my teacher at school wrong.

"When it is being reinforced to you from quite a young age that you will never be able to achieve what you want to do, and then you just go for it and achieve it - that moment is hard to describe.

"I always wanted to be a physiotherapist and I have always been told that this option is not for me.

"It was just nice to be able to prove someone that they were completely wrong.

"It felt like a massive relief."

Dee Caunt, CEO for The Dyslexia Association in Nottingham, said: "With appropriate identification and support, there is no reason why people with dyslexia should not have successful and fulfilling careers.

"People with dyslexia often have excellent skills; for example, many have great people skills, or are good at problem-solving, are lateral thinkers, or very creative.

"It is often the administrative side of the job that is more challenging or causes problems. However, there is training, support and funding available to help people with dyslexia in the workplace."

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