By Abby

A Reflection on the Co-Op Experience

Berika

Berika tells us what she unexpectedly learned through her co-op experience and reflects on her time on island. 

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight of the experience? one in the clinic and one outside the clinic.

One of the highlights of my experience was the company retreat! Because my coop took place while COVID was and is still thriving, there weren't too many opportunities to interact with majority of the staff outside of the clinic until the retreat. Seeing everyone on a day to day basis was always great, but watching everyone team up to play volleyball, get massages, and do yoga was even better. I knew it was something that everyone looked forward to every year, and the hype did not fall short when the day came. It was just as fun as we had all hoped and probably even more so for me. Watching Art and Lauren Lum smack each other with pool noodles was just a cherry on top to this day as well.

Outside of the clinic, sky diving for my birthday was a highlight of my time spent in Hawaii! Seeing the North shore land and ocean while falling from 12,000 feet in the air was such a stunning and thrilling experience. Words and pictures can only capture how beautiful and meaningful the entire experience was. Easily one most exciting things I've done in life, and I highly recommend!

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?

My roommates actually had the most impact on me during my time here. We went from not really knowing each other as classmates to moving to an island together and becoming really well acquainted roommates, coworkers, and friends. Going home each day and being able to share what we learned from our respective clinics was such a unique experience that you don't really get from any other coop site. I can only speak for myself, but you absolutely learn so much from spending 6 months together especially when we came from different backgrounds, parts of the country, and with different personalities too. Yes, it was chaotic at times , but for me, I began PT school and my coop being closed off to forming relationships, and I left this experience with some of the most sincere relationships I've ever had. We will always have this shared experience of living in Hawaii for 6 months together.

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn?

The most surprising thing I did not expect to learn was that I really enjoy aquatic therapy. Before coming to Fukuji and Lum for coop, I knew they offered aquatic therapy, but because I had no water sports or swimming background I did not expect myself to be working at the pool. But I was scheduled at the pool on one of my first days and I soon learned that the aquatic therapy staff are all amazing people, the patients are one of a kind, and the entire setting was a lot different than I had expected it to be and in all the right ways. I'm proud to say I even learned how to swim on one of my first days!  The aquatic therapy portion of my coop experience was absolutely something I did not know I needed in my life!

 

By Abby

A Reflection on the Co-Op Experience

Olivia

Six months flew by and Olivia tells us how her experience in Hawaii will impact her long-term career in physical therapy. 

Aloha 🙂 I’m back on the blog, but from halfway across the globe. It has been a month and a few days since I left the best place on earth... and I miss it so, so much. Six months flew by incredibly fast, but I will remember my time with so much love and gratitude.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
I can’t pick one person. To say that I was impacted by every single person I met here, would be an understatement. First, I’ll start with my Kailua and Aqua crew. The clinicians and staff I worked with had an amazing depth of knowledge they shared with me, and I learned so much not only about physical therapy, but about life, relationships, confidence, spirituality, and connection.

I am so thankful to have learned from people I look up to, and now call them 'ohana. I learned a lot from the patients I worked with here too. They gave me great recommendations on how to have fun in Hawaii and what foods to try (shoutout Redfish poke bar). More importantly, they showed me that however big or small you help someone doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are trying to give to something bigger than you. So, I can make a mosaic from what I’ve learned from everyone that I met here and make a beautiful piece of art with it.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
Presence. There’s so much depth in this word for me. First, living on aloha time speaks for itself. Not that life is slower in Hawaii, but everyone is more ~present~, and they are deliberate with how they spend their time. One of my favorite things about Hawaii was that the people won’t avoid eye contact with you when you pass them on the street, they will smile and wave. Just a mere five seconds of human connection made such a difference in my day. Second, the environment brings you down to earth and makes you see life in abundance. From sunrise to sunset and everything in between, there were so
many creations to be grateful to witness. My favorite memories were made with my friends as we chased the sun and made it out to China Walls to spend the last few minutes with the sun that day, and so many people had the same idea. It was like we were in an outdoor movie theatre that played a golden sun set, and everyone felt present in it. So, not only does your presence matter to those around you, but you feel present in what’s happening around you.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
I intend to take a whole body, and whole person approach going forward with my physical therapy career. I think this makes a huge difference in practice, as it allows you to evaluate a bigger picture and give rise to all the parts of someone that make them, them. This was my favorite foundational belief of F&L, and I will take it with me in my soon to be physical therapy career.

Best six months ever!!

Mahalo nui loa,
Olivia

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Hi to Julia!

Julia shares her experience in Hawaii thus far and how excited she is for this opportunity. 

Hi everyone!! I’m Julia, I’m from Andover, MA and I’m currently in my fourth year in Northeastern's six-year DPT program. I am beyond excited to be completing my second co-op here at Fukuji and Lum and cannot wait to see what the next six months will have in store!

After doing my first co-op in an inpatient rehabilitation setting, I was eager to experience the outpatient side of physical therapy. I couldn't think of a better place to grow both professionally and personally than here in Hawaii! Not only was I drawn to Fukuji & Lum by the thought of escaping Boston winters, but also because I knew F&L would challenge me to apply what I've been learning in classes and advance my knowledge further. From moving 5,000 miles away, to living with new roommates and starting a new job, I know this opportunity will challenge me in a lot of new ways. However, everyone here has been so welcoming that I already feel like I have a home away from home. I look forward to being able to look back on this experience six months from now and see how much I've grown and all the new relationships I’ve formed.

I am grateful to be receiving my DPT education from Northeastern, where I know experiences such as this one will help to shape me into the type of therapist I hope to be. Having grown up with both myself and family members receiving PT, I got to see how much of a positive impact physical therapy can have on people's lives. I love how personal physical therapy is, and the connections you get to make with patients as you watch them grow, strengthen and get back to doing what they love. I look forward to being a well educated, compassionate,and personable physical therapist that can provide patients with the highest quality of care.

So far, Hawaii has been nothing short of amazing. Every day I'm still in awe of all the beauty this island has to offer, and I look forward to getting to see and do as much as possible in my time here. I hope to get out of my comfort zone and try things that may scare me, like skydiving, ridge hikes, and swimming with sharks. Other than that, I can't wait to soak up the sun, snorkel, relax, make new friends, meet new people and try new foods. So far, I have enjoyed trying musubi, poi donuts and ube hot bread. In just the short time I’ve been here, I've already compiled a long list of food recs from both patients and coworkers, and I can't wait to make my way through them and experience some of the unique foods Hawaii has to offer.

There are many people who have influenced and shaped me to be who I am today, but I am especially grateful to have such amazing parents to look up to. My mom is strong, selfless and caring. My dad is unbelievably hard working, wise and generous beyond belief. They are both incredibly supportive and the two of them have taught me the importance of working for what I want, never quitting and looking out for others. I hope to one day embody all of these traits, both as a person and as a therapist. I can't wait for them and my three sisters to come and visit me in March!!

Here's to learning, growing and living life to the fullest over the next six months!

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Hello, Annie!

We asked Annie what she looks forward to experiencing while in Hawaii and who her greatest influences are in life. She also explains why she was drawn to the PT profession. 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

Hey everyone! My name is Annie, and I am from Fremont, CA in the SF Bay Area. I went to Mission San Jose High School, where I swam and played water polo, and I’m currently in my fourth year of Northeastern’s 6-year DPT program. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be living and working in Hawaii for 6 months. It has only been a few weeks, but I am thoroughly enjoying my time at the LA and Honolulu clinics and Kokokahi pool. 

What drew you to physical therapy? - What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

When I was applying to colleges, I was so unsure about what I wanted to do for my future career. All I knew was that I wanted to be involved in the health sciences somehow. During this time, my swim coach introduced me to the world of physical therapy and movement science, which piqued my interest. So when Northeastern offered me the opportunity to be a part of their 6-year DPT program, I took a leap of faith (I didn’t even visit or tour the campus!) and accepted, and I am so glad I did. Going through the curriculum and meeting all the amazing PT faculty over the years have really solidified my passion for the job. There are few other professions where you get to interact with people at the same level as physical therapists, while helping them live their healthiest lives with just movement and exercise. You are able to build lifelong relationships with patients, and really make a difference in someone’s quality of life. There is also so much more to PT than just sports! After working with stroke patients at my last co-op, I have an interest in neurology, but I would like to explore pelvic health as well as aquatic therapy too. I don’t know what the future holds for me, whether it be in the outpatient or inpatient setting, but wherever I am, I hope to be a therapist that treats holistically, is creative, compassionate, and forever learning.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

I have always loved traveling and learning about different cultures, so when I found out there was a co-op in Hawaii, it seemed like a no-brainer. It also didn’t hurt that I would be skipping the cold Boston winter! And while Boston has been a wonderful city to live in the past couple years, I felt like I was getting too comfortable, so I wanted an experience where I would be challenged both in and out of the clinic. Before coming here, my only PT experience was in the inpatient setting, so when I was applying for my second co-op, I knew I wanted to expand my horizons to outpatient physical therapy. Fukuji and Lum seemed like that perfect place. 

What has been your experience like so far? - What is on your to-do list while here?

I have been loving every minute of my time here, and I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this beautiful culture. The staff at Fukuji and Lum have been so welcoming and understanding of all the mistakes I have made while learning the ropes in the clinic. They have shown me much kindness and go out of their way to teach me new techniques, special tests, and various exercises in their spare time. More than that, they have set an example for what patient care should be. It isn’t just about treating a patient’s physical injury, but also caring for their mental and emotional health. 

Outside of the clinic, the other co-ops and I have been able to hike the Lanikai pillboxes at sunrise, see the Manoa falls, tan on the various beaches along the North Shore, and watch people catch the big waves at Pipeline. I have also never eaten this much poke in my life, but I am definitely not mad about it. By the end of my time here, I’d love to have learned how to surf, go scuba diving, visit Pearl Harbor, and swim out to the Mokes. And being the big foodie that I am, I have a huge list of dishes I want to try while I’m here like poi, laulau, and loco moco. Every day, I am learning about a new hike or food spot to try out from various patients and staff. My to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer! I guess that means I’ll have to come back if I don’t get to it all!

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

There have been many people that have shaped me into the person I am today, but my parents have had the greatest influence in my life. They are my biggest cheerleaders and unconditional supporters; I owe many of my successes to them. They immigrated to the US from Taiwan and had to learn a completely different culture, language, and way of living. They have worked so hard and given up a lot for me and my sister to have the best life possible. I am inspired by them every day to work hard, be kind, and always try my best. I hope to make them proud and incorporate values they have instilled in me to be the best physical therapist possible for my patients. 

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Welcome, Holland!

Holland writes about her bucket list items while in Hawaii and why physical therapy is so meaningful to her. 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

I grew up in Newtown, PA just outside of Philadelphia and went to high school at Council Rock North. I am now in my fourth of six years at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy?

I was drawn to physical therapy after my grandmother moved in with my family when I was in high school. She had chronic back pain that had been unsuccessfully managed with surgery and medication, but when she moved in with us she started going to PT and came home standing up straighter and feeling better than she had in years. In addition to making a positive impact on my grandmother’s quality of life, her progress in PT helped to lessen the caregiving burden on the rest of the family when she was able to function more independently and with less pain. I always wanted to help people, so when I realized that as a PT I could significantly improve quality of life not only for my patients but their families as well I knew it was the path for me. I love that PT allows me to use my passion for exercise and movement to make tangible improvements in people’s everyday lives. 

 

 

  

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience so far has been amazing! Everyone at Fukuji and Lum is incredibly nice, knowledgeable, and willing to teach so I am learning so much every day. Outside of work, I have been loving spending every possible minute outside—hiking, snorkeling, going to the beach, watching the sunset, stargazing, and enjoying everything the island has to offer. I am constantly in awe of the beautiful surroundings and can’t believe how lucky I am to call this incredible place home for a little while. 

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

I haven’t eaten anything strange, but I am a huge foodie and can’t wait to work through my long list of restaurant recommendations!

 

What is on your to-do list while here?

I really want to skydive, swim with sharks, and take a surfing lesson while I’m here! Otherwise, I’m just trying to hike and eat my way around the island.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I think one of the greatest things about PT is that you get to help patients help themselves, and education is the key to promoting that independence. I hope to be the kind of therapist that is a great educator, helping patients understand what is going on in their bodies and how to fix it. Taking the extra second to explain something can make a huge difference and help patients to be active participants in their own care.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My three younger siblings are the greatest influence in my life. There was never a dull moment in our house growing up and I am so grateful that they taught me to lead by example, go with the flow, and never take myself too seriously. 

 

By Abby

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Introducing Lauren!

Lauren tells us about how she landed on physical therapy as a career path and what she hopes to get out of her co-op experience in Hawaii!

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

Hi, my name is Lauren! I am a fourth year PT student at Northeastern University. I grew up in Berwyn, Pennsylvania right outside of Philadelphia. I attended Conestoga High School and am now a fourth year at Northeastern University. At home I have two brothers (including a twin brother) but more importantly I have two dogs, Fuzzy (13) and Hunter (8). 

What drew you to physical therapy?

When I was first thinking about my career, I wanted a job with a lot of face-to-face time with patients. I also wanted a career that would challenge my critical thinking and schooling in my everyday practice. I love animals and originally landed upon veterinary school as my number one choice. However, when I realized that they could not comprehend the procedures and operations being done to them and that they did not understand the pain, I realized that vet school was not for me. I was attracted to PT because I realized it had everything I wanted in a career, the ability to see my patients progress and reach their goals as well as ample time with each patient to really understand them as a whole and what they seek to gain from each treatment session. Physical therapy offered all of these benefits and more, it combined my love for science/ anatomy and simultaneously helping patients get back to the lives they love.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

My Auntie Christinne and Uncle Andrew lived in Hawaii for 25 years, so I was originally drawn to the island from all their stories of the island and all the fun things they did with my cousin. Additionally, they told me of the great relationships they made with their neighbors and friends and local community. Secondly, Fukuji and Lum drew me in as I spoke to previous co-ops, and they informed me of the Fukuji and Lum ohana and all the great people that made up the company. From all this information I decided to take the leap and come to Hawaii to see all the wonderful people, places (and delicious food) for myself!

 

 

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience so far has been sensational. In particular the people have been incredibly welcoming and overwhelmingly kind. I was met at the airport and immediately received lei’s from our wonderful landlord who drove us home from the airport. So far things have been a whirlwind, although it is slowly settling down. I am hoping to be able to schedule out activities for every weekend and slowly check off everything that I want to do. 

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

I have not tried anything too strange thus far. I have had some delicious traditional Hawaiian food including musubi, malasadas and poke. I would love to try kalua pork, lomi lomi salmon, manapua and so much more. 

What is on your to-do list while here?

My to-do list is a mile long, my main goal while here is to learn to surf. I am also an avid hiker so I would like to complete as many as possible. In my first few days here, I have also managed to compile a list of restaurants a mile long so I would love to eat my way through the island as well. From Legends for Dim Sum to Malasadas from Leonard’s, to 7-11 Musubi I want to try it all!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I hope to be the type of therapist who looks at the patient as a whole. I aim to look at not only my patient’s physical health but their mental health, social health, and overall wellbeing. Making each patient feel as though I am a resource for them for whatever their ailment may be, so that they can feel comfortable talking to me in any capacity. Many times, physical health is not the main priority so it is important to make sure each patient does not have any underlying problems so they can prioritize their health and be the best version of themselves. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life is my grandfather. A while ago on my favorite Instagram account “Humans of New York” an older woman said “I’m really proud that I'm still interested. Not “interesting” -- that's a different thing. I mean interested. I’m still interested in the world." I think this is a great way to describe my grandfather. At 87 years old he is infatuated with everything from the cosmos to the mantis shrimp at the bottom of the ocean. He loves to learn. He makes his way through every single crossword, word game and sudoku in the Sunday New York Times every single week without fail.  If I can continue my love for reading, learning, and filling my brain with as much culture, knowledge and information as possible, then my life will have been a success. 

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Here's Ariane!

Ariane shares how yoga has helped her find a deeper connection with physical therapy and how it can relate to her approach when treating her patients. 

Hi everyone! 

My name is Ariane, I grew up in Brookline, MA and did my undergrad at Ithaca College in upstate New York. I am currently attending Northeastern University’s DPT program. The more I learn and the more I am immersed within the field of physical therapy, the more I know I’m in the right place. Although this is now, my initial draw to physical therapy came about during my yoga teacher training. During my training I was lucky to become part of an extraordinary community of women who I saw as both empowering and empowered. In the company of these women’s experiences, I found myself surrounded by mothers, survivors, teachers, clinicians, counselors, women from all walks of life and educational backgrounds, women who turned to yoga for far more than a physical experience.

My yoga teacher training opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about yoga and in turn a new way of thinking about health. Physical therapy has always resonated with me. What stood out to me was not only the holistic approach to healing, but also the emphasis on interpersonal communication and genuine connections with patients. 

I believe physical therapy is a practice that shows people just how capable they really are. 

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because I wanted to get out of my bubble and step outside my comfort zone. I wanted to live and learn in a place that was not like what I knew. 

The kind of therapist I hope to be, is one who exudes openness and passion. I want to be the kind of therapist whose patients feel like they can be their true selves. I believe this fosters trust. I want to be a therapist that patients look forward to coming back to, who they want to update on their lives… of course I hope to be a great and knowledgeable practitioner too…but who doesn’t? A physical therapist is so much more than that. Most of all, I hope to provide a safe space for all those I treat. 

The greatest influences in my life are by far my parents. I have never known two people as selfless as they. To grow up and feel their love for me is the greatest gift in the world. My parents showed me everything I believe about the importance of kindness and respect. I hope to embody these values through my practice.

By Abby

Warm Welcome to our Fall NEU PT Students

Hello to Gail!

Gail tells us about a few of the things she has experienced in her first month in Hawaii and what she looks forward to with the rest of her Co-op journey.

Aloha! My name is Gail and I went to Hickory High School in Virginia and currently attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for Physical Therapy. Growing up I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field but didn’t like the idea of spending little time with patients and using surgery.  or medication as a form of treatment. I was attracted to PT because of the interactions with patients, being able to use exercise as medicine, and getting to work with the patient through their entire rehab process.

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because at Fukuji and Lum, they have a whole body approach when treating patients which is not common on the mainland. Hawaii had always been on my bucket list of places I wanted to visit and I could not say no to the opportunity to spend six months on Oahu.

So far my experience has been nothing but extraordinary! In the first month I have surfed on the North Shore, swam with sharks with One Ocean, gone on hikes, snorkeled with turtles, and experienced many of the beautiful beaches the island has to offer.  While I wouldn’t consider anything I have eaten in Hawaii strange, I have had the freshest poke ever and it was delicious. Before the six months are over I want to visit all the main islands, take hula dancing lessons, hike stairway to heaven, take the ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch, visit Pearl Harbor, and continue experiencing the Aloha spirit!

Inside the clinic I have been able to experience aquatic therapy and PRI which I never got to experience during my observation hours. As a PT I hope to work in an outpatient orthopedic clinic and work with athletes. I hope to emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to patient care and use a whole body approach similar to Fukuji and Lum. 

By Abby

Warm Welcome to our Fall NEU PT Students

Aloha, Berika!

Berika shares what makes physical therapy her passion and what she looks forward to during her time in Hawaii. 

Hello! My name is Berika and I grew up in San Jose, CA where I went to Del Mar High School. I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare so when I decided on physical therapy as a career, I applied to more than enough PT schools and when Northeastern University said ‘Yes’, so did I.

What drew me to physical therapy was the ability to not just help someone get physically better, but to help someone to be able to help themselves to get better and not just in the short term.

What drew me to do my co-op in Hawaii was the culture on the island and at Fukuji & Lum. At F&L, the entire person is taken into consideration on how to treat them, and not just their prescription for physical therapy. And that sort of holistic approach to healing the body is exactly the kind of therapist I hope to be.

My experience so far has been nothing short of amazing! I enjoy going to work every day during the week to learn first hand how to be a great Physical Therapist, and I am having a blast every weekend exploring different parts of the island and trying new things. What’s on my to-do list while here is to go to a Luau and go skydiving! I’ve never been skydiving before and this seems like the perfect place to do it.

The greatest influence in my life is absolutely my grandmother. A retired teacher, she is full of wisdom, laughter, love, and is always the first person to both support my dreams and figure out how to fulfill them.

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Aloha, Olivia!

Aloha! How’s it!? I’m Olivia, I’m originally from Guilford, Connecticut and go to Northeastern University  to achieve my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I have the pleasure of completing my co-op at Fukuji  and Lum so I will be living it up in Hawaii for six months! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to  prepare for my career in such an enriching and loving environment surrounded by such welcoming  people that I will be able to call my Ohana. My fellow students and I were told a mantra that we cannot say no during our time out here, so I’m stoked to see whatever Hawaii will throw my way. But please, no  more cockroaches! 

What drew you to physical therapy? What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

Back in high school, when I was choosing a major for my undergraduate university, I knew in my heart  that I wanted to go into the medical field and be a physical therapist. The profession upholds such core  values that I wholeheartedly believe in. I have always been fond of the phrase and way of living that  exercise is medicine. Our bodies are miracles, and it’s only right that we treat ourselves with the best  self-love and self-care. My favorite quote is that “our biggest commitment must always be to ourselves.”  I think it is wonderful and so humbling that physical therapy allows me to be an influence for someone  else to help care for and commit to themselves. I hope to be the type of therapist that will inspire my  patients to prioritize their health and view their body as strong, capable, and most importantly, resilient.  I treasure how vulnerable patient care can be, and I hope to be a trustworthy and uplifting guide for all  that will let me. I believe I will be able to cultivate the dream I have, and my experience at Fukuji and  Lum will prepare me to accomplish all my goals. 

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? What has been your experience like so far?

I think this answer is pretty self-explanatory. I mean, it’s Hawaii! But what really drew me to fulfill my  co-op in Hawaii was the Fukuji and Lum ohana and their values. Through research and communication  from past co-op students, I was told how this experience is life changing. The physical therapists will  challenge me and expect me to step out of my comfort zone to ultimately make me think like a clinician  and speak with conviction. After my interview, I knew in my heart that I was destined to come to Hawaii  and not only grow professionally, but personally. In the past month I have been here, that has been the  ultimate truth. I have been challenged in the best way possible, and truly feel like each day has been fulfilled physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am so excited to see what else Hawaii and Fukuji and  Lum can teach me in the next five months I am here. 

What is on your to-do list while here? 

While I’m here, I hope to gain more confidence with my clinical skills and learn something from every  person I come into contact with. Furthermore, I hope to experience all of Earth’s wonderful creations while I am in this magical place. From swimming, surfing, cliff jumping, hiking, going to farmer’s markets,  and basking in the sun, I want to leave Hawaii with no regrets. Maybe I’ll even be talked into skydiving. This environment has made me feel so connected to the Earth and feel like I am home. There must be  something in the water 🙂 

Mahalo, be well <3  

Olivia