By Deb Matsuura

New Semester, New Co-ops!

Fukuji & Lum’s receives a handful of Northeastern University physical therapy students every semester. For spring semester 2017, we just said mahalo and good-bye to five awesome, enthusiastic and hard-working students who we know will make a great impact in the physical therapy world. We wish them the best!!

This July we welcomed five new students who will be with us till December. We look forward to teaching and nurturing them as well as sharing our island spirit and company culture, which they will be able to take back with them to Boston.

You’ve just met Matt in our previous blog, now here’s Kyle and Grace with a few words about themselves and why chose to study physical therapy.

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 Kyle’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Andover High School in Massachusetts. I now go to Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? 
There have been a few things that have drawn me into the field of physical therapy. In high school I was a rower and our coach focused hundreds of hours on moving correctly and power application. This was the start of my fascination with the body, how it moves, and the quest to perfect movement in sport. From there, I would research different body parts and how to exercise them. Fast forward a few years to 2015 when I injured my shoulder, I researched what I thought was wrong and how to rehab it. The process of troubleshooting the injury and trying to rehab it was really exciting for me. As exciting as it was, it didn’t work so well, so after a few weeks I went to a real PT. When going myself, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the role of a PT in a patient’s recovery. It was a relaxed environment where everyone would chat and joke and I could see myself working in something similar.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I used to work with a youth development program called Andover Youth Services and it was a huge influence in my life. One of the most significant values we lived and encouraged in the young people was to get out of your comfort zone. When looking for co-ops I wanted to stay consistent with my values so I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge me and give me a new experience. I’ve found that forcing myself uncomfortable situations is when I learn the most.

What has been your experience like so far?
After 3 weeks on this beautiful island I’m confident coming here was the right decision. Working in Honolulu, I’m exposed to a demographic I wouldn’t otherwise be if I was working in Boston. The clientele is typically on the older side and many are of Asian descent. Occasionally I’m tasked with working with someone who speaks no English. This has been hard for me so far, but it is challenging me to improve my visual cues and other nonverbal communication.

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What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?Being here for about a month I haven’t had a ton of time to really venture into strange cuisine. I’ve tried some local foods like poke and I’m a big fan of the Hawaiian marinade at Fresh Catch. Also our host family makes ahi and ono jerky which is a little unusual. Other than that I think I’ve eaten pretty similarly to back in Boston.

What is on your to do list while here?
I’m a little limited with having shoulder surgery a few months ago but I’d like to hike, surf, explore the islands, jump off some cliffs, and eat some more exotic food.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Of course I want to be the best therapist there can be. I want to be a therapist who deeply understands each treatment and why it works. I want to be up to date with new technologies and methods of treatment to give my patients the most efficacious therapy they can get. I want to learn how to garner my patient’s imagination of who they can become and use it to motivate them to work towards their goals.

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Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I’d be lying to say anyone influenced me more than my parents. Simply living with them for the greater part of 20 years I’ve learned an incredible amount. From my dad I’ve learned how to be industrious and how to learn. From my mom I learned how to listen and be empathetic. These traits among others have been super beneficial in my journey through life.

Grace’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Trinity College School in Toronto, Canada. I am now a student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

What drew you to physical therapy? Ever since I was young I knew I was interested in a helping profession. I was interested in a variety of positions such as dentistry, chiropractic care, and Occupational Therapy. I had the opportunity to shadow a few physical therapists and fell in love with the profession. Each and every day I find myself loving it more and more.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
There are many reasons why I was interested in doing my co-op in Hawaii. I have always enjoyed traveling and learning more about the world around me, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. During this last semester, we have also had many discussions on cultural differences and the impacts it can have on physical therapy and other forms of care. This co-op seemed unique in its ability to introduce me to this learning curve. Lastly, Fukuji & Lum has a focus on family culture. I am very close with my family back home, so I was naturally drawn to F&Ls values and overall mission and purpose.

What has been your experience like so far?
Traveling to a new place can sometimes be daunting and with it comes a lot of unknowns. From the get-go I felt nothing but kindness and support through the transition. It’s like a home away from home. I get along so well with the other co-op students and my new coworkers, and I am so excited to see what adventures this journey takes us all on.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
We haven’t really explored eating strange things yet. We have tried poke a few times now, and I have yet to be disappointed! Giovanni’s shrimp trunk was also delicious, highly recommend! I’m hoping to try lots of new foods, especially spam musubi, acai bowls, and poi. I’m also looking forward to finding the best shaved ice around!

What is on your to do list while here?
I mainly want to explore the island. I want to go on lots of different hikes and learn about the history of the island and Hawaii as a whole. I am also excited to get to know more about Hawaiian culture by exploring things like a Luau, hula dancing and listening to Hawaiian music. I have been working on Hawaiian Pidgin and I am trying to learn a new word every day. I’m hoping I’ll be able to take some of it back and confuse my friends back home!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Physical therapy can be a very rewarding job, because we have the opportunity to help patients reach their personal goals. I think the relationship between therapist and patient is what you choose to make it, and I hope to be a motivational and supporting factor in my patients’ lives. If I am able to positively impact a number of my patients during my time as a therapist I will feel rewarded.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My greatest influence in my life is my older brother Riley. He is my built in best friend and I look up to him in many ways. He pushed me to embrace this opportunity and for that I’m grateful. I can’t wait to continue to grow up and find our way in life together.

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By Deb Matsuura

Meeting Matt

Every six months, F&L gets a new crew of Co-Op students from Northeastern University. I get to interview each of the applicants three months ahead of time and typically do it through video conferencing. The application process is usually over a two-week period as we interview and consider at least ten to fifteen applicants.

I was fortunate to interview Matt as the first applicant. We immediately connected as we had several common interests and I knew before the end of the interview that he would be offered a position. One of the most important things we look for when choosing a Co-op, is someone who shares common values with our organization and whose personal purpose matches our Mission statement. I definitely saw these values in Matt and look forward to watching him grow and challenge himself in everything he does while here with us.

Get to know him as he guest blogs for us!

What high school did you attend and what’s your current college?
I went to Tabor Academy in Marion, MA for high school, and I am now at Northeastern University studying physical therapy.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
I pretty much stumbled upon it… As a high school basketball player, I had to go to PT for a few different injuries, but I never thought of pursuing it as a career. I ended up applying to nine schools for exercise science before I found Northeastern University and fell in love. The closest thing they had to exercise science was physical therapy, so I figured I would apply for that. It wasn’t until after I had applied that I started to reflect more on my experiences with physical therapy and realized the potential for an incredibly fun, impactful, and rewarding career. Since then, I’ve found more and more things that I love about it.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
A little over a year ago, I was sitting in my advisor’s office and asked if there were any coop sites in California. My personality was beginning to shift a bit from high school. I was becoming more laid back, and the west coast lifestyle was something I wanted to experience. My advisor replied, “Unfortunately, we don’t have any in California, but we do have one in Hawaii”. I immediately knew where my heart was. I love experiencing and living in new cultures very different from my own, and Hawaii has one of the most beautiful, diverse cultures in the world. I knew that I would be able to experience the laid-back vibe that I was looking for in the west coast, and be able to immerse myself in the food, music, dancing, surfing, hiking, and beautiful people of this island at the same time. It was a pretty simple decision for me… matt2

What has been your experience like so far?
I am in love 🙂 I’ve only been here for just over two weeks and have experienced very little, but it’s easy to see how special this place is. Kayaking to work was just a catchphrase a few weeks ago, but is a beautiful reality now. Playing pickup basketball with co-workers on Monday nights and walking outside in between games to one of the more beautiful views I’ve ever experienced is surreal. Probably the most special part so far has been the people I’ve met: patients, staff at Fukuji and Lum, locals… The Aloha spirit has been more welcoming than I ever could have imagined.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I would have to say poi. I had it with some Spicy Ahi poke and loved it. I know that is a pretty disappointing ‘strangest food’, but I’ll keep working on it 🙂

What is on your to do list while here?
Soooo much. I want to surf a lot, do as many hikes on Oahu as possible, learn Ukulele and Guitar, learn Hula, get a tan (this one is more wishful thinking), kayak into work most days, absorb lots of knowledge at work, not cut my hair, eat an excessive amount of poke and other delicious Hawaiian foods, learn some Hawaiian and Pidgin, and hopefully have a positive impact on many of the people I come into contact with. I’m excited!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to become a master of eliminating pain and helping people live the lives that they dream of. Of course, I want to be able to make people feel better (which is why I also want to become massage certified), but I also want to educate and empower them to take charge of their own recovery and wellness. I want to be the type of therapist that takes a genuine interest in patient’s lives and goals and does their best to empathize and really understand what the their patients are going through, both physically and emotionally. And finally, I would love to incorporate my love of traveling and experiencing new cultures in there too, however possible.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

I’ve had so many, but my greatest influence is hands down my family. I am blessed to have two parents from very different backgrounds and an incredible older sister that have loved and supported me through everything –even this ‘growing my hair out’ stage (although it is really tough for my dad!)… But on a serious note, they have taught me so much about accepting myself and the power of unconditional love, and anything I am able to accomplish in my life will stem off of the foundation that they’ve built for me.

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By Deb Matsuura

How was Hawaii?

Guest Blogger Leila K., former NU Co-op PT student writes about her time spent with our Ohana.

People are curious when you have been far away for a long time. “How was Hawaii?” they would ask me over and over again. I had a hard time answering them. How could I describe such an incredible experience without making them listen to me go on for hours? Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it. My experience was positive in so many dimensions and I learned so much from it, if I was forced to distill my time in Hawaii at Fukuji and Lum into a considerately short series of phrases, I would say that I found a home there, a place that I hold in my heart, and that I dream of returning.

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One thing I tell people when they ask me about my experience is that I never once woke up dreading to go to work. Even though I had to wake up super early every morning (which is not easy for me I am not an early morning person at all), I looked forward to go to work. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum was so positive and fun to work with. There was never a dull moment! I learned something from every person I worked with.

Working at the clinic, pool, and pool front office allowed me to experience so many different aspects of the physical therapy profession. It was amazing to watch people make improvements in the pool and then to watch them continue to improve on land. It was very rewarding. Working at the front desk showed me how complicated patient care can be. I learned a lot about the importance of interdisciplinary communication from working at the front desk. 

When I wrote my first blog post, I wrote down all the things I wanted to do before I left the island. I am glad to say that I did get to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pill Boxes at sunrise and I ate an enormous amount of acai and pitaya bowls that I miss so dearly. I even got to learn how to hula dance! Unfortunately I never got to swim with dolphins but I did get to see both dolphins and whales from shore so I can settle with that!

[one_half] If I hadn’t co-oped in Hawaii, I may not have the three new sibling-friends that I have now. Ashley, Justin and Colby became my family and I don’t know what I would do without each of them in my life. From sliding down muddy mountains in the dark with Ashley, watching Colby almost die in the ocean multiple times, and watching Justin cook 10 pounds of chicken at a time, I have so many special memories with each of them.

When I completed my co-op I knew that I had learned so much from working at Fukuji and Lum. I had no idea how much I had absorbed until I was sitting in my spring and summer lecture halls and actually making connections from what I saw on co-op in my classes. It was really amazing to realize exactly how much I learned. I feel so much more confident in my skills in school because of what I learned at Fukuji and Lum. 

One of the best parts about my co-op experience was the Fukuji and Lum family. You all accepted us right away and I felt so welcome. You all made being so far from home much easier and I cannot thank you all enough for that. I think about Hawaii every day and I can’t wait until I can go back again.

Love and Aloha,
Leila

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By Deb Matsuura

My Co-op Experience in Hawaii – Ashley

Guest Blogger: Ashley – Former Co-op student from Northeastern University

My months in Hawaii were some of the best months of my life. While there I was able to meet extraordinary people, try things I’ve always wanted to, and learn so much. Working at Fukuji and Lum in particular was life changing. The co-workers and patients, and even my fellow co-ops, are all amazing people, and I am a better person for having met them.

My experience working at the front office showed me how to be patient (it’s a pun, get it?) and showed me another side of the job, however, working one on one with patients was the best part. I loved getting to know all of the patients and their stories.

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It was about more than just getting them better, I was able to form bonds with each and every one of them. I worked with all sorts of populations from geriatric, to work injuries, to post stroke patients. The variety of people I got to meet was incredible and taught me so much. I got really close to some patients and I didn’t know the bonds that I could have with some of these people, which made leaving so hard. From having a patient cook me Portuguese bean soup, to hearing all about someone’s strife and triumph, I am a better person for having met each and everyone one of them.ash blog4

Working at Fukuji and Lum was like no other job I ever had. Never had I experienced such love and respect from co-workers. I feel as though I got to know every single person, from the pool to the WORC and LA clinics. My co-workers were one of the best parts of my experience. Who else’s bosses would take them a half mile into the clouds at 2 in the morning? Being invited over for holidays to the island Hyland’s house really showed me the kind of people I now had in my life and I am forever grateful for that. Jocelyn even cooked animal carcass because she loves us so much! It was like having a home away from home. Even now I still get texts and surprise packages with Hawaiian goodies from Rachel, wondering how I am doing or just because she is so thoughtful.

Janie was like my Hawaiian mom who always knew how to make me laugh and always had something cool to show me about PT. Janie, if you’re reading this thanks for the massage by the way, it was the best hour of my life. The love and care Jocelyn, Rachel, Jaime, Janie, Jesse, Tasha, Mark, Stephanie and Nicole (to name a few!) gave to their patients every day at work showed me what patient care was supposed to be like, and I strive to use what I learned here every day. I miss seeing their smiling faces and all the laughs they brought me.

Another one of my favorite parts about Hawaii was the island itself. I love beaches and weather above 30 degrees, so when I saw Hawaii as an option for my co-op I was ecstatic, and knew right away this was a once in a lifetime experience that I didn’t want to miss out on. Having my three amigos with me made the experience even better. I have no idea how I would have found not one, but two beaters, learned to hula dance(ish), find our missing dog a million times, or possibly have so much fun at Costco, without them. There aren’t three other people I rather have been with except maybe Jesus, my grandma, and John Lennon, if were playing that game.

It was heartbreaking to leave paradise: the ocean, the palm trees, the sting of Kailua’s fine sand pelting you in the face as you tried to soak up the sun, but it was even harder to leave all the incredible people that changed my life. That certainly wasn’t the last time I’ll be in Hawaii so for now I’ll say, A Hui Ho!

By Deb Matsuura

Aloha Tim!

Last, but not least, we would like to introduce Tim, our final Co-op for this spring semester.

Aloha! I have the awesome opportunity of being one of the five Northeastern Co-ops making Fukuji and Lum home for the next six months. Here is a little about myself and how I got here. Instead of doing Northeastern’s six year PT program, I joined at their half way point after completing my undergrad at the University of New England earning my degree in Applied Exercise Science.

I first learned about Fukuji and Lum when Mark came to talk to the PT students in Boston. His talk about being part of the F&L Ohana is what drew me to this site and showed its character. A couple of months later I find myself fortunate enough to start my journey here.

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I was lucky enough to have parents that love traveling and have instilled that drive in me. They showed me the importance of learning about new cultures in order to understand and respect everyone’s way of life. Hawaii is no different and has shown to be full of rich history and traditions.

I am learning food is a huge part of Hawaiian life and that is something we have in common! Luckily I have not had anything too challenging cross my plate yet on my trip. To facilitate my exploring I do rely heavily on recommendations: hurricane popcorn and poke are quickly turning into some all time favorites. So far I have been told poi and lau lau are some of the things I need to try before I leave. Most surprising for me was how good shaved ice tasted, which tasted much more flavorful than I had expected.

Some things I would like to do while I am here are learn how to surf and learn how to play the ukulele (I already started the latter). The list of hikes, viewpoints and places to visit literally goes on for pages and is far too long for this post. More in a few weeks!  IMG_2155

Guest Blogger: Tim L.

By Deb Matsuura

Jamie & Tiffany

Throughout the ten years that Fukuji & Lum has been partners with Northeastern University, there have been a total of 35 PT students come to the islands to work for our company. As we grow as an organization, the need for more Co-op students increases. This semester we are so fortunate to have five students, Tim, Dan, Rose, Tiffany and Jamie. We already introduced Dan and now would like you to meet Jamie and Tiffany.

Jamie is from Rhode Island and is currently a fourth-year in the physical therapy program at Northeastern University in Boston.

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What drew you to physical therapy? 
I knew that I wanted to do something in the health field, but I wasn’t sure specifically what I wanted to go into. As I explored my options, PT seemed like a great profession! I went to physical therapy for a sports injury, which initially sparked my interest. I ended up working at a clinic near my house in high school and it really solidified that I was heading in the right direction.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I went to Maui with my family two years ago and coming back to Hawaii  has always been in the back of my mind. I love the ocean and so being in a place with such beautiful beaches for 6 months was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Also escaping the winter in Boston isn’t too bad.

What has been your experience like so far?
I’ve been having a great time in Hawaii so far, the time is flying by though! We have done some great hikes and eaten a lot of food, both of which I’ve really enjoyed. Everyone here is so welcoming, both the staff and patients are so friendly and it has really made such a positive impact on my experience here.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I had a pork lau lau which was very different from what I typically eat. Also spam musubi, which was my first spam experience. I was pleasantly surprised by the spam!

What is on your to do list while here?
My to do list is constantly growing! I just want to keep hiking, going to new beaches and eating endless amounts of food. I also think it would be awesome to learn to surf and to travel to the Big Island.

What are your outside interests?
I like to run and eat! I’m also a huge fan of anything involving animals, especially dogs.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to be open minded as therapist and be supportive and effective in helping patients reach their goals. I want to continue learning the best ways to treat patients throughout my career.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My family is probably the biggest influence on my life. Family is very important to me and my family has continued to be so supportive of me in whatever I do. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for them.

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Let’s meet Tiffany!

Tiffany attended Holliston High School in Massachusetts and is currently at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy?
I have always wanted to work within the medical profession, but wanted to find a path that incorporated athletics. Physical therapy perfectly combines healthcare and athletics in order to help people return to their daily life. It is a profession that allowed me to spend time with patients and make a tangible impact on their lives.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I have spent my whole life in Massachusetts and have not been far from family. Traveling across the country and part of the pacific will definitely challenge my independence and adaptability. I wanted to challenge myself and experience a new part of the world. Learning about physical therapy here really emphasizes the compassion and empathy of the Hawaiian culture.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?I have not eaten a lot of strange things, but my favorite thing to eat is poke! I love that I can go into the seafood section of Foodland and grab a poke bowl! I look forward to trying poi at a luau!

What is on your to do list while here?
I definitely want to try surfing, complete more hikes like three peaks and coco head! I recently heard of a site that has horseback riding, so I want to try that too! There are so many things that I want to do, and everyday the list keeps growing!

What are your outside interests?
I love swimming and it has been great being able to swim in the ocean! Recently, I started helping out at the pool and love that I get to combine PT with aquatics! I also love languages and a lot of people have been teaching me some Hawaiian! Recently, I learned that toes are called mana mana wawae!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to be a therapist that makes my patients laugh, feel comfortable and well cared for. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum has definitely set a great example for me to follow. They are all so passionate about the field and care so deeply about each patient!

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have met many inspirational and wonderful people in my life. However, my parents have given me everything I need to pursue my ambitions. Their support and love has helped me get to where I am today.

By Mark Yanai

Justin S: A Hui Hou

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In this week’s blog, Justin reflects on his new experiences at F&L while living and learning about the Hawaiian culture.

Reflections of a Co-Op

by Justin S.

To say I enjoyed my 6 months in Hawaii would be an understatement. I worked with amazing patients and coworkers, learned more than I could have ever expected, and thoroughly enjoyed living in the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
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I felt like a valuable part of a team while working at Fukuji & Lum. Even though it was my first time working in a physical therapy setting, I was trusted and given many responsibilities. It was an incredibly welcoming place to work. While searching for a co-op, the biggest thing I took from the Fukuji & Lum website was being part of their ohana. Family day, potlucks, and the Christmas party were great ways to get to know everybody. I think Art and I combined for about 10 plates of crab legs. Rachel happily invited the co-ops to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was such a kind gesture and we had a very fun time! This is just one example, but everybody that I worked with went out of their way to make sure my experience was fun and educational.

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The patients I worked with were fantastic. They taught me a lot about life in Hawaii, looked to me for help with exercises, and were great to talk story with. I will always remember these relationships that helped make my experience so great. I was so fortunate to be presented with t-shirts, poke bowls, and homemade foods from these great people.
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There were many firsts for me in Hawaii. I completed my first triathlon in September. It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t have done it without the swimming help from my coworkers at the pool. I had my first poke bowl my first day on Oahu, and it became a staple in my diet ever since. When working in Kailua, I would always pop over to Foodland for lunch to grab a spicy ahi bowl. I still crave them every day. I surfed for the first time in Waikiki about a week into my stay. Thereafter, I practiced when I could and steadily improved over the 6 months. I’m no Kelly Slater, but I have a lot of fun trying.
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Everyone always asked if the four co-ops knew each other before arriving in Hawaii. We met up for dinner once, but honestly had no clue who the other three were. Within a week, we bought a car together and were hanging out at the beach and watching Hawaii Five-O every day. Every weekend was filled with fun trips to town, Hawaii Kai, or the North Shore. It made all of us happy to hear that we were the closest group of co-ops that has come through. Ashley, Colby, Leila and I will always have oodles of awesome memories together that we will never forget. Even with our busy schedules, we are still able to see each other occasionally, most recently with a trip to Pokeworks, Boston’s attempt at replicating the divine Hawaiian dish. It wasn’t as good as the ones made in Hawaii, and it was really cold outside, but we still had fun.
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I will always be grateful for this experience, which has undoubtedly been the best 6 months of my life. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who made this experience so awesome.

 

A hui hou,

Justin

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Justin

Our Northeastern Co-ops have been with our organization since July, working diligently in our clinics while supporting our therapists in treating our patients. Since being exposed to the “island-style” life, they have been going on different adventures every weekend and are really making the most of their stay here. Of the four Co-ops this fall semester, we have one more student to introduce. Let’s meet Justin and find out why he wants to become a physical therapist, because we know he’ll make a great one in the near future!

Meet Justin
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What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I went to The Morgan School in Clinton, CT. I currently go to Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

What drew you to PT?
I’ve always wanted to have a career that combined my love of sports with helping other people. PT is also a job where there is plenty of room for progression. Treatment techniques are always evolving, which gives us something to look forward to. [/two_third_last]

Why did you want to do your coop in Hawaii?
I want to travel to every part of the world and this is just the first step. I’ve been on one Caribbean cruise but that is the farthest I had been from home. Experiencing different ways of life is a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up. The aquatic program also drew my interest to Fukuji & Lum. I have already seen first hand the benefits of being in the pool compared to dry land.

What is the strangest thing you have eaten since arriving?
I wouldn’t call them strange, but I’ve had many poke bowls and musubis already. I’d eat a poke bowl every day if I could.

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What is on your to do list while here?
I want to learn a lot- about both physical therapy and Hawaiian culture. I also would like to spend as much time at the beach as possible and do all the best hikes the island has to offer.

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What are your outside interests?
I like to watch and play many different sports. I’m a huge Boston sports fan- Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox all the way! I enjoy playing basketball and ultimate frisbee and recently got into triathlons. [/one_half]

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What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a successful and effective therapist. The dream job would be working for a professional sports team. I’m also interested in owning my own place someday. I want to provide all types of alternative treatments that may not be available at other physical therapy places. Incorporating physical therapists, athletic trainers, and nutritionists into one team-oriented area seems like the best environment for maximizing the body’s potential. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
Everyone we meet somehow becomes an influence in our lives, so it would be impossible to choose one. My parents have to be at the top of the list for how hard they work and how much they push me to be my best. I’ve had lots of great teachers and friends that keep me on the right track and I’m thankful for all of them.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Leila

From Boston to Hawaii

5,027 miles. That’s how far our Northeastern University students travel from Boston to Hawaii to be a part of our ohana for the next six months. They put a pause on their school life and travel all this way, not knowing what is in store for them here in the islands. Four of them arrived for the fall semester, all with big smiles and feelings of excitement and adventure. We’ve already introduced two of them, Colby and Ashley, who work at our Kokokahi sites in Kaneohe. We have another student, Leila who works there as well and is enjoying working with patients at the pool and W.O.R.C. 

Let’s meet Leila!

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What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Middlebury Union High School in Middlebury, VT. I am currently a student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
Both my parents are doctors, so I have always been drawn to the medical field. I became interested in physical therapy when I started seeing physical therapists in middle school and high school due to sports injuries. The therapists were always able to help me recover so that I could get back to doing what I loved to do. I want to be able to do the same for other people. [/one_half]

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I chose to come to Hawaii because I love to travel. I have always wanted to come to Hawaii and now seemed like the perfect time to go. I was also really interested in the aquatic physical therapy program at Fukuji and Lum, especially because I heard the pool was outside.

What has been your experience like so far? 

My experience here has been beyond amazing. The people of Hawaii have been so kind, welcoming and helpful. I love the island not only because it is so beautiful, but also because there are so many different things to do. I am never bored here! I love working at Fukuji and Lum because I am learning so much everyday in an extremely positive environment.

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What is on your to do list while here?
I have so many things I want to do while I am here. I want to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pillboxes at sunrise, swim with dolphins and eat endless acai and pitaya bowls. It’s so hard to narrow it down because the opportunities here are endless.  I also really want to learn how to hula dance!

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
Spam musubi and spam in general. My favorite foods I have had since coming here are acai and pitaya bowls. I’m obsessed with them![/two_third_last]

What are your outside interests? 

I absolutely love to dance. It is my favorite thing to do. I also like to hike, swim, and do yoga. I love to spend time with my friends and family as well. I am happiest when I am outside.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a caring, supportive therapist that helps patients meets their goals. I am keeping my mind open to what exactly I want to do later on in my physical therapy career, but I am currently leaning towards aquatic therapy for both adults and children.

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Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My family has been my greatest influence in my life. They have made me into the person I am today. My family is full of the most loving, supportive and kindest people I know and I aspire to be like them in everything I do.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Ashley

Embracing Change is one of F&L’s core values that we look for in each of our employees. Every six months we get a new set of students from Northeastern University and our entire organization embraces their presence and the responsibility to care for them. This fall semester we have four new students including Colby, which I wrote about in my last blog.

Since my first Co-op blog, I’ve always used the same format when questioning the students about themselves. In trying to keep things fresh and evolving, I gave each of the Co-ops the freedom to write whatever they wanted in introducing themselves as employees of F&L. Today, we get to meet Ashley. [one_third]

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Deciding to spend my first co-op in Hawaii is probably one of the better decisions I have made. From the first time I spotted the Hawaiian site for my Co-op I knew I wanted to apply to Fukuji & Lum. However, never in a million years did I think I would actually get the honor of working with such intelligent and caring people. Being a physical therapy major, there isn’t much time to travel during the six years that I am I student. I am truly lucky to have been given the chance to be able to move to Hawaii and immerse myself in its culture for six months. [/two_third_last]

Working at Fukuji & Lum has given me opportunities that I never imagined were possible. From getting grastoned to actually taking patients through their exercise programs, I have gained so much experience that will help me become a better therapist in the future. Every day I learn something new. The people I get to work with are the best in their field, always making sure they explain things to me and that I understand, and constantly improving themselves as well.

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Having the opportunity to work not only in a clinic, but a pool and front office, also gives me a chance to learn so many different aspects of therapy. Each job that I have is different and teaches me something new.

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Working in the office has taught me a lot about the paperwork aspect of therapy. Before this experience, I never knew how complicated insurance was and I have gained a lot of respect for the people who do those jobs. Being in the pool was something that made me very excited to work here. The pool is a very unique setting for therapy and one I always found fascinating. While in the pool I have learned an alternative to land therapy and it has taught me to think out of the box when it comes to coming up with helpful exercises.

So far two months (one-third) of my Hawaiian adventure has gone by and I couldn’t be more shocked. It’s hard to believe I have already spent so long in this incredible place, at a job that makes me excited to wake up every morning. It also scares me that in a few short months I’ll be heading back to freezing cold Boston in the middle of January! At least I’ll have a nice tan… I am so thankful for this experience and can not wait to use all I learned and all I will learn at Fukuji & Lum as a physical therapist one day! [/two_third]

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