By Abby

Welcoming our Fall NEU PT Students!

Aloha, Sarah!

Sarah tells us about her passion for becoming a physical therapist and how excited she is to be learning in such a beautiful place!

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

Hello! My name is Sarah! I am currently attending Northeastern University’s DPT program. I attended Pomperaug High School in Southbury, CT. I then attended the University of Delaware where I majored in Exercise Science.  

What drew you to physical therapy?

As an athlete growing up, I have always valued movement and exercise and know how much it impacts a person's well-being. I have always known I wanted to go into a profession where I would be able to help others and physical therapy allows me to do just that! I love how this profession enables individuals to get back to doing the activities and hobbies they enjoy by educating the patients on what they can do to help their own bodies and become an active part of their healing process. This profession allows the therapists to build a relationship with their patients to work with them to achieve their goals to get back to doing what they love. 

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

I wanted to do my co-op here in Hawaii because I have always loved traveling and exploring new places. I also felt like it was a great time to experience change and live somewhere new! I also heard such amazing things from past co-op students about their time with Fukuji and Lum and wanted to experience it myself!

What has been your experience like so far?

I have loved my experience so far and every day I wake up and feel so grateful that I am able to learn and grow in such a beautiful place. Everyone at the clinic is so welcoming and excited to share their knowledge. They are always willing to take time to explain the different aspects of their sessions from manual therapy to the exercises they chose and encourage me to learn new skills. In addition, they have been very thoughtful and spent time getting to know me as an individual. From giving me different books about Hawaii to playing games to get to know me better, I have felt very welcomed and thoroughly have enjoyed my time here so far!

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

I haven’t eaten anything that strange so far. However, the most unique thing that I have tried is poi, which was new. I am very excited to try more Hawaiian foods when I am here! 

What is on your to-do list while here?

Everything and anything! Overall, I am very excited to explore everything this island has to offer and look forward to all the gorgeous hikes, long beach days, and sunrises/sunsets I am lucky enough to experience while I am here! 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I want to be the kind of therapist that makes the patient feel like they are listened to and understood. I want patients to feel as if I am caring for them as an individual as opposed to just treating one specific injury. I want to lead with empathy, compassion, and understanding to provide the best care possible!

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life has been my grandmother. She is the sweetest person and always goes the extra mile for everyone and is so caring. Kindness and humility can be seen in everything she does and inspires me to do the same. 

By Abby

Welcoming our Fall NEU PT Students!

Hello, Becky!

Becky tells us about how she became interested in physical therapy, what she's most excited for with the co-op experience, and who inspires her the most.

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

I’m originally from New Jersey and I attended Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan. I continued my education and earned my undergraduate degree at Trinity College in Hartford, CT where I majored in Biology and minored in Religious studies. I also played DIII collegiate volleyball. Now I’m currently a post-baccalaureate student in the DPT program at Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy?

My first exposure to physical therapy was when I was 16 years old and had a high ankle sprain injury. I was trying to return to sport in the best possible shape to prevent re-injury. I had a first-hand experience with the healing and strengthening process where I really felt the benefits of PT. I then wanted to gain more experience in the field, so I started to shadow multiple outpatient PTs where I saw other patients experience improvements in quality of life. From experiencing PT as a patient and working as an aide, I liked how the profession could help people feel better. I was also able to make personal connections with patients and I enjoyed hearing individual stories.

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

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because I wanted to experience learning is a different environment. I have lived and completed my education on the East coast all my life, so given this chance I wanted to travel away from home. I also heard many great things from past co-ops about having personal growth and thought a change of scenery and new exposures would be an amazing way to do the same. 

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience in Hawaii so far has been exciting and adventurous! We have done many hikes which include Manoa falls, Lulumahu falls, Maunawili falls, Kuliouou ridge, and Olomana first peak! I have seen some spectacular views of the island! We have also done some kayaking and relaxing at the beach to get as much sun as possible! I would say so far, the North Shore is my favorite part of the island with the beautiful beaches, food trucks, and the drive along the water!

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

The new food I’ve had since arriving is poi which is grounded taro root. I tried it from the Waiahole Poi Factory and the consistency was interesting, but the taste was not bad. It was not my favorite thing I’ve ever eaten, but I will try anything twice. 

What is on your to-do list while here?

There are many other hikes and adventures on my to-do list while in Hawaii. The activity I’m most looking forward to is checking out the food scene in Oahu! I have not been able to do much of that, but I want to try all the local foods and some good restaurants! I am also looking forward to exploring Kualoa Ranch because I love the Jurassic Park movies and want to see where they filmed. I also plan on skydiving, swimming with sharks/turtles, and maybe take a surf lesson!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I hope to be a therapist who is empathetic, dedicated, and creative! With patient care, I think it’s important to show the patient you are listening and that you care. Going the extra mile for a patient and/or even coworker can go a long way. Also making exercises meaningful and relatable are key for successful outcomes. I have been enjoying the holistic approach that Fukuji & Lum follows and hope to carry that into my own future practice as well.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influences in my life are my parents. My mom has the biggest heart and will go the extra mile for people. She has shown me that being kind to others makes a difference. My dad is hard working and intelligent, but also very funny. He has taught me working smart, showing humility, and not taking life to seriously are ways to be successful in the future. My parents have so many great qualities and have raised me to strive to be the best I can be while also being responsible, empathetic, and able to persevere. I’m grateful to have them in my life as such amazing role models. 

By Abby

A Reflection on the Co-Op Experience


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,

By Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Aloha David!

We welcome David to the F&L ‘Ohana as he spends his Spring Semester with us. He writes about how he became interested in physical therapy and his first few weeks being a co-op in Hawaii!

Hey everyone,

My name is David, and I’m a Northeastern University physical therapy student from Cupertino, CA currently on co-op here at Fukuji and Lum. I went to Cupertino High School, where I played baseball and sang in choir. I enjoy anything and everything from working out, playing sports, hiking, and going to the beach to singing songs from musicals, watching movies, and cooking. 

I chose to study physical therapy because it is a discipline that requires a combination of expertise in the human body and how it functions along with constant patient interaction. A healthy human body should function like a well-oiled machine, and when a patient presents with a dysfunction, I find myself excited to solve the puzzle and figure out what tools, anything ranging from manual therapy to exercise prescription, I can use to help that patient ultimately achieve their goals. I feel extremely lucky to be on co-op here and spend the next few months in paradise! I get to escape the frigid Boston winter, learn from exceptionally knowledgeable clinicians, and acquire hundreds of hours of hands-on experience. What more could I ask for?

My first 6 weeks working at Fukuji and Lum have been amazing to say the least. I’ve already been able to apply knowledge and skills from previous coursework at Northeastern in my patient care and build upon that with new information and tips from PTs and PTAs I’ve worked with. When I’m not at work (and not sleeping in), I do my best to get outdoors and appreciate all the breathtaking views the beautiful island of O’ahu has to offer. My fellow co-ops and I have been perfecting our tans at several beaches, enjoying the addicting local cuisine, and working off those calories by going on different hikes. Although I feel like I’ve done so much in the past 6 weeks, there’s so much more I still need to do. I’d love to leave Hawai’i in July knowing how to surf, having kayaked to the Mokes, and having conquered the Kokohead Stairs in under 30 minutes, just to name a few of the items on my to-do list. 

In the future, I hope to be a therapist that embodies the values instilled in me when I was growing up. My parents taught me everything I know and believe about respect, humility, and kindness. The way I practice, no matter what setting I am in or what patient population I am working with, will incorporate all of those values and translate into the highest quality of care for my patients. I hope that one day I will be able to pass on the wisdom I gained through my career as a PT and serve as a role model and mentor for younger students and those just entering any healthcare profession. 

Here’s to an amazing co-op experience!


By Mark Yanai

Introducing Natalia


We continue with the introductions of our most recent Co-ops. Meet Natalia, our newest addition to the Kailua clinic. Read about how her detour from the mainland to Hawaii for her next Co-op experience came about in our Q&A session below.
IMG_9242– What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I went to Jesuit High School in Portland, OR and moved to Boston for Northeastern University‘s six year DPT program.

Jesuit HS Logo      jesuiths01

– What drew you to physical therapy?
I’ve always known I wanted to be in the health profession, so in high school I did a lot of research and talked to a bunch of people from different careers. What struck me the most was how much physical therapists enjoyed their jobs and felt that their work was deeply rewarding and meaningful. I shadowed at an outpatient clinic and it was very inspirational to see the strong rapport PTs have with their patients and how hard they work to help their patients improve.


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

I really enjoyed my last outpatient Co-op because I appreciated the depth of a relationship that can be built over a longer timeframe with patients seen in an outpatient clinic as opposed to a hospital setting. I decided the Hawaii Co-op would give me a new take on an environment that I’ve already had some experience with and plan to go in the future, as well as provide me the opportunity to learn fresh techniques, perspectives, and cultural values which will shape my practice down the line.

– What has been your experience like so far?
It’s been incredible! Honestly, everyone is so friendly and chill. I thought it would be hard to transition to a completely different culture and surroundings than what I’m used to, but I already never want to leave! I have never felt so stress-free and so physically and mentally healthy! I can tell these six months are going to fly by.





– What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I would probably say the strawberry guava that we picked off the side of a trail during a hike in Temple Valley. It was delicious and not as strange of a texture as lilikoi, but just the fact that I could pick tasty, edible fruit to munch in the middle of our hike totally blew my mind! I also couldn’t figure out if I should eat the small seeds or spit them out!

– What is on your to do list while here?
My to do list mainly revolves around being fully immersed in the culture and experiences while I’m here and to take advantage of every moment. I am going to try and be outside as much as possible by swimming, biking, running and hiking O’ahu’s beautiful landscapes. My other main goal is to learn as much as I can from the unique culture and clinic opportunities, making sure I come away with an unforgettable educational experience.

– What are your outside interests?
I’m very into tea and I love to cook healthy and try new recipes. I bike everywhere back in Boston and enjoy reading outdoors whenever I get a chance. I really like petting people’s dogs and taking advantage of community volunteer opportunities.

Natalia Cover
– What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be the kind of therapist who is constantly learning and bettering herself in order to best help other people, putting the well-being of my patients above all else. I really value education and continual learning which I believe is crucial for providing the best possible health care.

– Who is your greatest influence in your life?
That’s hard to say, because everyone I’m close to has influenced me in some way — my family, friends, teachers, peers, and coworkers alike. If I had to choose one person, I would say my sister. She’s the one who’s given me my love of outdoor adventure, shaped my taste in music and literature, and honed my skills in vegetarian cooking. She has showed me what it means to be a compassionate and altruistic individual. She has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and has been there whenever I’ve had to make tough decisions. She definitely is likely the reason why I chose a career in physical therapy.